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Tensions are rising between local Khmers and Chinese in Cambodia’s Sihanoukville and elsewhere in the country to the point where Prime Minister Hun Sen recently said that “Chinese will not live in Cambodia” in an effort to assuage public misgivings about the now-heavy Chinese presence in the Kingdom.
Environmentalists say they are ready to “blacklist” Cambodia’s Virachey National Park, beset by illegal logging in all but its most distant sections.
Famous for its beautifully-preserved French colonial architecture and its wide, slow-flowing river that spills into the Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia’s Kampot Province has an almost dreamy quality about it.
A tropical rainforest paradise in Cambodia that I visited in 2010 to see a riot of wildlife including Black Giant Squirrels (Ratufa bicolor), a flock of about 75 green parrots that went up in a cloud of emerald splinters, and dozens of raptors swarming overhead has disappeared, replaced by an oil palm plantation.
Over recent weeks, the situation in Cambodia has turned nasty beyond words. The man in charge, Hun Sen, as been in power for 33 years, rising to the Premiership in 1985 at the age of 32. Now the country’s president, he is 65 years old and swears he will stay in power for at least another 10 years.
Bigger. Higher. Larger. These are the new catchwords for the Cambodian business community and politicians when it comes to construction in a country dominated for centuries by Buddhist grace and delicacy.