The following tale was told to me years ago as a true story. But who can be sure?
A few years back a man from England came to Phnom Penh for a visit and enjoyed his visit so much that he decided to retire there. So he went back to England, wrapped up all his affairs and moved his entire life to Cambodia. He wanted his life to resemble as close as possible to what he knew back in England, not necessarily in comforts but rather his daily routine. So every morning he would wake up early and take a walk just like he did back home. On one such morning he noticed a family that would wheel out a food cart to the exact same spot by the river and start selling Khmer sandwiches at 7:00 AM. He would watch them do this every morning with great admiration as they worked very hard; the entire family with husband, wife and their young daughter. He thought to himself that the daughter should be in school but that she was obviously needed to help this poor family make money. So wanting to help he decided to buy a sandwich one morning for its price of $1. He wanted so desperately to like it so that he would be able to buy one each morning on his daily walk. But alas it was not meant to be as he took his first bite and could not continue eating. He was very disappointed but then decided that he did not care and wanted to help the family regardless. So every morning during his walk he approached the cart, placed a single dollar and then walked away without requiring a sandwich. Although the family was perplexed at first, they quickly figured out what he was doing. Every morning as he walked away, the young girl would tuck on his shorts and when he looked upon her smiling face she would simply say "arkun", the word for thank you in Khmer. After having done this for about a week, he woke up one morning and embarked on his daily walk. As he did every morning he approached the sandwich cart, left $1 and simply walked away. After a few steps from the cart he felt a tuck on his shorts. When he turned around to see the smiling girl's face he expected to hear her gratitude one more time. But this morning would be different as when he looked upon her, she smiled and said to the man, "Now $1.50!"
Life in the Third World
Just a collection of random and not so random thoughts from my daily life here in Cambodia.