Adventures in East Asia

The Child Sales People of Angkor

If there's one thing that isn't on the attractions list of the world famous heritage of the Angkor temples in Cambodia, it's all the kids touting their tourist tat. It's an understandable sight for a country that thrives on tourism and whose local people have livelihoods to uphold.


I found it to be equally heartbreaking and admirable at the same time. Heartbreaking because these kids should be at school but instead face the daily, difficult task of selling to nonchalant tourists who were also sometimes rude to them.


The kids didn't seem to have a choice as their parents rope them in to make a living. Our guide tells us that only those who can afford the fees send their kids to school in Siem Reap.


On the other hand, I really admired the children as some went about their jobs with a beaming smile and a sales technique to outsmart a 419 scammer. Really, you have to hear one of these kids answer every rebuff with a polite answer that can only make you smile. And if you're busy, they will sometimes hover politely in the background waiting for an opportunity to strike.


Life was clearly not easy for the children, but not once did I see one beg for money. I find it extraordinary that they were at least trying to work for their money and sometimes, I really think visitors to Cambodian should appreciate that.




Our initial days around the ancient Angkor temples were spent trying to avoid these children but in the end, we broke and came away a few packs too many of postcards and fridge magnets.

This entry posted in : Cambodia. Culture.

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