Sunday, April 4, 2010
Sort of quiet on the eastern front
Yes, I know. I haven’t written in quite a while now. Difficult internet connection is an "excuse", but truly I find it very difficult to write about Cambodia. My time here has brought many deeply gripping experiences. The reality of Cambodia remains deeply troubling. Much if not all of society still deals with the deep seeded trauma of their genocide and all the effects of loosing a huge percentage of generations. The Khmer Rouge campaign to cleanse intellectual society was successful and the scars of that still remain. On a large scale the Khmer lost the ability to learn from their pre- rouge cultural history as well as the ability to learn from their elders. 50% of the population is under 20 and it is rare to meet someone over the age of 50. And there is anger. No where in south East Asia have I experienced such a disregard to "keeping face" as here. Anger at me not wanting to pay hugely inflated "tourist price" for a juice on the street. To a tuk tuk driver who threatened to beat my brother in law for not paying more than the fair price to another so massively on drugs that after we jumped out and got into another one, he tried to run us down, nearly causing several accidents to the point that our new driver stopped at a police station....when a Khmer stops at the police by choice you know its bad. What happened next is a symptom of the deprivation of Cambodia. The police ordered the drugged driver off his bike, which he could hardly do, took some money off of him and sent him on his way. Cambodia is not a democracy but dictatorship ruled by massive corruption and "previously" Khmer Rouge cadres. On every level, in every village they are still here. If I were Cambodian I would be angry too.