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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Vietnamese in Cambodia in 2017:
Video shows a group bringing rice and instant noodles to indigent Vietnamese in Cambodia. The floating school had five unsalaried teachers, and all the kids weren't just taught for free, but fed three times a day. The founder of this school, Trần Văn Tư, came to Cambodia in 1976, returned to Vietnam in 1989, then came back to Cambodia in 2006 to start this school.
Although Trần Văn Tư is dead, the school is still there, with a strictly Vietnamese curriculum.
When I asked the Siem Reap noodle seller about this, she said, "They don't need to study Cambodian because they hardly ever go on land, and don't know any Cambodian. They're not going to befriend or marry Cambodians, and no one wants to marry them anyway!"
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In 2010 I was in a tour group from Saigon to Cambodia and one of the attractions was a visit by boat to those Vietnamese fishing villages along the edge of the Tonle Sap Lake. On the boat, the tour group carried with them boxes of instant noodles. And as the tourist boat approached the villages, the charity show began. Groups of villagers, many of them children, frantically swam toward our boat. Then the boat engine stopped, and the tour guide instructed his tourists, mainly Vietnamese, to toss packages of noodles into the water and the villagers lurched for the packages, grabbed them, fighting among themselves. More and more packages of noodles were thrown into the water. It was a feeding frenzy. It was exactly like someone was feeding the hungry fish in a fish tank! My heart sank at the sight and said WTF are you doing and I took the boxes of noodles and threw them all into the water, effectively ending the feeding frenzy. People looked at me with wide eyes when their entertainment abruptly ended but had no objection. The tour guide was silent.
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