Saturday, January 27, 2007

It starts with a spark

I just got off the phone with my friend Pauline who is the sweetest person. She was encouraging me to update my blog because she knows of people who read Cambodia Calling. She said someone she knows actually flew to Cambodia after reading this blog and subsequently uploaded photos of Cambodia onto *his* own blog. I think that is so great! "It's like a spark," said Pauline. "What you do generates awareness and interest in Cambodia, even though you may not even realise it."

I've been feeling stressed out over Bloom because Channel 8, the main Singapore Chinese channel, did an interview with me. The series focuses on Singaporeans who change careers. I'm stressed because I've been thinking, it'd be so embarrassing if I fail, if Bloom fails, cos I've been on TV and all that. I know it's silly, but these feelings are real. Anyway, Pauline says she is telling me from the bottom of her heart that I would not have failed. Even if the Bloom shuts down, the women have learnt a skill and have gained some pride (when I think how Neang has changed--she's the one whose abuser husband left her for her friend--I think Pauline is absolutely right).

Anyway, so I'm a bit emotional about the whole thing. I'm very happy my friends get it. Someone told Alan about me, "You've got to give it to her. A lot of people talk about it, but she's doing it." Comments like this really help me because there are days when I think it's just too difficult, and I feel like coming home to Singapore, where life is so comfortable and making money so easy.

Ok enough about me. Poor Alan has been living without electricity since yesterday. They cut off the electricity at our house in Phnom Penh because we didn't pay the bill. It was entirely my fault. I had left the bill in the letter holder but failed to tell Alan about it. Then I left for home in a rush (I only booked my ticket the day before I was due to fly). Alan only found out what had happened at 6pm when our neighbour passed him a letter saying we had been cut off. It was Friday evening and we're not sure if the electricity department works on weekends. So Alan may have to be in darkness for the weekend too. I feel so sorry for him and Wee our housekeeper and our puppies. But Alan's taking it well. "Just like being in the Boy Scouts," he said. Sometimes he puts me to shame with his positive attitude.

So that's the other thing--utilities get cut off fairly quickly in Cambodia (the bill was a week overdue). So if you're in Cambodia, remember to pay your bills on time!

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