Leakhana threw Nek and Pek out of the house today .
I had not inkling this would happen until a day ago. Their crime ? Being teenagers apparently. They are only 14 and 16 and we have been looking after them for 6 years during which time they have been the most incredible joy and incredibly helpful with Angus and Grace. Recently they have made a few small dumb teenager mistakes like taking Leakhana’s moto without asking and getting home a bit late from school etc. Shock.Fucking .Horror. Like I said….they are teenagers for fuck sake and if they were really screwing up I would have let everyone know but I am tolerant because I have done it all myself !! . Leakhana came home the other day and did her banana for some small reason and it escalated from there. “I GET NO RESPECT ” Meetings were called with their useless mother and their aunt Srey Neung who all took turns lashing into them and I tried to temper the situation and defend them only to cop a spray from my wife for “loving them more than my own family ” . Their mother could not take them to her home as she is just…….useless. She has gone on to have two more babies with some arehole khmer bum who cannot feed any of them and they live in some flophouse shithole. It got to the stage this morning where I was begging my wife to change her mind but she was adamant. Leakhana was forcing their hand as apparently the girls told everyone they wanted to leave the house as they did not like living with us and they wanted to get jobs and live with friends. I asked them in a moment aside and away from all the mad women if this was indeed really true “just tell me honestly ” and they said “of course not we want to go to school and live here but she wants us to get out so what are we supposed to say ?” The girls open up with me when we talk together which i love but i think it pisses others off. They trust me. I think they love and respect me as an uncle who can be very tough but also more than very fair and who always shows them are a valued member of our family. I know they can see right through my gruff exterior. I told Leakhana they were simply scared and did not want to leave the house were simply telling her what they thought she wanted to hear and I tried all manner of reasoning. What if it was our kids ? . Her strategy ? Well…she packed Angus and Grace up and said she wanted the girls gone and left for her mother’s for the night.
So today I was left with the job of helping the girls pack small bags to get ready to go and live with a fellow15 year old friend in a $40 a month doss house. I am not ashamed to say I was absolutely in tears at the stupidity of it all and VERY angry at the way everything was being handled. Two young girls, still at school, no father, useless mother and here is their aunt throwing them out of their safe environment where they have lived and thrived for years for a trifling bunch of things. I MEAN>>>>> WHAT THE FUCK ? Oh….and I am the one that is left to oversee it ! I am not sure but i think if this happened in Australia we would get arrested for child neglect or some such. This might sound all very Days Of Oor Khmer Lives to you but I can tell you today was extremely emotionally stressful for me. I also started my new job so this is all happening in my lunch hour BTW.I swear I will remember this day for the rest of my life and feel guilt and shame about it and if anything happens to them I will never forgive myself.
I drove them to the rooms and looked it over as I wanted to know exactly where they were going to be. The street is ok and the “building is a steel framed, plywood walled row of rooms with female students from local colleges and schools renting the tiny rooms. I gave them some money for food etc and said I was only a phone call away if they need anything. They both came to me and hugged me ( rare ) and we were all crying. Joss leaned into my ear and said “don’t worry so much”and that only made me cry harder. We had quite a crowd looking at us. I told them to treat it as an adventure and a holiday and I would do everything in my power to get them home as soon as possible. My gut feeling tells me this is the wife’s way of teaching them a lesson and she will capitulate eventually but I did not want to even have them leave for one day. It just sends a terrible message. there are other ways and this city is downright dangerous !
Ringing in my head was the time that i found them both crying their hearts out in their bedroom after their mother came to borrow money yet again and did not even say hello. I told them they would always have a place in our house for as long as they wanted and that we loved them .
I will never understand khmer families …….