He asked me not to blog about our conversations, so I’ll make a decent effort not to. But I can’t help but aknowledge that even out here in Cambodia, I manage to ride around late at night on the back of a motorcycle which belongs to someone I worked with all the way back in New York City. To say the world is small would be an understatement. That’s all I’ll say on that specific case.
Today I had the great pleasure of meeting up with Cambodian bloggers, or cloggers as they affectionately refer to themselves. Took Mr. LEe and I some time to locate the venue, but once there it was a very familiar café atmosphere with wifi. And as luck would have it, not only did I get to sit down with Tharum, the first blogger in Cambodia, but several of his friends and fellow bloggers were there as well. Together with Virak, Kuji, and even this man, we sat and discussed the upcoming Cambodian elections and the lack of a viable opposition party that can defeat the ruling party. I think it was Tharum who said “It used to be that before an election people worried about the stability of the country afterwards, now nobody worries and expects any real change.”
As my new friends explained and become very clear to me, the world of personal publishing and citizenjournalism is quite large in Cambodia. Although outside of a few cities, few people have real internet access, in the places where it is available, many people are writing about different topics, and a surprising many are doing so in English!
As we drank iced tea and ate some cake, I had that feeling that although I’m sitting in Phnom Penh, I could be sitting anywhere in the world, and that indeed these bloggers and I share a common culture, language, and understanding of both the possiblilities and the responsibilities that can come with being our own media, writing our own stories, and just being active players in the growing world of internet communication.
Cambodian bloggers: I didn’t get to meet you all and join the boatride this sunday, but to my new pals who sat with me today, THANKS, and I will be back and we can pick up where we left off.