Sunday, November 24, 2013

Siem Reap, Cambodia

I have come to realize that the Greek Empire and Roman Empire of the west are akin to the Khyber Empire and Siamese Empire here about.  Each part of the earth had it's empires and then marginalized outlying populations.
Cambodia is also the scene of the recent Pol Pot  Khymer Rouge abomination. These are the "Killing Fields". Here atheist communism decimated the populations killing millions. (Worse than decimation, 1/4 of the population died in 4 years of communist reign, 2 million of a population of approximately 8 million -
If language weren't the barrier it is, those I've met who speak English, only know English as a functional language. We lack the ability to communicate in ideas. I know no Cambodian. Yet I believe they could tell me stories each individually as my Jewish friends told stories of their families decimated by the Nazis.  Everyone I meet must have had a relative killed in recent memory, murdered, tortured, imprisoned.  I have been blessed in Canada.
These are resilient people. I see the families happy together and the building going on everywhere. There is much activity. The little children are a joy. There are so many scooters and motorcycles.   Whole families ride on them. I saw 5 on one, 4 is normal. Maybe one or two of the riders will have a helmut. No one has armour.  They're wearing flip flops on their feet. It is too hot for leather.  Cars are old and new.  Everywhere there is industry and bustling activity.  Everyone smiles at me.  American money is favoured.  I am welcome.
There is a different feeling of freedom in countries with hindu and buddhism at their core.  I am surrounded by light heartedness. Laughter is valued and celebrated.  It was different in Malaysia.  Mostly Muslim.  But very serious.  The smiles more discrete, still there, but not the openness of laughter. Like some Christian communities that way. Stlll so much industry and so much love.  Everywhere love abounds. I don't see it so much in my home world but here travelling I'm open to it. The secular atheism growing in my country has more people frowning in public.  Maybe they just hide their light. Possessions are a burden and a joy.  Communists are always watching each other.
I bought a shirt and sellers swarmed me in a feeding frenzy.  I like the merit in restraint.  I had no fun in shopping after that and left for fear of being mobbed.  A little girl mimicking her mother demanding I buy a post card.  Her voice thrill.  When she grows older she will learn.
There is more solitude in the west.  I am happy here.  But I am on vacation, just passing through, and life is never what it seems when one is a rolling stone. That's always the limitations of journalism too, or ideas for that matter. There is something pure in the functional kitchen talk of direct communication.  I watch each desire arise as I walk through my day, responding to a call to toilet, a call to eat, a call to walk.  I can communicate these. There is the universality.   It's so much more basic.  Mostly I communicate, with friends, and acquaintances. Reaching out across this space of separateness to touch and hopefully to laugh.
There is so much industry in this world.  Ecclesiastes jumps to mind.  And Pete Seegers, "To everything…..
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