Most people ride a moped in the capital, Phnom Penh. The Cambodians transport almost anything you can imagine on their mopeds. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the latest models. Some parts have already been patched up several times and don’t exactly look trustworthy.
Traffic lights are more used for decorative purposes, because they have very nice colors: green and red. The meaning of this color was probably never really conveyed to road users. One-way streets are annoying, what are they for? And in the roundabout it is sometimes faster in the wrong direction, why not?
Life in floating villages
There is a huge lake in Cambodia called Tonle Sap. Not only is it the largest lake in the country, but the whole of Southeast Asia according to ehotelat. Incidentally, the lake changes its direction of flow twice a year. During the rainy seasonthis lake is ten times as big as in the dry season and then it is already quite big. A lot of people live on this lake and they live here in floating villages. Here people don’t have a moped or even a car, but a boat. Nothing works without a boat, you can’t visit your friends, go shopping or go to school. Many families have a small boat that they can use to get around. And the children are already learning to drive. By the way, the school is also in the water, how else? There is a school for the younger children and one for the slightly older children.
The people live in very poor conditions. The houses are small and most of the time you can’t stand in them, but have to crawl on the ground to move around. Everything is done on the water.
Many people make a living from fishing. The fish is then processed and sold. But unfortunately the lake is already overfished. As a result, an important livelihood for the people there is threatened. Another problem is that many dams are now being built. However, the land is watered by the flooding from the lake. If the water is missing, also because it is held back by dams, the rice will no longer thrive.
Life in a floating village
In Cambodia, most of the people follow the teachings of the Buddha. And after the Buddhist, tradition should everyone experience once in his life how monks live. The best time is seen after school and before starting work. It is very honorable for the family when their sons enter a monastery, if only for a short time, and live like monks. A part of the monk’s merits can be transferred to the parents. For many poor families, admission to the monastery is the only way to give their sons a little education with them. There they learn not only the Buddhist teachings, but also science, math and English. Even ten-year-olds enter the monastery here. The children visit the monastery for a few months, but the period can extend over several years.
On the day on which the young men enter the monastery, this is celebrated with a big festival. This also includes shearing your hair and eyebrows. If you see photos of monks, they are almost always bald. This ritual shows that the monk turns away from everything worldly and that includes vanity.
But there is no shame in leaving the monastery again. The Cambodians believe that the knowledge they have acquired and the experiences of monastic life also have a positive impact on the future of young people. Anyone who has ever been a monk enjoys a high reputation in society.
Monastic life is no picnic
But you have to obey the strict rules of monastery life and that’s not that easy. Monks are only allowed to eat once a day and after twelve o’clock only drink and not eat anything. There are a total of 227 rules. Some of them are: do not lie or steal, do not sleep in a soft bed, do not wear jewelry, do not dance, listen to music, have nothing but clothes, etc. Monks have to get up early. They collect alms, pray, and have lunch. The rest of the day they have to study or read religious texts or do important work in the monastery.
What about the girls?
Do girls also go to a monastery or are they not allowed to do so at all? The Buddha also allowed the establishment of nunneries, but was of the opinion that life in the monastery was too hard for women. Women in the monastery are the exception rather than the rule. But they also exist, sometimes women in old age spend their lives in the monastery. They can then be recognized by the white clothes they wear.