bigger news for me is that I'd be informed during the previous few
days that I was to be officially invited.
My first Cambodian social function.
To be fair the party was planned to take place out in the street
in front of Nam's bar so attendance would probably have been
But this time I was handed a personal invitation with my actual Barang
name on it. Spelled correctly, (take note promoters all it takes is a
Anyway the small highly patterned envelope I'd been given signified 2
things. Acceptance and obligation.
Obligation is maybe too stronger word, but I'd seen these envelopes
before and I knew that not everybody got them.
I also knew that those that did, had to repay the respect shown by our
neighbors in the form of a cash sum that must be placed in the
So basically being invited could be expensive but food and drinks all
free so get yu moneys worth.
And so the community set up for the party. A sequence of events that
featured a really beautiful moment.
Picture the scene.
A small child stands in the middle of the main drag of lakeside
ghetto. The child's left hand grips his mothers skirt the right grasps
handfull of air in a failed attempt at plucking a balloon from the
festive grape-vine hanging across the street.
Having spotted the child's near distress, Rosso (a man who only one
week ago had stubbed another man in the face with the bottom of a
whisky bottle), leaped into action. In one movement Rosso pulled
himself up the side of the bar's front shutters. Pulled a flick-knife
from his pocket, opened the blade, grabbed a balloon and with an
upwards stabbing motion freed it from the vine. By the time his feet
touched ground the knife had vanished. As he handed the balloon to the
child a smile of genuine kindness cracked across his hardened face.
The child's mother gently bowed, Rosso returned it and swaggered away
back towards his speakers.
The very picture of masculinity.
Anyway I spent a wile asking and deliberating about how much money to
put in the envelope and settled on $5. Ano who works in my guest
house said I was a stingy bastard and it's her 18th so I ended up
putting in ten.
Also having taken a lot of photos I gave my camera to a young Khmer
boy and to Phnom Penh's only female Motodot, to get a bit of guest
blogger snaps action.
Sent from my iPod