Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dirt Poor & Filthy Rich

Dirt Poor
Filthy Rich

Sunday's early morning start was our 4th in a row and it was taking its toll on us. But we had to travel 30km through dusty roads into the countryside where COSI Orphanage was. We were joining the 815am Christmas Service and IChing, my colleague, was preaching through a translator. It was good to leave the chaotic traffic and bustling commerce of PP and enter into another world of open skies, vast rice fields and rural villages. As usual, it was great to be so warmly welcomed by the kids and our COSI team, who went a day earlier.

About 100 people came including many village VIPs. They were all dressed up in their "finest" Khmer clothes, though their poverty was quite apparent in so many ways. Their kids came too as they were - scruffy and raggy but excited about joining our celebration of God's gift to mankind through Jesus. Another afternoon service was organised this time in the compound of a Khmer friend's home. It was simple and hot but once again, about 50 people came. It was a special time but the Cambodian 34c heat was melting all of us and we were glad to return to our aircon hotel in PP.

We were kindly invited for dinner by a Cambodian friend who spent 6 months in Singapore. A late model black Mercedes S320 with glitzy chrome 20" wheels came to get us. This statement of opulence belonged to a friend's friend whose family runs a tour business. As our party was too big, some of us travelled in a humble mbike Tuk Tuk - who had to fill up its empty tank with $2 of petrol.

If ever there is a place where $ can get you anything, it must be Cambodia. I learnt from the 22 yo owner of the S320 that the rich can pay their way out of any trouble - which explained how she parked indiscriminately on a busy road to buy us expensive durians. Even a gun can legally be obtained with the right connections and right price. Driving the dusty black "Make way I'm rich" statement on 4 wheels, it commanded power and respect that even the ever opportunistic police will think twice about stopping anyone of this bourgeois class.

A country of contrast indeed between the many poor and the elite rich. But rich or poor, the heat, dust and dirt falls on all without favor or discrimination...

1 comment:

PencilDot said...

This reminds me of a story. A rich dad and son from the city visit the house a poor family in a village.......return home from the visit the father ask the son how he find the trip (or something like that)... son said that that family is actually very rich. While they have small pool in their house, they have a huge pond to swim.... while they have a small backyard to play, they have a huge green field and forest behind the house to play.....