Modern day slavery and its forgotten victims

When I think of slavery, for some reason I think about William Wilberforce, the American Civil War and Rosa Parks.  And then the assumption that follows is that slavery is now well and truly abolished. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be more wrong. Human trafficking is an approximately USD 60 billion dollar (in profits) industry, with an … Continue reading

A floating village on Tonle Sap lake, Cambodia

On 11 August 2011, a group of Rotary Peace Fellows from Chulalongkorn University visited Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia. Our purpose was to learn more about the post-conflict reconstruction issues in Cambodia. A big issue for Cambodia is that the fisheries industry is one of the biggest in the domestic economy and thus our visit … Continue reading

The killing fields of Cambodia- short video

This a rough video of my visit to the Choeung Ek killing fields. 17 Rotary World Peace Fellows, as part of their 3 month fellowship with the Peace Centre at Chulalongkorn University, visited Cambodia this August 2011 to learn more about the post-conflict reconstruction work taking place there. As part of our field trip, we … Continue reading

Reflecting on the Cambodian psyche

Cambodia is a fascinating but broken country. At its peak, Angkor was a thriving city with a million inhabitants and 300 temples just within its 400km2 area, with the reach of the Khmer empire extending to Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. The Khmer empire was undoubtedly a powerful nation. The walls of Bayon temple … Continue reading

The Killing fields of Cambodia- Choeung Ek, Phnom Penh

WARNING: SOME PEOPLE MAY FIND THE BELOW PHOTOS AND DESCRIPTIONS TO BE DISTURBING. On 7 August 2011, we headed to the killing fields of Choeung Ek which is just30 minutes outside the centre of Phnom Penh. Prior to the rise of the Khmer Rouge, Choeung Ek was actually a Chinese cemetery which became the Khmer … Continue reading

Tuol Sleng S-21 Torture camp, Cambodia

7 August 2011 I visited the killing fields of Cheoung Ek, just outside Phnom Penh. It was sobering to see the shelves of skulls and learn how the excavation of more bodies have ceased as there were insufficient number of genocidal monuments to house the bones of those killed during the Khmer Rouge‘s regime during … Continue reading

Muay Chaiya- my move from peace studies to self defence!

I recently had the honour of training with THE master of Muay Chaiya, Kruu Preng (he’s the serious looking dude in the second row). Muay Chaiya was developed about 250 years ago in the town of Chaiya, in the South of Thailand (Surat Thani province) by a great soldier, Poh Tan Mah. It is based … Continue reading

Reflections on my time in Northern Thailand

My week in Northern Thailand was both enriching as well as an emotionally exhausting, frustrating experience. From an intellectual standpoint, while I am not new to the issue of human trafficking, I gained new insights into how it is so intimately connected to human vulnerabilities like statelessness. From an emotional perspective, I could no longer … Continue reading

Photo-journal of Burma border

Photo-journal of Mae Ai, North Thailand

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The Golden Triangle- where Burma, Thailand and Laos meet

Today we visited the Golden Triangle where Burma, Thailand and Laos meet, with the Mekong Riverproviding some form of a border between each country. Needless to say that if you wanted to swim across the countries or dock your motor boat at the other side of the Mekong, you can. The unclear nature of the … Continue reading

Slavery and statelessness, and its forgotten victims

When we think about the abolition of slavery, we often think about the courage of William Wilberforce and the anti-slavery movement in America. We think of how humans have progressed from the abuse and racism that undergirds the violence of slavery, and we feel a sense of history in how we have progressed so far. … Continue reading

Cabbages&Condoms and Bangkok tour

      The last week has been filled with rather random activities- catching up with old friends, visiting an interesting development project in Bangkok, attending a Flo Rida concert and then ending with a tour of Bangkok’s main tourist sites. Now that I think about it, its been a very full week!     … Continue reading

First week at Chulalongkorn University

I’ve been in Bangkok for a week now and it’s been great! Orientation is almost over for us at the Rotary Peace Centre and intensive training begins on Monday with Michael Fryer and Irene Santiago speaking about conflict resolution. The last  few days have been spent getting accustomed to Chulalongkorn University (aka  ‘Chula’) and our hostel, … Continue reading