Monday, 10 October 2011

Travel log- Cambodia pt 3

Not everyone I met in Cambodia was like Lou (from travel log pt 2) of course. A number of them are just plain ordinary. But sometimes it’s the ordinary ones that stay etched in your minds, mainly because they are always around- like the elderly lady that lives across from where you live (the one that you don’t actually know, but seem to be bumping into all the time). But we’ll save the celebration for the ordinary for another day- there are just too many weird people.


It was in Phnom Penh that I met up with Ms. Starr. We got in touch through some mutual friend, and I wanted to drop by because I found her job rather interesting- a church worker. Now, when I first met her I thought to myself: whoa she’s quite a nut to be out here all alone. She must have an interesting story to tell, maybe a vision from God at the very least. So we had a good chat about life and the circumstances that led her to Cambodia (she’s not local). She told me these golden words: step by step. Then it dawned on me- her decision to head to Cambodia wasn’t based on a whim. It was carefully weighed and all possible outcomes were considered twice over. She counted the cost and decided that the price was right for the prize gained. It takes little to be mad without reason, but she- she wasn’t ignorant, not at all- she was mad, but with plenty reason. And all that madness leaked in the form of passion for the people around her. How does one not feel inspired? Deep inside, I think everyone yearns for a rational madness expressed in passion for something they desire/cherish. At that moment, I was jealous without a doubt. Jealous because I lacked that passionate madness that I wished so much for myself. Courage in the hands of rationality is a formidable weapon, as with a woman who’s given her life to God. Be inspired of course. Here are the words of Elliot who shared that same rational madness:

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

And that’s the maddest of the lot- Lou and Starr. Both mad in their own right, for different reasons altogether.


I bumped into some other interesting characters, like the owner of the Blue Apsara bookstore. I didn’t get his name, but he was from Germany and he was selling some really cheap and good books. Most of his books were bookwrapped and two thoughts crossed my mind: his books weren’t selling and gathering dust, or that he must really love his books. It turns out it was neither. I bought a couple of books for about 5 USD each (which would’ve cost at least RM 50 at home) and headed back to my room. I unwrapped the books because I was really excited to read my newly purchased books and discovered that they were fakes- very well printed replicas of the original. I didn’t think it was lawful to sell cheap fakes, so I returned to the bookstore to take a photo of the bookstore and got myself another book. =)


Whilst I was at the temples in Siem Reap, I met one of the temple wardens. I tried striking up a conversation just to be friendly. When I told him I was from Malaysia, he became really sad. I wondered why and he told me of his missing daughter who went to Malaysia to work. She’s been gone for two years and should be 19 this year. He fears that she’s been killed or kidnapped or made a sex slave. Her name is pronounced Hoe Nyat. It'll take a miracle, but if you come across her, please leave a message. I think you will make some people really happy.


The final night in Siem Reap, I spent taking photographs. I was walking around in town when a lady approached me and asked if I was interested in fornication (not verbatim of course). I told her no and walked away and she gave me a playful punch on my arm (I later found out that she was a he from a bystander). I carried on walking in the town and I realized a motorcycle was following me. It was a teenager and he offered to bring me out for the night of my life- full body massages by beautiful Khmer women. I told him I just wanted to take photos and see the town but he was persistent and kept asking me: you don’t like women? How bout men?  You like men? Children? You like children? Sad that intimacy is now made a commodity that we trade around for money. There’s so much to be redeemed in relationships! That night, I gained much appreciation for purity and intimacy in relationships. 


And that sums up my week in Cambodia. This on the other hand, is what I could listen to till the road leads me home. 

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