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Posted by on Mar 7, 2013

Random Thoughts by Dave – Cambodia’s Poor Nearing Boiling Point


Welcome to the next installation of Random Thoughts.

  • The divide between rich and poor in Cambodia is one of the major issues facing the country, and it manifests itself in ways you would never imagine. A woman last week hit a moto bike driver in her car in a very crowded part of town. Instead of stopping and tending to her victim she drove on with police in pursuit. Things got much worse when she plowed into a group of motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians and wound up killing three children and injuring eight other people. One of the reasons the woman likely didn’t stop after the first incident was due to fear over what  onlookers might do to her. People who drive cars are perceived as rich and rich people are rarely prosecuted for their actions, some getting away with murder. So, rather than let police get involved and nothing happen, people have literally taken the law into their own hands.
  • Just as bizarre, news reports of the accident quoted the mother of the two dead girls saying she asked the family of the woman responsible for the accident for $20,000 per child. The family reportedly offered $500.
  • I’ve always known Jill was smart, but it’s never been in the context of any type of learning experience. My eyes have been opened to just how smart she is while we’ve been taking Khmer language lessons here. The latest example – months of the year. The drill went like this: our tutor said the months of the year while showing them to us on his computer; Jill and I wrote the months down on a piece of paper; and I believe we might have said them once out loud. Jill then turned her sheet of paper over and recited the months by heart. We would randomly ask her the name of a month and she would always get it right. Here they are so you can see the difficulty involved.
      • January — Makara
      • February — Kumpheark
      • March — Miner
      • April — Messa
      • May — Ouksaphie
      • June — Mithona
      • July — Kakada
      • August — Seyha
      • September — Kanha
      • October — Tola
      • November — Vitchaka
      • December — Thnou
  • I asked our tutor his impressions of Jill. Here’s what he said: “She learns Khmer incredibly fast. Soon, [the] Khmer language will have no secrets for her.”
  • While we’re on the subject, check out this robot story.  I’m keeping one eye open when I sleep.
  • We are all creatures of habit and I am no exception. So when I found out my bathroom “cycle” had changed when I came to Southeast Asia I wasn’t pleased. I prefer to take care of business at night and now I was on a morning cycle (sure it’s TMI, but I’m plowing ahead anyway). As I said, I wasn’t happy about it until I realized my cycle hadn’t really changed, I was just living somewhere where my mornings were nights in the States. Phew.
The toilet situation

The toilet situation

  • While we’re on the subject, I’ve given up toilet paper for the most part in favor of the preferred hose method. So now I power clean, then drip dry. I feel as though I’m making a contribution to society as deforestation is a big issue here so I’m doing my duty (bathroom humor) to save trees.
  • Happy International Women’s Day!!! It’s a national holiday here so we have the day off.
Me participating in the International Women's Day event at my NGO. Picture courtesy of the NGO.

Me participating in the International Women’s Day event at my NGO. Picture courtesy of the NGO.