As an American tourist and guest in Cambodia, I have seen and experienced
more of Cambodia and its people than I have in the US. I have seen a good cross section
of various lifestyles and provinces from the North (Battambang, Siem Reap) to the
In my observance, Cambodia is moving forward in positive fashion in spite of the
horrific years behind it. The Cambodian wounds run deep, but I see the stamina and
compassion that many Cambodians possess which will only lead to a productive and
peaceful country. It is also encouraging to see the concern and interaction of other
nations who are involved in helping to support the rebuilding of the infrastructure.
My friends and I had lunch in Phnom Penh at the Ponlork Restaurant, which over looks
the Tonle Sap river front. Very impressive! Great food, beautiful view, and wonderful
conversation with friends. What more could one desire?
As we finished our fine cuisine, one friend said, "Turn and look behind you".
There sat three Caucasians one table away with four or more young female restaurant
employees taking turns giving massages to these men in front of other customers.
They told the girls their names were Tom, Dick and Harry, with other inappropriate
My friends and I did not feel their behavior was appropriate. It was my belief that
the Caucasian men were more sophisticated and possessed more class than what was
demonstrated at their table.
Phnom Penh has many massage facilities throughout the town. The restaurant was not
the place for such behavior.
Should the young Cambodian women have been allowed by restaurant management to be
patronized in this fashion? We feel that not only do we need to help the women build
self-esteem and dignity for themselves, but we also need to educate the foreign Caucasian
men that the Cambodian women are to be respected not used for the personal needs
of the Caucasian men.
With the many changes that have taken place in Cambodia, I expected more respect
Please continue lifting the standards of the persona of the Cambodian women. The
Cambodian women that I have met during my stay all appear to possess the intelligence
and the desire to make great strides for themselves. They do not deserve to be used,
mistreated or exploited by anyone.
Keep on making the great strides for a greater Cambodia. Blessings to you all!