Showing posts from June, 2013

In Search of Votes, CNRP Turns to Youth and Beauty

By Alex Willemyns - June 24, 2013 Lacking the funds and an expansive network of volunteers the ruling CPP has behind its well-oiled election campaign, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is turning to a resource it now boasts in increasingly large numbers: young women. On Thursday, as the CNRP ramped up preparations for July’s national election, young volunteers flocked to the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh. Among them were fashionable women who were frantically assembling party-branded flags.  Volunteers prepare promotional flags bearing the logo of the Cambodia National Rescue Party at the party’s headquarters in Phnom Penh, in this photo released online by a campaigner on Thursday. As they sat hard at work, a party member took photographs of them and before long had posted a collage of images to a popular CNRP-affiliated Facebook page. “We are women ready for the rescue of the Khmer nation this July 28, 2013. And you, are you r

Hun Sen Says Change Is a Dangerous Game

By Kuch Naren - June 22, 2013 You may have to flee your homes. That was the latest pre-election warning message from Prime Minister Hun Sen to the people of Banteay Meanchey province on Friday, where he once again raised the specter of a near-apocalyptic scenario should he not be re-elected on July 28.  Continuing his slew of public speeches peppered with warnings of civil war and near societal collapse should his long-ruling CPP be defeated in the election, Mr. Hun Sen had a simpler yet no less ominous message for the public: “Change is not a game.” “Voting for the CPP means you are voting for yourself: Voting for peace, political stability and development for yourself,” in terms of roads, schools, hospitals and pagodas, Mr. Hun Sen said. To vote for someone else, he added, is to gamble with the possibility of receiving such infrastructure, and it might even mean that people “face fleeing.” The prime minister did not explain what the public might have t

UNITED STATES Affirmative threat to private-sector admissions

John Aubrey Douglass 22 June 2013 Issue No:277   Once again, the United States Supreme Court will soon pass judgment on affirmative action as a factor in admissions in America’s most selective universities and colleges. As in previous cases, a Euro-American student filed a lawsuit against a highly selective public university, in this case the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The plaintiff, Abigail Noel Fisher, claims overt racial discrimination when UT rejected her freshman application in 2008. Her lawyers filed the case that same year, and it wound its way to a district court where Texas prevailed. Fisher appealed and the Supreme Court decided to review the case and began deliberations last October. This court is decidedly more conservative than in the past and seemingly more sympathetic to simply ending affirmative action. There has been much attention on one or two perceived swing voters. Because Justice Kagan recused herself due to her former position as

UNITED STATES: Fixing a broken international policy

Mitch Leventhal 22 June 2013 Issue No:277   After 15 months of deliberations, the United States’ National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Commission on International Student Recruitment has all but agreed that commission-based recruitment is permissible – but its report only feebly addressed what comes next. Its recommendation that commission-based international student recruitment be tolerated is severely tempered by its incomplete coverage of developments on the ground, and its supplemental recommendations, which appear to pander to a variety of vested interests. Further, the general tenor appears to be designed to slow down the legitimate efforts of colleges and universities, and their private sector marketing partners. Perhaps we could not have expected more from a commission with such divergent views. But the reality is that the outcome reflects a much deeper existential malaise within NACAC, as well as a lack of coherence in US policy.

GLOBAL: Strategy, media and international student integration

Katherine Forestier 22 June 2013 Issue No:277   As universities recruit more international students, they need to work out their media messaging about the benefits for local and national communities, as well as their campuses, the “Worldviews 2013” conference in Toronto heard. Views differed as to whether universities should sell the economic benefits, or use the media to promote wider cultural and social advantages. Both could help or hinder the integration of international students. Teboho Moja, clinical professor of higher education at New York University, said: “Media reporting of the economic benefits is over-emphasised.” The result was insufficient awareness of what international students could contribute. This reflected attitudes within universities, which were not doing enough to promote integration both on campus and with their wider local communities, she told a session on “International Students and Campus Integration: Institutional strategies and me

SINGAPORE: Yale-NUS first cohort – Breaking the education mould?

Yojana Sharma 22 June 2013 Issue No:277   Singapore’s first US-style liberal arts college in collaboration with Yale University, set up at the National University of Singapore (NUS), has selected its first cohort of 157 students to start in August – after sifting through 11,400 applications from over 130 countries – the college announced last week. This was more than the 150 students initially planned. Around two-thirds of the first cohort are Singaporean, with the rest from 25 countries, Yale-NUS said. Student numbers will be increased by 250 new students per year to reach around 1,000, and they will receive NUS degrees. Many students from outside Asia were attracted to the idea of being part of the ‘Asian century’, said Yale-NUS College President Pericles Lewis. All the students had been selected for their “leadership potential”, not just their academic records, which Yale-NUS described as “stellar”. “We are getting the top students academically but we are

Hun Sen Defends His Decision to Break the Law

By Neou Vannarin and Zsombor Peter - June 20, 2013 Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday again admitted publicly to breaking the law when he helped opposition leader Kem Sokha escape arrest for an alleged sexual encounter with a 15-year-old girl. Mr. Hun Sen first leveled the accusation against the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) acting president last week, claiming that Mr. Sokha had paid the girl $500 for sex, and that he himself broke the law by preventing his arrest for fear of being accused of interfering in Mr. Sokha’s personal affairs.  Mr. Sokha has denied the claim and his party has dismissed it as political mudslinging ahead of next month’s national election. According to legal experts, Mr. Hun Sen’s public admission should lead to a police investigation into whether the prime minister has placed himself above the law of the land. “Some people said I broke the law. Yes, it is true. I did say I broke the law because I stopped police from arrestin

In Southeast Asia, Free Speech Is Still a Work in Progress

By Denise Hruby - June 20, 2013 Six advocates from Southeast Asia on Wednesday put the spotlight on freedom of speech violations at the opening session of the bi-annual IFEX meeting in Phnom Penh, comparing the freedoms they lacked in the light of different laws and protection mechanisms implemented in each of their countries. During the meeting—held for the first time in Cambodia—land rights activists, cartoonists and journalists from Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia and the Philippines said that al­though citizens in their respective countries enjoyed varying levels of freedom, looking behind the curtain reveals a wide range of lim­itations to free speech. In Thailand, journalist Chira­nuch Premchaiporn said the ma­jor limitation to free speech comes through self-censorship. “People are used to self-censoring what they say and what they write. Thailand is not as free as it seems,” said Ms. Chiranuch, who faced 20 years in jail for writing a post d

Civil Servants Become CPP Election Campaigners

By Colin Meyn and Kaing Menghun - June 20, 2013 On the ground floor of the Council of Ministers building, dozens of staff and volunteers working for the Press and Quick Reaction Unit (PQRU) shuffled about Wednesday, providing information to international and local press about the World Heritage Committee meeting taking place next door in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s office—the Peace Palace. Upstairs, in a cramped office on the 4th floor, amid desks piled high with newspapers, PQRU staff were busy doing another job: assisting in the campaign to re-elect Mr. Hun Sen and his long-ruling CPP.  The PQRU, which operates as a public information office for the Council of Ministers, has typically been used to spotlight the accomplishments of Mr. Hun Sen’s administration. But now the unit is firmly behind the CPP election bid, and using state resources in the process. The line between their work as civil servants, who should serve the public impartially, and that of rulin

GLOBAL: China vs America – Quality, plagiarism and propaganda

John Richard Schrock 08 June 2013   Issue No:275 As with other countries, academe in China is a mixed bag. There are essentially five ‘bands’ of universities from rank one downwards, and I visit the top one – mostly ranks one and two. I have also met some of the 1,000 talent scholars who have been brought here from Western universities, and they are nearly all impressive. I sit on evaluation panels for masters and doctoral defences in my field of entomology. The universities have all-day sessions where eight to 12 students defend in a row – China has to deal with large numbers of students and limited faculty – and I see a range in quality.   Masters level is usually based on the professor's research grant and does not require creativity, so the procedure can be very ‘cookbook’, as is also the case in the United States. But their best students easily match the best students in the West. Incidentally, China 's Education Ministry requires that one member of this panel of