“Her English is very good. She must be the number one student in her class,” I said about one particularly, bright, lively and talented young girl.
“No!” was the response. “That is impossible.”
“Impossible? Why?” I responded, puzzled.
The answer to that question is depressing; but demonstrates vividly the crushing effects that endemic corruption has upon the people of a country.
You see, the gifted girl’s teacher holds ‘special’ after-school classes; classes that students must pay to attend. And to those paying students goes the highest grades; whether they are the most deserving or not.
Our smart eleven-year-old student cannot afford these classes. She will never top her class.
That’s the brutal and depressing introduction many youthful Cambodians receive to the world of corruption. This harsh lesson quickly demonstrates to impressionable young minds just how often talent, hard work, honesty and perseverance make way to fraudulence, bribery, trickery, power and force in Cambodia.