TO SERVE AND PROTECT

I was walking through the ruins of Angkor Wat.  I rode a rickshaw out from Siem Reap.  The Cambodians use U.S. dollars as their currency.  They use their own currency the riel as change for a dollar.

 

I was ending up with fistfuls of riels.  Everyone was anxious to give them away.  They couldn’t get rid of them fast enough.  I was like what am I supposed to do with all this useless currency?  I only need so many bills for souvenirs.

 

Finally, I figured out what to do with the riels at Angkor Wat.  There was a plethora of Buddhists monks burning incense and meditating in the ruins.  They had their plates out to accept any offerings from those seeking spiritual guidance.  I started giving Cambodian monks globs of their own currency back.  You should have seen the dirty looks I was getting.  They don’t want their own bills.

 

I might have been a bit too proud of myself.  I got approached by a Cambodian in a uniform flashing a badge at me.  He is chastising me.  Apparently, he is unhappy with me for walking on the grass.  I don’t see any signs in Khmer or English stating to stay off the grass.  I noticed numerous other people doing as well.  I stop to listen as he is wearing a uniform and waving a badge at me.

 

First he is making like I shouldn’t be on the grass. I apologize but complain that there are no signs indicating to stay off the grass.  Then suddenly he is offering to sell me his badge for 20 U.S. dollars.  I’m simultaneously being threatened with a fine and offered a sale.

 

I’m being conned and shaken down by a Cambodian police officer.  He is indicating that he could fine me but is offering me to buy his badge.  I end up giving him 10 dollars for the badge.  I wasn’t sure if it was real or not.  But I was remembering a passage in a Lonely Planet tour guide on Cambodia.  It included a line that Cambodian police are not there to serve and protect.  I learned first hand how true that was.

 

 

 

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allets's picture

The Change Over

The new US currency is in demand. Another shake down. Desperate people in desperate times because the corruption is first and the people last. I'm sorry that happened to you. - sc