看见 · 柬埔寨
The one-and-a-half month living in Cambodia is nothing out of uniqueness. Too much to be touched and to contemplate.
1. Revelation of Buddha
Theravada Buddhism is the Cambodia state region and the faith of 95% of the population. I did:
- Wandering in Phnom Penh, accidentally met a monk in the quiet temple
- Explored the breath-taking Ankor Wat
- Learned Hinduism Mahābhārata and Ramayana; the aesthetics of Angkor Wat
- Visiting a temple in the countryside
Slow-paced life there offers more time to think, and naturally feel the inner peace.
Furthermore, admiring the king and queen is more essential in their values. They are proud to say ‘the Kingdom of Kampuchea’.
2. What is travelling?
Travelling is not about rushing to the top-five tourist spots, cramming your Instagram with iconic photos. By means of high engagement into the local society, you can compile a collage of many people, many life.
Case 1: A $150/month-salary worker in the city (80% of the city population)
- No English
- Hard work
- Cheap food: $.25-.5 street food for one dish, one rice.
- Mostly from the provinces
- Room rent: $30/month; All expenses: $50/month; local teacher salary: $120/month; foreign teacher salary: $500; foreign teacher salary at international schools: $5000
Case 2: A middle-class Cambodia (English-speaker)
- For example, an English-speaking tutu driver(motor-driver) can earn $80-140/day; in international neighborhoods. On the contrary, a Khmer-speaking motor-driver charges $3 for 7km drive. [link] soaring prices in Angkor Wat
- A domestic worker for an American Christian family is treated like a friend. She were taught how to make western dishes, baking an apple pie, for example. Her daughter can learn English together with the owner’s daughter. She learnt how to swim on the roof top of their apartment building.
- A guesthouse owner whose family works for the government, their family members get exposed to people abroad and the teenagers get familiar to the new trends, like selfie and Facebook.
- Association with the 1950s-1980s in China: those who have access to the westerners have a wider range of opportunities and broader horizons.
Case 3: The western society
They are like oils on the water, always on the top and experience the best resources.
- Trip Advisor can be their guidebook
- Places with English translation make up their circle of life
- Bar street for them
- Generous pay for Khmer services
- see their Cambodian as poor and pitiful
- some of them are very kind, eg. give out money to children selling postcards or beggars, like Nardos
- International Organizations like World Vision [link] Xintiandi in Shanghai; LKF in Hong Kong
Case 4: High-ranked Cambodian government/business elites
- Villa(s) with swimming pool and servants
- Their own car and car driver(one of the most expensive racing cars is sold to Cambodia)
- Membership of expensive clubs [link] Hong Kong club since 1846
- Children studying abroad, in London, for example, or studying in $50,000/year international middle schools with foreign teachers whose salary is $5,00/month
- Severe corruption issues
- For example, a Chinese-and-English speaking Cambodian working for the intelligence department of Cambodia, earns $20,000/month. Although from the provinces, he’s very smart. Now has a Chinese girlfriend whose father works for the Department of Education and uncle plans to expand business in Cambodia. Won several medals. Now having master degree in Zhongshan Univeristy in China.
Case 5: Westerners seeking for a shelter for unbounded behavior
- Cheap Cambodian girls for sexual services. For example, a 20-year-old girl & 80-year-old American guy.
- Cambodian parents sells their teenager sons/girls for a night, for any services.
- Foreign people cheat and live in a guesthouse for a month then fled.
- Some committed suicide in the guesthouses of Siem Reap Province.
- No passport control or customs inspection when entering Cambodia
3. My life, authenticity.
- All high-ranked places in Trip Advisor marked
- Taking my tutu everywhere: going to cafes in the 3-hour noon break, horse-riding and swimming in CCC, interviews in a quiet café.
- Motor-tours with friends: with Dave and Noah to the lakeside restaurant; with Chin to Kien Svay and on a fishing boat
- Western friends: Hannah, Nardos and Saron – Sunday masses, the trip to Angkor Wat, apartment visit, dinner
- Dutch traveler, World Vision HR, Embassy officer, Dutch writer,etc.
- Wholesome life: say “no” and sleep early
- Great to know the life attitudes of Bushang Zhan, a mature university graduate. (The reason why he seems mature is that he has already pondered about those problems that we are wondering; his humorous tone naturally attracts friends.)