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Phnom Penh, 2018
Phnom Penh, 2018

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Cambodia makes good, cheap beer, so I was sitting in some lunch place with yet another can of Angkor, after having polished off a plate of fatty pork with rice. Two tables away, a girl sat, doing her homework. She had a machine that sang out, “Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O!” and so on. Suddenly, it switched to, “and girls… just want to have fun!” It’s all good, for it was all in English, and this girl needed a constant fix of the world’s master language, if she wanted to get ahead, that is, but what if English should wane as the lingua franca during her lifetime? It won’t matter much, as long as she can make a few bucks from her English skills.

Her ancestors built the greatest city in the world, Angkor, under a king, Jayavarman II, who declared himself “The Universal Monarch.” Now, the Cambodians are sneered at by even the Vietnamese, who never managed to build anything distinctive in wood, much less stone, but that’s history for you, for over time, all elephants will become dogs, to riff on a Vietnamese proverb.

Seven centuries from now, which American ruins will attract tourists? Maybe none. There will be a plaque, “Here existed the world’s most inveterate generator of illusions,” and in smaller type, “Big or small screen, soft or hard core, real or implant, they sure kicked ass! For a century, they mesmerized the world with Marilyn Monroe, Micky Mouse, Sylvester Stalone, Madonna and Black Panther, the last undoubtedly their most iconic contribution to Western civilization.”

Phnom Penh is even more ovenlike than Saigon, so during my many long treks, with my shirt soaked in sweat, I would stop at a coffee stand for one or two iced latte or lemon tea. Often, the menu would also be in English, even in neighborhoods that saw almost no foreigners, and though most baristas couldn’t speak English, they could readily understand “espresso,” “cappuccino” or “hot chocolate,” etc.

Perched on a stool, I was asked by the guy next to me, “Are you from Siem Reap?”

“From Siem Reap?! No, I came from Saigon.” I’m sure he meant, Had I visited Angkor Wat, near Siem Reap. Dark, with short hair, wearing chinos and a golf shirt, he was in his late 20’s.

“Saigon!” With so few words, one must exclaim. Across the street, four monks in saffron robes walked under yellow umbrellas, with a canopy behind them advertising Coca Cola.

“Yes, I’m Vietnamese, but I spent many years in the US.” To make myself easily understood, I detached each syllable, I noticed, so my speech became staccato. I was exclaiming, too. Unwittingly, I was ruining both my English and his.

Exhausted from the linguistic exertion, he returned to his tablet and ignored me for the several minutes, then, “Do you like soccer?” He pointed to a replay from the last World Cup.

“Yes.” I peered at the running figures. “That’s Brazil and Germany, no?” Spontaneously, I had suppressed “versus,” for I thought he would not know it.

“Yes, Brazil!”

Putting his tablet away, he turned to some thin book and started to mark it.

Noticing the roman script, I asked, “Are you studying English?”

“No, Spanish!”

“Spanish?!”

“Yes,” and he brought his text closer. It was a Spanish guide to Angkor Wat, marked all over by a blue pen, red pen and yellow marker, with notations in both English and Khmer.

“Wow! This is incredible!” I staccatoed.

“I want to be tour guide,” he explained.

“Are you taking classes?”

“No.”

“No classes?”

“There is no class!”

“No Spanish class in all of Phnom Penh?!”

“No class!”

“No way. There must be! So how do you study?”

“Like this.”

“Do you have anyone to talk to?”

“No.”

“So no Spanish conversations?!”

“No. I contact Cuba! Embassy!”

“To do what?!”

“Help me!”

“Did they respond?!”

“No!”

As for the Spanish-speaking tourists, he hadn’t been able to befriend any, not that they would likely want to waste their precious vacation time chatting with a Spanish language beginner.

On my first evening in Phnom Penh, I met a woman from Valencia. Planning on a quick Cambodia visit, she had to stay on because a man on a motorbike had snatched her backpack, which contained her passport, but that’s what she got for leaving it in the front basket of her rented bike. Muy estúpido. Julia was anxious to move on to Thailand, then Vietnam.

Thinking about my new friend’s predicament, I said, “You know, there are two Mexican restaurants, right around here. There’s one in that alley,” I pointed, “and one down the street. It’s called Cocina! Cartel! I don’t know if they are Spanish speakers, but you should go and find out.” It can’t be more desperate than reaching out to an embassy.

Hearing him read a few passages, it was clear his pronunciation was a mess, so his boldness and persistence may yield no cash, for there’s no reason why anyone should hire this man instead of just buying a guide book, I thought. Plus, a tour guide must be able to answer questions.

Online, though, I found this tidbit, “Un guía hispano-hablante cobra como mínimo 50 dólares el día, mientras que un guía en inglés puede cobrar 20 dólares. En dicho sentido, muchos guías camboyanos quieren aprender lenguas como el español y el italiano, para poder obtener mejores beneficios,” so there are already Spanish-speaking Cambodian tour guides.

A visitor gushed over one Mot Thon, “Todo fue de maravilla, habla correctamente en español, tiene mucho conocimiento de la historia del lugar, y nos respondía a todas nuestras preguntas con amplias explicaciones.”

Another is praised, “El guía Son fue excelente, muy recomendable […] Hispano hablante a la perfección, totalmente claro y dinámico. Una historia impresionante!!!!”

One more, “Kay is the best! What a renaissance man Kay is. He speaks English, Spanish and his native Cambodia as well of bits and pieces of Portuguese, Russian and French.”

One afternoon, I met a 48-year-old restaurant manager with the same aptitude. Born in Phnom Penh, she escaped to Thailand, with her family, at age five, then at age eight, emigrated to Singapore and stayed for 21 years. There, she studied Vietnamese for three months, “It was so easy. Vietnamese is like French, but with all the accent marks,” which is patently nonsense, but still, she spoke Vietnamese to me just like a native.

“I know seven languages.”

“Seven?!”

“Yes, I can also speak English, French, Russian and Japanese,” on top of Cambodian, Mandarin and Vietnamese.

“That’s not possible!”

“I have the gift,” she smiled. “And now, I’m studying Thai. When I was in Thailand as a child, I didn’t like Thai people, but now, I love them! I go to Thailand all the time.”

ORDER IT NOW

I have a friend, Niccolo Brachelente, whom I confirm can comfortably speak and write English, Spanish, French and Japanese, on top of his native Italian. Two years ago, Niccolo asked me to proof his resume so he could apply for a job in Taipei, so maybe he had picked up some Mandarin also. Oh, and he knows basic German.

One night, I ate at Pyongyang, a North Korean restaurant. There are 130 of these, but most are in China, with none outside Asia. The attraction is not the food, but the performing waitresses. They play instruments, sing and dance. The drummer was trying to channel Neil Peart, I’m sure. Drawing the loudest applause of the night, a beauty balanced a heavy jar on her head and spun around, I don’t know, thirty times? Wowed diners handed her seven plastic bouquets, available from the house for a fee. For one number, they actually sang “You Raise Me Up,” so even Kim Jong-un, one of America’s favorite villains, is instructing his women to sing in English. Depending on who came in, a waitress would speak in Cambodian, Chinese, English or, of course, Korean.

The point here is not that Cambodians, or anyone else, are linguistic geniuses, but as soon as you step outside the US, you’ll find many people who are quite eager to learn at least one foreign language, English, with some capable of acquiring one, two or three more, even in countries with embarrassingly low IQ. Even when they fail, the effort alone sharpens their minds and widens their orientation.

Since Americans already know English, so to speak, most don’t feel the need to bother with any language. Just hanging out and texting, they’ve mastered valley girl, Ebonics, death metal, double-wide or snark in ALL CAPS. Why think outside the continent-sized box when you’re already inside the belly of the beast?

In 2015, the Atlantic pointed out, “Less than 1 percent of American adults today are proficient in a foreign language that they studied in a U.S. classroom,” and 95% of the languages they do learn are European. Learning how someone speaks, one begins to understand how he sees and thinks, and the difficulties this entails also encourage humility.

Linh Dinh’s latest books are Postcards from the End of America (non-fiction) and A Mere Rica (poetry). He maintains a regularly updated photo blog.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Cambodia 
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  1. Biff says:

    At the moment I’m trying to learn/memorize the Thai Alphabet. After three months I’ve got less than half of it locked up, and I’ve yet to form a single sentence of my own. My Thai relatives explain, that children can get it all done in a matter of a couple of weeks – this is true of course of all children learning their first language. It’s the one thing where kids have it easy(little pricks!).
    But I’m in it for the long haul, and my wife(who speaks exceptional English, considering she got a Master degree from a university in the U.S.) says the learning of the second language never ends.

    Well at least I can count in Thai, but usually the store clerks can spit the numbers out in English, quicker than I can in Thai – they seem proud in their ability to do that.

    Humbling.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Here's a good method for learning the Thai alphabet quickly:

    https://countryoftheblind.blogspot.com/2012/11/learn-thai-alphabet-in-one-hour.html
    , @jacques sheete

    It’s the one thing where kids have it easy(little pricks!).

     

    Try to spend time around little kids who are speaking the language you want to learn. They usually speak simple sentences, speak more slowly than adults, often more clearly than adults and it's usually very easy to understand what they want to communicate. Besides, they typically don't seem to mind repeating the same things endlessly, especially if you can make it into a game.

    One time in Cambodia, we were sitting outside a small store and the neighborhood kids had a great time teaching us how to count. They loved laughing at our pronunciation but we soon learned and we all had a fun time.
    , @Jonathan Revusky

    At the moment I’m trying to learn/memorize the Thai Alphabet. After three months I’ve got less than half of it locked up, and I’ve yet to form a single sentence of my own.
     
    Sorry that I don't know how to say this diplomatically, but based on the results you are describing, you are surely going about things wrong.

    A key tool to use is some sort of SRS, i.e. spaced repetition system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaced_repetition

    I use this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anki_(software)

    Or have a look through some of what comes up on this topic on google: https://www.google.com/search?q=anki+tips+and+tricks

    Another classic misconception that I have noted in people who have trouble learning languages is this one: they think that learning less vocabulary is easier than learning more vocabulary.

    Probably you read the above and are thinking: huh?

    Yes, you read correctly. I am saying that learning MORE vocabulary is EASIER than learning less. At least within certain ranges.

    Think about it. If you did not know English or any other Indo-European language, and you were asked to remember the word "television", you would likely forget it quickly. However, if you were given the words: "television", "telescope", "telephone" with an explanation of how all three words use this tele- root, it would actually be easier to learn all three words than just one!

    I am pretty sure that it is easier to learn (I mean, AND retain) several thousand words in a language than several hundred, because the repeated roots start forming a sort of fabric in your mind. So, I am pretty sure that ineffective language learners make a very big mistake trying to learn a sort of minimal set of practical words.

    My sense of things is that understanding the above concept, in conjunction with a spaced repetition memory tool like Anki, would drastically improve your results.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
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  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Biff
    At the moment I’m trying to learn/memorize the Thai Alphabet. After three months I’ve got less than half of it locked up, and I’ve yet to form a single sentence of my own. My Thai relatives explain, that children can get it all done in a matter of a couple of weeks - this is true of course of all children learning their first language. It’s the one thing where kids have it easy(little pricks!).
    But I’m in it for the long haul, and my wife(who speaks exceptional English, considering she got a Master degree from a university in the U.S.) says the learning of the second language never ends.

    Well at least I can count in Thai, but usually the store clerks can spit the numbers out in English, quicker than I can in Thai - they seem proud in their ability to do that.

    Humbling.

    Here’s a good method for learning the Thai alphabet quickly:

    https://countryoftheblind.blogspot.com/2012/11/learn-thai-alphabet-in-one-hour.html

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  3. Africans speak multiple language. Motivation is the key.

    There are many ways to learn a language. Pick a method that is appealing to you so you will stick with it. One way is to learn the 1000 to 2000 most common words using flash cards or Anki. Put the target word on one side and a picture representing the word on the other — don’t use English or whatever language you speak.

    After learning the most common words, spend at least 100 hours repeatedly listening to audio (in the target language) with transcripts. After you reach an intermediate level of understanding, learn non-Latin alphabets, concentrate on speaking and pronunciation, and listen to native content. Learn numbers as needed that often come up in conversation, such as how old you are or how many children you have.

    GLOSS has downloadable audio with transcripts and 50Languages teaches beginner level phrasebook dialogues.

    https://gloss.dliflc.edu/

    http://www.goethe-verlag.com/book2/EM/

    Read More
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  4. Brabantian says: • Website

    Wonder if our good Linh Dinh will be able to comment on another Unz writer’s quite-breaking-the-mould Cambodia travel story -

    Israel Shamir’s 2012 quite striking CounterPunch article after his travels in Cambodia, said that locals repeatedly told him the Cambodian genocide was largely a hoax … suggesting it was cooked up jointly by the Vietnamese invading Cambodia (a country they have tried to dominate on & off for centuries) … & by the West & USA & Anglos, who wanted a big story to help distract from the horrible war crimes of their decades in Vietnam

    The Pol Pot Cambodian genocide story indeed made the West look as if it was somewhat justified in making war on ‘SouthEast Asian barbarians’ … Shamir claimed he really couldn’t find locals who supported the ‘genocide’ story, tho everyone agreed some thousands were killed in political purges etc

    Read More
    • Replies: @bjondo
    Yes. I had forgotten this article by I. Shamir.
    , @jacques sheete

    Shamir claimed he really couldn’t find locals who supported the ‘genocide’ story, tho everyone agreed some thousands were killed in political purges etc
     
    I don't know about that, but I do know that I was with some people in Phnom Penh and they wanted to go to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum but that sort of thing disgusts me so I bowed out. Instead, I cruised the neighborhood and found myself in what appeared to be a run down park, complete with numerous neighborhood urchins playing about. As I as meandering around, I noticed that it seemed to be a trash dump with bits of clothing sticking out of the ground here and there. On closer inspection I noticed bones and teeth. I had apparently come upon a large, but very shallow mass grave.

    I'm pretty sure it was Choeung Ek because nearby was a pagoda like structure filled with human skulls, and the trees were part of a lychee orchard. It was sickening, and I "didi'd" outta there on the double.

    So, I don't know anything genuine about "genocide," but I do suspect that some pretty hideous mass killings went on there.

    Why did G-wd create "humans? And I hope she's damned Kissinger for eternity.

    , @Narith Heng
    I married into a Cambodian family. One generation up, of ten siblings, one was killed. The rest of the family had left the city some years back and had blended into the countryside. If I'm counting relatives correctly, ~10% of the other adults in the extended family were killed, and a few children died either of disease, malnutrition, or both. This is among a mostly rural population, from a village that had a decent local cadre headman (he was protected by the appreciative villagers after the Vietnamese came through; they knew how bad it could have been). I don't think the standard 1/6th estimate is unreasonable. Death tolls did vary; if you were one of the population expelled from the cities, you were a) a target, b) lacked a useful country skillset, c) had weaker/non-existent local ties.

    Generously, Shamir heard what he wanted to hear.
    , @Ivan K.
    I'm also interested to find additional support for whichever version, and have kept quiet to avoid influencing what Dinh will think, feel and do one way or another: the same reason psychologists doing studies don't tell the participants what's the study truly about. Such a thing distorts the results.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  5. @Biff
    At the moment I’m trying to learn/memorize the Thai Alphabet. After three months I’ve got less than half of it locked up, and I’ve yet to form a single sentence of my own. My Thai relatives explain, that children can get it all done in a matter of a couple of weeks - this is true of course of all children learning their first language. It’s the one thing where kids have it easy(little pricks!).
    But I’m in it for the long haul, and my wife(who speaks exceptional English, considering she got a Master degree from a university in the U.S.) says the learning of the second language never ends.

    Well at least I can count in Thai, but usually the store clerks can spit the numbers out in English, quicker than I can in Thai - they seem proud in their ability to do that.

    Humbling.

    It’s the one thing where kids have it easy(little pricks!).

    Try to spend time around little kids who are speaking the language you want to learn. They usually speak simple sentences, speak more slowly than adults, often more clearly than adults and it’s usually very easy to understand what they want to communicate. Besides, they typically don’t seem to mind repeating the same things endlessly, especially if you can make it into a game.

    One time in Cambodia, we were sitting outside a small store and the neighborhood kids had a great time teaching us how to count. They loved laughing at our pronunciation but we soon learned and we all had a fun time.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I'll second this. I was also taught how to count in Cambodian by a little kid. For his part, he was so happy to be useful and respected by a foreigner and for my own part, I was glad to be taught by a native.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. Jake says:

    “Since Americans already know English, so to speak, most don’t feel the need to bother with any language. Just hanging out and texting, they’ve mastered valley girl, Ebonics, death metal, double-wide or snark in ALL CAPS. Why think outside the continent-sized box when you’re already inside the belly of the beast?”

    If you are born to the sacred language of the Anglo-Zionist Empire, there is no need to bother with other tongues.

    Read More
    • LOL: AndrewR
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  7. Globalists are insanely arrogant,or arrogantly insane. You figure it out.
    They are still rolling up the boulder up the hill.
    They are negligently not realizing that the hill is now so steep that boulder will crush them.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/never-mind-the-north-korea-meeting-trump-was-just-babbling.htm

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  8. bjondo says:
    @Brabantian
    Wonder if our good Linh Dinh will be able to comment on another Unz writer's quite-breaking-the-mould Cambodia travel story -

    Israel Shamir's 2012 quite striking CounterPunch article after his travels in Cambodia, said that locals repeatedly told him the Cambodian genocide was largely a hoax ... suggesting it was cooked up jointly by the Vietnamese invading Cambodia (a country they have tried to dominate on & off for centuries) ... & by the West & USA & Anglos, who wanted a big story to help distract from the horrible war crimes of their decades in Vietnam

    The Pol Pot Cambodian genocide story indeed made the West look as if it was somewhat justified in making war on 'SouthEast Asian barbarians' ... Shamir claimed he really couldn't find locals who supported the 'genocide' story, tho everyone agreed some thousands were killed in political purges etc

    Yes. I had forgotten this article by I. Shamir.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  9. @Biff
    At the moment I’m trying to learn/memorize the Thai Alphabet. After three months I’ve got less than half of it locked up, and I’ve yet to form a single sentence of my own. My Thai relatives explain, that children can get it all done in a matter of a couple of weeks - this is true of course of all children learning their first language. It’s the one thing where kids have it easy(little pricks!).
    But I’m in it for the long haul, and my wife(who speaks exceptional English, considering she got a Master degree from a university in the U.S.) says the learning of the second language never ends.

    Well at least I can count in Thai, but usually the store clerks can spit the numbers out in English, quicker than I can in Thai - they seem proud in their ability to do that.

    Humbling.

    At the moment I’m trying to learn/memorize the Thai Alphabet. After three months I’ve got less than half of it locked up, and I’ve yet to form a single sentence of my own.

    Sorry that I don’t know how to say this diplomatically, but based on the results you are describing, you are surely going about things wrong.

    A key tool to use is some sort of SRS, i.e. spaced repetition system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaced_repetition

    I use this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anki_(software)

    Or have a look through some of what comes up on this topic on google: https://www.google.com/search?q=anki+tips+and+tricks

    Another classic misconception that I have noted in people who have trouble learning languages is this one: they think that learning less vocabulary is easier than learning more vocabulary.

    Probably you read the above and are thinking: huh?

    Yes, you read correctly. I am saying that learning MORE vocabulary is EASIER than learning less. At least within certain ranges.

    Think about it. If you did not know English or any other Indo-European language, and you were asked to remember the word “television”, you would likely forget it quickly. However, if you were given the words: “television”, “telescope”, “telephone” with an explanation of how all three words use this tele- root, it would actually be easier to learn all three words than just one!

    I am pretty sure that it is easier to learn (I mean, AND retain) several thousand words in a language than several hundred, because the repeated roots start forming a sort of fabric in your mind. So, I am pretty sure that ineffective language learners make a very big mistake trying to learn a sort of minimal set of practical words.

    My sense of things is that understanding the above concept, in conjunction with a spaced repetition memory tool like Anki, would drastically improve your results.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Great stuff thank you. I will use this to help me learn spanish.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  10. @Brabantian
    Wonder if our good Linh Dinh will be able to comment on another Unz writer's quite-breaking-the-mould Cambodia travel story -

    Israel Shamir's 2012 quite striking CounterPunch article after his travels in Cambodia, said that locals repeatedly told him the Cambodian genocide was largely a hoax ... suggesting it was cooked up jointly by the Vietnamese invading Cambodia (a country they have tried to dominate on & off for centuries) ... & by the West & USA & Anglos, who wanted a big story to help distract from the horrible war crimes of their decades in Vietnam

    The Pol Pot Cambodian genocide story indeed made the West look as if it was somewhat justified in making war on 'SouthEast Asian barbarians' ... Shamir claimed he really couldn't find locals who supported the 'genocide' story, tho everyone agreed some thousands were killed in political purges etc

    Shamir claimed he really couldn’t find locals who supported the ‘genocide’ story, tho everyone agreed some thousands were killed in political purges etc

    I don’t know about that, but I do know that I was with some people in Phnom Penh and they wanted to go to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum but that sort of thing disgusts me so I bowed out. Instead, I cruised the neighborhood and found myself in what appeared to be a run down park, complete with numerous neighborhood urchins playing about. As I as meandering around, I noticed that it seemed to be a trash dump with bits of clothing sticking out of the ground here and there. On closer inspection I noticed bones and teeth. I had apparently come upon a large, but very shallow mass grave.

    I’m pretty sure it was Choeung Ek because nearby was a pagoda like structure filled with human skulls, and the trees were part of a lychee orchard. It was sickening, and I “didi’d” outta there on the double.

    So, I don’t know anything genuine about “genocide,” but I do suspect that some pretty hideous mass killings went on there.

    Why did G-wd create “humans? And I hope she’s damned Kissinger for eternity.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. Joe Hide says:

    The American educational system is largely ineffective, inefficient, and ant-life-enhancing. Everyone deep down knows this. Most are in denial of the degree of destructiveness of this mis- and dis-educational monster. A few of us spiritually wake up and try to overcome the twisting that school and the media has done to our brains by reading Unz.com, Linh’s and other’s articles, and seeking the Truth where we can. The soul of the monster is composed of the sum of all influential psychopaths, that feel pleasure by manipulating our suffering. Their easily identified with technology. Guess whose preventing that?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    "The American educational system" de-educates, dumbs down now - in service to the Globalist NWO. You didn't know?

    http://themillenniumreport.com/2018/03/the-architects-of-western-decline-a-study-on-the-frankfurt-school-and-cultural-marxism/

    There are many articles on the subject.

    , @Anonymous
    The Khmer Rouge hated education so much they used to shoot teachers in the middle of class. Now whether or not America is controlled by ignorant assholes trying to thwart human progress it may eventually pay a dividend to play dumb with the herd especially on the social media. Money=bondad.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  12. Gringo says:

    Israel Shamir’s 2012 quite striking CounterPunch article after his travels in Cambodia, said that locals repeatedly told him the Cambodian genocide was largely a hoax …

    I once got into an online discussion about Venezuela with a commenter who cited a Counterpunch article on Hugo Chavez’s accomplishments. The Counterpunch article made some numeric claims about those accomplishments that were utter nonsense- claims that could be easily refuted with well-documented numbers.

    From that experience, I would believe a Counterpunch article as readily as I would a claim that Earth recently got invaded by monsters from planet Mars.

    Read More
    • Replies: @daniel le mouche
    Not the best logic. Still, if you like, start at the top, with Alexander Cockburn, the founder and chief of Counterpunch till he died a few years ago. He was adamantly against any and all forms of 'conspiracy', mainly anything to do with 911. He agressively wrote on this often, belittling the conspiracy nuts. Yet he had a pet conspiracy of his own, that global warming was a hoax. I agree with him there, for once. Anyway, he was a very arrogant elite and elitist, though of course he created a persona of the populist.
    Also, what you say about Chavez is likely wrong, though who can say through all the endless propaganda vomited on us daily? He stood up to the Man, that much seems to be true--along with Castro. His heart seemed to be in the right place--with his (and other downtrodden and oppressed) people. 'The Empire', as he called it, truly IS evil. He was right on many things, it seems to me (I look forward to the Unzer onslaught of abuse, wahoo!!).
    Back to Shamir's article, I read that at the time too and was very disturbed by it, though it fit in, I came to see, with everything else I seem to know. Mainly, this means... The government does nothing but lie to us 24/7, all but all of it is total fucking bullshit. So why not Pol Pot? JFK was, 911 without doubt, all these fucking stupid bullshit phoney 'attacks'. They're evil, all right. I do remember 1984, though can't figure out in my thickness how an Etonian/ BBC elite like Orwell a) wrote it, and b) got it published, publicized, etc. Maybe they just LOVE fucking with those few of us left with a brain and heart.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  13. @Gringo
    Israel Shamir’s 2012 quite striking CounterPunch article after his travels in Cambodia, said that locals repeatedly told him the Cambodian genocide was largely a hoax …

    I once got into an online discussion about Venezuela with a commenter who cited a Counterpunch article on Hugo Chavez's accomplishments. The Counterpunch article made some numeric claims about those accomplishments that were utter nonsense- claims that could be easily refuted with well-documented numbers.

    From that experience, I would believe a Counterpunch article as readily as I would a claim that Earth recently got invaded by monsters from planet Mars.

    Not the best logic. Still, if you like, start at the top, with Alexander Cockburn, the founder and chief of Counterpunch till he died a few years ago. He was adamantly against any and all forms of ‘conspiracy’, mainly anything to do with 911. He agressively wrote on this often, belittling the conspiracy nuts. Yet he had a pet conspiracy of his own, that global warming was a hoax. I agree with him there, for once. Anyway, he was a very arrogant elite and elitist, though of course he created a persona of the populist.
    Also, what you say about Chavez is likely wrong, though who can say through all the endless propaganda vomited on us daily? He stood up to the Man, that much seems to be true–along with Castro. His heart seemed to be in the right place–with his (and other downtrodden and oppressed) people. ‘The Empire’, as he called it, truly IS evil. He was right on many things, it seems to me (I look forward to the Unzer onslaught of abuse, wahoo!!).
    Back to Shamir’s article, I read that at the time too and was very disturbed by it, though it fit in, I came to see, with everything else I seem to know. Mainly, this means… The government does nothing but lie to us 24/7, all but all of it is total fucking bullshit. So why not Pol Pot? JFK was, 911 without doubt, all these fucking stupid bullshit phoney ‘attacks’. They’re evil, all right. I do remember 1984, though can’t figure out in my thickness how an Etonian/ BBC elite like Orwell a) wrote it, and b) got it published, publicized, etc. Maybe they just LOVE fucking with those few of us left with a brain and heart.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Escher

    Also, what you say about Chavez is likely wrong, though who can say through all the endless propaganda vomited on us daily? He stood up to the Man, that much seems to be true–along with Castro. His heart seemed to be in the right place–with his (and other downtrodden and oppressed) people. ‘The Empire’, as he called it, truly IS evil.
     
    Chavez certainly died rather suddenly - IMO under suspicious circumstances.
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  14. E.C. says:

    “Less than 1 percent of American adults today are proficient in a foreign language that they studied in a U.S. classroom,” and 95% of the languages they do learn are European.”

    And among the 1%, how many know a system of measurement other than the United States customary units, e.g. the International System of units (SI)?

    (Question for those who want to sign FTAs with the U.S., Canada, and the UK).

    ”The United States customary units are a system of measurements commonly used in the United States. The United States customary system (USCS or USC) developed from English units which were in use in the British Empire before the U.S. became an independent country. However, the United Kingdom’s system of measures was overhauled in 1824 to create the imperial system, changing the definitions of some units. Therefore, while many U.S. units are essentially similar to their Imperial counterparts, there are significant differences between the systems.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_customary_units

    ”The International System of Units is the modern form of the metric system, and is the most widely used system of measurement. It comprises a coherent system of units of measurement built on seven base units.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_System_of_Units

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  15. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    From 1979 to 1991, Washington indirectly backed the Khmer Rouge, then a component of the guerrilla coalition fighting the Vietnamese installed Government in Phnom Penh.

    Reagan-Bush support of Pol Pot was largely unreported. The United States gave economic, military, and political support to Pol Pot, and voted for over a decade to have his government retain Cambodia’s UN seat, but eventually urged his trial for war crimes by the mid-90s. Pol Pot really tried to bring light to the darkness even better than Nixon and Kissinger could have hoped for. Bombing a million people to death and setting things up for an even more exciting future.

    Here’s the famous controlled opposition protest of those secret Cambodia bombings repackaged for more commercial purposes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zCsFvVg0UY.

    See if you can spot the Cambodian.

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  16. @Brabantian
    Wonder if our good Linh Dinh will be able to comment on another Unz writer's quite-breaking-the-mould Cambodia travel story -

    Israel Shamir's 2012 quite striking CounterPunch article after his travels in Cambodia, said that locals repeatedly told him the Cambodian genocide was largely a hoax ... suggesting it was cooked up jointly by the Vietnamese invading Cambodia (a country they have tried to dominate on & off for centuries) ... & by the West & USA & Anglos, who wanted a big story to help distract from the horrible war crimes of their decades in Vietnam

    The Pol Pot Cambodian genocide story indeed made the West look as if it was somewhat justified in making war on 'SouthEast Asian barbarians' ... Shamir claimed he really couldn't find locals who supported the 'genocide' story, tho everyone agreed some thousands were killed in political purges etc

    I married into a Cambodian family. One generation up, of ten siblings, one was killed. The rest of the family had left the city some years back and had blended into the countryside. If I’m counting relatives correctly, ~10% of the other adults in the extended family were killed, and a few children died either of disease, malnutrition, or both. This is among a mostly rural population, from a village that had a decent local cadre headman (he was protected by the appreciative villagers after the Vietnamese came through; they knew how bad it could have been). I don’t think the standard 1/6th estimate is unreasonable. Death tolls did vary; if you were one of the population expelled from the cities, you were a) a target, b) lacked a useful country skillset, c) had weaker/non-existent local ties.

    Generously, Shamir heard what he wanted to hear.

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  17. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Hide
    The American educational system is largely ineffective, inefficient, and ant-life-enhancing. Everyone deep down knows this. Most are in denial of the degree of destructiveness of this mis- and dis-educational monster. A few of us spiritually wake up and try to overcome the twisting that school and the media has done to our brains by reading Unz.com, Linh's and other's articles, and seeking the Truth where we can. The soul of the monster is composed of the sum of all influential psychopaths, that feel pleasure by manipulating our suffering. Their easily identified with technology. Guess whose preventing that?

    “The American educational system” de-educates, dumbs down now – in service to the Globalist NWO. You didn’t know?

    http://themillenniumreport.com/2018/03/the-architects-of-western-decline-a-study-on-the-frankfurt-school-and-cultural-marxism/

    There are many articles on the subject.

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  18. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Hide
    The American educational system is largely ineffective, inefficient, and ant-life-enhancing. Everyone deep down knows this. Most are in denial of the degree of destructiveness of this mis- and dis-educational monster. A few of us spiritually wake up and try to overcome the twisting that school and the media has done to our brains by reading Unz.com, Linh's and other's articles, and seeking the Truth where we can. The soul of the monster is composed of the sum of all influential psychopaths, that feel pleasure by manipulating our suffering. Their easily identified with technology. Guess whose preventing that?

    The Khmer Rouge hated education so much they used to shoot teachers in the middle of class. Now whether or not America is controlled by ignorant assholes trying to thwart human progress it may eventually pay a dividend to play dumb with the herd especially on the social media. Money=bondad.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ChuckOrloski
    Somebody commented: "The Khmer Rouge hated education so much they used to shoot teachers in the middle of class. Now whether or not America is controlled by ignorant assholes trying to thwart human progress it may eventually pay a dividend to play dumb with the herd especially on the social media."

    Below is a video on The Frankfurt School "Founding Father" radical fundamentalists who have managed to shoot their distorted education methodology / language into both ZUS teachers and students.

    https://youtu.be/cY0CvFErWHc
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  19. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @jacques sheete

    It’s the one thing where kids have it easy(little pricks!).

     

    Try to spend time around little kids who are speaking the language you want to learn. They usually speak simple sentences, speak more slowly than adults, often more clearly than adults and it's usually very easy to understand what they want to communicate. Besides, they typically don't seem to mind repeating the same things endlessly, especially if you can make it into a game.

    One time in Cambodia, we were sitting outside a small store and the neighborhood kids had a great time teaching us how to count. They loved laughing at our pronunciation but we soon learned and we all had a fun time.

    I’ll second this. I was also taught how to count in Cambodian by a little kid. For his part, he was so happy to be useful and respected by a foreigner and for my own part, I was glad to be taught by a native.

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  20. Escher says:
    @daniel le mouche
    Not the best logic. Still, if you like, start at the top, with Alexander Cockburn, the founder and chief of Counterpunch till he died a few years ago. He was adamantly against any and all forms of 'conspiracy', mainly anything to do with 911. He agressively wrote on this often, belittling the conspiracy nuts. Yet he had a pet conspiracy of his own, that global warming was a hoax. I agree with him there, for once. Anyway, he was a very arrogant elite and elitist, though of course he created a persona of the populist.
    Also, what you say about Chavez is likely wrong, though who can say through all the endless propaganda vomited on us daily? He stood up to the Man, that much seems to be true--along with Castro. His heart seemed to be in the right place--with his (and other downtrodden and oppressed) people. 'The Empire', as he called it, truly IS evil. He was right on many things, it seems to me (I look forward to the Unzer onslaught of abuse, wahoo!!).
    Back to Shamir's article, I read that at the time too and was very disturbed by it, though it fit in, I came to see, with everything else I seem to know. Mainly, this means... The government does nothing but lie to us 24/7, all but all of it is total fucking bullshit. So why not Pol Pot? JFK was, 911 without doubt, all these fucking stupid bullshit phoney 'attacks'. They're evil, all right. I do remember 1984, though can't figure out in my thickness how an Etonian/ BBC elite like Orwell a) wrote it, and b) got it published, publicized, etc. Maybe they just LOVE fucking with those few of us left with a brain and heart.

    Also, what you say about Chavez is likely wrong, though who can say through all the endless propaganda vomited on us daily? He stood up to the Man, that much seems to be true–along with Castro. His heart seemed to be in the right place–with his (and other downtrodden and oppressed) people. ‘The Empire’, as he called it, truly IS evil.

    Chavez certainly died rather suddenly – IMO under suspicious circumstances.

    Read More
    • Replies: @daniel le mouche
    Without a doubt, I think. He was healthy as an ox, and should have lived into his 90s. I've read that the testicular cancer he died of can be created by pointing a laser from a distance.
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  21. Despite being born American, I speak and read several languages fairly well and read several others comfortably, but most of my business dealings are done in English for two simple reasons: They naturally orient toward the Anglo-American world and its financial products, and, perhaps more importantly, because of the justifiably low expectations my foreign counterparts have of Americans’ ability to transact in a foreign language.

    What I really love is the arrogance of non-English speakers to actually discuss negotiating tactics while still at the table, assuming I don’t understand … sometimes I break into the side-discussions with a local bon mot just to fire a friendly warning shot. If you could just see their faces ….

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Finance-schminance. The real arrogance is from whom hath the firepower to back up their swindles. The late 70s was it for the United States. Oh sure as shit people got rich after that time - all the way to today. But Most Americans' balls are literally inches away from the bandsaw - they are all slaves to private equity. They invest in their own slavery. Americans love the sting of the lash. One day they'll hold the lash to whip 'em down.

    Without irony most of the websites devoted to controversy, data harvesting and propaganda are connected to the same funding from the financial elites who process and feed the comments sections to the FBI and Homeland Security. Who has empathy for the victims of tyranny? No one if they don't know.

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  22. @Escher

    Also, what you say about Chavez is likely wrong, though who can say through all the endless propaganda vomited on us daily? He stood up to the Man, that much seems to be true–along with Castro. His heart seemed to be in the right place–with his (and other downtrodden and oppressed) people. ‘The Empire’, as he called it, truly IS evil.
     
    Chavez certainly died rather suddenly - IMO under suspicious circumstances.

    Without a doubt, I think. He was healthy as an ox, and should have lived into his 90s. I’ve read that the testicular cancer he died of can be created by pointing a laser from a distance.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    He drank an enormous amount of coffee which doesn't correlate with testicular cancer. The Rulers wanted his head no doubt about that, they still want Venezuela.

    Speaking of rebukes and double-plus good Democracies that produce coffee:

    https://www.voacambodia.com/a/us-cutting-aid-to-cambodia-for-recent-democratic-setbacks/4272907.html

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  23. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist
    Despite being born American, I speak and read several languages fairly well and read several others comfortably, but most of my business dealings are done in English for two simple reasons: They naturally orient toward the Anglo-American world and its financial products, and, perhaps more importantly, because of the justifiably low expectations my foreign counterparts have of Americans' ability to transact in a foreign language.

    What I really love is the arrogance of non-English speakers to actually discuss negotiating tactics while still at the table, assuming I don't understand ... sometimes I break into the side-discussions with a local bon mot just to fire a friendly warning shot. If you could just see their faces ....

    Finance-schminance. The real arrogance is from whom hath the firepower to back up their swindles. The late 70s was it for the United States. Oh sure as shit people got rich after that time – all the way to today. But Most Americans’ balls are literally inches away from the bandsaw – they are all slaves to private equity. They invest in their own slavery. Americans love the sting of the lash. One day they’ll hold the lash to whip ‘em down.

    Without irony most of the websites devoted to controversy, data harvesting and propaganda are connected to the same funding from the financial elites who process and feed the comments sections to the FBI and Homeland Security. Who has empathy for the victims of tyranny? No one if they don’t know.

    Read More
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  24. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @daniel le mouche
    Without a doubt, I think. He was healthy as an ox, and should have lived into his 90s. I've read that the testicular cancer he died of can be created by pointing a laser from a distance.

    He drank an enormous amount of coffee which doesn’t correlate with testicular cancer. The Rulers wanted his head no doubt about that, they still want Venezuela.

    Speaking of rebukes and double-plus good Democracies that produce coffee:

    https://www.voacambodia.com/a/us-cutting-aid-to-cambodia-for-recent-democratic-setbacks/4272907.html

    Read More
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  25. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Jonathan Revusky

    At the moment I’m trying to learn/memorize the Thai Alphabet. After three months I’ve got less than half of it locked up, and I’ve yet to form a single sentence of my own.
     
    Sorry that I don't know how to say this diplomatically, but based on the results you are describing, you are surely going about things wrong.

    A key tool to use is some sort of SRS, i.e. spaced repetition system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaced_repetition

    I use this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anki_(software)

    Or have a look through some of what comes up on this topic on google: https://www.google.com/search?q=anki+tips+and+tricks

    Another classic misconception that I have noted in people who have trouble learning languages is this one: they think that learning less vocabulary is easier than learning more vocabulary.

    Probably you read the above and are thinking: huh?

    Yes, you read correctly. I am saying that learning MORE vocabulary is EASIER than learning less. At least within certain ranges.

    Think about it. If you did not know English or any other Indo-European language, and you were asked to remember the word "television", you would likely forget it quickly. However, if you were given the words: "television", "telescope", "telephone" with an explanation of how all three words use this tele- root, it would actually be easier to learn all three words than just one!

    I am pretty sure that it is easier to learn (I mean, AND retain) several thousand words in a language than several hundred, because the repeated roots start forming a sort of fabric in your mind. So, I am pretty sure that ineffective language learners make a very big mistake trying to learn a sort of minimal set of practical words.

    My sense of things is that understanding the above concept, in conjunction with a spaced repetition memory tool like Anki, would drastically improve your results.

    Great stuff thank you. I will use this to help me learn spanish.

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  26. @Anonymous
    The Khmer Rouge hated education so much they used to shoot teachers in the middle of class. Now whether or not America is controlled by ignorant assholes trying to thwart human progress it may eventually pay a dividend to play dumb with the herd especially on the social media. Money=bondad.

    Somebody commented: “The Khmer Rouge hated education so much they used to shoot teachers in the middle of class. Now whether or not America is controlled by ignorant assholes trying to thwart human progress it may eventually pay a dividend to play dumb with the herd especially on the social media.”

    Below is a video on The Frankfurt School “Founding Father” radical fundamentalists who have managed to shoot their distorted education methodology / language into both ZUS teachers and students.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  27. Her ancestors built the greatest city in the world, Angkor, under a king, Jayavarman II, who declared himself “The Universal Monarch.” Now, the Cambodians are sneered at by even the Vietnamese, who never managed to build anything distinctive in wood, much less stone, but that’s history for you, for over time, all elephants will become dogs, to riff on a Vietnamese proverb.

    So, not really.

    Compare with Constantinople, Rome, London, etc.

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  28. Ivan K. says: • Website
    @Brabantian
    Wonder if our good Linh Dinh will be able to comment on another Unz writer's quite-breaking-the-mould Cambodia travel story -

    Israel Shamir's 2012 quite striking CounterPunch article after his travels in Cambodia, said that locals repeatedly told him the Cambodian genocide was largely a hoax ... suggesting it was cooked up jointly by the Vietnamese invading Cambodia (a country they have tried to dominate on & off for centuries) ... & by the West & USA & Anglos, who wanted a big story to help distract from the horrible war crimes of their decades in Vietnam

    The Pol Pot Cambodian genocide story indeed made the West look as if it was somewhat justified in making war on 'SouthEast Asian barbarians' ... Shamir claimed he really couldn't find locals who supported the 'genocide' story, tho everyone agreed some thousands were killed in political purges etc

    I’m also interested to find additional support for whichever version, and have kept quiet to avoid influencing what Dinh will think, feel and do one way or another: the same reason psychologists doing studies don’t tell the participants what’s the study truly about. Such a thing distorts the results.

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  29. Weaver1 says:

    It’s so easy to just study on one’s own rather than in a classroom.

    US schools do often teach Spanish and even Chinese. Well, I don’t know the statistics, but both are common in the schools in my area, even for elementary school children. The languages that interest me aren’t taught in local universities, and I wouldn’t benefit from attending a course anyway. I tend to view US schools more as daycare and as workfare for teachers though.

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