Reflections: Neither in nor out

In Cambodia I was an insider-outsider. As a half-asian person with dark-ish skin, I was often mistaken for part-Cambodian. I was both “on the inside,” but also always the “other.” People assumed I would know how to eat certain foods (at least more likely to “take” to things that my whitey-white counterparts), people were receptive and encouraging of my attempts at Khmer. They tried to listen because I looked like I might be able to speak.

It’s funny how being “ethnic” can help you avoid some of the idolization of westerners. Well… you’re barang, but not realllllllly. I still remember when a student at the local business university would not believe I was American — “no, you can’t be! you’re chinese!”

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