No Better Place for New Year

Its already 9 pm …


After school, I decided to stop by at a small night inn and got something to eat. It was a wet night in midst of the rainy season. I found a nice place for that. There were tables arranged, and you can find all kinds of fruits and dessert displaying in the food counter. I orderd a mixed fruit juice, and two eggs. It was raining lightly, though the weather had become like a cold winter night. 


I enjoyed the night food, watching as cars and people come across. Then I noticed something… of all the food sellers, there are women. I saw this old lady, alone, sitting in front of her food carriage with her hands busy slicing the meat and bread. And also the dessert seller is a young woman, perhaps even high schooler, along with her mother and sister. Then I would ask myself, “Where are their husband and son?”


Taking another look at the old lady, I could have the feeling she resembles my mother in terms of appearance. My mother, thought healthy, has quite a record of some illnesses. From my eyes, I can understand that this old lady is probably having the same, if not all, sort of health problems. But what is she here all along in this wet night? How much does she earn per night to give her the courage to be here at this time of the day? What if her health started to go wrong? What if there’s criminal or gangsters challenge for her money? Who would help her? 


Life has exerted so much pressures that everyone needs to spare more time in order to make a living. These women might be enjoying their business, but they are also dedicating all of their works to their family. Working at nightime has never been a wish to everyone, as we come to understand the nature of human that we all need to rest when the sun sets. Then there is something, some storiest in their night quest when they decide to come here and do all these things. Such a love of the mother, a wife and sister, is so strong that they take the high risk of challenging the dark.


I’ve seen another similar stories in my daily life. I remembered back when I was travelling, I stopped by a traffic light, and I spotted three men. There is an old man, perhaps in his 60s, sitting half-naked, with only a pant. I know he is a bike’s tired repairer. The other middle-age man, have his motorbike parked nearby, and it seems he is a motor taxi driver. And then the youngest man, he has some items near his feet, and I could tell that he’s a street merchant. There would be nothing special about them, but then, all of sudden, they all took out their food box and began to eat in front of the whole public, as if they are sitting in their dining room and no one else is there. The two younger men would not be a good case, but the older man is such a case. Again I asked myself “Where are all his children? Why are they leaving him behind like this? What kind of responsibility does he has that make him endure all of these things?”


During my trip to Kep, Kampot, I stopped by a place to buy some fruits. In my car there were 4 people, and 3 of them went out to bargain the price. They were arguing the price by stating that the fruit is not really in good state. Then, a very old lady, perhaps in her 70s, spoke out “They are all good fruit. I’m old and I don’t lie”. I assumed she was a family of the fruit seller. I didn’t care much about her presence. But while my car’s window is still opened, she approached, and offered me her “baked bean” … “Please help buy some! 1 pack for 500riel only. I’ve got no children and grandchildren, this is my only way of living.” I was actually stunned for 5 secs. She was holding 2 packs, then I handed her 1000 riel without even knowing it. She kept smiling and thanked me… and walked away… alone. Then I came to realize… SHIT! I should have bought more… she’s not the fruit seller’s family. Well! She could not be found after that, then I drove back to Phnom Penh. 


Tonight I attended a wedding party at Koh Pich, and I was shown to all-gentlemen table. Sitting next to me, is a soldier. He always push me to drink some wine, which I accepted. We drank, but we did not talk much. However, near the end, he began to converse more seriously, asking where I work. I told him about my company, and then he said “I knew, this is not appropriate to say. But I have a son, he just graduated from NUM and he is looking for a job. I just hope that if your company is recruiting new staff, I hope that you can let my son know and get him to apply. May I give you my number so that you can contact me?” . At first I was hestitated. But then I took out my phone and wrote down his number. To me, if this is the best thing a father can do for his son, then I would gladly help.


When I kept on thinking, I turned back to myself. “Then what am I doing? isn’t my parent supposed to be waiting?” Of course they do. Surely, my family is awaiting my return eagerly.


New Year is coming, and I believe that we’ve got someone who is waiting for us to visit them, or hope that we will spend time with them. Such an ocassion must not be allowed to fade away without certain devotion. As a filial and faithful, would you rather be somewhere else, and let your family face the wind of change alone? If there is something you can do, what would you do for them, as a gift for a new year? 



P.S: I am not trying to challenge you guys about your new year plan. I just want to raise some awareness. A card, a call or a small gift would do IMO. These little things count, and make them count.


Last of all, Happy New Year all, be better than last year. ^^ 


30th Dec 2011

Phnom Penh


Chhaly Samsokrith


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