Bummer, Batman.

No sooner do I think I’m making a friend who’s also a foreigner than my hopes and dreams are dashed– by that very person, no less.

The seemingly cool South African girl turned out to be awfully similar to many of the other foreigners with whom I’ve found myself in conversations. The only difference was that she didn’t try to veil her disdain for Cambodians. With her tongue out in a grimace, she told me today, “Oh my God, I would never date a Khmer guy!” Umm, yeah… Me, either? I didn’t burst her bubble. Actually, I was speechless. She started to go on about going out with some other teachers for a “fling” tomorrow evening, and invited me to go (first I’d heard of it, clearly I’m not popular with that crowd), and told me how there would be “lamb on a spit” at which point she again made that disgusted tongue-out face. (I didn’t realize South Africans were this sheltered…? Lamb-on-spit = barbaric?)

Maybe back in the States I would have been like, “As it happens, my boyfriend is Khmer. Twit.” But evidently Cambodia has brainwashed me too much in the ways of “face loss”; I didn’t say anything, because to have done so would have made her lose serious face. Instead I just laughed along with her jokes, even as she described how she planned to break up the long-distance relationship of one of our supervisors because “he’s got a hot face”. Said supervisor is Khmer, by the way. Either she was putting on a show for me because she assumes that’s what I expect because so many other foreigners implicitly or explicitly express as much (Khmer = Other = gross/bad/pitiful/whatever), or she is inherently repulsed by the idea of such a relationship because her culture tells her to be yet can’t help the fact that she might genuinely be attracted to this person, anyway.

Whatever the case, I think I made a hasty decision in exchanging numbers with her. >_< Maybe the easiest way to go about this is just to let her find out I’m a radical and she’ll run away screaming…?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Bummer, Batman.

  1. Patrick

    =( That’s definitely a bummer!

    Why do people even go somewhere like Cambodia if they’re just going to look down on the people?

    In other news, I made a wordpress blog for my visual anthropology class, so now you can read all of my half-baked ideas about visual anthropology!

    Cheer!

    • You know, that’s a good question. I’ve often wondered that, myself. Especially when she was mocking the beggar children that roam around near her market (“‘Madam, buy book, madam’ Like, is that the only English you know?!”); I didn’t know how to react to that. Don’t they have beggars in South Africa? We’ve got ’em in the “richest country in the world”, and generally most people I know don’t take enjoyment from their misery. >_<

  2. Heather Carey

    UGH! If it makes you feel any better, South African’s are not generally known for their openness and acceptance of other cultures. However, if this girl is in Cambodia teaching English, you would think she would know that it’s generally best not to bite the hand that feeds…. Just goes to show, Ignorance knows no borders.

    • Other people have pointed that out, too, about South Africans. Good point, though, about not biting the hand that feeds… Who knows, it might come back on her down the road.

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