A Curious Discourse in Cambodia

Attended a casual philosophy talk on Political Correctness with regard to Feminism yesterday and am urged to share a story from Cambodia. This is the most misogynistic act I’ve experienced so far in life. Considering what women are subjected to everyday, I feel quite lucky this is my worst experience and grateful for the people in my life who are clearly not misogynists.

I am in Siem Reap with my (then) boyfriend traveling, doing the touristy stuff. One day, we get up at 5am to see the sun rise over Angkor Wat. We hire a tuk tuk driver and a tour guide for the day for convenience, but more importantly to get educated on the history of the amazing temples. We meet up with the tuk tuk driver and the guide outside the hotel, agree on our destination, and climb into the tuk tuk. I and my boyfriend seated on one side and the tour guide seated facing us. I look at the tuk tuk driver and politely ask “I don’t believe we asked your name. What is your name?” He replies “I go by Vuth” and turns to my boyfriend to ask his name. In a usual discourse, he would have said: “I go by Vuth, and what is yours?”, then turn to my boyfriend and ask his name. Either this (what I think is a usual) discourse is not really usual in Cambodia or my name was not of interest to Vuth. And I can’t recall if he ever asked my name that day.

This was a one-time, harmless incident, but it was still eye-opening and frustrating. I made a point of getting (and did get) the most out of Vuth’s knowledge on Cambodian history and we had some interesting discussions about the Pol Pot regime and its consequences.

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