|An English colleague just sent this email to the principal of his daughter’s not-inexpensive International School here in Phnom Penh. They had asked him for $60 to add to a subsidy of $225 they were charging for a trip to a small Cambodian town.
Dear Mr Funt
I learn with some excitement that iSchool plans to take my daughter to Kampot for three days in December. What fun for all!
The snare of this plan is that you are asking for a contribution of $60 with the veiled threat that, “we would expect all Year 5 learners to join this character building experience.”
The good side is that of a total cost of $285 the school will be divvying up $225. It is always nice to receive back from the fees already paid a 64% subsidy on the condition that the wretched parents shell out a further $60 for their little treasures to go to Kampot to build their characters.
Leaving aside the question as to how we parents built our characters without ever having the excitement of a Kampot visit at the age of 10, may I ask for a breakdown of the $285 you intend to spend on each Year 5 child?
My daughter tells me there are 17 in class 5P and, she thinks, 18 in 5N, making 35 ten year olds: a total of $9,975. I would be fascinated to know how approximately $10,000 can be spent on three days in Kampot.
How many teachers will be going and will they be contributing $285 or even $60?
Of course I will pay up because daughter’s excitement at having her character built in such a cultural mecca as Kampot–sûr-Mer cannot now be punctured without severe psychological harm to the child and I am of course terrified as to what iSchool will do to the dejected girl if her father fails in your expectations to let her join this character building experience.
Still a breakdown would be interesting if only to ensure that I avoid such extravagance when I next visit that dilapidated town.
I remain yours etc.