Tuesday, October 31, 2006

On deception

Kuala Lumpur July 2006

Life has a funny way of causing me to question motives and re-think actions and attitudes. I've been reflecting a lot on the issue of deceipt and dishonesty.

I am confronted on a daily basis with the choice to trust or not to trust the people around me. I have commented to others that my faith in the decency and purity of people has plummeted. I now have a very difficult time trusting anyone because I have been lied to and cheated so many times since I've been in Asia.

In fact, when I did a fun quiz with of a group of my pre-intermediate students on how honest they were (as an introduction to teaching the 2nd conditional, unreal/unlikely future), only 3 students out of about 20 actually scored in the range of being honest people. The majority scored in the OK or dishonest category.

In fact, one student shocked me so much by completing the sentence, "If someone lied to me, I would. . ." and he completed it with ". . . be happy." I actually stopped class and clarified what he said because I was so shocked that he was so casual about it.

What I have been coming to realize is that lying, cheating and stealing are considered necessary and prized virtues by most Cambodians nowadays. It happens so often and is so rampant that there is an attitude: "you can't fight 'em so join 'em."

My heart is so incredibly sad to come to this realization because I know that it is a stumbing block to true freedom. And as an American (along with other western foreigners) it is not in my spirit to want to accept this. I want to believe that people are good and honest. Unfortunately, reality paints a different picture which flies in the face of everything that I have learned and been taught.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The rainy season ends

Siem Reap River August 2006

I love the idea of living close to a body of water. In China it was a canal. Now in Siem Reap, it's the Siem Reap River. While not such a beauty as the Amazon, it has been quite swollen this year with all the rain we've received.

This is a photo of it quite full. The Boat Festival is just around the corner and there will be longboats plying the waters.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Developing in the developing world

Development is the buzz word over here in Camboland. If you're not teaching English, then you are most likely involved in some sort of development work in the NGO world. Just what that means is a very obscure thing. However, personal development has been the issue for me, as it should for any Jesus Freak.

Key word: attitude. (Things are always key words for me since students have trouble identifying them and getting the point.)

I went introspective at the end of last term and the transportation journeys to Phnom Penh, Bangkok and Ventienne provided ample contemplation time for some things that have been weighing on my mind. I felt I was in a tailspin and needed to find a way out.

I turned over a new leaf, turned my frown upside down and marched forward re-invigorated with a fresh sense of purposeful direction. I also eliminated unnecessary curiosity (7 lives out of 9 to go).

Friday, October 06, 2006

a mental pile-up

OK, so the new school term has started and I'm already behind. I've got lots of catching up to do as far as lesson prep goes.

I also have a lot of blog entries in the cue about my travels in Laos, Bangkok and Phnom Penh of late. Here's a taste of what's to come:

Angel in a green t-shirt

Lovely tuk-tuk family

Suvarnabhumi, Suvarna-bust!

I'm not a doctor, I don't play one on TV
(aka Doctors without licenses)

Stay tuned!