The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Modest Proposal For Preventing the Charcoal Pits of Phnom Penh From Sitting Empty

A re-application of the wisdom of Jonathan Swift.

Cambodia’s leaders, in their abundance of wisdom and uncommon sense, have seen fit to recently impose a ban on charcoal-roasted cattle on the spit. They proclaimed that such gruesome spectacles of the animal eviscerated upon the street promotes violence and offends the Buddhist sensibilities of the entire nation, as represented by an obscure minority of elite leaders.

There has been much confusion and misgiving expressed by the public, who did not realize until this very week that they were so offended by public shows of bovine bloodshed. Some in fact have yet to uncover their own respective deep-seeded religious convictions.

Fret not my dear Cambodian public! There is another alternative to beef; a beast who is far more delicious and who’s spirit is far less valued in life. Both your capital and countryside are overrun with a species of cattle that plagues your most valuable lands. Do not bother yourself with unfashionable veal. Nay, I propose a more suitable roast is made of the cattle known as “The Poor.”

The Poor come in a variety of breeds; some referred to as ‘squatters’ and others as ‘slum dwellers.’  Of course an additional benefit, not insignificant, of eating The Poor is the secession to endless controversy over forced land evictions across Cambodia.

Eating The Poor would also be an alternative to Vietnam’s solution for it’s impoverished cattle, known as ‘Nguoi Dan Toc.‘ There is no need to pressure Cambodia’s poor, ethnic minority or otherwise, to snuff out their third and fourth children in the womb, as in Vietnam.  No, let them breed as often as possible—there is already an insatiable demand for their young. The offspring of the poor are commonly feasted upon by Western tourists, visiting Asian businessmen and powerful Cambodians. It is unnecessary to barbeque the progeny of The Poor unless they thrive beyond the age of 10.

You may ask about the constitution of the flesh of The Poor and how one might season them? Do not be concerned! Look again to your neighbours, the Vietnamese, who in reclaiming land in their own country have a long history of culling The Poor and The Meek. Season them with institutional Atheism and Buddhist showmanship, drain them of liberty, trim off titles to land, drive the stake of national unity through their gizzard and then grill them on the hot coals of public good.

Cambodia, do not end this institution of grilled meat on a spit (which I’m told is actually a recent introduction by the Vietnamese). You already adopted the alternative solution long ago, you just fail to yet recognize it.

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