Live from Cambodia!

Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 22 November, Sunday, 7.15pm.

Here for work. Cambodians like their long breaks. 1 hour of discussion, 45 min coffee break. Then discussion resumes, and then lunch break for 2 ½ hours. After an hour of discussion, coffee break lagi. 30 min this time. But I’m Bruneian, who am I to complain? We’re not exactly known for our punctuality or time-efficiency. But there really is a lot of long breaks here. I don’t normally write about other countries, but having seen its horrific history I feel compelled to project something positive about this nation in real time. Cambodia is a very poor country, but the people really do make up for their lack of wealth with their warm and generous hospitality, they have a very big heart indeed. For coffee we were offered four types of local sweets.

Sweet sticky rice with Santan

Clear kanji with lotus paste filling, wrapped in banana leaf

They’re not too dissimilar from Bruneian sweets either in taste or appearance. It’s just interesting that our humble foods are the same, but our fates couldn’t have been more different. Cambodians are not just resilient, but they are also a very forgiving people, completely unencumbered by the weight of their history, it seems. I wish them the best always. And we should count our blessings.

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