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
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.