Memoirs of a Nobody in Cambodia.

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Re: Memoirs of a Nobody in Cambodia.

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly »

Author’s note! I’m a recovering drug addict and past criminal. I haven’t had any form of drugs except tobacco and alcohol in fifteen years, and I’ve not been engaged in criminal activity for twenty. I’m not this guy. This guy doesn’t exist any more.

Image
American Express and others financed two years in SEA for me.

The Traveler Cheque Scam

Standing at the front of the bus before a handful of shabby backpackers draped in their new overpriced gleaming trinkets bought on their recent trip to Khao San Road , I inhaled deeply and prepared to humiliate myself. Completely broke I’d now have to beg to get from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh on yet another run from Thailand. The situation I found myself in wasn’t my fault - but then none of them ever were, were they?

The Thai immigration officer flicked pages of my passport back and forth, the corner of his mouth twisted and sucking grabs of air as he went. He looked at me, looked back at my visa stamp then back at me before walking to the rear of the rusty tin shack that was Thailand’s immigration post on the southern border separating the country from Cambodia. Another immigration officer laden in far more silver and brass returned.

“You stay long time.” He says.

“Yes, but it’s OK because I have a sixty day visa.”

“No. Only thirty.” The immigration officer smiled broadly then held my passport up to my face for inspection. Shit. It was only thirty. I squirmed on the half ounce of weed and ball of opium up my ass.

I’d been lazy. Where so many times I’d flown into Thailand and checked to make sure the immigration officer had stamped the entitled sixty day visa into passport, this time I hadn’t. A four week overstay was going to cost me - it was going to cost me a lot! It cost me every every bit of cash I had bar a Cambodian visa on arrival fee.

I cleared my throat loudly a couple of times and the rag tag bunch of hippies turned in their bus seats and looked at me. I thought to myself, This lot haven't got ten bucks between them…

“Hi, sorry to trouble you. I’ve had a visa overstay problem in Thailand and don’t have any money to get to Phnom Penh where I’ll have a Western Union transfer waiting for me. I was hoping someone would be kind enough to lend me a few dollars for the bus ticket and a room tonight. Of course I’ll return the money with interest tomorrow.”

And then one after another every single person started reaching into their pockets. One German guy saw everyone doing so and spoke. “No, no. I do it. I give him then he can pay back just me.” The German walked up to me and handed me twenty dollars.

The truth was I didn’t have a Western Union transfer waiting for me, I actually had three thousand Australian dollars in travelers cheques, but they were bad cheques. I’d just pulled my first traveler cheque scam and didn’t have the balls to cash the bad ones in Trat - I’d have no choice in Phnom Penh.

The Traveler Cheque Scam


It’s simple. You buy an amount of travelers cheques, let’s say $3000 worth, then a few days later report them stolen. You pick up your replaced cheques from the bank, and now you have six grand. The cashing of the bad cheques has its risks, obviously.

My method of cashing the bad cheques had two rules.

1. Never burn the bad cheques at a bank as their methods of communication was far quicker with the cheque issuers than a travel agency or mom and pop money changer, giving you plenty of time to get out. This was at a time when internet essentially didn’t exist, but telexes did.

2. Always drop the bad cheques just before leaving the country - literally hours before. You didn’t want to be hanging around with the chance of bumping into those you’ve just cashed bad cheques with.

Getting replacement cheques from American Express and Thomas Cook the first time you claimed was simple; notify them of your lost cheques with the seriel numbers then get a police report detailing the bogus theft. Present the police report at the bank you collect the replacement cheque from. Simple.

The second time you pull the scam American Express etc ask a lot more questions, are more difficult to deal with and take their time replacing them. The third time you pull the scam you’ve got a fifty fifty chance of getting them if you’ve claimed recently. After two years of pulling the scam between American Express and Thomas Cook I didn’t bother any more.

I got to Phnom Penh and took a room at Capitol. I was still twitchy about cashing the bad money so decide to head over to lakeside and sell some dope to the backpackers. You could tell backpackers the dope was hand pressed by fifteen year old blind Afhgani prostitutes that lived in tin sheds on the river in Phnom Penh and they’d believe you. They were easy money.
Last edited by Kung-fu Hillbilly on Sat May 30, 2020 2:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Memoirs of a Nobody in Cambodia.

Post by Foreigner »

If the conman, swindler, thief, drug trafficker and drug pusher doesn't exist any more, does that mean that someone other than the OP wrote these stories ?
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Re: Memoirs of a Nobody in Cambodia.

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly »

Foreigner wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 1:53 pm If the conman, swindler, thief, drug trafficker and drug pusher doesn't exist any more, does that mean that someone other than the OP wrote these stories ?
The memories exist of that life, my way through it these days has changed dramatically. I could care less if you believe I've plagiarized or not actually experienced what I've written. Many members know I've written about my life's events in Asia on CEO and on other forums over many years.

Some of us have actually lead interesting, if not sometimes foolish, lives.
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Re: Memoirs of a Nobody in Cambodia.

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Kung-fu Hillbilly wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 2:01 pm
Foreigner wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 1:53 pm If the conman, swindler, thief, drug trafficker and drug pusher doesn't exist any more, does that mean that someone other than the OP wrote these stories ?
The memories exist of that life, my way through it these days has changed dramatically. I could care less if you believe I've plagiarize or not actually experienced what I've written. Many members know I've written about my life's events in Asia on CEO and on other forums over many years.

Some of us have actually lead interesting, if not sometimes foolish, lives.
I'm not suggesting you plagerised. They are quite nicely written anecdotes. I have a few of my own from my early travels (a lot later than you started travelling), and I see no reason to suspect that you didn't write these ones.

Everyone does what they needs to to get by I suppose, and although I'm not condoning your past actions, I'm certainly not against people having the opportunity to earn the errors of their ways. I also think that the travellers cheque thing must have taken balls, and I can see the buzz in doing it.

I'm just pointing out though that you're saying that the guy who was the criminal no longer exists, but at the same time saying that the guy who wrote the stories is still you. Isn't that a bit of a tricky distinction to justify ? You seem to be romanticising your 'former self' in some respects, but distancing yourself from him in others.

How can the storyteller be you, but the criminal someone who doesn't exist any more ?
Last edited by Foreigner on Sat May 30, 2020 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Memoirs of a Nobody in Cambodia.

Post by Brody »

This 'Foreigner' chap is reminiscent of that twit of a poster, 'Anthony's Weiner'.............

.......I hope I'm wrong.
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Re: Memoirs of a Nobody in Cambodia.

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly »

Foreigner wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 2:09 pm
Kung-fu Hillbilly wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 2:01 pm
Foreigner wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 1:53 pm If the conman, swindler, thief, drug trafficker and drug pusher doesn't exist any more, does that mean that someone other than the OP wrote these stories ?
The memories exist of that life, my way through it these days has changed dramatically. I could care less if you believe I've plagiarize or not actually experienced what I've written. Many members know I've written about my life's events in Asia on CEO and on other forums over many years.

Some of us have actually lead interesting, if not sometimes foolish, lives.
I'm just pointing out though that you're saying that the guy who was the criminal no longer exists, but at the same time saying that the guy who wrote the stories is still you. Isn't that a bit of a tricky distinction to justify ? You seem to be romanticising your 'former self' in some respects, but distancing yourself from him in others.
I wouldn't have thought it a difficult concept to understand. Have you never heard people say "I'm not the person I used to be? People change, but just because their moral values are different doesn't mean their memories or existence has vanished..
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Re: Memoirs of a Nobody in Cambodia.

Post by Foreigner »

Kung-fu Hillbilly wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 2:16 pm
Foreigner wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 2:09 pm
Kung-fu Hillbilly wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 2:01 pm
Foreigner wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 1:53 pm If the conman, swindler, thief, drug trafficker and drug pusher doesn't exist any more, does that mean that someone other than the OP wrote these stories ?
The memories exist of that life, my way through it these days has changed dramatically. I could care less if you believe I've plagiarize or not actually experienced what I've written. Many members know I've written about my life's events in Asia on CEO and on other forums over many years.

Some of us have actually lead interesting, if not sometimes foolish, lives.
I'm just pointing out though that you're saying that the guy who was the criminal no longer exists, but at the same time saying that the guy who wrote the stories is still you. Isn't that a bit of a tricky distinction to justify ? You seem to be romanticising your 'former self' in some respects, but distancing yourself from him in others.
I wouldn't have thought it a difficult concept to understand. Have you never heard people say "I'm not the person I used to be? People change, but just because their moral values are different doesn't mean their memories or existence has vanished..
So you wrote the stories after the cheques/drugs guy ceased to exist ? ("I’m not this guy. This guy doesn’t exist any more.")

Your stories are written about a former self ? I got the idea that the stories were written when the cheques/drugs guy was still around. Maybe i'd got the wrong end of the stick.

Anyway, well done for sorting yourself out.
Last edited by Foreigner on Sat May 30, 2020 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Memoirs of a Nobody in Cambodia.

Post by newkidontheblock »

My parents still sends me traveler’s checks. And the issuing bank gives me a hard time (same bank, different branch) when I cash them.
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Re: Memoirs of a Nobody in Cambodia.

Post by Foreigner »

newkidontheblock wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 2:26 pm My parents still sends me traveler’s checks. And the issuing bank gives me a hard time (same bank, different branch) when I cash them.
But at least you have the security of knowing that the guy who was responsible for your troubles, also has an ability to write in fairly decently constructed sentences, and a tendency to portray the non-criminal aspects of his past behaviour in a romantic light whilst distancing himself from the criminal aspects of his past behaviour. That must be reassuring.
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Re: Memoirs of a Nobody in Cambodia.

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly »

Foreigner wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 2:48 pm
newkidontheblock wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 2:26 pm My parents still sends me traveler’s checks. And the issuing bank gives me a hard time (same bank, different branch) when I cash them.
But at least you have the security of knowing that the guy who was responsible for your troubles, also has an ability to write in fairly decently constructed sentences, and a tendency to portray the non-criminal aspects of his past behaviour in a romantic light whilst distancing himself from the criminal aspects of his past behaviour. That must be reassuring.
Trust me, Foreigner, you can't shame me anywhere near the amount I've shamed myself, or make me feel any guiltier than therapy, rehab and self reflection has. Your holier-than-thou posts indicate you're still quite young with a little to learn so I'll leave you with it and look forward to the contributions of a morally superior man.
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