Sexpat stereotype takes a toll on daughters and fathers

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,” 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.

Sometimes, NGOs who fight child prostitution even have informants stalk them.

“The western press’s manic fixation on abusive sex in Cambodia has made the country’s name synonymous with pedophilia, unfairly and inaccurately so,” wrote long-time Cambodia resident Casey Nelson in a blog post in 2011. While the Cambodian sexpat stereotype is often accurate, it also affects innocent fathers and daughters, forcing them to change their lifestyles to avoid harassment.

According to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, Asian sex tourists outnumber Western sex tourists in Cambodia. But white men continue to be the main targets of suspicion.

Alan Parkhouse is Australian and is the chief sub-editor of the Sunday Bangkok Post, as well as the former editor-in-chief of the Phnom Penh Post. He said he had given little thought to the sex-tourist stereotype until arriving in Phnom Penh on a visit with his teenaged Thai step-daughter.

“We were standing on the Riverside. My step-daughter hadn’t been outside Thailand before, so she was shy and holding my hand. Western people walked by and kept whispering or giving me or her dirty looks. We didn’t understand why. Then it dawned on me – I’m a western man with a 14-year-old girl hanging on him.”

The harassment is not always so subtle. Casey Nelson has lived in Phnom Penh for more than 20 years, and in a 2011 blog post, he wrote about walking on the riverfront with his daughters, aged seven and nine at the time.

According to Nelson’s account, a female Italian tourist started snapping photos of him and his daughters. “Photo you, Internet, you pedo…for police,” she said. Mr. Nelson confronted her and demanded that she delete her photos, but the woman refused. “I was accused of being a pedophile,” he wrote, “for absolutely no other reason than being a white male in the company of brown children – my son and daughter.” — Khmer Times

Taxi driver pulls down passenger’s top for a look

A TAXI driver has been arrested for pulling down a passenger’s top for a look at her chest. The driver from Sichuan also lost his taxi licence.

A video of the May 15 incident was uploaded online and went viral recently, sparking outrage over his criminal act.

As the passenger was rifling through her purse to pay her fare, the driver said “you are very beautiful” before reaching over to pull down her top.

The woman pulled away and got off the taxi as he smiled at her.

He was arrested on the same day the video went viral. Police in Leshan said a 43-year-old man surnamed ‘He’ had been arrested and would be detained for 10 days.

Plane makes emergency landing after cockpit windshield gets ripped away

A SICHUAN Airlines flight made an emergency landing in the southwest Chinese city of Chengdu on Monday after a windshield on the right side of the jet’s cockpit broke off, China’s aviation authority said.

No passengers were injured in the incident but the pilot sitting in the right seat, who is usually the first officer, suffered scratches and a waist sprain, the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s (CAAC) Southwest Regional Administration said on its website.

A cabin crew member was also injured in the descent, it added, without providing details on what had caused the windshield to break off.

The flight, Sichuan Airlines 3U8633, left the central Chinese municipality of Chongqing on Monday morning and was bound for the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, the authority said.

According to flight tracking website FlightRadar24, the aircraft was an Airbus A319. A spokeswoman for Airbus said that the planemaker would provide all necessary support upon request by the CAAC and Sichuan Airlines.

Sichuan Airlines said on its official Weibo account that the flight had experienced a “mechanical failure” without providing further details. It said it had switched the flight’s passengers to another aircraft to carry on their journey to Lhasa.

Pictures published by government-run Chengdu Economic Daily showed the plane missing one of its cockpit windows and damage to its cockpit controls. Chinese social media users praised the pilots for landing the flight safely without incurring any passenger injuries. — Reuters

Elephant starved to death as punishment

AN elephant died in the Cambodian city of Sen Monorom yesterday after its owner did not feed him for nearly a month as punishment for rampaging through a village.

Khun Diyon, director of a local elephant conservation organisation, said the elephant, named Beong Kok, lived with his owner in Sen Monorom city’s Putang village.

Diyon said that last month, the elephant rampaged through the village, causing damage but no injuries or deaths.

He added that the 35-year-old elephant was shot with a tranquilliser gun to end the rampage, after which its owner kept it at home without food as punishment.

“Weakened by starvation, the elephant had no strength to rise and stand on its own despite making several attempts to rise up,” said Diyon. “The elephant died late in the evening after he fainted in the morning, following many days of fainting.”

“Expert officials could not save him because this elephant had no power and no food to eat. We are sorry to lose the elephant.”

Diyon said the owner thought not feeding the elephant would weaken it and stop its rampaging ways.

“Generally, the owner keeps his elephant in chains in one place. But the owner must still give it food,” he said.

Keo Sopheak, director of the provincial environment department, said he would lead an investigation into the case.

“We will investigate why this elephant died,” he told Khmer Times.

Ministry lashes out over cockroach X-ray

THE Cambodian Ministry of Health has called on Facebook users to immediately stop posting baseless information that misrepresents the truth and affects the honour of the health sector while also causing public confusion.

The appeal was made after a viral article with an X-ray image of a human with a cockroach on the shoulder.

The Facebook post said a man living in Prey Veng province was told by a doctor that a cockroach was living inside his body, causing him to have pain in his shoulder.

The post went on to say that the man travelled to India for medical treatment, where doctors told him there was no cockroach in his body, explaining that the bug was instead inside the X-ray machine.

The Ministry of Health said in a statement on Friday that the Facebook post, which went viral in Cambodia, was a fake news story and should not be shared.

“To maintain the dignity and honour of the health sector, the Ministry of Health would like to call on all social media and Facebook users to immediately stop posting any baseless information or misrepresenting the facts,” the ministry’s statement said.

“It affects the dignity and honour of the national health sector, and causes confusion for the understanding of medical examination and treatment services in Cambodia.”

The ministry added that it is seeking to take legal action against the person responsible for posting the fake news story. — Khmer Times

Lighter removed from stomach of man who swallowed it 20 years ago

SWALLOWING inorganic objects will lead to medical complications. A middle-aged man in Sichuan province learned this the hard way.

Twenty years after ingesting a lighter, he suffered unbearable stomach paint and had blood in his stool.

A Chinese news portal recently reported that doctors performed a gastroscopy and discovered what appeared to be an incendiary device inside his stomach.

The patient recalled swallowing a lighter some 20 years ago but couldn’t explain his action.

Doctors were able to remove the lighter. Twenty years, the man is probably wiser and would probably swallow another inorganic object.

(Video) Boss, wake up, we have reached… Boss? Boss!!

A VIDEO footage of a taxi passenger who could not wake up from his sleep on reaching his destination has gone viral on social media.

The incident is said to have happened in Taman Sri Pulai in Johor.

The taxi driver couldn’t wake his passenger up despite shouting and shaking him. In the end, he called the police to awake the passenger.

The post on Facebook drew many funny comments. Some commenters with medical knowledge said the passenger could be suffering from narcolepsy, a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness.

According to Wikipedia, people with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness and intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime.

It can’t be ascertained if the video was staged.

Watch the video here: