Yeah. I wake up all wet now that it’s officially dry season in Cambodia. I don’t keep track of just how hot it is, but I know that just the smallest effort will produce enough sweat to dampen all of my clothes. So when I dream, I end up waking up all wet.
Moving on to a more serious note. WARNING: This is my first bitch blog.
I have realized that I have issues with many of the things going on in Cambodia. I’ll make a quick list.
1. Sex Tourism
2. Teaching English in this context
3. Incompitent NGO’s
5. Religious Groups in Cambodia
1. Sex Tourism – Sexpats come to Cambodia to do one thing with the locals who many times give in because they need money. Even volunteers are running around chasing after the same thing. I’m not okay with that. I feel like foreigners don’t understand the gravity of messing around with locals. Women here are a lot more vulnerable. After the sexpat is done with her, she will be shunned by her community. Of course the foreigner will just walk away with no consequences. Here in Cambodia there is a proverb: “A man is like a diamond. If it is dropped in the mud, it can be cleaned and it will shine again. A woman is like silk. If it is dropped in the mud, it will be stained forever.”
2. Teaching English in Cambodia is difficult. There are no relevant textbooks, no structure, teaching methods (let’s just say teachers like to hear themselves talk) and both teacher and student motivation is lacking. Teachers get paid almost nothing, so there is no incentive to actually teach. Apart from that, most of the students don’t care about learning English and understandibly so. I didn’t give a diddly squat about French in high school, so why should they care about English when they know that their future has been planned already (by their families.) The ones that do care, I’ve invited to join an English club. I will admit that they are great. Here is a photo and video of them on a trip to a traditional Khmer performance.
3. There are so many NGO’s in Cambodia. SOOOO many! They are actually handicapping the country. I’ll explain. If you keep throwing money, food, supplies, etc. to a population, they become dependent on you. They will stop trying to feed themselves because they have you to feed them. For example, there are many orphanages in Battambang City. Many of the children in these centers are not even orphans. Their parents send them there to freeload and be fed. It’s like many street children. Many parents will make their children beg for money in the streets and in cities like Siem Reap, the ignorant tourist will hand out the money. Not all NGO’s are incompitent. Many are doing fantastic things, especially with awarness and health education, which is lacking big time.
4. Rice three times a day, for eight months straight SUCKS! I got bloated quickly and feel very bad. As soon as I stop eating it, my skin clears up and I start gaining muscle. It’s hard however to tell my family that I don’t want to eat what they are cooking, because it is insulting. But my health is worth it so I am changing my diet. They will not reduce my monthly bill though, so I must use $ out of my own pocket to feed myself. I miss cooking!
5. I have a problem with religious groups coming to Cambodia trying to convert people. I don’t understand it. I see it as offensive behavior. By coming here telling people that they should believe in your god and rules and book, these foreigners are undermining the culture of Cambodia. They are indirectly saying “Your beliefs are not right, you must change to believe what I believe.” The approach is enticing however, because they teach Cambodians English and feed them if they become Christian or Mormon. I’m not the only one who doesn’t like it. My Khmer friend thinks it’s a load of bullocks, as he puts it. He knows British English. He says that one of his cousins has become judgmental and hipocritical in the way he behaves. For example, the cousin will do the things he criticizes in other people and when he is called out he will say “nobody is perfect.” haha! Anyway, I really have an issue with the religion factor here. & they keep building these churches everywhere. Talk about religious colonialism. I have missionary friends, and I don’t mean to offend you guys, because I don’t know how YOU yourself go about approaching people. However, this is how it is done in Cambodia, and I do have a problem with that.
to end on a happy note, I’ll show you how I refresh myself/survive.