Blog: Leonie BarrieCambodian X Factor?

Leonie Barrie | 30 August 2007

The following headline in the People’s Daily today caught my eye: “Cambodia to promote value of garment workers.” What could it be planning in honour of its cherished employees I wondered? Perhaps the government is unveiling new measures to enforce political stability and public security. Or maybe wages are finally going to increase to the level required by decency.

But no! Nothing as preposterous as this. Instead, a nationwide dress design and song lyrics competition is being planned under the banner “I am precious.” All garment factory workers have until the middle of October to enter, with the winning results presented in a show of champions at the end of the year.

I can see the organisers’ point of trying to encourage workers to “release their self-worth and potential skills through a friendly competition,” but is staging an X Factor type event really the way to do it?


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