Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The money-go-round

The money-go-round

The money-go-round

The Editor,,

I profess I am not an economist so could someone please

enlighten me as to what factors and criteria determine the poor rate of pay for

locally recruited personnel.

Even when allowance is made for the dire

state of the economy it is ethically and politically difficult to account for

the vast discrepancy that exists between this low level of income and the huge

expenses on rent and other items serving less than collective


Rented villas generate thousands of dollars for their owners each

month, which is fine (I would probably have no cause to complain if I were the

owner in question). What I find rather sad is that a massive volume of money in

public income tax from the West should be so unjustly and wasterfully spent with

little regard to the net social and economic repercussions in Cambodia. Many of

the properties rented out were formerly state assets before they were

appropriated by powerful officials and their relatives in pre-UNTAC times, as

the state decided to part with the last vestiges of socialism. Other properties

were seized from less well-connected citizens more or less arbitrarily. With

this accumulated fortune, the nouveau riche are in an ever stronger position to

expand their economic base to the detriment of the rest of society. A new cycle

of power, abuse and enslavement is promoted with the asistance and knowledge of

people working under the umbrella of humanitarianism and international


It is ironic that these new land lords were precisely those

who, along with their Vietnamese advisors, contributed in no small part to the

isolation of the country throughout the 1980s with their siege mentality and

ideological hostility to "the nature and scope of activity" of the "subversive

and feared" agencies, otherwise known as aid organisations, just at a time when

international sympathy toward the suffering of the Cambodian people was at its

peak and international assistance critically needed.

Whilst most local

people are grateful that they are employed at all it is worth bearing in mind

that there may be only one bread-winner in a usually extended family, and they

may have been driven from the village by famine or sickness. On the other hand,

it is doubtful if helping the rich will make the poor better off as a

consequence. The emergence of new patterns of social disparities in this tragic

land is not an accident. The rich will go on spending their money on luxury

goods and other status symbol items, depositing it in safe foreign accounts

leaving the poor to go on being poor.

A recipient country will only

benefit when what it receives are not merely well meant, but well thought out

and well delivered.

- Marith Pen, England.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Phnom Penh smothered in smelly, dangerous haze as landfill fire continues burning

    A putrid haze that has bedeviled Phnom Penh since Monday night will likely continue as a landfill in Dangkao district continued to burn on Friday, creating health risks for the capital's residents. Workers at the Dangkao landfill on site on Friday attributed the fire, which