I Lost My Recorder in Phnom Penh

Something was so bizarre and inexplicable. Only if you want to listen to me now, I’ll tell :-(. I lost a recorder worth of $120 in the throng of people who strolled out the park near Wat Phnom to celebrate the success of Preah Vihear listed as a World Heritage site. More than just a loss of something quite valuable, I found a more profound thing that erased sadness and anger from my mind but left a lesson for the day.
Getting together with a few friends, we stopped our bikes at a hotel along the riverside and decided to walk to the park. Walking past the Big Market, I spotted night family life, the life that I could see at night, but not in the afternoon. Along the muddy smelly dark pavement, in front of the big market, a few cottages were installed. To me, those were poor people’s houses at night where they could relax and forget their suffering during the day.
I saw a mother cradling and breastfeeding her baby on a bed with a mosquito net still hung on, waiting to be put down as soon as it got darker. Next to the mother and baby, another family was telling their life story nonverbally. A child was scribbling into a piece of paper, placed on the chest of the father who was lying down next to his wife. He was attentively looking at his daughter and the paper, smiling down at her. He might be wondering what she was doing and what she would become, in years. The lamp they had shed light on where they were communicating silently. I could not see with my eyes, but heart.
I walked on without soul because all my thoughts were on the scene I saw. Everything else paled into insignificance now. I still kept that in mind though I reached the park. Trying to get past to see the stage closer, I stopped and felt that my bag was moving. Some people were pushing behind me. I let a small girl go stand before me and decided to let the other young older girl in too.
I saw her face become pale when I put my hand on her left shoulder and gently pushed her in. She didn’t seem she wanted to. I suddenly felt my bag and found two zippers opened. I knew immediately that I was going to lose something. I am always known as an unorganized person. Always! I thought this time I was stupid and I should have always been careful and alert at the beginning. My mother always blamed me for being so peaceful with anything that smells a rat.
“What a peaceful thought you think,” my mother says to me. This is a world some people might think there are only winners and losers in. I don’t think that I lost too much of something yet I gained something else that I was flabbergasted I got. I am just like the same person who lived the other day. If you allow me to ask questions, I wanted to ask the girl how she would deal with her future life. $120 is going to be spent very soon.
Life would be the same for her. Will she use it to take drugs or do something useful? I’m afraid her life was like something I expected. Money is a piece of paper, which, though you work so hard to earn, can be very vulnerable and fragile. I am not imposing an idea that we should not work hard for a living. Much more than that, life is susceptible to more vulnerability.

2 thoughts on “I Lost My Recorder in Phnom Penh”

  1. My empathy goes to all the street people but there’s not much things other people can do to help in term of housing [no one would prepare to take them in and state doesn’t have any public housing to accommodate any of them] or daily living needs.

    Your mum is right when mentioned that this is the world where some think that they are the winners and some is the loser. Our social fabric and individual caring and tolerance are hardly existed in today society. Everyone of us has different view and therefore tends to have different approaches, thought about other.


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