Process to Randomly Select Respondents in a Survey – Monday, 26.1.2009

Posted on 27 January 2009. Filed under: Week 597 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 597

“In September 2008, the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley, began a survey called So we will never forget – A Population-based survey on attitudes about social reconstruction – and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia [Researchers/authors: Mychelle Balthazard, Sokhom Hean, Phuong Pham, Eric Stover, Patrick Vinck]. The results of this survey were released to the [Cambodian] public on 21 January 2009 at the Sunway Hotel, in a meeting organized by the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee – CHRAC. the methodology was a systematic random sampling , made according to general technical standard systems to survey people. In the survey, researchers randomly selected 125 communes out of the existing 1,621. This selection was done proportionately to population size at the communes. After that, the researchers randomly selected 250 villages countrywide from these communes. There were four randomly selected families in each village and one member of each family was randomly selected. As a result, the researches had 1,000 selected respondents from all places around Cambodia. Data collected were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences.

“Each survey in Cambodia encounteres many obstacles. A major obstacle that should be considered is that it is most difficult to solve what is a clear selection of respondents, to ensure that there is no partiality and that results of the survey reflect the actual reality in the society. There are many factors in the survey of the above Human Rights Center that needed to be solved. The first aspect is that Cambodia has a patriarchal social structure, and there are many big differences between the various groups of people. There are big gaps between the rich and the poor, the highly-educated people and those who are illiterate, between the city residents and the people in rural areas (the differences between these pairs of groups have many consequences, such as the understanding of society, different living standards, differences in education, population density, and different ways of life …). As a result, it is very difficult to clearly conclude how the researchers defined who is a ‘general Khmer citizens,’ because in Cambodia there are many differences between different communities, and there are many ethnic groups. The survey aimed to study the opinions of all Cambodian people, but to explain who all the Cambodian people are is difficult. Nevertheless, the methodology to select respondents by the Human Rights Center was thoroughly conducted by studying previous surveys of the Khmer Institute for Democracy, and it included scientific research methodology. However, we have to suggest that we have to conduct surveys for each group separately rather than for the whole Cambodian people. Doing so allows us to know well to what extent each group of people knows about the Khmer Rouge regime and the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. If we would get such information, we would find it easy to create outreach programs for the villages to educate the people there further.

“The second point relates to the population density in each province. If we conduct surveys by randomly selecting villages and communes without thinking about population density, we will get partial towards provinces with a small density. The above survey of the Human Right Center uses a selection of villages and communes which is proportionate to the population size of the different provinces. This factor is important to note in the above survey.

“The third point is that a survey has to consider the theory of the environment of the people [related to a center] which states that when people live farther away from populated areas, their knowledge regarding the social situation drops. According to this theory, the population density is divided into three main sections: the core section, the middle section, and the outer section. In general, people living in the core section are highly educated, rich, and knowledgeable in many social skills, and they influence people living in the middle and the outer sections. There are many reasons for these results. The first reason is infrastructure: where generally people in the outer sections find it hard to connect to the core sections, because of many reasons, such as damaged roads and lack of travel facilities. The second reason is communication, which affects the mentality of people living in the outer section, because they do not of have access to television, newspapers, and radio. However, at present, the Cambodian economy is growing and people in the core, middle, and outer sections get closer to one another little by little, narrowing the gap of the mentality of the three sections of people.

“The fourth point relates to the selection of respondents so that those chosen obviously represent Cambodian people. Respondents of the survey of the Human Rights Center of the University of California were at the age of 39.8 on average, and the number of men and women were equal. 69% of the respondents lived under the Khmer Rouge regime and the rest of 31% said that they were born after the Khmer Rouge regime. But according to statistic of the National Statistical Institute, 68% of Khmer citizens are 29 or under. Therefore, the other 32% have spent part of their life under the Khmer Rouge regime. This different handling of the statistics might be partial towards those who spent part of their life under the Khmer Rouge regime. This partiality might affect different responses quite a lot, especially related to the status of being a victim, the understanding of the Khmer Rouge regime, and of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, reconciliation, and compensation.

“Fifth, the Human Rights Center of the University of California recognized that one shortage of this survey is the problem of not meeting respondents that had already been selected through the random selection methodology. The report of the survey said that 147 families were identified and replaced by other families, because nobody was at home (76%), families refused to give responses (5%), and other reasons (19%). Moreover, more than 297 respondents were selected and then exchanged because they were not at home when the researchers went to interview them (85%). Those replacements strongly affected the random selection. One reason is that those who stayed back could not express their interests, social class, and knowledge. Those who went to work outside might be members of families with more strenuous labor and knowledge than members of families staying home. Therefore, researchers could have received the information that Khmer citizens are not much interested in the Khmer Rouge Tribunal or do not know this court.

“The above points are major points of that the Human Rights Center of the University of California studied, and what different organizations that intend to conduct surveys should consider. Furthermore, other obstacles, such as the interpretation of questions from English to Khmer, and different views between researchers and respondents regarding important ideas such as reconciliation, remembrance, what is a victim, who is a perpetrator, what is the understanding of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and regime. The last point that all researchers should also be aware of, is that people’s opinions are influenced by different events at villages and by outside happenings. This is a reason which creates gaps between previous and future results. Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4804, 25-26.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 26 January 2009

Amnach Reas, Vol.2, #38, 26-1.1.2009

  • Military Officials of the Ministry of Defense Who Retired Demand the Government to Release Their Salaries [more than 6,000 military persons were retired since April 2008, but so far, they have not received their pensions]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1856, 25-26.1.2009

  • Ke Kim Yan Had Tears in His Eyes during a Ceremony to Change Assignments [he said that already six months earlier he had asked Prime Minister Hun to retire from his position of the commander-in-chef of the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces because of ill health]
  • Nearly 2,000 [garment] Workers of the LA Factory Strike because Their Boss Has Not Released Their Salaries for Two Months [Phnom Penh]
  • Lim Marachit, a Khmer in the United States of America, Found a Pesticide to Kill “Banla Yuon” Plant [phonetic – probably Water hyacinth? – also known as Ouyas [phonetic] – this plant grows in rivers and affects natural fish breeding] before Returning to Cambodia

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #191, 25.1.2009

  • Human Rights Groups Condemn the Authorities That Used Armed Forces and Machinery to Destroy the Houses and Evict the Dey Krahom Residents [Phnom Penh]
  • Three Features of Cambodia Cannot Avoid the Threats of the Financial Crisis [30% of construction plans with millions of dollars of planned investment were suspended or canceled, the garment export dropped by 2% in 2008, and the number of tourists from the United States of America and Europe declined by 39%]
  • Cambodia Takes Up Tourists from Russia and from Kuwait as a New Tourism Destination
  • The New Market Inaugurated Repairing Site [Phnom Penh]
  • Mr. Obama Orders to Completely Close the Guantánamo Prison [in Cuba]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6561, 26.1.2009

  • Solving Border Disputes: The Cambodian and Thai Ministers of Foreign Affairs Will Meet to Discuss Today
  • Eighteen Trainees [from state institutions] Receive Certificates as Spokespersons for the First Time
  • Districts of Provincial Towns Are Changed into Cities, and Three Big Cities Were Changed into Provinces [three cities, equal to t former districts, are Poipet City in Banteay Meanchey, Suong City in Kompong Cham, and Bavet City in Prey Svay Rieng, and the three big cities that are changed into provinces are Kep, Sihanoukville, and Pailin]
  • [Ousted former Thai Prime Minister] Thaksin Announced His Commitment to Struggle in Thai Politics Forever [statememt on opposition TV channel]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4804, 25-26.1.2009

  • Process to Randomly Select Respondents in a Survey
  • Two Cambodian Students Won a Law Competition [in Cambodia] and Will Join an International Competition in the United States of America

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

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Challenging Times – What Kind of Change to Come? – Sunday, 25.1.2009

Posted on 26 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

On 20 January 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America, change started to come. Never before had so many people around the world be able, through TV and the Internet, to participate form afar – never before was also so much interest expressed, in the new presidency of this country by a crowd of more than a million people in Washington, and many more around the globe.

To refer here to these events may be an occasion to remember the years of Administrative Reform and Judicial Reforms in Cambodia, and the efforts to see spokespersons authorized in the different sections of the Cambodian administration, so that the Cambodian public will not have to read, time and again, that one official refers an inquiry to the next, and the next does not have time to speak to a journalist. And the public, the people – “The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country” according to Article 51 of the Constitution – are not informed what is being done and why – even in such important situations that they trusted the commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces for many years, and now he is no more there, and the population – civilian and in uniform – does not know why they should withdraw the confidence they had held for many years.

During the long and difficult election campaign, there had been different slogans leading to the inauguration, becoming more and more specific: “Hope and change” – “Hope is not enough” – “Change you can believe in” – not only believe in, but real “Change we need.” And change started to happen. First of all there is an openness for communication, through the media, to the people. It was reported that the new president visited the White House media quarters and press office – places that the former president is said to have avoided – because there, people ask questions and expect clear answers.

When the new president signed some executive orders in front of TV cameras, before he signed them, he read parts of them and explaining what is meant, for the public to understand. And it was announced that e-mail alerts and Internet blogs would be used for “timely and in-depth content” about the administration’s policies:

“The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. We will publish all non-emergency legislation to the Web site for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.”

And in terms not only of changed style, but also of content, the president made some fundamental policy declarations in his inaugural address:

“Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

One cannot but remember that Prime Minister Hun Sen had made similar declarations in relation to the ongoing violence by the rich or on behalf of the powerful, when he had said already in 2002:

“We are conscious that corruption in the public machinery, be it judiciary or administrative or any other, increases transaction costs for everyone and reduces predictability in law enforcement and implementation of government’s policies… The government believes that enactment of adequate laws and regulations to prevent and punish corruption is crucial for addressing this problem. In this spirit, the Royal Government is committed to finalize the draft of the Anti-Corruption Law before the end of June 2003.”

In December 2005, the Prime Minister had warned that if illegal land seizures were not brought under control, they could lead to a farmers’ revolution.

And – interestingly enough – it was the Chinese People’s Daily Online which reported on 13 February 2007 the concerns of the Cambodian Prime Minister (we missed to see this reported in the local press):

“The land grabbers dare to get a lot of land illegally while we have always appealed again and again to stop. The land grabbers are not simple people, and they must be powerful people in the government. I asked the question, do they dare to conduct a coup d’etat in the future?” And he is quoted to have replied himself that they really dare to do so. “So before they conduct a coup d’etat, we need to take action against them.”

We do not have an explanation for what is happening now – in spite of these words.

When the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch had raise critical question about many countries, including Cambodia, the leader of the Cambodian government’s Human Rights Commission is quoted to have quickly dismissed their statement, elaborated with 20 detailed documents, as “defaming the country with lies. – I refuse all of the accusations, they are just trying to make up things.”

Human Rights Watch had also criticized then USA. The new president’s executive orders to bring change to the detainees at Guantánamo Bay and to the harsh interrogation methods, some of which the new attorney general – the US minister of justice – called torture, remove some of these accusations.

In the meantime, when people from 234 families, to be evicted from land, assured to them by a court order, were protesting, they where shot at – not by illegal private thugs hired by a company, but by members of a Military Police unit.

The Dey Krahom Community on 24.1.2009

The Dey Krahom Community on 24.1.2009


Yesterday, on Saturday, the protracted negotiations – with residents of the Dey Krahom area in Phnom Penh, who claimed that the compensation offered to them for being removed 20 km away, with no school for their children, and no possibility to continue to earn a living like now, where they used to live since many years, are different from the original promise for new arrangements in place – came to an end. They were replaced by destruction and forced eviction.
The police and the people

The police and the people.


Teargas was used, and electric batons – their existence in Cambodia had frequently been denied by the authorities.
Teargas

Teargas


Electric baton

Electric baton


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This action was taken in support of the 7NG Group, the parent company of 7NG construction. The pictures of their website shows big villas on wide green lawns – housing for the few very rich. There website has even a section Code of Conduct. But when one clicks on it, it responds: “We are sorry… – This webpage is under construction.” Is it an irony, or is it just the truth that it shows two big construction machines at work?

dk-kb-grader
According to public discussion, neither the transfer of this public land – originally “3.60 hectares of social land concession granted by the Royal Government of Cambodia to the seven Dey Krahom communities” – into private business use is procedurally and legally very transparent. Nor does the 7NG Group presented detailed plans for the commercial use of the land – except that it is for high class housing and maybe a shopping center – rumors in the absence of transparency. The Mirror has regularly reported information that the construction sector of the Cambodian economy is facing severe problems. The construction boom in Phnom Penh during the last years resulted in many high rise and high price buildings being constructed or being under construction, which now have to be scaled down or abandoned. But the 7NG company can go ahead?

Phnom Penh has not seen anything similar to what what President Obama could say to a new senator, who has dedicated herself to public, not high priced, housing:

“During her career, Kirsten Gillibrand has been a strong voice for transparency and reform in government and shares the belief that government should be open, accessible and work for all of our citizens. In Congress and as special counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she worked to strengthen public and private partnerships to invest in infrastructure and New York’s economy.”

Where are the 7NG plans to be located in view of the warning, quoted by the Chinese international media? Are they among the group about which Prime Minister Hun Sen has “always appealed again and again to stop” – or is the Cambodian government maintaining the position nationally, which President Obama has denounced as wrong internationally: “that power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please… Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.”

The experience of many people to be marginalized and to be pushed further out, for the benefit of powerful and rich interests, will not help to build a human, peaceful, an just society. This is not how the hearts and minds of people can be won.
dk-kb-distressed
People close by were watching: Will they be next?
dk-np-whonext
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[Pictures: courtesy of Karl Bille, LICADHO, Monika Nowaczyk, Nestle Poell G. Lagaya, Makenzi Travis]

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A Report Shows that Cambodian Youth Still Encounter Difficulties to Find Jobs – Saturday, 24.1.2009

Posted on 25 January 2009. Filed under: Week 596 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Would you like easy access to the editions of The Mirror directly by e-mail, and keep them on your harddisk? Or have a “newsfeed”? You can “subscribe” for free!

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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 596

“Phnom Penh: A new report shows that Cambodian youth encounter many difficulties when seeking jobs, and also employers find it difficult to recruit qualified youth with skills. On 22 January 2009, the Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center – CJCC – and an employer association, the Cambodian Federation of Employers & Business Associations – CAMFEBA – which is recognized by the Royal Government of Cambodia and by many international organizations, representing employers in the Kingdom of Cambodia, especially on work problems – organized a national workshop for youth on the topic ‘Youth and Employment,’ to publish an important survey report about youth employment in Cambodia, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training.

“This workshop was presided over by a secretary of state of the Ministry of Labor and Vocation Training, Mr. Pich Sophoan; around 400 students from different universities and youth associations participated in the event.

“The report was based on a survey which had been sponsored by the UN International Labor Organization – ILO. It represents a first crucial step to promote understanding and social dialogue about some of the most important issues for the future of Cambodia: that is the mismatch between supplies and requirements on the labor market.

“CAMFEBA had hired BDLink to conduct a large survey of youth and employers, about their difficulties and expectations regarding skills and youth employment. This survey is part of a project for youth and social dialogue of the employer federation CAMFEBA which is still in progress. This project was initiated by CAMFEBA and the Employment Sector Office of ILO in Geneva, under a project of the Social Dialogue Sector, funded by the Norwegian government. Starting its implementation from June 2007, this project aims to create proper employment and promote youth opportunities to seek income by matching the supply and the requirements of skills on the labor market, and to create relations between relevant agencies to present development policies for youth. More importantly, this project is focused on the creation and coordination of social dialogue among trade unions, the Royal Government, and employers, by dealing with difficulties and concerns, in which these three fields have similar interests, and for which they have to find solutions.

“The survey was conducted with around 2,200 youth and 220 employers from five provinces and cities, such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kompong Cham, and Svay Rieng. They were asked about their views regarding some problems such as access to education, to training for quality in education, and about work requirements, experiences in job seeking, and about the kinds of skills demanded on the labor market.

“Youth is facing difficult decisions about important problems in their lives, such as family responsibilities, studies, choosing a job, study tours, and employment opportunities. One important point among many key points found during the survey is that youth encountered difficulties in making decisions, because they did not have sufficient access to the right information.

“For instance, when they had to decide what they would do when they finished high school, more than two thirds of the students just depended on their parents. Information provided by schools or by teachers or self collected information about the labor market were not influential factors for their decision making. Likewise, only 33% of the students at universities and at other educational institutions made their decision which skills to study on their perception about demands for those skills on the labor market.

“This discovery shows how important it is that agencies of the government, educational institutions, employers associations, trade unions, and different non-government organizations work out measures to provide useful information about the different fields of study, and to give guidance for selecting their future work.

“What makes the survey different is that it looked at work problems from the point of view of the employers. High-ranking officials operating for the development of the different sectors of the economy must survey these opinions about skills needed among the Khmer youth.

“Talking about educational requirements, about 96% of the employers demanded youth with broad education when they need staff, and 72% demanded even bachelor or master degrees. These requirements were in high demand by non-government institutions, in business, and in various careers, but they were hardly demanded for work in hotels and in factories.

“In the area of business, many employers expressed their concerns about the lack of skills needed on the labor market. Employers need workers with skills who have the ability to do productive work, in order to be encouraged to improve their commitment to move ahead, but such skills were always missing. Only 13% of the employers believed that the graduates had enough, or almost all qualifications needed for their work.

“As shown below, more than half of the employers said that it was true that they seek expert staff with decision making skills based on correct analyses. The results of this survey show clearly in which ways the students need to be educated in schools and up to universities in Cambodia.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6560, 24-25.1.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 24 January 2009

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1855, 24.1.2009

  • The Thai Minister of Foreign Affair [Mr. Kasit Piromya] Invited Khmer Embassy Officials in Bangkok to Have Lunch Together before Visiting Cambodia [to discuss the solution of border disputes]
  • There Were 51 Crimes, Killing 63 People in Phnom Penh in 2008 [1,012 perpetrators were prosecuted]
  • Workers of the Yongwa Factories Still Protest, but There Is No Violence [Kandal]
  • Traffic Police Have Hope Again, after the Municipality Keeps on Providing Money for Their Encouragement, like Previously [each Phnom Penh traffic police official receives Riel 10,000 per month, corresponding to approx. US$2.50]
  • The 22-Day War in Gaza Killed 1,330 Arab People and Injured 5,450 [while Israel lost 3 civilians and 10 soldiers]

Khmer Aphivoath Sethakech, Vol.7, #330, 24-29.1.2009

  • Government Officials Deny the Allegations of the International Organization Human Rights Watch
  • The Owner of the Yongwa Factory Agrees to Pay a US$50 Bonus to Each Worker, but Asks Them to Wait [until February – according to the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Mr. Chea Mony]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6560, 24-25.1.2009

  • A Report Shows that Cambodian Youth Still Encounter Difficulties to Find Jobs
  • [Two] Robbers Wearing Soldier Uniforms Pointed Guns at Gold Seller and Robbed Gold Worth Nearly US$30,000 [they are not yet found – Siem Reap]
  • On His First Day at the White House, Mr. Obama Focused on Economic Issues and the Middle East, and the Guantánamo Prison [in Cuba]
  • In 2008, Nearly 4,000 Civilians Were Killed in Afghanistan
  • Natural Catastrophes Killed 235,816 People in 2008 [among them, 138,366 people were killed by the cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, 87,476 people were killed by the earthquakes in China, and the rest were killed in other countries]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4803, 24.1.2009

  • Black Money of Tens of Thousands of Dollars Was Found Related to Officials’ Collusion about Illegal Fishing at the Tonle Sap Lake
  • Prime Minister [Hun Sen] Considers the Position of Thailand to Be Soft for the Border Disputes
  • The Minister of Public Works and Transport [Mr. Tram Iv Tek] Asks Japan to Support the Construction of the Neak Loeang Bridge [over the Mekong on the way to Vietnam]
  • Korea Provides High Life Insurance to Workers [around US$20,000, compared to Thailand, which provides only around US$1,000 – no information given what kind of life insurance Cambodian companies provide for their workers]
  • Investors from the US State of Ohio Come to Study Possibilities for Agricultural Investment in Cambodia
    Red-Shirt [anti-government] Demonstrators Announced to Hold a Big Demonstration on 31 January 2009 [Thailand]

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