I'm not trying to ruin the dog food by raining on the so called "do gooders parade" here as some arrogant short sighted people who believe they're above and beyond all of this might arrogantly phrase it. That even includes sections of people still quite  close to such poverty stricken situations themselves believing they're some kind of "feline" which I also find somewhat ironic and intriguing as to how they might have this strange outlook given their actual circumstances. In the sense that they might even look down on the types of people who want to help them as being stupid, but such is the world. It takes all sorts I guess as they're too busy playing secret agent with their "knives" which probably adds to this sense of "power".  

Personally I don't claim to be poor despite having cut back on many "luxuries" since I know I have the option not to be here and could potentially be in a situation that although may not necessarily be as comfortable, I'd certainly have significantly more direct hard cash at my disposal with less grief to deal with. But its evident that certain individuals still feel that they need to express their opinion that they believe I am poor which is no skin off my chin in anyway shape or form since I have a roof over my head, have the means to optionally wash myself and also being fortunate enough to eat when hungry and drink when thirsty. I also still have my choons and the means by which I can express myself in many artistic and none artistic ways. I also still have the means to keep my mind active. It would just be easier if it didn't actually allow certain individuals to leisurely pick it off as they please and use us like honey bee's. In that sense I don't in anyway consider myself to be poor when I see how other people live through no choice of their own and some others possibly through choice. But it does make me wonder as to what these peoples actual circumstances are to be so condescending in terms of such social constructs.  But Back to the point...  

For example… (based on observation)

In the most literal sense actual food here in Cambodia is not scarce beyond all the other nonsense stuff concerned with what people want to see when eating their food of which I'm still not really accustomed or adjusted to, I just generally do my best to avoid all the general malarkey it entails. I can't keep eating chicken all the time and I can’t stand the smell or taste of their claimed equivalent to cheese (which blatantly is nothing like cheese other then the extreme foul smell that more mature variants of cheese might have) for chickens here although I do like the idea of what that could potentially entail in the extended sense without use of the food. Even my best attempts to question it in the most logical sense by pointing out that nearly all beef is in fact from female bovine (a cow) does little to alter the display I didn't really ask for when eating beef. It's not really that common to eat actual meat from a bull (which is the male) but as mentioned this doesn't really change the display that I didn't ask for. You can't really go anywhere in Phnom Penh (or anywhere in Cambodia for that matter) where there isn't prepared food and agricultural produce being sold since its one of the few things that can actually be made to sell in order to try to scrape together some sort of living here. People are always eating here. Its also a known fact (despite my own and many westerners disgust towards it for reasons that are not in any way related to questions of morality, since there is absolutely nothing morally wrong with eating insects) that insects are potentially a good food source that could potentially provide a large source of nutrition if prepared properly. Many people born and raised here have no issue with eating insects that are prepared in a culinary manner despite my inability to even consider it without feeling slightly nauseous.

Food definitely isn't exactly scarce in the purest sense. But this is just one place amongst many that people from western societies might perceive to have a problem with poverty which it does to a much larger extent then many developed western regions, but I'd say it’s a far cry from the images that we got so used to being exposed to in the west of skinny undernourished pot bellied African children with flies crawling over their faces and eyeballs for them to not even so much as even twitch in having gotten so used being covered in flies and would most probably even throw up just from the act of eating from being so ill and hungry. At the same time I can't claim to know what the situation is like in such places these days although no doubt the situation has dramatically improved despite the substandard conditions of living that will obviously still persist for many against the ever changing base measure of what relative poverty is for western societies vs. the also ever changing (by slights) definition of absolute poverty in so called "third world" countries. 

Cambodia does have quite a proportionally large agricultural industry and with food so abundant it is strange that some people can still seemingly be without food to the point that kids are still on the street rummaging through the trash of fast food joints. 

Someone said "if the people don’t have bread, let them eat cake". The problem is when the people have bread but they're bored of it, and might also have cake and they're bored of that too. Evidently they also fancy some brand named premium style fried chicken too despite there being similar alternatives for much less from one of the many food stalls. 

Better dietary habits and life expectancy?!

We all know that excessive salt and fat is bad for our health and we always get hammered with it in the west. But here's the thing, generally salt and fat is something that is persistent in many Asian diets even more so then western diets. Maybe its me but you can’t actually buy a freshly made cake of an Asian style here that isn't soaked in oil. There are many foods that people eat regularly here that are either high in salt or fat content. People of young and old generations even eat foods where the animal fat is featured as the actual dish, there are even specific delicacies that consist of nothing but certain animal fats that have been seasoned which they seem to fully enjoy and revel in whilst snacking where even just the thought makes we want to wretch. But even stranger despite this there seems to be a very persistent number of senior members within societies here that are living well into their 80's and 90's despite the poverty. It's strange that you even see elderly people in their 70's (and upwards) begging for money on the street which goes against the logic of widespread poverty below the relative measure that we have in the west causing significantly shorter life spans.  We worry in the west when elderly people come anywhere near something that's close to the western relative poverty line but there are many elderly people here that live far bellow that standard but live well into their 90's, I wouldn't be surprised if some elderly people past the age 90 unknowingly and thus also unwillingly get put down like old dogs out here but I guess that's just conjecture based on certain observations that didn't necessarily make sense. The elderly possibly getting put down like old dogs part that is.

Same old story…

Where would current western economic systems be without cheap labor in this technological age? How do you create cheap labor (since its just not possible in our developed western societies) if you can't find it and if there's not enough of it? We'll its been created through out history, they've found it and there's plenty of it.

 America's guilt for the dropping the atomic bomb over Hiroshima certainly paid off after the war, I'm not sure what the deal was with the American and Japan consorting portion of Korea, but it seems to have worked out very well for them too… (are we forgetting history and politics?)

North Korea

 Believe it or not the portion of Korea with less communist leanings used to be one of those places that was very under developed with the only thing that they could offer being very cheap labor. I guess they were just very lucky/fortunate that much of the types of eventual manufacturing that was required of them and many of the factories that were built/ kitted out for it (through contracts) were of the long term rapid future building kind all based around the production of high grade electronics, this also gave them opportunity to launch and build perceptions of their own consumer electronics brands later down the line such as Samsung and LG for example. From what I can gather the parts of it to a certain degree don't actually look too dissimilar to the kinds of street scenes we'd more commonly associate with modern day downtown Tokyo.  


 It's only more recently that many big brand house hold electronics names have switched places and shifted manufacturing to places like China and I don't think there's much of the electronics manufacturing pie left in terms of potential contracts to go round, especially with a place like mainland China potentially being able to cater for all potential contracts that might crop up now and in the future. You only have to look at China's rapid expansion and shift of class mobility for a significant proportion of their population to move toward becoming a relatively wealthy "middle class" strata of society. If only Cambodia had somehow managed to land some of these big name electronics manufacturing based contracts, I'm sure it would be a very different place, but due to the instability of the place at the time and the uncertainty of security it just wasn't even a viable option in being too big a risk even if someone might have mentioned it for the slightest hint of consideration. Who is to blame for that?

Communism's ideals in the purest never work despite the overall seeming continuity of it, why? Because even within such systems there will be individuals that hold rank and position that will benefit more then other despite claiming to be as everyone else. They probably also engage in business ventures to benefit themselves because they have the means to and pretty much any hardcore ideals of communism just become a front to get away with what they accuse capitalists societies of doing. Often there will be processes of the exact same purpose in function within the two different ideologies but within communism its just given a different label to not seem apparent to unquestioning followers whilst the people in power get away with whatever they please. Of course in western cultures general populations are also accused of being mindless automatons to a capitalist system to simplify things without going onto babbling on about opiates of the the masses and all the rest of it.  But with the whole scenario playing out of a recent banking collapse and scandal Stateside and across Europe, at least we're led to believe that we can still have the power to question and rumble it to then seemingly bring that kind of activity down, which I can't really say is the case for hardcore communist regimes. It's not like anyone has been thrown into anything close to the depths of absolute poverty over in the west (along side other developed societies and economies in the east that were also affected) where as it’s the case that absolute poverty or something close to absolute poverty still persistent in many communist and post communist regimes in a more apparent way. 

Even when people are comfortable with relative wealth they still will find something to be discontent about as other consideration then occupy their minds where the context of their perceived plight and suffering might become much more troublesome despite the fact that they fully know there is greater ongoing suffering in the world that is truly much closer to the line of absolute poverty against their relative poverty. 

 Plus the communist ideal is fundamentally flawed just by sheer virtue of human nature.  No human being is devoid of ego and individualistic interests despite the high levels of restraint and self regulation that certain individuals might exercise. Even then it's often maintained through subtle external psychology and neuro linguistic techniques that either overtly or subconsciously temporarily gratifies such needs without necessarily the need of cold hard cash as compensation. Then there's a whole bunch of people who try to be clever and economical with it in aspiring toward producing multi-touch  variants of the same kind of thing, which I guess is much easier and requires much less skill to do with less individuality amidst a general population.

Generally many communists regimes manipulate a mass population into thinking that "I" is the mass population of collective ideology. So collective success is perceived as  an individual success even if it does not benefit many of the people of the same way of thinking in any direct way. As mentioned before beyond the front of such communist beliefs there are others with higher rank and position that live much more comfortably then their claimed to be "equal" comrades that simply use and take advantage of what they can from the situation claiming that its for the cause to in essence pretty much do exactly as they'd accuse capitalists of doing whilst claiming what the capitalists do is wrong.

It seems only when the process of enterprise is conducted more overtly that it seems to benefit a larger proportion of people with a greater degree of potential social mobility. But in these modern times it would seem highly irresponsible to not establish some kind of official social welfare system first as the potential pressure it could cause on the under privileged is the types of catalysts for the kinds of madness stricken revolutions at the hand of certain individuals puppetry like manipulation to achieve their own ends and long term agendas amidst all the convenient truths to arise that in themselves act as perfect miss-direction to other people more underhand intentions. However it would make sense that any such welfare system would be more of a blight on society if there was not the provision of the types of paid employment and means of getting people in it that a population could actually do, otherwise they'd have no incentive to work (whatever that might entail) in anyway shape or form and just stay on welfare. Semi- automated, semi skilled high grade electronics production line based manufacturing would have been one of those options but it looks like Cambodia missed the boat on that one for obvious reason as mentioned before.

There are many facets of developed evolved so called "capitalist" societies that provide for the under privileged in more efficient and comprehensive ways then any overt communist regime has ever been able to whilst increasing overall wealth and quality of life for people. But the reason why there might be so many defectors is as mentioned before, discontentment is usually understandably borne from other wants, needs, desires and concerns to occupy the mind  beyond the need to just survive. Even the perception of "just surviving" takes on a more elaborate form that’s far removed from and well above the notion of absolute poverty.  

The question of better education

It depends whether you have the paid jobs in the first place after which you need to gauge the balance of vocational targeted education and the type of education that would extend the consciousness of a population. But over educated people against a context of lack of wealth and opportunity could potentially be just as dangerous as under educated people constantly going off half cocked believing they have the whole picture but might be just as ignorant and possibly just as stupid as those who know nothing at all. At the same time if there aren't the paid jobs what would be the point of facilitating vocational based education? As I've said many times before, what is it that business owners that are able to provide legitimate paid jobs in Cambodia need from  their potential employees? If you knew that you could maybe then begin to formulate a solution that is realistic. It might be an idea to create a single national standard of accreditation for employment within the country as I've often seen many premium training courses for IT that doesn't result in a recognised qualification that would be indisputably accepted by employers. Seems like a waste of money and time. Making potential legitimate employers part of the formulation process would mean these employers would be able to help equip the potential future employees with the kinds of skills to employ them with every confidence and that it would assist their organizations to actually succeed in actually being able to do the job. Plus any such process would create a qualification that is actually recognised with credibility within the country. 

But from what I know of Cambodia their main source of exportable manufacturing is textile based in the sense that they provide cheap labor for certain well known big brand name fashion labels in the UK and the US, which although very helpful hasn't really gleaned the kind of progression and wealth generation that many here are crying out for, but that’s to be expected I guess. 

Other then that its mainly agriculture.