Siem Reap at night- a warning
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Oct 10, 2013 6:46 AM Last Post By: sanityclause
Apr 11, 2013 1:56 AM
Siem Reap at night- a warningI am really surprised by Siem Reap at night. Pub Street is horrendous and there are loads of very aggressive beggars, who are actually scammers. They use the line "I don't want money I want food" and physically grab hold of you and try to drag you in to a specific shop, which I assume is the point of the scam. There are about 4 adults and about 8 children (including babies) who use the same line. Also they seem to have taken a couple of people down a very dark alleyway at the side of the shop- I have no idea what is going on there.
One of the children has a little routine of cartwheeling along the street when no-one is watching then looking pathetic and starving when a target comes past. I understand people need to eat but this is so obviously a scam it's ridiculous. Luckily we didn't fall for it, although I was targetted 4 times on the first night here.
There are some lovely little alleyways with great restaurants but the town has really been ruined for me. Its a very weird place to be at night.
Apr 11, 2013 4:56 AM
1How about the begging women with babies hanging out at the supermarkets/mini-marts? They will not ask for money, but for you to buy them some powdered formula for their baby. You go in and buy them the formula, and once you've handed it to them and are on your way, they will go into the store and sell it back. The stores as well as the police are in on this common scam, and people keep fallign for it. Tourists need to be warned. I tried having Canby Publications write something up on this for their visitors guide, but they have done nothing...
Apr 11, 2013 5:15 AM
Apr 11, 2013 5:28 AM
3You are right, there are a lot of beggars around Pub Street, but walking forward without making eye contact or giving a curt "ought-tey" usually does the trick. From the sounds of it (correct me if I'm wrong), you slipped up and gave a beggar money at some point and then were made a target– the fact that you differentiate between "scammers" and "beggars" suggests that you think it is okay to give to beggars in some situations. Never do that in Cambodia! Millions of Cambodians who do not beg live on a dollar a day or less, while a beggar can stand to make much more than that in a good day of begging. That's why they do it.
Apr 11, 2013 9:06 AM
4No I didn't give money to anyone which makes me sad , if someone is genuinely hungry I will buy them food. It was just so obvious by the practised words they used it was a scam, and we watched them for about an hour. They were extremely aggressive, and were clearly associated with a mini market at the end of pub street ( I won't name it but I could do).
Apr 12, 2013 3:56 AM
5I completely agree with Hanno & Serotrance, which kicked up the following quote from a biographer of Chekhov's houses. Her name is Janet Malcolm
" Our homes are where the action is; they are where the riches of our
experience are distributed...Only when faced with one of the
inevitable minor hardships of travel do we break out of the trance of
tourism and again feel the sharp savor of the real.:
It is this sharp savor of the reality of third world poverty that so disconcerts those who live more comfortably in their bourgeois existence back home. Those who beg present no life threatening danger, rather the righteous indignation of middle class posters stems from the conflict of their sheltered existence at home in contrast with the harsh reality of poverty. Of course, it is a scam and if you were condemned to exist on next to nothing a day you would hustle too. By the way the statement " Millions of Cambodians who do not beg live on a dollar a day or less"is completely ludicrous. I have lived in this country for 16 years, 10 of them in a remote rural village and no one can exist on that imagined figure. You view this experience as an inconvenience to your comfortable existence at home which you expect to see perpetuated in a third world country. Lose the righteous indignation and your mania and replace it with insight. It is only a minor hardship of travel with which you should be able to deal with more gracefully.
In short you have come to a country where a huge percentage of the population is in the bondage of poverty and some of the ways the uneducated people use to break out of it aren't too pretty. That's why Cambodians risk their lives illegally crossing the border into Thailand or Laos to illegally harvest valuable timber or why country girls go to Phnom Penh to engage in prostitution...Gee, Toto, I guess we're not in Kansas anymor
Apr 13, 2013 4:11 PM
6" I tried having Canby Publications write something up on this for their visitors guide, but they have done nothing.
You must be crestfallen that they would have the audacity to ignore a "Destination Expert" from Trip Adiser. Please post there where the Australian audience holds you in esteem. You have great advice for upper class hotels, restaurants, and bus schedules, but unfortunately you're no expert on Cambodian culture.
Oct 6, 2013 7:03 PM
7I applaud you (sanityclause) for your objectivity and generous perspective to the people of this nation.
But like cocodrilo, there are many people who do not understand the anthropology of the society and make judgements based on what they knew within their own world.
It takes a lot to be able see through the eyes of the culture within the Khmer society. After all, no man stands taller than one who kneels down to help a child. Or in retrospect, kneels down to see life at ground level.
Thank you for speaking up righteously. You have earned my respect.
Oct 7, 2013 1:08 AM
8Alfredchan, I've no doubt that your respect is well worth having. I have nothing but disdain for those who come to Cambodian to chase their petty manias of comfort and coddling (at a cheaper price than in their home country) oblivious to the fact that they are perpetuating a corrupt system of no benefit or value to the impoverished of this country. They survived Pol Pot, they will survive addle brained tourists for they are a resilient people.
Oct 7, 2013 2:30 AM
Oct 8, 2013 2:40 PM
10But like cocodrilo, there are many people who do not understand the anthropology of the society and make judgements based on what they knew within their own world.
What is this rubbish? I am a regular visitor to Cambodia as I support an NGO there. A beggar is a beggar and people shoudln't be falling for this ridiculous scam. Go wax philosphical on another forum, where newbies may be interested to hear what you have to say.
Oct 8, 2013 4:49 PM
11It is quite apparent that from the positive responses that I have received here that you are quite wrong. Stay on tripadvisor.com where pampered visitors to Cambodia are afraid that confronting poverty may ruin their vacation. Those of us who look for real solutions and who LIVE here are not interested in visitors who slap band aids (support NGOs) on social wounds that enrich the doctors (NGOs again) and are ineffective in treating the patient. By the way, our family helps support a village comprised of people who are hardly newbies. I have seen the tenor of your posts, you are just a tourist dumbqualified to address social issues. Really stick to your other forum where other frequent visitors who speak no or limited Cambodian will confuse your righteous indignation with social responsibility.
"a begger is a begger" like all tautologies one must say that truer words were never spoken. Here is the part you overlook-
a begger is also a human being.
Edited by: sanityclause committee head to stamp out inanities.
Oct 10, 2013 3:23 AM
Oct 10, 2013 6:46 AM
13Thank you very much for allowing me to choose whom to support. My main objection is that you are overlooking the real causes of poverty. OK, you help students, so do I. I teach English to village kids who otherwise would have to learn English from unqualified Cambodian instructors. Stick with tripadvisor where you are falsely recognized as a "destination expert." You know nothing about social problems and third world conditions. You are applying a bourgois approach to a third world problem. So, kick a begger for Jesus.
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