Monday, September 30, 2013

Citipointe to keep Rosa and Chita until they are 18 regardless of the legality of the church's actions

Leigh Ramsay
322 Wecker Road
QLD 4152                                                                                          

30th Sept. 2013

Dear Leigh

As I am sure you now from experience, rarely in Cambodia are things ever quite as they seem to be.

Chanti did not leave Phnom Penh, as I thought to be the case on 26th Sept,  but stayed to try to get the family’s tuk tuk back. Chanti had failed to tell me one small but vital piece of information relating to the theft (or I had failed to understand through a lack of interpreter) – namely that the family tuk tuk was ‘stolen’ by someone she knows; someone who Chanti borrowed money from 8 – 10 years ago to pay hospital bills and now wants me to repay it. I have met this woman several times before and she has never informed me of this outstanding debt.

If I repay Chanti’s close to decade-old $900 debt, this woman says, she will return the tuk tuk to Chanti and Chhork. I asked Chanti if she had borrowed money from this woman all those years ago. Chanti nodded, said yes, but could not remember how much. I asked the woman if she had any record of how much Chanti had borrowed 8 – 10 years ago. The answer was no. I told this woman, though an interpreter, that she could not simply steal Chanti and Chhork’s tuk tuk and then demand of me that I repay a decade old debt. She smiled and told me yes she could. I told her that I would go to the police. She laughed.

This woman has no paperwork to prove that Chanti borrowed  a certain amount of money from her. Citipoint had no paperwork in mid 2008 to prove that the church had a legal right to remove Chanti’s children. In both cases the police are useless. This woman is rich (two Lexus’ in her back yard) and Chanti is poor. She cannot afford to pay whatever this woman pays to the police that makes her laugh at the idea that I might report her to them. So it is in Cambodia. Justice is for the rich, not the poor.  And so it is that NGOs such a Citipointe can do what they like with and to the poor and powerless and laugh at the notion that the police might act in accordance with the law.

Other than two short sequences (one to be shot in Brisbane as I alert your congregation to Citipointe’s human rights abuses in Cambodia) my filming is at an end. Citipointe has won the battle. You have successfully kidnapped and held for more than five years the daughters of a poor Cambodian family with the blessing of Chab Dai, LICADHO and the indifference of the NGO community. As Rebecca Brewer wrote back in 2008, Citipointe will keep Rosa and Chita until they are 18. And there is no one in Cambodia to stop you – no Cambodian government department, no human rights organization, no cashed up NGO committed to the alleviation of poverty and the protection of the human rights of the Chanti  and Chhorks of the world.

I should add here that after five years of inaction LICADHO has tried this past few weeks to help. It cannot. The NGO is powerless to do anything.  And the English language media here will not even bother to ask any questions as to why and how these girls were removed in mid 2008 with a view to separating facts from allegations.

Your church will make a lot of money out of Rosa and Chita through donations and sponsorship over the coming years – not one cent of which will flow back to Chanti and her family. You will limit Rosa and Chita’s visits to their family severely, indoctrinate these young Buddhist girls into your own warped version of the Christian faith and then, at age 18, turf them back onto the street again to fend for themselves whilst Citipointe continues to recruit the daughters of poor Cambodian families and use them to raise money to fill the church’s coffers whilst leaving the rest of the family, as you have Chanti and her family this past five years, to fend for themselves.

In a few weeks I will be in a position to buy Chanti and Chhork a new tuk tuk so the family will be back on track again.

best wishes

James Ricketson

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Another Leigh Ramsay lie uncovered + Chanti and Chhork's return to Prey Vent without their tuk tuk

Leigh Ramsay
322 Wecker Road
QLD 4152                                                                                          

Dear Leigh

After 10 days, Chanti and Chhork have finally given up hoping for the meeting they were promised with Citipointe for the Monday before last. With some financial help from me they have returned to Prey Veng.

Chanti has been in tears this past 24 hour, tears of pure despair, not just because the family has lost its tuk tuk and hence Chhork’s ability to earn the bulk of the family income but because it has finally dawned on her that you have no intention of ever releasing Rosa and Chita; that you intend to remain true to what Rebecca Brewer wrote 5 years ago – namely that Rosa and Chita would stay with Citipopinte until they were 18. I need hardly remind you that at the time Rebecca wrote these words, Citipointe had entered into no contractual agreement with Chanti and Chhork but was reliant on the 31st July 2018 document that everyone agrees is a fraud.

This is Cambodia and you can do what you like as long as you grease the right palms along the way. There have been half a dozen occasions this past five years when Chanti has told me that ‘the police’ want me to give them money or they cannot help. With the wisdom of hindsight I should have paid the police off all those years ago and saved Chanti and Chhork the heartache they have experienced. And, of course, the heartache of Rosa and Chita also who, despite your attempts to turn them into compliant little Christians, still love their mother and father and want to be living with their family and not in an institution. 

If you and/or the Minister of Social Affairs wishes to sue me for suggesting or implying that Citipopinte has been engaged in making corrupt payments to MOSAVY, please do. In either Cambodia or Australia. I’m not fussy.

The photo at the head of my latest blog entry (this letter to you) is the depiction of one side of the flier that I will distribute to members of the Citipointe congregation. You can respond as you see fit. Perhaps, since you seem not to be able to have me arrested in Cambodia, to date at any rate, you can manage to get me arrested in Brisbane! Rest assured that I will give you good reason to do so – despite my breaking no laws at all.

As I have mentioned many times before there is something very Kafkaesque in the notion that Citipointe can remove two girls from their family and present them as ‘victims of human trafficking’ without providing anyone with any evidence at all that they are ‘victims’. As you know, they are not and never were. However, this morning I was able to join a few dots and it became clear that what you have told others (though not Chanti and Chhork) is that Rosa was in danger of being sold for $10,000 back in 2008. This is, as you know a lie. Let me refresh your memory.

It was me who told you, when I met with you, Rebecca and Helen in mid-2008, that Rosa’s father had,a few years earlier, offered to give Chanti $10,000 if she would allow him to take Rosa back to France with him to live. It was me who told you that Chanti’s response to Rosa’s father’s offer was that she loved Rosa and would not sell her for $10,000 or for any other sum.

What you have done is to turn this anecdote around so that it implies the opposite of what it actually meant. Rather that presenting Chanti’s refusal to accept $10,000 as evidence that she is a loving and caring mother (my footage at the time makes this clear) you have chosen to present it to MOSAVY and others as evidence that Rosa was at risk because Chanti ‘might’ sell Rosa.

I can think of no words to describe what a despicable, spiteful, damaging lie you have been telling all these years in relation to the $10,000 offer made to Chanti. And you have been able to get away with it because MOSAVY couldn’t care less and there is no-one else in Cambodia who is likely to question the veracity of your lie.

After five years of experience with you, Liegh, I have come to the conclusion that you are not only a pathological liar but a cruel sadistic one to boot. This last broken promise is yet another example of your tendency to  tell Chanti that you will return Rosa and Chita ‘soon’ and then do nothing.

For the record, the exchange between us that forms part of the evidence of your decision to turn Chanti’s refusal to accept the $10,000 into support for your proposition (an outright lie) that Rosa was ‘at risk’ is to be found at:

If there were any semblance of justice in Cambodia you, Rebecca Brewer and Helen Shields would all have been dragged into court and charged, in accordance with Cambodian law, with Human Trafficking. Here, to refresh your memory is the relevant law:

Article 8 of Cambodia’s “Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.  

Article 8: Definition of Unlawful Removal

The act of unlawful removal in this act shall mean to:

Remove a person from his/her current place of residence to a place under the actor’s or a third persons control by means of force, threat, deception, abuse of power or enticement, or

Without legal authority or any other legal justification to so to take a minor person under general custody or curatorship or legal custody away from the legal custody of the parents, care taker or guardian.

Article 9 of Cambodia’s ‘Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation’ makes quite clear what the punishment for such an offense is:

Article 9: Unlawful removal, inter alia, of Minor

A person who unlawfully removes a minor or a person under general custody or curatorship or legal custody shall be punished with imprisonment for 2 to 5 years.

best wishes

James Ricketson

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chanti and Chhork's tuk tuk, the family's primary source of income, stolen in Phnom Penh

Leigh Ramsay
322 Wecker Road
QLD 4152                                                                                          

25th Sept. 2013 

Dear Leigh 

Following on from my letters of 12th and 20th Sept. regarding the rumoured imminent return of Rosa and Chita to their family home after five years as effective 'prisoners' in the Citipointe church She Rescue Home. 

You have not responded in any way to the letters, the meeting promised to Chanti and Chhork 10 days ago never took place and each day LICADHO tells Chanti and Chhork that their daughters will be released 'soon' whilst  Citipointe insists that it cannot do so until the police complete an investigation that is a sham. There is no investigation. There never was an investigation. 

As a resuLt of the Ministry of Social Affairs' incompetence or corruption or both Citipointe is able to steal young girls from poor families with impunity. The Christian umbrella group to which Citipointe belongs, Chab Dai, gave this child stealing its seal of approval five years ago (winning souls for Jesus Christ trumps the human rights of poor Cambodian families) and continues to do so today with its silence. LICADHO did nothing five years ago to protect the rights of Rosa and Chita and the English language newspapers in Cambodia decided long ago that an Australian church illegally removing children from their family homes was not a story worth looking into. 

Other than myself, there is no-one to advocate on behalf of Chanti and Chhork - despite Cambodia being awash with NGOs claiming to be in the country to alleviate poverty and fight for the human rights of poor and powerless Cambodians such as Chanti and Chhork. 

Chanti and Chhork's problems in life were compounded last night when their tuk tuk was stolen from Psar Thmei. If they are unable to get it back Chhork will not be able to earn money to support the family. This would suit Citipointe just fine, of course, since your church would then have a cogent reason not to return Rosa and Chita - the inability of Chhork to support them through his work as a tuk tuk driver. 

I am not in a position to buy another tuk tuk for there family ($1,500) but if Citipointe wished, at last, to perform one genuinely Christian act, your church could buy the family a tuk tuk. After all you have not made any financial contribution to the family's well-being this this past five years. Indeed, you church has made money, through donors and sponsors, out of presenting Rosa and Chita to the world as 'victims of human trafficking'. Perhaps now would be a good time to start acting like genuine Christians. 

Acknowledge that you have no legal or moral right to hold Rosa and Chita against the wishes of their parents, accept that the girls should be returned to the family and do whatever is in the church's power to help it become self-sufficient. The family was well on the way to becoming self-sufficient before the theft of the tuk tuk. 

Chanti and Chhork now have no way of getting back to their home in Prey Veng and remain determined to stay here until Rosa and Chita are returned to their care. If they are not, in the next week, please rest assured that I will,when I return to Australia, make sure that every member of Citipointe church in Brisbane is provided with the facts surrounding the illegal removal of the girls from the care of their family five years ago. I will do so in a very public way and hope that Citipointe sues me for defamation as a result, that the church's behaviour is in the public domain and that the media in Australia will start asking the questions I have been asking for five years and that Citipointe refuses to answer; questions  that Cambodia's English language newspapers refuse to ask.

best wishes

James Ricketson


Saturday, September 21, 2013



Is Miley Cyrus a slut or just pretending to be one?

I suspect the latter, but what impact does her playacting have on the burgeoning sexuality of her young female fans?  

I offer my blog entry of a couple of weeks ago as one perspective amongst many of  the vexed question of who (if anyone) is a 'slut' and what does the word mean?


A European Union MP was stripped of his parliamentary role a couple of days ago after describing a room full of women as sluts.

In a previous speech, Godfrey Bloom, 63, had joked about women failing to clean behind the fridge. Said one colleague of Mr Bloom’s:

“The trouble with Godfreyis that he’s not anti-women, but has a sort-of rather old fashioned territorial sense of humour which does not translate very well  in modern Britain.”

This four letter word also ruffled plenty of feathers recently on Facebook.

Chris wrote:

“If you dress like a slut you’ll get treated like a slut.”

Howls of protests ensued. Mila wrote:

“Only sickos bring in labels such as slut to a conversation which could have been honest as the writer in the original blog intended it to be.”

Despite the fact that ‘sicko’ is also a lablel, Mila was right. A lively and abuse-free online debate had been derailed by an off-topic and possibly offensive comment.

‘Possibly offensive’?

I grew up in an era (1960s) when use of the words ‘fuck’ and cunt’ were considered so offensive use of them in public could lead to arrest and a court appearance. Today (2010) an 11 year old actress can say to the villains in a movie (KICK ASS), with barely an eyebrow raised: 

“Okay, you cunts, let’s see what you can do now.”

And yet, ‘slut’ retains the power to trigger reserves of anger in the way ‘cunt’ once did. Why? Or should the question be: ‘Why not?’

 “You are such a slut,” said by one woman to her girlfriend after a ‘one night stand’ (in ‘Sex and the City’, say) might be the affectionate sharing of an old joke between them. The same words spoken by a female teacher to a teenage student could be a vicious put-down intended to offend and humiliate in public and lead to the teacher’s dismissal. Said with a smile by a male boss to a female employee with a lascivious smile these words could see the man in court for sexual harassment.


Michaela Cross, a young woman from the United States, posted an opinion piece online (“The Story You Never Wanted to Hear”) about her experiences studying in India. She suffered relentless sexual harassment, groping, had men masturbate in front of her and experienced two rape attempts. She wrote about how traumatized she was by the experience candidly and started an interesting online debate joined by close to a million people. One Indian man apologized for the behavior of other Indian men. Other contributors pointed out that sexual harassment is in no way confined to India and spoke of the dangers of making the kinds of generalizations Michaela Cross was making based on only three months in the country.

Katherine Stewart, who experienced her own share of harassment on the trip, warned of the dangers of stereotyping Indian men:

“When we do not make the distinction that only some men of a population commit a crime, we develop a stereotype for an entire population. And when we develop a negative stereotype for a population, what arises? Racism.”

Katherine Stewart is black and, in all likelihood, has had first hand experience of the stereotyping that Michaela Cross was engaging in.

As one would hope and expect with any hot button topic, many perspectives were brought to the online discussion. My own contribution,  when it reached Australia, via Facebook, was:

“After all the whingeing the writer redeems herself with, “What, may I ask, is the cure for seeing reality, of feeling for three months what it is like for one’s humanity to be taken away? But I thank God for my experiences in India, and for my disillusionment. Truth is a gift, a burden, and a responsibility.” True. It is. Life can be hard. It is hard for many people. Shit happens. Growing up, travelling, having these kinds of experiences gives pampered westerners a glimpse of what life is like for so many of their fellow human beings.”

Chris responded to my post with:

“Never were truer words spoken.”

And Damien wrote:

“While I agree there are parts of India where it could be uncomfortable for a woman travelling alone, I wouldn’t characterize India as being any less safe for a woman than a great deal of countries…I’m just saying it’s inaccurate to portray India as a nation of women groping rapists.”

So far, so good. A conversation, a dialogue, a debate with different points of view being presented and responses to those points of view discussed calmly, coolly and without rancor.

One of the tangents, however, dealt with the wearing of clothes appropriate to the country being visited and led to Chris’ contentious one liner:

“If you dress like a slut you’ll get treated like a slut.”

I responded with:

“I wouldn’t put it quite so crudely, but yes. In an ideal world women could and should be able to wear what they like anywhere they like but in the real world different cultures have different values and standards and, whether we agree with them or not, we must, when visiting these countries, take these into account.”

Jack wrote:

“WTF does a ‘slut’ dress like?”

Chris replied with:

“The FACT is the way Western women dress is highly OFFENSIVE –and/or seen as ‘sluttish’ in many many cultures. Even in relatively ‘moderate’ Thailand…women don’t wear bikini’s on the beach – they go swimming clothed in t-shirts and shorts. Westerners, generally, have little or no idea how offensive their behavior is to much – if not most of the world.”

Could Chris’ original comment about dressing like a slut be appropriately used in Thailand? Or Saudi Arabia or any one of many countries in which culture demands that women keep most of, if not all, their bodies covered in public? This tangent was not explored because the focus of attention in the ensuing heated slanging match was on the word ‘slut’.

In an attempt to introduce a little levity, I quoted from a dictionary:

“Slut or slattern is a term applied to an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous.” Hey, that’s a perfect description of me as a young man.

This led to other contributors reaching for their dictionaries and the debate turned into what the word ‘slut’ means, whether it is always an insult and offensive and so on. 

With the onset of an argument about dictionary definitions of words by the righteously indignant the end is almost invariably in sight for any meaningful discussion, dialogue or debate about whatever it was to which the contentious word referred.  Julian Burnside’s lack of righteous indignation in response to the verbal abuse he has been subjected to vis a vis his stance on refugees is appropriate, constructive and to be applauded as a template of how to deal with the Godfrey Blooms of the world and others who, through their use of language, are expressing their own frustrations with life or simply looking for a fight.

In my youth the word ‘gay’ was a word used by my mother and her generation (growing up in the Depression) to describe an experience: “Everyone at the party was happy and gay.” The same phrase, used the morning after Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, means something quite different. In the 90s my teenage son and his friends used the word ‘gay’ as a put down – not of a person’s sexuality but of whatever stupid thing that person was thought to have said or done. And not just a person. A bad TV show could be ‘gay’.

Three different usages for the same word, none of them offensive to homosexuals.

So, could the word ‘gay’ be offensive? Yes, if an interviewer asks the Prime Minister of Australia if her husband is gay, that is offensive. It is not the word but the context and the intention on the part of the person asking the question that makes it offensive. And intention can, of course, be conveyed in ways other than verbal. To get back to the example mentioned above, “You are such a slut,” said by a female teacher to a student - with a smile and easily read body language - could also constitute a sexual advance.


As I was growing up (1960s) the word ‘sick’ was reserved for a particularly unpleasant state of physical being that all too often involved doctors and unpleasant tasting medicines. In the 90s, thanks to black kids in South London, it became a term used to describe things that were ‘great’ Even Awesome. (Don’t get me started on ‘awesome’!). “The guitarist in that band is sick!”

And so it goes. The examples are legion within the last few decades. The word ‘set’ has at least 424 different meanings and any conversation that involved the question “How do you define ‘set’ would take weeks to resolve. With ‘fuck’, ‘cunt’, ‘mother-fucker’, ‘cocksucker’ are no longer taboo, it is only context that renders them offensive.

It was not Chris’ use of the word ‘slut’ that started the online slanging match but the notion that it was/is possible to ‘dress like a slut’. Without wanting to start yet another slanging match the question could be put thus:

“Is it possible to dress in such a way as to advertise that you have or are available to have multiple sexual partners?”

Prostitutes all around the world do this? The dress and make up code changes from culture to culture but prostitutes why fly their trade in pubic are almost invariably clearly identifiable. That they dress like prostitutes will not, I suspect, lead to my being labeled a ‘sicko’. I am not so sure that this would apply if I wrote that women who exchange sexual services for money ‘dress like sluts.’

Words in themselves are not, today, either offensive or inoffensive. It is the context in which they are used and the tone of voice in which they are said that counts.

So, what is the difference between a prostitute whose clothes and make-up advertise her availability for a sexual encounter and a woman, identically dressed, going to a party or nightclub? It is that the prostitute is not too choosy about whom she has sex with, as long as she is paid, whereas the woman dressed identically may be very choosy indeed or, in fact, not particularly interested in having sex with anyone that night. She may only be hoping to attract a partner with whom she may have sex at some point in the future as part of a relationship based on love.

In an Australian context such a woman (dressed similarly to a prostitute) has every right to be offended if a man presumes, from her dress and make up, that she is available to him for sex. This same woman, dressed in short mini-skirt in any one of the world’s roughly 50 predominantly Muslim countries, would be seen to be dressed as a prostitute. As a slut.


The best way to deal with men (or anyone) who refers to you with a word you find offensive is to turn the other cheek or go find some clever and inoffensive way humour helps here) of letting the speaker of the offensive word know that his words do not give him the power he had hoped they would.

As for any young woman, perhaps looing for true love on her night on the town,  dressed in an outfit not dissimilar to that worn by a prostitute, it is a good idea for her to keep in mind that there is a cohort of men that will misread the signals she is sending. 

Yes, in an ideal world, this would not be so. However, this is the world we must all live in.