The World Out Loud (Phnom Penh)

I went over to the river to exercise with all of the Khmer people. There are folks out there in large groups doing a mass kind of jazzercise and another group doing some kind of yoga deal. Hundreds of young and older folks are out there doing calisthenics and exercising on air machines. I did some pull ups and dips and called it a morning.

When I walked back inside, the girls at the restaurant were teasing me about my teeth. The one called me “rabbit” and asked if I wanted a carrot. They asked me if my teeth were natural or if I’d had them surgically altered. Apparently, some folks in Vietnam and Cambodia have their teeth surgically altered to have the same “rabbit” affect that I came by naturally. (They have their other teeth filed down which I’m told is painful as hell.)

I remember kids making fun of me in school about my teeth. Although, mine aren’t nearly as large in front as some. Those folks were teased relentlessly about their “buck” teeth.

Here in Cambodia, though, I’m told that my teeth are beautiful because of that same “rabbit” look.

And the world a strange one.

Another strange phenomenon is the white/black (tan) dynamic. Many Asian folks want to be “white,” while many European/American folks want to be tan. Khmers constantly point at my white skin and tell me “beautiful” and “I want.” Back in America, I get teased when I am really white.

The world is an odd place…and it’s cool as hell!

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