Broken Laptops and Buddhist Monks

At that point I realized a few things. For most of the young monks at my pagoda it wasn’t a love of Buddhism that propelled them into the monkhood; it was poverty. For many, their families struggle to support them and pay for education. Having their sons ordained significantly eases their financial burdens. The laptop may have been broken but it was as close as he was going to get to owning one.

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

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.

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The Diseased Temple Dog and Me

Vice and Slate writer Nathan Thompson encounters a disconcerting side of Khmer rural life: the treatment of stray animals The dog was a right old mess. Its patchy fur exposed grey skin gathered into folds and each eye was blood red. Its head drooped as it crept around the temple….

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What Not to Do in Sihanoukville

Vice and Slate writer Nathan Thompson visits Sihanoukville and has a dire time of it I expected Sihanoukville to be a Sodom of sexpats. But it wasn’t all that bad. “Just go to Otres”, my expat friends had told me. I would have followed their advice if I hadn’t been…

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Life in Brown Coffee and Bakery

Nathan Thompson examines the customer demographic at Brown Coffee in Phnom Penh. I’m a coffee shop w*nker. I’m that guy sitting at his laptop rolling his eyes as you enter with your girlfriends trailing your excitable sprogs behind you. Even as I write this I am glaring at a Chinese…

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Happy Balloons in Phnom Penh

Top Banana and Blue Dog guesthouses in Phnom Penh now sell “happy balloons” at the enterprising price of $2 each. The balloons are full of Nitrous Oxide – classically known as laughing gas and colloquially dubbed “hippy crack” because of the short, moreish high produced upon inhaling. What I can’t…

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