These past few days it has been raining quite heavily in the city and when I say rain its not some little drops but torrential raindrops that come pelting down so as a result I have been at home doing some admin stuff and going a little stir crazy since I haven't been getting my daily walk in. So late this afternoon it was still nice and sunny with a few clouds in the sky, I finally decided I would take the opportunity to go for a long walk down by the riverfront. Its a great place to go as its a bit cooler walking along the 'sea wall' and its fun to just people watch. Many Cambodian families are hanging out there enjoying the breeze and watching their kids play around them. One of the funniest things I saw was a Khmer lady who I guess was feeling a bit hot from her own walk and so she went down the steps to the water level washed her hands and then proceeded to wash her face and wet her hair with the beautiful brown water of the Tonle Sap. Of course I couldn't help but think of germs and bacteria. I'm pretty sure that was far from her mind. She just wanted to cool down. Nonetheless, its a beautiful atmosphere if it weren't for those sex tourists and pedophiles lurking around.
There is a part of me that can't help profiling single white old men who sit by themselves along the seawall or the benches that are lined across the river front. Its funny how you don't see single white females by themselves, they are usually with their husbands, families or friends. So a few of the old single Caucasian men I noticed had tatoos, none had wedding rings and they were just hanging out watching the activity. I decided that as I walked pass them to just utter a prayer to the Lord that if they had any intention to abuse a child or Khmer person that their efforts would be blocked and frustrated.
Well upon my walk back towards home, I happen to see an older looking overweight Caucasian man who was sitting next to a young Khmer girl about 15 years old and her little sister along the river bank. He reminded me of an American pedophile that was arrested here last year and featured in an ABC documentary. One of the advantages of being Asian in this environment is that I can be a bit more conspicuous so I thought to myself, let me just sit a few feet from this man and see what he is up to. Having my earplugs on and pretending to listen to my ipod what I saw was a man grooming a young teenage girl. First, he bought her and her little sister each a drink from the local vendor---of course he had them choose what they wanted and she awkwardly accepted. Then, he asked if he could take a picture of her and her sister which she willingly complied. There was a tuk tuk driver who was also chatting him up and who offered to take a photo of both him and the two young girls and he readily accepted that offer. As I sat nearby, the tuk tuk driver was offering to take him anywhere he wanted and proceeded to exchange his phone number and name but then I noticed something, this was not a normal tuk tuk driver. No, he was wearing a blue shirt and on the back was the inscription of Childsafe International---this is a network that consists of different groups who are seeking to protect street children from abuse and prevent them from being placed in abusive situations. He appeared to be a 'trained tuk tuk driver' gathering info from this man. I couldn't help but smile thinking perhaps that the tuk tuk driver was collecting data on this man. The tuk tuk driver had gotten someone to take photos of this man and the children and gave him a copy and the girls had their own copy. A few minutes later the two girls got up and next to them was their mother, off they went with this tuk tuk driver and left the foreigner to himself. He had struck out!
Now at that point, I couldn't resist the opportunity to talk to this alleged sex tourist. I figured it was worth it to put a little fear in these men after all, they create fear and terrify young children. The words that were playing in my mind was to tell him that ''he was being watched and so he should be careful." So that is what I did. I went up to him and said ''excuse me sir, you really need to be careful, you are being watched.'' His response ''I don't understand much English, but what do you mean to be careful?'' My response: ''be careful what you are doing as you talk to these kids.'' He then proceeded to pull out an album of photos and pointed to a photo of a Khmer young woman who by the way looked about 15 years old. This man is at least 60 years old and is grossly overweight. He claimed that she was his girlfriend and the little baby boy in the photo was his son.'' Now the question one has to ask themselves is 'why would he show me such a photo? Guilty conscience? And if that is his girlfriend in the photo, why is he sitting talking to another young girl and her little sister?
Anyway, I left him and continued my walk home praying that the Lord would hem this man in on all sides, frustrate his plans and if he intended to harm a child that he would get so sick that he would be incapacitated. And as I write this, it is the verses from Psalm 10 that ring in my ears:
7 Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats. Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues. They lurk in ambush in the villages, waiting to murder innocent people. They are always searching for helpless victims. 9 Like lions crouched in hiding, they wait to pounce on the helpless.Like hunters they capture the helpless and drag them away in nets. 10 Their helpless victims are crushed; they fall beneath the strength of the wicked. 11 The wicked think, “God isn’t watching us! He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do!” 12 Arise, O Lord! Punish the wicked, O God! Do not ignore the helpless! 13 Why do the wicked get away with despising God? They think, “God will never call us to account.” 14 But you see the trouble and grief they cause. You take note of it and punish them. The helpless put their trust in you. You defend the orphans. 15 Break the arms of these wicked, evil people! Go after them until the last one is destroyed. 16 The Lord is king forever and ever! 17 Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. 18 You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.