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Around The Sun: Growing Up In The Kindergarden Of God

Steve Harrison found that Cambodia was no match for Vietnam.

Donít strain another man's religion through your own prejudiced mind.

I have twice in my life experienced an extreme cultural change after travelling a short distance: going from Spain into Morocco, and from El Paso, Texas, to Juarez, Mexico.

Vietnam they say is a third world country. If that is the case, what do you call Cambodia? I have never seen so many naked children begging for scraps. The Vietnamese are a pale-skinned proud people. Cambodians are dark-skinned.

We bought a hotel in Cambodia. Mistake number one. We then made the mistake of buying a second hotel. We had a total of 65 people working for us. If I could have fored the lot of them I would have done so, with the exception of four or five.

From 1975 to 1980 Pol Pot proceeded systematically to wipe out his own people. He started with the doctors, teachers and leaders, then headed down the pecking order to those who wore glasses and could read or write. Next came anyone with anything amounting to intelligence. Finally he killed those who didn't agree with him. During his reign four million people were killed, a quarter of the country's population.

The Americans bombed the shit out of Cambodia during the Vietnam conflict. They called Cambodia and Laos ďthe other theatreĒ. God knows how many they killed. .
Then the Vietnamese invaded to end Pol Pot's reign. The Cambodians were left with a country littered with unexploded land mines, an estimated 10 million of them. Many of these mines were "discovered'' by accident.

So there you have it, a country where the average age is less than 20. Folk with grey hair are thin on the ground. A country where mature leadership was battered to death in the killing fields.

My friend Phil tells me itís like been caught up in a giant kindergarden, where people who look grown up are actually still trying to grasp the very basic fundamentals of life. Donít snatch, share what you have and donít make that little lady cry

Itís a country where the contrast between the haves and the have nots is extreme to the n'th degree.

Vietnam is a lush, tropical green land. Cambodia is dry dusty and looks as though it is in need of maintenance.


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