Thoughts on Foreigners
I have been living in Cambodia 19 years – all my life. My country is located in mainland South-east Asia, having a border with Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the gulf of Thailand. 181,035 kilometers square for me is so small. However, the land is not large like it used to be, I still feel happy to live in my enchanted country. My country is well-known as a country with many beautiful natural and historical places. Those things attract so many foreigners from various continents. Most of them are from Vietnam, China, Korea, Laos, Thailand, U.S.A, Japan, U.K, France, and Australia.
Although I have been living in this country since I was born, I have never seen number of foreigners that come to Cambodia as many as these past few years. The first time that I met with foreigner was the time that I visited Kompong Som Province which is now named Sihanouk Ville. She was from France. At that time, she saw me and my sisters were learning how to swim, and she came over to us and offered to help teach us how to swim. At first, I didn’t feel comfortable with her since she was a foreigner, but later I started feeling more comfortable after seeing her friendly and kind behaviors.
I think foreigners are kind and friendly. They are willing to help in everything that they think they can. They don’t care much about being judged by the others. They like doing whatever they like. They are not only kind and friendly but also interested in learning everything around them like people, cultures, food and many other things when they are in foreign countries.
I love the way they dress. To be honest, T-shirt, scarf, hat, bracelets, jeans/short skirt, sandals or high top look really good on them. From what I think, those things are really comfortable for them as a tourist who likes exploring. Differ from Cambodian people who like wearing elegant clothes with expensive jewelry.
I find that they like buying souvenirs. Those little things that are sold at the markets like Toul Tom Poung, Phsar Thmey and of course night market at Siem Reap, are so beautiful. Foreigners seem so interested in those tiny little things, even me as a Cambodian also like those kind of things. What is more, I notice that most of them now know a lot about the price in Cambodia. For example, most of tuk tuk drivers likes to gain more profits from foreigners since they think that foreigners don’t know much about the real price for riding a tuk tuk. Let say the price for the riding is only about 2$ for Cambodian but almost $4 to $5 dollar for foreigners. Luckily, most of foreigners now know about this, so I find it’s hard for those drivers to get the money like they used to get from foreigners.
Foreigners love freedom. They are curious. They seem to like doing things that Cambodian people rarely do like hiking, diving, and cycling around Phnom Penh city or in Siem Reap. For those who enjoy watching the street scene love to ride a cyclo rather than tuk tuk. In fact, I notice that few of them allow a cyclo driver to sit, and they themselves drive the cyclo instead. It is one of the reason why I think foreigners like to experience new things. For Cambodian people, hiking and diving sounds dangerous but for foreigners, it sounds exciting. Foreigners love exploring natural places rather than man-made places. Unlike Cambodian people, they really like going to man-made places like super market and amusement park. About two weeks ago, I went to Siem Reap with my family. I saw many foreigners visited Angkor Wat temple. Most of them are around 20s to 30s. Most of foreigner who pay a visit in Siem Reap, try as much as they can to wake up before the dawn in order to see a beautiful sunrise behind Angkor Wat temple. Watching the sunrise is not the only thing that foreigners love to. I find that they are really in love watching the sunset also. Not only at Bakheng Mountain which is the famous place to enjoy the beautiful view of the sunset in the land of Angkor, but at Sihanouk Ville also. The big difference between them and Cambodian people is that foreigners love to spend every moment in their life doing things that they love to do. For them, exploring new places, tasting local food from various countries, hiking mountains, diving to see many colorful corals and the living things under the sea, cycling along the street, and watching the sunset are the worth experiences for them to do at least once in their lives.