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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Helping the drunk guy

Helping the drunk guy

The Editor,

One night Sven went out with his friend and had a lot of alcoholic drinks. Around

2am they came out of the bar St Tropez, drunk. Of course this is not good, but it

happened. My friend Sven was on a motorcycle and decided to drop his friend at his

home. They arrived safely at the friend's house. From there Sven drove home, but

did not see a hole in the street and drove into the hole, lost control of his bike

and bumped into a wall on the side of the street.

It was dark. There were no lights. He was bleeding from a big wound in his arm and

he had scratches and bruises all over his body. From the moment he hit the wall,

to the moment someone dropped him off at his house, he remembers nothing.

The next morning Sven awoke to find a message that he could pick up his motorbike

at a certain address. He visited there and got his bike back. He wanted to pay the

homeowner some money, but the only thing the homeowner wanted was $5 because that's

how much he had to pay the moto-dupe to take Sven home the night before. He told

Sven they had been driving for almost two hours before they found Sven's home. They

wanted to take him to hospital but Sven had refused. This person wanted no money

at all.

Though Sven had no money at the time of his accident, he still had his watch, his

wedding ring, and other belongings. Nothing was gone.

In a country such as Cambodia, where fighting is still going on, where foreigners

are being robbed at gunpoint, where people are held hostage, where so much negative

news is published, this is a strange story.

Why did these people act in this way? Why didn't they rob Sven. Is it just humanity?

Or is the pride of helping someone still present in the Khmers? For myself as a foreigner,

I feel that I have made the right choice coming to work in Cambodia and cooperating

with the Khmers in the rehabilitation of Cambodia.

My friend and myself are hoping for some reaction from other readers. Maybe they

will know some answers. Another question: Does this act show more self-respect than

when some Khmers are robbing foreigners at gun point?

At the same time this letter is an expression of thanks to all the people who were

involved in taking care of an injured and drunk foreigner, my friend Sven. The honor

is with them.

- W. Ph. Barnaart, Khemara.

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