November 13, 2012

0382 CAMBODIA - Public transport, Cambodian style

Wikipedia say that "war and continuing fighting severely damaged Cambodia's transportation system - a system that had been inadequately developed in peacetime", and that "only about 50 percent of the roads and highways were covered with asphalt and were in good condition; about 50 percent of the roads were made of crushed stone, gravel, or improved earth; and the remaining approximately 30 percent were unimproved earth or were little more than tracks."

The road in the picture appears to be covered with asphalt, but probably the wheel loader bulldozer, which in this case replaces the bus, would have managed to circulate as well on a field. Zarah, who sent me this postcard, describes it better than I could do it: "This is the Cambodian way of life in the countryside. I call it the village mass transpo. These young men are actually field workers and they are brought home by this vehicle after a day's work. I love the countryside - life is much simpler, slower, and the peoples smiles are genuine!" I fully agree with Zarah and must thank both for the postcard, and for the very comprehensive explanation.

In other news, this postcard put me in trouble, because I didn't know in what category to place it (yes, I admit, I like to categorize things; maybe I yearn for a little order in this world more increasingly anarchic, more increasingly entropic). I noticed that many collectors use the tag "People of the world", more appropriate and more comprehensive than that used by me so far, "Traditions". But neither that doesn't satisfy me fully, so the present postcard gave me the rescuing idea: the tag will be named "People of the world and their lives'. It seems that Zarah has the gift to inspire people, because I'm not the first who extract an idea from her words.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a serie of four (1000 KHR, 1500 KHR, 2800 KHR, 4000 KHR), issued with the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the HIV virus. The FDC for this issue is dated June 5, 2011, which corresponds with the date suggested by the Universal Postal Union and UNAIDS, respectively, but the stamps were launched on June 29, 2011, in only 80,000 copies. Originally, they had to be five stamps in this set, but, due to financial constraints, as well as concerns expressed by some officials of the National AIDS Authority over the image depicted in the 500 riel stamp (two condoms? You can see them here), only 4 stamps were finally issued.

Transport in Cambodia - Wikipedia
Cambodian Stamps issued in 2011 - Stamps issued, or used, by Cambodia

sender: Zarah - Postcards crossing (direct swap)
sent from Phnom Penh (Cambodia), on 29.10.2012
photo: Kraig Lieb / 2008


  1. Thank you for your kind words, Dan. I'm very glad to know I inspire people. I think Cambodia and Cambodians inspire me, too. They are very friendly and resilient people and their smiles disarm you right away. They remind me so much of my own country. I think this is the reason why I'm so at home here in Cambodia.

    I'm surprised to see the postmark though. This means that the postcard was sent 4 days after I actually mailed it at the Post Office. I wonder why it took the PO so long?

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