21 March 2010

Show and Tell Turtle Trouble

"Don't talk politics in class, ever, you cannot be sure that a student's father isn't a top military figure."
~Advice on teaching in Cambodia.

"Lots of the kids here have fathers in the military, so be careful. They can make life very difficult for you and there is a teacher here getting a whole lot of trouble from an army officer."
~ More advice from a Phnom Penh school administrator.

" Don't take turtles to school"
~ Still more teaching advice

That's all good advice as it seems military men, accustomed to getting their own way, don't take kindly to their offspring being treated with anything but kid gloves. Or perhaps, naval officers have been offended by turtles in the past.

'PREAH Sihanouk provincial court on Tuesday found a naval officer guilty of assaulting two teachers and a student who frightened his daughter with a turtle at school, handing him a one-year suspended sentence and ordering him to spend 10 days behind bars.

General Keo Monysoka, deputy commander at Ream Naval Base, was found guilty of intentionally causing injury to the student and the two teachers in an attack on March 6,' reports the Phnom Penh Post

Apparently the good general found fault wit h the two teachers because they tried to protect the young boy froma nasty assault. And nastiness runs in the family too, as the naval officer's son went with him to attack the ten year-old student. He later fled and is still on the run.

 Still, in a way, this is a little bit of a good news story; a powerful and wealthy general who doesn't manage to buy himself out of a conviction says that at least occasionally the Cambodian justice system works. (Although to be fair, generals aren't that special in Cambodia; there are more than 2,000 of them!)

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