Same Same, But Different

Reading this post at Vagabonding (a great travelogue, BTW) was like reading Off The Rails In Phnom Penh: Into The Dark Heart Of Girls, Guns, and Ganja all over again (this is a great book by Amit Gilboa that talks about his personal experiences and goes over the crazy history of Cambodia. before reading this book, all I knew about Cambodia was Angkor Wat).
I really wanted to go to Cambodia after reading this book- not because it romanticized the place, quite the contrary in fact. This is a place where you can pay to fire RPGs and large caliber machine guns at livestock, live very comfortably while employing servants and AK touting body guards to serve you on a meager salary, buy the “services” of underaged girls for the price of a pack of cigarettes from their parents, do any drug you could possibly want, and pretty much do whatever you feel like without fear of getting in trouble or being judged by society. Add in the explosive political past (with such players as Pot Pol, Hun Sen, and the Khmer Rouge) and cartoonish present with the unfamiliar culture of the Khmer people, add in a pinch of truly lost expatriates, and you have the makings of some good pulp fiction style stories. I am inclined to believe people when they say that their trip to Cambodia, and Phnom Penh in particular, was a wild time. This looks like a place to visit for a couple of days, have a wild adventure, and then to go back home- a place to get some perspective.
Dunno though. After seeing the fat German dudes in Phuket walking off with teenage girls, she-males (this I found sort of amusing), and on one occasion a young boy, I don’t think that I would like visiting a country that makes Thailand look like Disneyland. Reading “Hello My Big Big Honey!”: Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews made me really think about these things deeply. Seeing all of these perverted losers walking around with girls (who, if approached back in the states by these guys would be methodically hosing them with pepper spray) made me feel queasy to the point where I could not finish my pizza. Then again, some of the couples in the book ended up getting married and supposedly living happily together. Life is strange.
I don’t think that the sex trade is bad in general. In fact, I think that it is an important service, just like therapy, massage, and other treatments that people pay for to remain happy and in good health. Hell, legalize it and throw the money raised from taxes into our educational system. Then it could be regulated like any other legitimate business and held to higher standards while at the same time, contributing to our society.
What I do have a problem with are the pedophiles. Seeing these disgusting people openly paying to have sex with children, especially when they are obviously feeling comfortable about it, is one of the worst things that I have ever seen. It made me angry and sick, and really want to do bad things to bad people.
So maybe I will just visit Angkor Wat if I make it around to Cambodia. After all, I can always go hunting for water buffalo (or hopefully a bus full of pedophiles) with my RPG-7 on the way to the airport…

5 thoughts on “Same Same, But Different”

  1. RE: Hello My Big Big Honey
    Do you still have this book? I was looking for it all over and I figured T still had it, so if you’ve got it, it’s a big load off my mind. I HATE losing books.

  2. Alas, sorry, your book is almost certainly a victim of Mimi’s evil totalitarian regime. I read the whole book at T’s house, and left it there. Sorry.

  3. MEDIA RELEASE / FOR IMMEDIATE USE
    A non-fiction book of interviews, documentation
    and investigative journalism, titled:
    “Hello My Big Big Honey!”
    Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls
    and Their Revealing Interviews
    has been published in San Francisco and
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    “…an intimate portrait…does love conquer
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    — Le Monde newspaper, France
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    — Tracy Quan, Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl
    Researched in Bangkok — and now published in
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    verbatim love letters written by American,
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    bar girls in Bangkok.
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    Columbia University’s Graduate School of
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    252 pages, illustrated with 25 color
    photographs. ISBN: 0867194731
    free: 20 pages of text and six photos, online at:
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    Bookshops / Universities / Distribution
    Publishers Group West, the book’s Berkeley-
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    Lettres d’Amour aux Filles des Bars de Bangkok
    et Interviews Revelatrices
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  4. Unleashing Your Inner Loser

    This proves that just about anybody can publish a book these days: How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men This is so pathetic on so many levels, I don’t know where to start. I think…

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