Without comment, but completely in the character and tone of voice of Thomas Friedman (he who possesses the Mustache of Understanding), I begin in media res in the back of a Taxi, where a taxi driver asks me my opinion of Cambodia’s development. (this stuff writes itself, I’m just holding back the funny parts). I respond, and a brief but illuminating discussion follows, full of bizarre and inappropriate metaphors that lead me to conclude something something i have neoliberal critiques but think everything is going as well as possible.
Extract from the above section:
As he began to speak about development, I could feel a bead of sweat moving through my mustache. I begin to feel precisely how this hard-working neo-liberal citizen of Cambodia’s future felt. I understood him.”
Second Vignette, but this time in three different tuk-tuks going to karaoke, dance, and hostess bars. What is development in this discussion? I respond, and a brief but illuminating discussion follows, full of bizarre and inappropriate metaphors that lead me to conclude Cambodian culture something something i have neoliberal critiques but think everything is going as well as possible.
Third Vignette, but this time on a dark road just outside Anlong Veng in 2001. Tone drastically changed to simple reportage. I walk alone back in the dark toward the large Australian dominated NGO center where I’ve shacked up for a few days. It seems like the old man keeps changing his trajectory to intersect with me as he and I move towards each other in the dark. As I pass, he looks up roughly two-thirds of a meter, straight into my eyes, and says “Joi Mae.”