This is a true story written by one of my friends, Mixsell.
Edited by Ney Sométa.
After that day, I’ve thought about the girl’s situation. I thought about what my parents told me when I was a kid. They said, “Do not go anywhere alone even with a few friends of yours, or some drug addicts will kidnap you.”
It’s true even today. But why do they do that?
As the matter-of-fact, those drug addicts kidnap any unprotected kids in Cambodia to Thai’s border, and then they will make the kids become beggars in there to earn money for them. Before becoming beggars, those kids are converted to real homeless children first.
How are those kids converted?
Some part of their bodies will get cut or taken away to be real handicaps, so then when the travelers or villagers see the blind, mute, legless or armless kids, they will give the kids some money to show their sympathy. However, the money will be taken by drug addicts.
The kids are not only converted to be beggars, but prostitutes, thieves, murderers and drug dealers.
For this reason, I always look at street children as the missing kids in Cambodia.
I saw a skinny girl. She looked like one of the kids who live on the street. She was begging anyone around her for a little amount of money or a piece of bread, but no one cared to give her what she asked for. One of the men just told her to get lost. She could say nothing back. She could just leave that place and roam along the way.
I walked slowly after her without thinking why I would do that. I saw her teardrops on her left arm. She didn’t even care to dry her tears. Suddenly, she stopped and sat down in front of the bakery store. She put her both hands on her stomach. Then I fumbled my pocket. I could find only a few cents. It was enough to buy 2 pieces of bread. I looked at my money then looked at her. She understood that I was about to give it to her, so she snatched the money from my hand and ran into the bakery happily.
One of my friends called my name and asked me why I would be there. My eyes were still focused on the girl, and then I told my friend that there was a girl with a black hair. My friend asked me what happened, but I just told her that, “Nothing, I just saw a skinny girl.” Then we both came back to where we were before.
In fact, the government and the police try to eradicate drug dealers, users and all those kinds of criminals. However, the crime still happens every five minutes. Why? Because it’s not only one person who commits the crime, that’s why. Those drug businesses spread like a fatal disease all over the country, especial in the cities and the country’s boundary.
Can you cure it? Not really, but at least this disease won’t kill the whole country because the law and justice’s stuff still exist. Thus, if you’re flying under the radar, you might be okay, but if you show yourself as a goddess of drugs, the prison will be calling for your visit.
Then what does that supposed to mean?
Let me give you a hint:
Any others question for this penalty?
You might ask, “Why no one cares to be aware?”
Well, the answer is, “Who cares? Who wants to be a hero in this idiotic messed up world? We all just try to live our lives. We’ve got enough problems to care about. We only live a life time and then it’s done…”
In reality, not everybody will answer you like this unless they are your relatives, friends or someone who trusts you because people don’t want to be so sincere that others can judge them.
Why don’t people do something to stop those guys who are doing drugs?
Well, who wants to mess with them? You might visit the museum of hell if you try to put your hands on others’ businesses, especially the drug addicts. The only thing that you can do is to stock all the information and make sure it won’t spit out. You have to learn how to shut up and watch. Keep your hands away from others’ noses. Besides, some people will roll their eyes if you talk about social issues in Cambodia.
Some people might give you this advice, “Do not try to stop the train when it’s coming or you’ll get hit.”
For example, if you see someone in the corner inhaling the smoke of drug from a bottle and he/she noticed you looking at her/him, you’d get a nice conversation like this one, “What the hell are you looking at? Got a problem?” this is only a nice start. If that person is not in a good mood, you’d be thrown or kicked.
This is not what you want to get in the early morning before school starts. So, the common movement for you to cope this is to be blind or pretend like there’s nothing happens behind you.
But why can’t you call the cop then?
“What? Talking about the police? 117,118 and 119? Well, you can call them but they never come in time. Don’t you see in the movie? The cops always appear when everything’s over. Besides, those drug addicts are not someone I know. Those criminals got their parents, if even the parents ignore them, why should I care?”
A lot of people might use this quote to say to you when they feel depressed. Maybe after you got your feedback more than three times, you might not want to be a social savior anymore. Later, when the same question comes to you, you might yell back, “Why is it always me to be aware? What about others? If they don’t care, then neither do I.”
It’s not like people don’t want to be heroes. Of course they don’t like to be a man in a cage, but in the real world, not everything is the same as it seems. Nothing really works out well.
One of my Bangladeshi friends read my previous stories and she was like, “You kind of know a lot of things about drug addiction in your country, but I couldn’t imagine why you wouldn’t do something about it.”
Then I asked her, “Like what?”
“You know, call the cops or maybe if even you know about this then maybe a lot of people know this and maybe the cops might notice that, right?” She asked me thinking.
“Well, you can say that. That’s their job to know what’s going on.”
“Did they do something?” She asked.
“I’ll tell you in my next post.” I said.
Here it goes. Did people do something—?
See that girl? Well, the story is not about her. It’s about the shirt that she’s wearing.
This shirt along with a matching hat including 10,000 riel (Cambodian currency equals to $ 2.5) were given to anyone who joined the conference about a demonstration against drugs and disease in an organization in Phnom Penh.
The organization provided this t-shirt because of the quote on its back which was written in Khmer (Cambodian language) means, “Is drug controlling your lives?
For the sake of your health, prevent HIV/AIDs or Hepatitis, Do Not use the same injector together!
Our lives! Our societies! NO DRUG!”
It sounds weird to me, to be honest. Nonetheless, it’s obvious that people know about this kind of stuff and some of them have tried to increase awareness. What about me? What could I do for this issue? Well, I used to join those kinds of conferences when I was in high school. However, the main purpose was to get the t-shirt, the hat and the money. Pretty bad, huh? But I’m not afraid to tell the truth. In fact, half of the students or people who joined those conferences had the same purpose like me.
What about the organization? Did they notice that? Of course yes, but why do they still establish the conferences? Because they hope that at least a few of us will realize sooner or later what we should really do about this issue. It’s a fifty-fifty chance opportunity. They were right about that because I’ve changed my mind. I knew I was wrong because I didn’t know how serious it could be. I was just a high school kid hanging around and messing around. Fortunately, it’s never too late to step back and think it all over. People make mistakes every day. It’s okay to make a mistake, but it’s not okay to make the same mistake over and over again.
Thus, I would like to request a realization from people like the old me to step back and think whether it’s better to be selfish or a little selfless.
Most teenagers in Cambodia know about it. Well, as people are improving day by day, they intend to experience every new thing as much as they can. Similarly to drug selling and buying, people seem to gain more knowledge about the special taste of it. However, Cambodians still prefer feeling instead of thinking. They like what they like and eat what they’ve eaten. In the same manner, they do drugs which they have done before. In this case, I will introduce the 3 main types of drugs which are popular in Cambodia.
Let start from Yaba. It’s very popular for teenagers or I can say that high school kids like to taste it because it looks familiar with soft taste and it sounds cool.
The second one is Glue. It is one kind of drugs that is cheaper than others. Glue is often used by street children. It’s easier for them to get it because it’s easy for them to steal. It’s easy to be stolen because it’s a box of glue like a box of milk unlike Yaba that is a type of pill which people only take it out of their pocket only when they want to taste it or share it.
The third one is Heroine. It is rarely available unless you have a business appointment along with a big pocket of bucks ($). It’s like an honorable drug to shoot in Cambodia. Well, at least it sounds like it. Some teenagers who think that they are old enough to taste something more interesting, exciting and even stronger than normal drugs, they would buy a hammer to break their parents’ lockers to take the money and then be a rich guy buying fancy drug.
For that I say to them, “Try Yaba if you want to find out who you are, Smell the Glue when you’re lost in the real world, Shoot Heroine if you want to show the whole world the man that you really are. Then go back to your mama, LOSER!”