The photo below is of musician/poet Chris Minko and his daughter. If Minko, an extremely well-known and highly respected figure in Cambodia, has this problem, what about the rest of us? Me, for example – my daughter is half-Asian.
The article is:
Sexpat Stereotype Takes Toll on Daughters and Fathers
PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – After listening to diners at the table next to hers speculate about how her father had found “such a young prostitute,” Anya Minko snapped. “He’s my dad, you perverts!” she yelled.
Anya is half-Thai. Her father, Chris Minko, is white.
In Phnom Penh, a city renowned for sex tourism and almost weekly pedophilia scandals, many people are swift to connect the dots when they see a middle-aged white man with a young girl of Asian descent. Sex tourists are so common that the term “sexpat” is commonly used throughout Southeast Asia.
“We’re victims of this sexpat cliché,” Ms. Minko said. “You can tell from the way people look at you. You’re eating peacefully with your dad, and you see people whispering and staring at you.”
Sometimes the criticism is subtle – like customers who fall silent and stare at fathers and daughters when they walk into restaurants. But often it is more overt, with vigilantes who photograph them while they walk along the Riverside threatening to report them to the police, or accusing the father point-blank of pedophilia.
There’s much, much more. Recommended reading.
Sounds very familiar. going out with my Khmer son (from the first marriage of his mom) I avoid the riverside altogether. It happens often that Khmer people ask him if I am his papa, which is, in my opinion, a good thing, and I don’t mind. But on riverside, all brakes are loose. A waiter once interrogated him, then 6 year old, for a full 5 minutes before I exploded, disgusted by the kind of questions he was asking him. That notoriously dubious NGO could train those people instead of just promising them a ‘finders-fee’.
Thanks Dirk. It’s quite disturbing. for sure.
Very sad indeed. It highlights the racist stereotype, the stupidity of vigilantism, and also for me, as someone who hates the general vibe of Phnom Penh’s Riverside area due to the general “sex tourism” feel, the fact that there are probably more innocent white men with Cambodian children, than guity. The awareness campaigns need to talk about this, to give visitors a broader understanding of the demographic.