Im Mai und Juni 2005 wird Klaus Jürgen Schmidt mit Medienstudenten an der Königlichen Universität von Phnom Penh für einige Wochen erörtern, ob und wie in Kampuchea lokaler Rundfunk eingeführt werden kann.

Es trifft sich, dass er vor genau 25 Jahren zuammen mit dem Freund und Kollegen Michael Geyer in Kampuchea das Schicksal von 10 Menschen dokumentiert hatte, die es nach der Vertreibung durch Pol Pot-Truppen mit einem Bambusfloss zurück in ihre Heimatstadt Phnom Penh geschafft hatten.

In Erinnerung an seinen verstorbenen Freund hat KJS das Buch-Kapitel über "Die Zehn vom Floss" für das Internet bearbeitet, deutschsprachige Leser finden
hier Zugang.

Es ist geplant, neue Erfahrungen in Kampuchea ebenfalls hier zu dokumentieren. Es lohnt sich, ab und zu vorbeizuschauen.

April, 1980 — two German journalists try to make their way to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s re-born capital, following an invitation of an old Vietnamese friend whose call from Paris had said, there is only this one chance for you two to be there as witnesses of a new beginning for a re-born people.
Vietnamese troops had invaded neighbouring Cambodia. Pol Pot’s Red Khmer were on the retreat.
My friend Michael Geyer — like me, rather used to radio-work than to fiddling with a film-camera — received a quick introduction into the handling of this gear, although the camera gave up soon after our arrival, replaced by an oldie which had seen the battle of Dien Bien Phu, and now lent to us by two Vietnamese war-veterans who operated a back-yard-workshop in Phnom Penh…

May, 2005 — I am going to return to Phnom Penh, alone — there had been a plan to see for ourselves what happened to those people whom we had met in those days — 25 years ago — those ten people from the bamboo-raft.

Michael and I, we let them speak — in some radio-programs, in a TV-documentary, in the chapter of a book. And their bamboo-raft — the vehicle of their home-coming from the hell of Pol Pot’s killing fields — was turned into a "Raft for Europe" when it arrived, in summer 1980, for exhibition on the river Weser in the German city of Bremen.  

Yes, we wanted to look for the people from the raft — 25 years later.
But Michael could not make it, he died two years ago.

So, I shall be on my own, this time following a call to assist media-students at Phnom Penh’s Royal University.

This is the department’s mission statement:

"The BA in Media Management is Cambodia's first bachelor degree in media studies. Unlike some short courses available, this course is designed to train students across a broad range of media-related academic disciplines to give a solid understanding and broad scope of perspectives on various media environments and issues.

The 4-year degree prepares students to create and maintain the highest-quality independent journalism and media management that will serve the needs of the Cambodian people. Students will learn skills to become effective, creative and ethical practitioners and managers of mass media, fostering a free and socially responsible media in Cambodia. They will learn to identify, understand and explain events and issues, and share information with Cambodian citizens, giving them greater capacity to comprehend and respond to their world.

The Department hopes to become Cambodia's premier academic training ground for media professionals, to acquire regional recognition, and offer other media-related degrees such as journalism and public relations."

And now, some of the students want to get an idea how a local radio-system would work within their environment.
I am prepared to let them know some practical hints from my experience in Africa. I have set aside some six weeks in May and June of this year 2005.

I am pondering — most of these students may have not been born when those ten people from the bamboo-raft struggled to get a grip on a new lease of life — 25 years ago…

It may be worthwhile to return to this page from time to time, since I am planning to record some of my experiences in Cambodia, 25 years later.