After having my heart broken many times by short-sighted Cambodians too impoverished to dream beyond their next meal, I am remarkably still hurt every time I get ripped off, robbed, or simply played. Poverty deprives good people of their ability to imagine their futures and forces them to commit shameful acts of desperation.
Thankfully, I hope I am no longer on the radar of money hungry whores, but I must confess it has made me very suspicious and skeptical anytime someone expresses any interest in my friendship.
I now laugh about it and show my friends the multiple text messages and Facebook chats I still receive from so-called friends, former students, and people I genuinely (and foolishly) trusted.
Not that it is anywhere as violating as being raped, but it is an almost taboo subject that goes unspoken out here amongst expatriates. After I broke the silence and started to talk about this, many people began to furtively come up to me and tell me, “Denny, the same thing has happened to me.”
So many people see my skin and see a foreigner, and they conclude I have a lot of money, but they do not know the reality of my life, nor do they understand why I have chosen to call Cambodia my home.