Women in Cambodian Society

My English class had on average 30 people attending. That’s about as many as could be fit within the space of our classroom. Strangely enough, there was only one girl in the class, the rest were boys (of which about 10 were monks). Because class was open for anyone who wished to improve their English (this was an advanced speaker’s class), there were odd days when we had two girls in the class, but for the most part there was only one. The disproportionate gender distribution was instantly noticeable and got me curious.

View of the Classroom from the Wat Preah Prom Rath Grounds
View of the Classroom from the Wat Preah Prom Rath Grounds

Since it was not only my class that suffered from severe lack of women in comparison to men, I asked why there were hardly any girls attention the classes in Wat Preah Prom Rath Pagoda. What I was told was not a bit surprising. My students simply said that if I went to the Khmer University in Siem Reap, I would see the same ratio of women vs men. They said only about 4 girls attended the university, the rest were all boys.

I was curious why that was so I kept asking. Did Cambodian women have aversion to education or was there something else in play? The responses from my students suggested that based on Cambodian cultural and societal beliefs, the place for a woman is at home, looking after children and making her man happy. She is not to care about anything else and should always stay by the side of her man, even if he cheats on her or beats her up, which is a common treatment Cambodian women receive from their husbands.

The world has moved forward and both sexes are deemed equal in most of the world, but some countries still perceive women as the lesser of the two. Cambodia appears to be one of them. High rates of rape also suggest that many Cambodian men perceive and treat women as mere sexual objects. Sadly enough, it is socially and culturally unacceptable for a Cambodian woman to admit pre-marital sex, even if she was brutally forced into it. Because of that, most cases of rape don’t get reported and remain a burden a woman-victim is left alone to bear.

Cambodian Girls

Everybody seems to claim that Cambodian girls are very pretty, but is there any truth to that? The short answer would be “Yes” – most Cambodian girls in their 20’s are in fact beautiful and a pleasure look at, but there is a catch to it. However let’s not get ahead of ourselves and take a look at it all in order.

Photo: Beautiful Cambodian Girl
Photo: Beautiful Cambodian Girl

Cambodian Girls – The Most Beautiful in SE Asia

After having been to practically every country in SE Asia, I must in fact confirm that Cambodian girls are the most beautiful of them all. Vietnam gets a lot of buzz about the near-perfect beauty of its girls and there definitely are some ridiculously hot girls there, however they are an exception, rather than the rule. Vast majority of Vietnamese girls are not much. By walking the streets of Vietnam, you will encounter thousands of below average looking girls before a model material comes to view. When you do encounter a beautiful Vietnamese girl, she’s typically super pretty, but again, for one pretty Vietnamese girl, there are thousands of not much girls so if you think you will come to Vietnam and all those beautiful girls will come hurling from all directions on every corner, you will be disappointed.

Cambodia on the other hand is not like that. Vast majority of girls you encounter – without looking for them, by just randomly walking down any street – will be very pretty. On average, you will see many attractive girls before you see one you would consider “not much”.

Thailand seems to be the magnet for men looking for young girls, yet Thai girls are far away from anything I would call attractive. You will from time to time come by an attractive Thai girl, but they are a rare breed. Oddly enough, most Thai prostitutes come from the Isaan area because for one – there isn’t much economy there so they don’t have many options to make money, but mostly – Isaan is close to Cambodia and girls from there have that Cambodian feel which is very attractive.

Cambodia definitely wins when it come to pretty girls, even though it has nothing on Eastern European girls but that’s a whole different story.

Prettier Than They Seem

Most Cambodian girls are prettier than they seem. Many have long, raven dark hair and near each of them wears it in a silly ponytail. Since I spent most of my time in Cambodia with the locals, I was around during the everyday home-care tasks and when these girls got home and let their hair drop loose, they instantly gained two solid points on a beauty scale.

There is also something to be said about the way they dress which often takes away from how tight their bodies really look, but when you catch them with an outfit that supplements their slender figures, the only word you can think of is… perfect.

Where Is The Catch?

The conclusion is undisputable – Cambodian girls are dangerously pretty, however there is a catch. And because of that catch I would never consider marrying a Cambodian. You see, for some reason, even though Cambodian girls are in fact very pretty, they seem to deteriorate rapidly with age. You will find many ridiculously attractive girls in Cambodia, but not one half-decent looking MILF.

There is a certain age which seems to trigger sharp aging and rapid deterioration of beauty and it seems to start in a neighbourhood of some 30 years of age or so. All Cambodian girls in their 20’s are very attractive looking, but once they reach what I would call “productive age”, they lose all their beauty and turn downright butt-effin ugly. Good luck trying to spot one Cambodian woman (I’m not talking old, just not a girl anymore) who looks anything close to Cambodian university-age girls.

Think before you marry a Cambodian girl. She may be very pretty today, but how long will her beauty last?

UCare Pharmacy and Breathing Down Your Neck

It’s not only restaurants where you get a server breathing down your neck for duration of your stay as a patron. This vastly uncomfortable cultural phenomenon seems to be as omnipresent as the Tuk Tuk drivers. I went to UCare Pharmacy to take a look what they had for Athlete’s Foot ointments. UCare line of pharmacies is said to be the best in Cambodia, adhering to Western standards and selling approved and genuine health care products. Unlike many other pharmacies in Cambodia, UCare allegedly doesn’t sell fake pills which could cost you life. There have been countless cases of people getting scammed by paying for anti malarial pills and getting some fake substance that does nothing to cure this disease. Cambodia is notorious for that. UCare Pharmacy is said to be different and everything they sell is genuine.

I started to notice signs of possible Athlete’s Foot condition and thought of checking UCare out to see what they had for Athlete’s Feet. Even though UCare is more expensive than other pharmacies, they are the ones who are likely to carry this type of product and should I buy it, it would be an actual product, not some counterfeit crap.

There is UCare Pharmacy right on the opposite corner from Pub Street in Siem Reap, located directly on Sivatha Boulevard, which means it’s downtown and close to everything. So far so good, except from that “breathing down your neck” phenomenon which is so obvious throughout Cambodia. I walked in and was immediately approached by one of the girls who worked there. She asked me what I was there for and followed me around. Even though it’s pretty embarrassing to ask for it aloud, I told her I was looking for products to cure Athlete’s Foot with. Since she’s obviously never heard of this condition, she repeatedly asked what it was so I was forced to respond and repeatedly ask for Athlete’s Foot cure. It was getting more and more embarrassing by the minute.

Girl still had no clue what I was looking for, so she took me to a counter for prescription pills and went to a section where obvious prescription pills are. I told her that what I was looking for would not be there and insisted that I will take a look around their shop to see if I can spot it. To my dismay, both girl who followed me before as well as a girl who was behind the prescription counter followed me around. They were by my side on every step, “breathing down my neck” believing they are doing me a favour by being there to “answer” my questions. They were right next to me, following each and every of my steps. It was horrible.

Then when I eventually found a shelf with foot products, I crouched down to take a close look at what they had. Those two girls stood right by me overlooking my every move. At the end of the shelf I found one cream that was intended for Athlete’s Foot. I picked it up, rose up and started reading the label. Girls were there on each side standing right by me.

When you have a condition, the last thing you want is for everyone to know you have it. These girls made me feel that way. I missed good old Canadian style of shopping where everyone leaves you alone and when the time to pay comes, the cashier takes the item, scans it with cold face, puts it in the bag, takes you cash and lets you go. You don’t feel embarrassed even if it’s rather sensitive product you are buying. In Cambodia on the other hand, they follow you around, breathe down your neck until you feel every single one of your problem is publically known. It’s awful, but that’s the cultural thing that exists in this country. Ahhh well.

Important Quote That Makes Life Exciting

During the best years of my life, when I spent my time traveling and every day was exciting, I used to use this Wise Man’s Quote very often:

“The feeling I experience when I resist temptation is really nice. But the feeling I experience when I yield to it is hundred times nicer.”

It is a variation of a famous quote which says that “I would rather regret things I have done than the things I have not“. Granted, I have modified the quote to make it more usable on girls. I was young and felt attracted to girls the same way any other teenage boy is. And even though I primarily used the quote as unfailing pick up line to help me score with a girl, the quote worked in my every day life as well. For as long as I kept repeating it to myself, my life was exciting and I enjoyed every minute of it.

As I have dwindled from travelling and living an exciting life into getting a job and living a mundane life aimed at collecting possessions, I have forgotten all about the quote. As a matter of fact, even though I used to live by this quote every day, after I had switched my life around and started living the corporate lifestyle, I had not thought of it once in almost a decade.

It was not until I awakened, pulled a plug and realized I have been living in a dark for almost 10 years that the quote jumped back at me. It pushed the tears into my eyes. I did have encounters with girls during my dark days, but never once has this quote popped back into my mind. Corporate lifestyle blinded me to a point that my mind did not see what was happening around me. The moment this quote came back to me was the moment I realized that this new path I am choosing is the right path.

There’s a lot of uncertainty accompanying any major lifestyle decision, especially if it involves an extremely brave step of quitting a job in which you are well established. Not many people find this type of courage as it entails losing everything you have worked for during long years of employment. What comes after it is unclear and can go either way, but it takes brave steps to achieve big things in life and I’ve had enough mediocrity in my life for 10 years.

So here I come again. I may regret this major change in my life and the fact that I am leaving everything I have worked for behind in order to step into the unknown and travel the world, but I’d rather regret what I have done, than what I could have done but didn’t.