Travelers… what are you doing?!

I might sound like a judgmental asshole and I am not sorry about it…

Looking at travelers (backpackers) just make me a bit “sad”. It seems like many of them traveling half way across the globe just to get drunk and shag? Wasted half of next day being tired, feeling sleepy (and sleeping), hangover, headache? A bit of sight seeing? A bit of shopping? Seriously…really?!!! You can do those shit back at home!!! I mean, yeah you did contribute to the economy of the country and the locals by spending money but what’s the contribution to yourselves? Is there anything you learn? Any valuable, priceless life-lesson experience? Any spiritual growth? I wonder…

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A drunk backpacker @ Perhentian Island, MY

Hats off to few of travelers that I met and befriended with that volunteer(ed) as a teacher (English & Mathematics), as an animal keeper (orangutan, elephant, ostrich, etc), as NGO staff (for saving kids from child prostitution, human trafficking, orphanages, etc). You guys rocks! Not only you guys helping those unfortunate but also I believe it open your eyes to be more a grateful and kind human being. Let’s do this again!!!

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Unfortunate kids working hard for the better tomorrow in Battambang, Cambodia

I am not any better but in years of traveling I don’t think I ever getting fucking drunk every single fucking night? I love sex, yes I do but I did not have sex every single fucking night. Hell yeah I love drugs too but I did not go around high and dry. LOL! And I am proud to tell (a story about me) that I saved a girl from a pedophile (in Siem Reap), helped enroll a prostitute back to school (in Chiang Mai), taught kids to grow sustainable plants and cook (in Battambang), educate young women on safe sex education in order to prevent STIs/AIDS (in Sihanoukville), and many more…

Stop being a drunkards kids! Help yourself by helping others. WHILE YOU CAN.

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My Story : A Prostitute Named Sarah

2012. The first time when I was in Chiang Mai, I got kicked out (with Pablo, from Spain) from A Little Bird Hostel after 2 nights there because we smoked weed and made lots of noise pollution by strumming the guitar and singing during broad day light, at noon to be specific, and just 5 meters away from the grumpy receptionist at the reception area. LOL! Well, let’s not go there. That’s not what I want to babbling about here right now. I wanna talk about my experience with a then-prostitute named Leng during my second visit to Chiang Mai. Kindly put away all the dirty mind away from your brain because this life-story has got nothing to do with sex. Cheers!
I met Leng when me and another backpackers from my hostel visited Zoey Bar. It was crazy. There were so many prostitutes roaming around hunting for their preys which normally a white dudes a.k.a walking-ATM-machines. I just sat by the bar and people-watching. It was fun though. Some of them were lucky enough to get young, good looking guy. Some just have to satisfied with fat, bald, dirty-old-man. Some of the clients were sober but most are drunkards. Heh!!!
While busy people-watching, suddenly a young lady approached and say “Hi” to me. She is kinda pretty and sexy. And the conversations begun:-
Her: I no mood tonight. I don’t want to do business tonight. I hate it. Drink with me? I buy you drink, ok?
Me: Well, OK. Jagerbomb then.
(And then she ordered 4 fucking jagerbomb in Thai language from the bartender. 2 for her, 2 for me. Awesome)
Her: Are you from Hawaii?
Me: (Laughed out loud). No! No! From nowhere and my name is Anita. How about you?
Her: Leng. My name is Leng. But my business name is Sarah.
Me: Business name?
Her: Yeah. Dirty business. Selling my body. I’m a prostitute. Still want to talk to me?
Me: I am not in a position to judge anyone. We can talk, if you still want to talk.
Her: Thank you. I am just tired. Day time have to work, night time have to open my legs.
She looked really depressed. We talked a bit but the whole environment just wasn’t that right for a so-called serious conversation. The music was getting louder and the crowd getting bigger and insane. I asked her if she has to work tomorrow during day time ?  She said no. I gave her my number and ask her to meet me 2pm at McDonalds. She was so happy (I don’t know why?!), she hugged me and thanked me. Oh wow!
So I met her the next day, as promised. She wasn’t as sexy as last night. With loose straight-cut jeans, long-sleeves t-shirt, a pair of trainers and light make-up, I almost unable to recognize her until she smiles. We were having our McD lunch together and having a quite heavy conversation at the same time.
According to Leng, she have a good job, a decent job during day time. She work as a admin personal in a good office but her salary is not enough to feed her elderly mom and sick dad and she also have 5 younger brothers and sisters to feed. All of them still in school. She doesn’t want any of them to quit study to just because they pity her. She doesn’t want any of them to be like her. She believe in good education will helps to change the life of her family. She turned into prostitution 1 and a half year ago when one of her sibling been accepted into local university but the scholarship received was not enough.
Why prostitution? According to Leng, she could get another job as a cashier or bartender or waitress during night time but it gonna take lots of time (as she have to work in a office during day time, and she loves her decent career) and the pay was shit to cover 8 of them. She has tried and all she got is exhausted-ness. Meanwhile, being a prostitute, an educated English-speaking prostitute like her, she only have to spend 2-3 hours per night with her customers and receives quite a handsome amount of money (if accumulate those money) that not only able to feed the whole family with good meals but a bit of luxury such as TV, washing machine, bed, etc and most important, on-going treatment and medication for her parents.
Then I asked her, for how long she wanna be like that? She said “until no one wants me anymore” and I saw tears from her eyes. I asked her, if there is one thing she likes that she could swap with prostitution? “Tailoring! But I don’t know how to.” I asked her again, will she really going to stop prostituting if she know how to tailor? “Why not? It is a decent job, decent business. One day, I want to have a boyfriend, have a family. I don’t want my dark past to haunt me. I also want to be dependent and not cling on my husband all the time. Sharing responsibilities is good for making a good family”. I nod. Understood.
I asked her if there is any private tailor or dress-making school in Chiang Mai and she nod. We left McD and took a tuktuk to Ratchamanka Street to Uangdoi Design (a tailoring school). After listening to the explanation on the course of studies, duration of studies and  the fees, I did not think too much or too far. I asked her to sign-up and agree to pay for the whole course. Well, that time I was pretty loaded and have no financial problems at all, so for few hundreds bucks, it wasn’t even a big deal at all. She cried a lot when she signed up for the 12-months part-time (8 months for full time) course.
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Me: Promise me, save up money to buy a modern sewing machine and once you graduate, stop selling yourself. You are good girl. I have faith in you.
Leng: I promise! I promise! I will never let you down.
Me: Not me. I want you not to let yourself down. Have a fresh start in one year. You have to update me with your progress. You don’t have to pay me back. I don’t want that. When I visit you again someday, you have to make me a nice dress. Deal?
Leng: Deal! (She hugged me and cried, non-stop).
The reason why I write this story is because recently Leng sent me an email and her graduation picture (sorry, I couldn’t share it here as I want to protect her identity and I don’t want people to know her as a prostitute anymore) and told me that she going to start her tailoring business (at night) soon but will keep her day job. So she will have 2 incomes and more time spend at home to look after her folks and siblings.  Congratulations Leng. I am proud of you.
**Although I am broke now, I am happy that I’d help when I was still capable of doing so and I did.
We kept in touch until 2014 and I guess it was my fault that I was a little bit too busy traveling around that “pushed” her away. I never heard from her since July 2014. I went back to Chiang Mai in March 2015 and tried to find her but she no where to be found 😦 I did asked around and nothing. But Leng, wherever you are, whatever you do, I wish all the good life.

Teaching English In Vietnam : Warning! If You’re NOT white, forget about it…

With the salary range between $18-$35 per hour, who isn’t attracted to such lucrative money offered especially when one going to have plenty of time for themselves before or after working hours to hang out and party with friends like normal travelers? But sadly, the door as an English Teacher is not open to everyone in these 5 countries – Vietnam, China, South Korea, Thailand & Japan – unless you are white. Yes, you read me right, UNLESS YOU ARE WHITE. If you are an Asian like me or any other coloured people, well, the chances to secure a job as an English teacher like our fellow (white) travelers are almost zero no matter how good your English is. You (non-white) might get this so-called “dream job for travelers”, depends on your luck but the payment most likely to be way lower than those whites or what they (the locals) call as a “native speakers”. You’ll probably get $10-$18 per hour.
If you look for English teaching opportunity in Vietnam or the other 4 countries via internet – Google, craigslist, Facebook, etc.; you’ll notice how common these advertisers stated in their advertisement that one of the requirements is you must be a “native speaker”. Asians or any coloured people who were born in Australia, Canada, United States, Great Britain, New Zealand and holding respective country’s passport… hold your excitement! Don’t get too excited because for them, “native speakers” are persons with white skin, blue/grey/hazel/green eyes, brunette/red/blonde hair. That’s native speakers in their perspective.  Well, sometimes you don’t have to be from those “native speakers” country. As long as you have all the physical traits that fit into their requirements, doesn’t matter if you are from France, Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain or any other part of the world and your English accent is neither American nor British accents, still OK. Some of the ESL centers will still hire you.
Some of us (Asians and other coloured people) have way much better qualifications (i.e. Bachelor degrees, Masters, CELTA, etc.) compared to the whites but because of us not being white, we don’t get the same opportunity given to the them. Some of the white English teachers that I met here in Hanoi, they only have high school certificate/diploma qualifications and some online-exam (for teaching English) certificate.  Where is the justice here? Well, I am not blaming the whites, I am not racist. I blame the ESL centers, the schools and their managements, and the parents of the students that so insists native speakers must be a white guy/lady with blue/grey/hazel/green eyes, brunette/red/blonde hairs.
I was kicked and blocked from Facebook group called “Hanoi Massive” for bringing up this issue which up to today I didn’t understand WHY? The reason why I brought up this issue was because I really resent this kind of practice which most of us know is a NO-NO almost everywhere in this world. This is for me – RACISM. Some of the people that responded to my post in that group even asked me “the Vietnamese are idealist. Do you want to learn Mandarin from a dark Indian guy?” I guess he must be a person who probably managed to get 30 hours per week teaching job and unable to see this racism because he never had to face it. For me, if that person is highly capable, able to interact and make the class interesting for me (or any other students) to learn Mandarin, WHY NOT? And to be honest, I learnt my Mandarin from a Malay teacher when I was a kid, just for a year. She is brown, not what you call “yellow” like typical Chinese. She got big round black eyes, not small Oriental eyes like typical Chinese. And my Mandarin, I would say is fairly well although I am now pretty old. Well, not old but well, in my 30’s. So that guy’s argument is INVALID.
I also used to work in one of the ESL centers in Hanoi for a good 2 months until one day the manager of the center told me that they have to terminate my service. I asked him why? Because my students like me and they did well in the class so I couldn’t see any problem there. He said “because the parents of your pupils found out that you are not white.” Baffled. Gobsmacked. Speechless. It also remind me back in 2012 when I went for an interview in Chiang Mai. Spent (or should I use the word WASTED) 20 minutes of my life for an interview, being praised for being such a good, energetic, likeable, highly capable person, bla bla bla yadda yadda (all the positive traits) and finally told me despite having all that traits in me, the school was unable to hire me because I am not white. Well, that was exactly what the principal of that school told me – BECAUSE I AM NOT WHITE. It was like a big slap on my face. Super slap.
One funny part, one of the schools that I went for an interview here in Hanoi told me that they would like to hire me if I’d bleach my hair to brunette, wear a coloured contact lenses and get a rhinoplasty (cosmetic surgery to fix my button nose). I was like “whatttttttt?” Oh my. Thanks but NO THANKS!
Seriously ESL Centres in Vietnam (and China/Japan/South Korea/Thailand)… Why are you guys so racist?  I hope these racist ESL centres realize that teaching capabilities is not about any particular race as there’s no such thing as this race is supreme or better than the other race or from one to another. Or else, Mr. Barrack Obama wouldn’t be President of United States of America and all of us know that he is African-American, Ms. Penny Wong (she is from Malaysian-Chinese background) wouldn’t be a Senator for South Australia, Mr. Philipp Rosler (he is from Vietnamese background) wouldn’t be a Cabinet Minister in Germany and many more examples. If the Western world is able to open their door, the higher positions and lots of other opportunities to people from different background, I hope these five countries will do the same.
Bitter? Yes I am.
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(me with my kids from one out of  my 4 classes, back in July 2014 @ HaDong, HaNoi)
P/S: Well, my English probably is not perfect (because I grew up learning 3 languages – English, Malay & Mandarin) but personally I think I am not bad at all and I do not need a perfect grammar or any bombastic words to teach kindergarten or primary school levels. Plus, to be honest, I saw so many whites that made simple mistakes too like you’re/your, than/then, doesn’t/don’t, etc. LOL!

My Story : Street Brawl With A Pedo In Siem Reap

It was back in August 2012 in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Almost 3am and people slowly dispersed from the famous backpackers’ heaven – Pub Street. I am one of them, alone and drunk. So I walked out from Angkor What?! bar and down the street, like 10 meters away from the bar, I saw an old man (not so old but old enough) hugging a little girl that selling roses along the Pub Street, forcefully. The girl was like trying to get away from his grip. I came nearby them and told that man “dude, she is just a little girl, let her go.” And he told me to fuck off so I just fucked off. After walked about 20-30 meters away, I overheard the girl screaming on top of her lung, I turned around and I saw the man’s hand already under her knee-length skirt. Surprisingly no one cares about that. No one stop the man. No one come to help the girl. Not a single traveler that roamed that street, not even a local. That pissed me off. I walked back, walked really fast and landed my fist on that man nose.
And everything began from there. Really ugly. His nose was bleeding really bad, broken. He punched me hard on my face, straight to my mouth and crooked my front tooth. My mouth bleeding really bad as well. I totally have no idea where else I hit him but one thing for sure, I broke his nose and his dislocated his jaw. Oh well… And the street brawling kept on going and no one care but it didn’t took that long before two police men came and grabbed me and him and threw us in a separate police mini-truck and straight to the cell. Shit.
In the police station, we were placed in different lock-up next to each other. Not sharing with any other inmates tho. And we still kept on screaming to each other until the police officer on duty told us to shut up and told us that we have to wait until the representative from respective embassy come and “rescue” us. 5:30am and I was pretty weak, sleepy and in pain.
6:20am and the police officer on duty came near to my cell and released me. I was like “why?!” and outside of the police station, I saw that girl and one old man (her uncle) talk to another police officer. The girl saw me, smiled and the first word that came out from her mouth was “thank you miss for saving me”.
I asked the police officer on how about that paedophile? He said, it not gonna be easy for him. “You might easily bribes the police in Cambodia for drugs, traffic or small offences but when comes to sex offence especially related to kids, no, he’ll be there a little bit longer”.
The rest of it … history…
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Note: Sadly in Cambodia, child prostitution happens because it is one of the poorest country in the world. It is much disturbing when you realize the pimp of those unfortunate child prostitute are their ownn flesh and blood (father or mother or even both). I used to work with an NGO that dealing with (saving) children that involve in child prostitution so I begging you… any of you (especially male, of course) that going to Cambodia, please have mercy to these kids. They are just tiny little girls that know nothing, they don’t even know their body yet. If you feel “sorry” for them, just buy whatever they offers you (roses, bracelets, chewing gums, etc) but if they ask you a creepy questions like “do you wanna sleep with me?”, look around carefully, they might under their pimp surveillance. Alert authority if must.
Thank you.

Photo Recieved : From UK Back To Vang Vieng, Laos

After months, Sash from UK sent me a picture of me with others (dorm mates from Easy Go  Backpackers Hostel) in Vang Vieng having dinner together. Miss the moment!
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Actually it reminds me how relax is the whole situation, environment in Laos. No rushing. Everything was really slow and laid back. Even at the restaurant, the set-up really encourage you to be even lazier than ever. LOL!
Oh, not sure about now but in Vang Vieng, everywhere you go, almost every restaurant will put on either Friends or Family Guy on the TV. Kindda annoying after days there. Haha!

Friendship Locked!

I met Mark, the young English boy, again almost a month after Vang Vieng, Laos. When I was in Vang Vieng, we never really talked much as he was so busy working as a bar-whore! LOL! He lost his passport few days before he have to fly back to England. Pity. But sorted out.
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Also met John (UK) and Marc (Germany) during my stay at Garden Village Guesthouse. They were super fun to hang out with! Like really super fun, super crazy! We had loads of laughter teasing prostitutes and ladyboys also so-called drugs dealers who trying too hard to convince us that they having the best quality of weed, mdma, lsd, mushroom even cocaine. LOL!
You can’t really fool crazy nutcase like us eh!!!

Traveling Crush

So I met this guy in Bangkok, Thailand. We took the same bus (mini van) off to Siem Reap, Cambodia. He is pretty much a good looking dude but I didn’t talk to him as he travel together with his very pretty girlfriend. I sat right behind them and had to bear 6 hours (or so) eye-sore as they kept “making out” in that mini van. I only talked to both of them and other passengers when we stopped near the border for toilet-break and filling up visa for Cambodia.
Oh, he is oh-so handsome, cute, gorgeous… you name it. But he is taken. Well, even if he is single, what is the chances of me to get him? Zero. So, I’d only dream! LOL!
Journey continued. I lose him, his gf, Selina the Spanish girl who sat next to me in the bus, and other two passengers at the border of Thailand-Cambodia as they went to separate gate. 😦 From the border, after my passport stamped, I jumped in to the bus taking me to the bus station whereby I had to change to another bus in order to reach to Siem Reap. Alone.
I was so fucking happy when I met him again (and his gf, and Selina…too) at the bus station. And he actually saved me from being ripped off by a scammer, a so-called tourist guide.  So four of us took the same bus to Siem Reap. Another 5 hours! Again, silent. I only talked to Selina once in a while as she sat next to me. After reached Siem Reap, he and his gf when off to different way in different tuk-tuk. Me and Selina shared a same tuk-tuk heading to Garden Village Guesthouse. Since then, I thought that I will never see him again.
The sun already down the time we reached the guesthouse. So nothing much to do, just chillex in a guesthouse. The next day, I went to visit floating village which is pretty much a let-down. Expensive and not worth a single penny. At night, I went out with a CSer Sandra and Vincent for a dinner and then to the Angkor What?! bar. We met another CSer Sajit and other random people. Guess what? I met him again!!! Oh, of course with the gf.😛 But it was just a brief hi-and-bye. Then we all moved to opposite bar – Temple Bar.
In Temple Bar, I met a guy who shared the same dorm room with me – Jamie from London. Oh yeah… Jamie is quiet a good looking chap as well but he is a little bit too pretty. Hahaha!!! While having a good time with them, dancing and drinking… Suddenly, BAM! I saw him again! And this time, ALONE. No gf tagged around. He came straight to me with a smile and told me “I just broke up with my gf! Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla….” I didn’t know how to react. Should I be happy or should I just take advantage? LOL! Oh, then he told me that his name is Louit, Louie, Louite or whatever but people called him Louis. He is from London. I got 2 Londoners with me!
So yeah… we danced, we had shot after shot until only left 3 of us. I lose Sandra, Vincet, Sajit and others. 3 of us pretty much smashed, hammered, shit faced, wasted… whatever you wanna call it. But we still wanna have fun and we went to this HipHop Club. We KISSED in that dodgy club! Almost 5 am, we took a tuk-tuk to my place. Both Jamie and Louis couldn’t think straight and not remember where they stay. I couldn’t bring back them or one of them to my room as I stayed in a dorm room. So I get a tuk-tuk driver to sent both of them to their own place… and that was it. The end of the fun night and I never seen him again after that and I moved to Sihanoukville, Cambodia 2 days after that.
I actually kindda fall into him since I saw him in Bangkok. I don’t know why but I really am. And that night in Siem Reap with him (and Jamie, of course) was a good one and will stay as part of good memory in my life. It is actually kind of heartache that making me nuts because after more than 2/3 weeks, I still thinking of him and I really hope that I will meet him again someday, somewhere, somehow… Alone, for sure.
This is what gonna happen when you never bother to get one’s contact number or facebook or email when you know that you gonna go apart. And this is what happened to me. Sad. And since I don’t really know his name or any other bit information about him, google does not helping me at all 😦
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