Topic: Wood #1

What I call TOPICS are different aspects of Cambodia life and culture that I think deserve a fuller treatment than just one post on this page.  Topics will have their own pages and the posts here will point to those pages.  This is the start of a Topic treatment about wood in Cambodia, a commodity that is the focus of a lot of society and is much in the news.  Click here to go to the main page about WOOD.

“Take an IV and call me in the morning….”

Just like aspirin used to be the one-size-fits-all medicine for the United States so an intravenous injection is the cure-all in Cambodia.  If a person goes to a doctor or a clinic and doesn’t get an IV, he/she feels like he’s wasted his money.  Need it or not, you’re SUPPOSED to get an IV!  People will go to a pharmacy and get an IV and administer it to themselves at home.  Here a family returns from a doctor visit for a (not visible) infant the mother is holding and like good parents they make sure the baby gets his IV on the way home!

“You want a straw with that?”

Here’s a truck loaded with about a gazillion straws.  It’s part of the culture here—probably because of an assumption that nothing you drink from is hygienic–that every drink is served with a straw.  You buy a Coke in a bottle, you get a straw.  You get an iced tea in a restaurant, you get a straw.  You order a glass of milk, a straw comes with it.  You buy a canned soft drink, a straw.  You buy a fresh coconut on the street, you get a straw.  This same truck loads up at the same shop 3, 4, 5 times a week.  They would put more on the truck but notice they are just now under the mass of wires above the load.

Serving Up Hard Cash

The Democratic Republic of North Korea is a mess.  That is no secret.  The regime there has to scramble to keep their elite well fed and produce nuclear weapons.  One of the strategies is setting up North Korean restaurants around the world, in sympathetic countries.  This is one of them in Siem Reap.  The restaurants all follow the same model: a bevy of young, pretty North Korean women who take the orders and serve the food, and then come back near the end of the meal to perform a medley of songs.  And then all the hard cash goes back to Pyongyang.