You’re a Pagoda Boy Now

I first met Phil when I moved to live in a Khmer village. He was American, 50ish with a penchant for Hawaiin shirts and anti-government rants. He first visited the village back in the 1990s as part of a medical mission. He liked it so much he’s been coming back…

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Fear and Loathing in Poipet

Does the border town of Poipet deserve it’s moniker of ‘The Worst Town in Cambodia’? In a short word, yes, but in the spirit adventure, a group of fellow barang was rounded up and the poor man’s Vegas was put to the test- could it be a diamond in the…

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The Top 5 Cambodian Road Hazards

The men of the village gathered around, white-vested. As we finalised the deal they nodded their approval. I was off on my red second-hand Suzuki 110cc moto. Driving in Cambodia is sensation similar to being babysat by a lax teenager when you were a kid. You can get away with…

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My Linguistic Faux Pas-es

A few months into our living and learning experience in Cambodia, fresh from a Khmer language class and full of positive energy, I approached a woman holding an ill baby in the Russian Market to engage her in a conversation in Khmer. Just jump in, our instructor had enthusiastically instructed…

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Life as a Baby Duck Fetus Eater

“You see that dish? That’s dog meat,” said Raksume who was standing me dinner at his family’s palm leaf shack on the edge of the village. “Oh” I said. And then, “Hey, where’s your dog?”. Raksume gestured unceremoniously towards the road. “It had accident so we eat it”. “Reksume” I…

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Driving Monks to the Beach

I sat down to begin a day of work in the small office of the NGO where I volunteer. It was the day after Khmer New Year, when all through the pagoda, not a creature was stirring – not even the massive turtle that lives in the reservoir. I was…

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