I volunteered in Cambodia when I was 10. Reluctantly. With my dad. It changed my life.

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 I volunteered in Cambodia when I was 10. Reluctantly. With my dad. It changed my life.

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:13 pm

Don't forget that this from a 12-year-old kid.

I volunteered in Cambodia when I was 10. Reluctantly. With my dad. It changed my life.
Soft truths to keep Singapore from stalling.
March 16, 03:57 pm
By showcasing the diversity of young voices in Singapore, these essays also discuss our collective future as a nation.

12-year-old Kieran Foo contributed an essay, “Wheels for hope”, sharing his first experience doing charity work in Cambodia. His essay is reproduced here:
By Kieran Foo

Roads….. What comes to mind when I think about roads?

For others, roads could be something they use to get to their respective locations whether by bus, by car, or simply walking. But for me, my thoughts on the word road go a long way back.

It all started when my father asked me if I wanted to go to Cambodia for a holiday.
Differences between Cambodia and Singapore

Little did I know, the main reason for going to Cambodia wasn’t to enjoy my holiday, but to help the less fortunate. At first, I was very reluctant but ultimately agreed to go.

When we reached the airport, I realised how different the airport in Cambodia was compared to ours back in Singapore. It didn’t have a luxury shop and didn’t look attractive.

When we entered the mini-van, I had planned to enjoy a relaxing ride towards the village but when the ride started, I noticed that their roads were very bumpy.

In addition, some of the roads didn’t have proper lighting for us to see.

The following day, we gathered at the school to help the students there. I got more curious and decided to ask my father why we had to do this.

The people there looked happy and were very optimistic.

My father explained to me that their lives weren’t as easy as ours. In fact, he told me that the students had to walk about 10 kilometers to reach the schools.

My heart melted. I didn’t think that people actually had those types of problems.

My father explained that this charity was supposed to help them by providing bicycles for every child.

My father was in charge of taking the pictures of the children with a certificate, with the donor’s name stated on it. I helped to distribute the certificates.

I decided that talking to them would be a great opportunity to learn more about their individual backgrounds.

Surprisingly, the students could talk to me in fluent English.

Soon, the event had ended.

I was discouraged and didn’t want to leave the school. the school children then gave me a card.

As we entered the mini-van, I decided to read the card.

Tears trickled down my eyes. I didn’t realise how this event had impacted them. This event had strongly impacted both the students and me.

From this event, I learned that even if the road might be bumpy, we should be optimistic about it and take it as a fun experience and even if it doesn’t go our way, to take it as a learning point.

Just like my friends back in Cambodia!
https://mothership.sg/2019/03/kieran-fo ... -cambodia/
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Re:  I volunteered in Cambodia when I was 10. Reluctantly. With my dad. It changed my life.

Post by TOG » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:54 am

Everything in life is relative. One should never look down on any other country and think of them as poor or illiterate, it is all relative.

I have the option of living in the UK, Singapore, Cambodia or Thailand.

I am soon to willingly give up our life in the UK, couldn't live full time in Singapore as after a few weeks I am ready to book into the local equivalent of Bedlam, couldn't live in Thailand with all of it's reporting restrictions but my wife and I are looking forward to spending our remaining days in a simpler form of life away from the "big city" and all of it's "luxuries" in Cambodia.

Luxuries to us are living in a village type environment, shopping in local markets, sitting outside at night time just talking or reading. I can easily do without the TV, internet of mobile phones.

I for one do not feel about Cambodia or other Asian countries in the way that this young boy does. In reality he is looking down on his neighbours and thinking that they want the Singapore experience rather than the Cambodian experience. Just my opinion but I find it very patronising.

This reminds me of a Baptist Pastor we listened to once back in America. He had brought over a young Filipino teenager on an exchange visit. In front of the boy and congregation he proceeded to tell everyone how poor Filipinos were, what a backward country they lived in and how Americans should do there best to educate third world countries and try to bring them up to American standards.

Just imagine how this young boy felt being insulted like this. And yes, I did make my feelings known to the Pastor and he said that he never even thought about how the boy felt, he just wanted to make his congregation understand how lucky they were not to be living in a third world country.

Never went back to that church again.
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Re:  I volunteered in Cambodia when I was 10. Reluctantly. With my dad. It changed my life.

Post by Cinnamoncat » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:31 am

TOG wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:54 am
Everything in life is relative. One should never look down on any other country and think of them as poor or illiterate, it is all relative.

I have the option of living in the UK, Singapore, Cambodia or Thailand.

I am soon to willingly give up our life in the UK, couldn't live full time in Singapore as after a few weeks I am ready to book into the local equivalent of Bedlam, couldn't live in Thailand with all of it's reporting restrictions but my wife and I are looking forward to spending our remaining days in a simpler form of life away from the "big city" and all of it's "luxuries" in Cambodia.

Luxuries to us are living in a village type environment, shopping in local markets, sitting outside at night time just talking or reading. I can easily do without the TV, internet of mobile phones.

I for one do not feel about Cambodia or other Asian countries in the way that this young boy does. In reality he is looking down on his neighbours and thinking that they want the Singapore experience rather than the Cambodian experience. Just my opinion but I find it very patronising.

This reminds me of a Baptist Pastor we listened to once back in America. He had brought over a young Filipino teenager on an exchange visit. In front of the boy and congregation he proceeded to tell everyone how poor Filipinos were, what a backward country they lived in and how Americans should do there best to educate third world countries and try to bring them up to American standards.

Just imagine how this young boy felt being insulted like this. And yes, I did make my feelings known to the Pastor and he said that he never even thought about how the boy felt, he just wanted to make his congregation understand how lucky they were not to be living in a third world country.

Never went back to that church again.
Easy to criticize this kid's observations from your adult point of view, isn't it?

Some of those Khmer kids might actually want donated bicycles so they don't have to ride 10 k. to school. It's fine to sit on the porch of your Khmer village home and chit chat about "yourself," and how nice that you can afford a house. How remarkable you even have the choice to live in all of those places you mentioned. Not everyone has that choice.

I find it patronizing to criticize a 12-year-old kid's words. It's like fighting a smaller person. Might be easy, but who would do it?
"Love and Loss in Cambodia: a memoir" available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578537788
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Re:  I volunteered in Cambodia when I was 10. Reluctantly. With my dad. It changed my life.

Post by TOG » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:12 pm

Cinnamoncat wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:31 am

Easy to criticize this kid's observations from your adult point of view, isn't it?

Some of those Khmer kids might actually want donated bicycles so they don't have to ride 10 k. to school. It's fine to sit on the porch of your Khmer village home and chit chat about "yourself," and how nice that you can afford a house. How remarkable you even have the choice to live in all of those places you mentioned. Not everyone has that choice.

I find it patronizing to criticize a 12-year-old kid's words. It's like fighting a smaller person. Might be easy, but who would do it?
You obviously have never lived in Singapore or met and talked with Singaporean children. They are brought up to act and feel superior to all countries around them.

I notice you did not comment on the Baptist Pastor (Berryville Baptist Church 1998) either.

NGOs and do gooders cause more damage than actual good. Nearly all of the NGOs I have met (and that is a lot in different African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries) are in that field of work to make themselves feel good rather than actually helping. I could quote you chapter and verse on how many NGOs live and the sort of salaries they are on. Do gooders mean well but with the majority, they are simply trying to make themselves feel better.

Again, in my opinion, all this father and son have done is to make these village children want for things their parents cannot afford. They are shown a different way of life and told it is superior to the one they live.

That is patronising.
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