I’m Hosting Another #Poetry Night at Java Cafe Tonight

If you’re in Phnom Penh, you won’t want to miss the poetry night I run at Java Cafe on Sihanouk Boulevard. There are a couple amazing featured readers (one from Australia and one from Cambodia), and as usual, we have the writer’s meet-up preceding the event and the open mic following the main reading.

Here’s a taste of what I’ll be reading, a poem for an upcoming e-book (see more poems on my other site):

Phnom Penh and the Turbulent Examination of Spirals

It’s true, you can get a lot of things in Cambodian pharmacies.
Just make sure you check the date on the packaging,
as some drugs might be years out of date.
And be sure to check out the cute employees who work there.
Even if they aren’t that cute, though someone might find them so.
After the pharmacy, you might consider stepping out into the heat
and feeling like the strongest character in any game ever imagined,
until you start getting weak and needing a cool drink.
So hop over to your favorite place and get that beverage.
You’ve earned it. You deserve to be happy.
You deserve to put the liquid in your mouth and swallow.
Just be careful you don’t choke, because everyone can choke.
And when you choke in Cambodia, you can die in Cambodia.
Just like you can choke and die in any other place in this world.


Exploring Koh Dach (Silk Island), #Cambodia

The dry season does not scream: “explore Cambodia,” but there’s only a month and change for me left to go about and see the sights, so I’ve been particularly motivated to get to places I’ve been keeping on the back burner. Silk Island, traditionally a place where silk fabric has been made, is one such place. It’s only about a 20 minute drive plus 10 minute ferry ride away from the center of Phnom Penh (by moto), which makes it a great half-day trip. Once you take the ferry over, the roads are quite nice: very easy to explore with some concrete and some dirt. There are plenty of plantations and farms, including rice fields, and the livestock roam free. The most remarkable spot on this island is the beach on the northern tip, where there are shacks you can rent (for only 10,000 riel or less) that sit in the water. While this point in the river sits above all the sewage of the city, local Cambodians profusely litter and so it was hardly appealing to go into the water even though it was extremely hot. I visited the island with my friend and coworker Nary. First, we start with the trip out of the city:

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The Mysteries of the #Bassac

The Bassac Neighborhood of Phnom Penh is one that’s riddled with contrast. From the exclusive neighborhood of Bassac Garden City, to the Rose Garden Apartments, to winding alleyways across Sothearos Blvd, to the upcoming Aeon Mall, the area of the city is both central and yet feels the flux of major urban development.

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A Bike Ride to Khan Chhbar Ampov

Chbar Ampov means “Sugarcane Field” in Khmer, but it’s hardly the land of sugar it was originally made out to be. Most probably know it as an area of Phnom Penh to the Southeast housing a huge market. It’s also got a fairly big Vietnamese community, as most of the signs I saw during my visit indicated. Though I didn’t see sugarcane, I did see plenty of wood furnishing businesses/factories, and lots of child workers. This was a solo bicycle trip so I did not have as much courage in my photography as I would have otherwise, but I snapped some good scenes nonetheless.

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Micro E-Book: A New Shot

I just created a short “micro e-book” called A New Shot. The images used in the book were taken back during the Khmer New Year and are actually on this blog somewhere. Anyway, I’ve created it in multiple formats for various engagement styles. Let’s see, we’ve got:

1. PDF

2. Powerpoint

3. Slideshare

Or for the lazy:

Pick your poison, and leave feedback if you have any! I’m hoping to actually start moving my regular poetic self over to this format since it feels more 21st-century-natural, whatever that means.

Eviction Source Text

Performed here.

Included poetry bombs from the “Mind Snacks,” a spontaneous group of origami experts who crafted some text (not from below, but similar) into bombs dropped from 2 stories above on the audience below.

Source text taken from all Phnom Penh Post and Cambodia Daily articles of 2014 with the word “eviction” used in the text.


have been camping for the past five days

evicted anyway and told to move to relocation sites in

after authorities forcefully evicted

abrupt, violent eviction of scores of

demolition of a camp at

the team had assisted patients during last weekend’s eviction

that favour the rich and well-connected

proposed by a company headed by ruling party senator

because of the high fees imposed at the new market

“from their land and homes without adequate compensation”

said he was acting on the orders of his “general”

hundreds of families from an 8,343 hectare land concession

both of which have faced mass evictions

which has been at the centre of forced land evictions

he lived on his former plot since the 1980s.

to brutal forced evictions

soldiers who were allegedly working for the

an electric prod to deliver a shock before stealing his camera

caught up in forced land evictions

to make room for a real estate project.

“as we know that many people have been evicted to make way”

“I did not attend this morning’s demolition, so I do not know well”

“They came to block the road in front of the company office”

were burned to the ground in the latest round

from their homes to make way for industrial

“I see that roads and drainages are constructed in abundance”

half as big as the four-by-six-metre plots residents were promised

farmland belonging to more than 1,000 families

more than 1,400 families in his quest for ELCs.

yesterday they had expected the authorities to forcibly remove them

“managing not to cause violence is very difficult”

was arrested during the community’s eviction

had locked her inside the house and

forced him off his land at the construction site

the families whose houses were burned down still haven’t

concessionaires were granted

accused of forcibly evicting 456 families off land

shouting orders to the men to grab the women

destroyed yesterday and two weeks ago sat on state-owned land

the land in question was granted

a court document reveals

thousands of villagers in three provinces after being awarded

the eviction notice as a permission slip

despite eyewitnesses and photographic evidence

that are supposed to help the poor.

kicked her stomach and knocked her unconscious

after which more than 1,500 families

Approximately a third of that land has come

sites on the outskirts of the city

firms taking advantage of the trade scheme by growing sugar cane

to sell outside the market for the whole year

led to over half a million people being forcibly transferred

leading to calls from rights groups to reconsider

widespread and often-violent forced evictions – acts that could constitute

held signs demanding that their houses be rebuilt

“I can’t put up with living on the pile of garbage and sewage”

community who were evicted

from a ceremony to mark fours years since evictions

from an 8,343-hectare land concession

years-long land dispute over forced evictions from its concession

“Destroying the forest is destroying our lives”

observers have found its implementation to be spotty

“advocate for human rights and victims of forced evictions”

displacing more than 1,000 families and leaving others without compensation.

after five or more years of continuous occupation

filed a complaint alleging they were ignoring a government directive to vacate the disputed area

“development of the Cambodian sugar industry has been accompanied by”.

escorted her from the park yesterday.

lead to the eviction of 600 ethnic families as well as the destruction of 20,000 hectares of forest

with illegally occupying a nature preserve.

“continually violates human rights through forced evictions and land grabs.”

“. . . This will keep happening until a real commitment is made to end this cycle”

occupied an unfinished building at their designated relocation site.

“My land is 9,600 square metres and was flooded with sand and I received no compensation.”

say the families must be moved to bring the site in line with international standards

were rounded up with their children and ferried to the island.