Monday, 2 December 2013

Up close and personal with Cambodian kids

I remember quite clearly how, as a teenager, I would roll my eyes whenever mom talked about the hardship she went through as a child. Life was particularly tough after World War II but the hardship did not dampen their spirits and their big family lived harmoniously under one roof.

Obviously she never failed to remind us how lucky we were which only made us scowl even more.
 
I've learned that it is pointless saying all these things to teenagers unless they experience it for themselves. Naturally we can't travel back in time but a trip to Siem Reap might be able to change that.

Going to Siem Reap is like going back to Singapore in the 1950s. The city, centered around the Sivutha Street and Old Market area, has colonial and Chinese-style architecture. Only the main streets are paved while the village dirt roads are filled with potholes.

You really need to go beyond the bustling city to see what life is like for the common folk in the villages.

What my mom said about going hungry and working in the farm as a young child is still happening here. The young kids walk for miles under the blazing sun (with no shoes on) to the village school and return home during sunset to continue working in the padi fields.

When I first visited Siem Reap, I was surprised to see how tiny the kids are for their age. Despite their poverty, they are bright-eyed and full of life which makes them even more endearing. I had the opportunity to be up close and personal with the Cambodian kids at the orphanage.

When you have 51 children of different ages living in a small orphanage, there is no room for favourtism or sibling rivalry. They quickly learn to share and care for each other. The older kids keep a lookout for the younger ones.





















They're brought up in a loving environment with heaps of help from volunteers from all over the world, so the kids are well adjusted and taught to be respectful of others.


















As they rely on the kindness of sponsors, they do not take what they have for granted. When we arrived with new beds, they all came running out to carry stuff. Almost immediately, they've got everything organised like clockwork. The floor was swept, bunkbeds were assembled and the new sleeping quarters was ready in double-quick time, thanks to teamwork.
When it was time for lunch, the kids washed their hands and lined up outside the dining room in an orderly manner.
 
 Then they took their place and waited for the cue before tucking into a simple meal of fish, rice and vegetable curry. I did not see any shoving, snatching or squirming.

 














It's close to a miracle to see kids of varying ages co-exist in such a peaceful environment. In Singapore, it's hard to see kids play together without getting too rowdy. It's the way they have been brought up. I hate to admit but we've spoilt our kids.

Of course there are always exceptions. It was amazing to see two Aussie teenagers volunteering their time during their school break. Alex (on the right) spent 6 months helping out at the orphanage. She has the biggest heart and what she has done puts most of us to shame. You can read about her journey here.

4 comments:

oakleyses said...

oakley sunglasses wholesale, christian louboutin uk, uggs on sale, replica watches, christian louboutin, burberry pas cher, louis vuitton, nike roshe, louboutin pas cher, nike air max, air max, nike free run, longchamp outlet, ray ban sunglasses, nike free, ugg boots, replica watches, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin shoes, prada outlet, longchamp outlet, sac longchamp pas cher, louis vuitton, christian louboutin outlet, nike outlet, oakley sunglasses, jordan pas cher, polo outlet, louis vuitton outlet, tiffany and co, tiffany jewelry, oakley sunglasses, jordan shoes, kate spade outlet, polo ralph lauren, ugg boots, cheap oakley sunglasses, gucci handbags, prada handbags, michael kors pas cher, polo ralph lauren outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, tory burch outlet, longchamp outlet, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp pas cher, chanel handbags

oakleyses said...

hollister uk, oakley pas cher, true religion jeans, nike roshe run uk, hogan outlet, polo lacoste, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike air force, michael kors, michael kors outlet, nike tn, burberry outlet, mulberry uk, nike air max, converse pas cher, uggs outlet, kate spade, ray ban pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, true religion outlet, nike air max uk, new balance, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, guess pas cher, coach outlet, nike free uk, true religion outlet, north face uk, coach purses, sac hermes, nike air max uk, timberland pas cher, ray ban uk, replica handbags, nike blazer pas cher, uggs outlet, lululemon canada, abercrombie and fitch uk, michael kors outlet online, burberry handbags, coach outlet store online, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet, vans pas cher, north face, ralph lauren uk

oakleyses said...

louboutin, north face outlet, nike huaraches, nike roshe run, nike air max, wedding dresses, valentino shoes, nike trainers uk, babyliss, jimmy choo outlet, instyler, ralph lauren, vans, gucci, herve leger, hermes belt, longchamp uk, hollister, baseball bats, bottega veneta, ghd hair, ferragamo shoes, north face outlet, soccer shoes, new balance shoes, hollister, reebok outlet, insanity workout, nfl jerseys, mcm handbags, beats by dre, mac cosmetics, oakley, converse outlet, p90x workout, vans outlet, ray ban, timberland boots, soccer jerseys, celine handbags, lululemon, converse, chi flat iron, giuseppe zanotti outlet, abercrombie and fitch, mont blanc pens, iphone cases, hollister clothing, asics running shoes, nike air max

oakleyses said...

marc jacobs, moncler, pandora charms, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, moncler outlet, supra shoes, canada goose jackets, pandora jewelry, moncler, thomas sabo, doudoune moncler, louis vuitton, wedding dresses, links of london, canada goose outlet, barbour, replica watches, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, canada goose uk, ugg pas cher, ugg, swarovski crystal, coach outlet, swarovski, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, moncler, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, canada goose, montre pas cher, moncler outlet, ugg uk, pandora jewelry, barbour uk, toms shoes, juicy couture outlet, hollister, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, lancel, louis vuitton, canada goose, karen millen uk, moncler, pandora uk, moncler uk