One of the great things in the city is that every evening at dusk, the parks and riverfront are filled with large groups of men and women in lines dancing to pop songs. I think they practice the dance routine at home and then perform every evening. Some of the groups do aerobics, but a lot of them are dancing. It’s hilarious. Each group has leaders, usually young pimply teenage boys with Justin Bieber haircuts. They don’t smile, this is a serious business.
Speaking of pop songs, the Khmer pop songs are so depressing. Each film clip is a story, and you can’t just listen to a song, the film clip is a key part of the music. All of them are about love; very dramatic, catastrophic love. Usually involving a love triangle leading to one person committing suicide, or killing all three of them. When the relationship is a happy one, one of them will die in a particularly horrible way. These are all teenagers by the way. I have no idea what the teenage suicide rates are in Cambodia. Someone should do a study and see if there is a link to pop songs.
There’s one film clip that covers two songs. In the first song the happy couple are kissing and deeply in love. She’s baked a surprise cake for his birthday. He comes home unexpectantly so she quickly puts the cake back in the oven. She leaves the house, he’s still inside, and as she gets across the road she realised she forgot to turn the oven off. So of course, the house blows up. She spends the whole song saying she’s sorry. In the next song he survives, but he suffers a lot of burn damage to his face. He’s the one singing in this song. He follows her but doesn’t reveal himself to her. She never recognises him and they all live unhappily ever after. This is one of the happy songs.
Here’s the first song:
I have to listen to them a lot as I travel to the provinces often, and they play the film clips on the bus. My noise cancelling headphones have been one of my best purchases. But they don’t work if the music is turned up too loud, especially the Khmer hip hop. It is so bad.
Note: I apologise to my former Red Cross colleagues. Yes, I did just essentially copy and paste the majority of the e-mail I just sent you.