Archive | June, 2013

Gangnam Style Cambodian style!

28 Jun

This is honestly one of the best things I have come across on the internet in a long time.


Personal findings and opinions about women’s rights in Cambodia.

27 Jun

(This is just my opinion of situations I have witnessed and been told about. This isn’t backed with any professional research, and doesn’t apply to everyone in the country.)

I have never considered myself a “feminist” but I do believe in equal rights for both genders. We are lucky in the states that we do get fair treatment (I understand this doesn’t apply to all), because I have seen the other side of the coin, if only briefly. I know this may be a rule of thumb for all SE Asian countries, but I only have experience with Cambodia. Women here are not treated as equals. The men are free to go out and visit brothels, but god forbid a woman shows a little skin or just wants to go out dancing.  I understand that cultural differences aren’t a bad thing, but sometimes it is just so frustrating.

Sure, there are lots of issues out here, but what stands out to me the most is the violence against women and the lack of education about women’s rights and mental health. I have heard stories about men taking what they want from women, even if the women do not give consent. If you are married, it isn’t considered rape. The whole “face” part of their culture makes it hard to know exactly what is happening behind closed doors. I have however gotten close enough to a few women to find that self-mutilation must be quite common here. When I ask why they hurt themselves, they tell me that they are sad, think too much, and cannot make it stop. Mental health services, such as counseling, seem to be abysmal in Cambodia, because talking to a professional would be admitting that there is a problem.

Since I have been here my idea of right and wrong has become blurred and has changed. When I first arrived, the large number of working girls really bothered me, but I have accepted the fact that some (not all) made that life decision, and I respect their right to do so. It is the abuse and emotional pain that really gets to me. Violence against women should be fought against everywhere. Education, including learning about women’s rights and mental health, should be offered to everyone. But this is the problem. All of the “shoulds” in the world won’t make a difference.

How can I help???

Sorry for all of the grammatical errors and just all over the place content.

What Happens When You Live Abroad

23 Jun

Beautifully put.

Thought Catalog

A very dependable feature of people who live abroad is finding them huddled together in bars and restaurants, talking not just about their homelands, but about the experience of leaving. And strangely enough, these groups of ex-pats aren’t necessarily all from the same home countries, often the mere experience of trading lands and cultures is enough to link them together and build the foundations of a friendship. I knew a decent amount of ex pats — of varying lengths of stay — back in America, and it’s reassuring to see that here in Europe, the “foreigner” bars are just as prevalent and filled with the same warm, nostalgic chatter.

But one thing that undoubtedly exists between all of us, something that lingers unspoken at all of our gatherings, is fear. There is a palpable fear to living in a new country, and though it is more acute in the first…

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Stepping back and looking in.

18 Jun

I came to Phuket, Thailand with the intention that it was only for an interview. Yes, I did have an interview, but I don’t think that was the point. I’ve been here for four days and already I have felt something in me shift, and I wish I could identify this change or put a name to it, but it eludes me. I have had to face some hard internal truths on this trip and it has been painful but I know that it is good, because I am learning and growing.

I am not one to ever say that things happen for a reason, because I have just never thought in that way before, but now I am not so sure and it is an uncomfortable idea to deal with.  Leaving Cambodia has put something in motion and I am beginning to see a chain of events that may never have happened if I had stayed. I don’t know if I will go back. I wish that I did know, but now I don’t believe it is in my best interest because my well-being was being sacrificed.

A part of me wonders that if by leaving, I have failed. But at this point in my life, because of a pinnacle moment, I don’t know if it does more good or harm for me to try to “stick it out”. I have a lot of things to figure out and learn about myself and it is going to take a long time, maybe I’ll never be finished but I need to start before I get complacent again and ignore those nagging feelings.

I am looking at some volunteering prospects, so I will update you all soon with where I have decided to go next.

Until next time.