Category Archives: Commentary

Prominent expat dentist commits suicide in hospital

schmidtberg

Cambodian police are investigating the apparent suicide of prominent expat dentist Dr Wolfgang Schmidtberg who apparently killed himself in his hospital bed this morning, after being hospitalised for colon cancer. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Commentary, Expat Life, News, Phnom Penh | Tagged , , , ,

Off the rails in Cambodia; two Brits and role played by the British Embassy

Martin and Nick

There are few in the expat community here who haven’t heard a thing two about Nick Mclernan, 40, and Martin Gates, 24: Singlet Senior and Singlet Junior, Beavis and Butthead, Dumb and Dumber — half the city seems to have an opinion. For those that don’t know of this seedy morality tale of things gone awry in the Kingdom of Wonder, it focuses on the plight of two British men, McLernan and Gates, and strikes at the very heart of just what duties and responsibilities an Embassy has towards its citizens abroad. Continue reading

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Pheng’s escape: A Khmer Rouge ghost story

young KR soldiers

When we come to the place there are twenty of us, they have our names. The chief of the Pol Pot talks to us, he says the Organisation will provide us each a white suit today. I know this means a cloth for the dead. They start to call us in to the room, one at a time. They don’t want anyone to see, they not want anyone to know. They kill with the ax and the knife. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Commentary, history, Khmer Rouge, khmer superstition, provinces, village life | Tagged , , , , , ,

Adjusting to life in Cambodia

serey sophorn village

Clarke Illmatical describes his attempts to adjust to live in Cambodia and the way the locals think and behave, and on the way learns how to deal with face, why white girl / localguy relationships are doomed to fail and – closer to home – how he is perceived as a black man in Cambodia. Continue reading

Posted in Analysis, Commentary, Expat Life, Interviews, provinces, Siem Reap, teaching | Tagged , , , , , ,

Sunday with the Kru Teay

fortunetelle hands

Fortune telling, prophecies and finding ways to influence fate form the backbone of Cambodian culture. Such things are intricately woven into ancestor worship, the spirit world and more orthodox ideas of Theravada Buddhist teachings. The above prophecy is known to pretty much every Khmer old enough to have heard it (go on, ask), and gets updated by each generation to ‘prove’ its authenticity.
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Posted in Commentary, Expat Life, fortune tellers, kru teay, provinces, Uncategorized, village life | Tagged , , , ,

The Phnom Penh Pyramid of Judgment

Cambodia Rolls Royce

People love to look down on each other. Even those at the lowest of the low finds someone else to judge. Hell, when I was addicted to heroin I looked down on the alcoholic who lived downstairs. “The poor bastard is destroying himself,” I’d think after waking up to find myself face down on my keyboard having typed 232 pages of “mmmmmmm.” Continue reading

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Four things you absolutely must do when living in a Cambodian village

group harvesting rice

I felt a little guilty after my last piece. It’s easy to sit back and pick holes in things for cheap laughs and it’s not too difficult, living among the privations of village life, to find foibles left, right and centre. So, to counter that and rebalance my kharmic merit, here are four awesome things about living in a Khmer village that you should definitely try if you get the chance. Continue reading

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Santa and Budweiser – the Khmer explanation

xmas-samudera01-550w

Jon Allen is in Siem Reap for the holiday season and tries to explain the concept of Santa Claus to his Khmer brother. His brother rightly thinks he is a complete nutjob. Continue reading

Posted in Commentary, Events, Expat Life, Siem Reap, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

Lies, Lies and Aeon Mall

aeon crowds

Pedro Milladino takes a trip to Aeon Mall against his better judgement, and finds himself confronted by lies, lies and more damned lies. Continue reading

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Three things to avoid in the provinces

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Nathan Thompson returns to Cambodia and settles again into village life. Here he lists three key things to avoid if you want to stay sane in your Cambodian rural idyll. Continue reading

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