Phnom Penh Post internship: dust, border disputes and acid attacks

Zela Chin is a Master of Journalism student who’s on the beat at the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia for her winter internship.

The Post is a daily English language newspaper published in full-colour tabloid format in Phnom Penh. Cambodia’s oldest English language newspaper, it provides news and analysis of current issues.

This week saw her covered in dust near the Vietnam border, inside an orphanage, and investigating acid attacks:

“It is was a great week!

It started with a day trip following the opposition parliamentarians to the Cambodia – Vietnam border to hear villagers protest over their loss of land.

My colleagues and I met at 6:30 in the morning, and drove 3 hours – the last hour of which was through the countryside – to get to the border.  Note to self: never do this again with a broken car window.  My entire party was covered head to toe in countryside dust!

I was dirty, smelly and hungry – we didn’t have lunch until 5pm – but it sure was a good day!  The Post even published my photos of the villagers forcing their way through the police barricade to show the opposition parliamentarians and journalists the disputed border demarcation.

Also this week, I reported on a U.S. study about orphanages in Cambodia.  One of the Post photographers took me to the orphanage where he spent his school age years.  At this state-run orphanage there are 11 adults to manage 144 kids.  The children there have lost one or both parents, or their family is too poor to care for them at home.

In addition to the two stories, I have been following the ongoing string of acid attacks in Cambodia.  Since my arrival here, there have been three acid attacks and seven female victims.

This week I have been taking an in-depth look into the issues that make Cambodia tick, and enjoying myself immensely.  And to end the week on a high note, the Post welcomed the newcomers to its staff by picking up the tab at the local watering hole on Thursday.”