Photo Friday: Street Kids in Siem Reap


These kids may look harmless enough, but they’re really ruthless salesmen. They wander the streets of Siem Reap, selling Cambodian knock-offs of travel guides and popular novels.

Refusing a sale from them is tough, as they know all the tricks to guilt you into buying something you don’t really want or need. One of my favorite lines was “You no buy, make me cry.” In one moment of brilliant honesty, I had a 5-year-old tell me “Okay, you buy from me and I give you peace and quiet.”

Unfortunately, any money you give them goes straight to their “boss”, who only returns a very minor share to the child. If you want to help them out, buy them food. Make sure it’s something that can’t be returned to the convenience store for money, or they will cash it in and give the money to their handler.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael May 7, 2010 at 11:09 pm

indeed a sad situation for these mafia-handled street kids
not in school, and many are out late nights hawking flowers in the bars and restaurants.


Andi May 8, 2010 at 2:21 am

OMG, if I heard that I would buy everything, I’m such a softy! What an adorable picture!!!
.-= Andi´s last blog ..imgp2629 =-.


Erica May 8, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Love your photos as always, Wes. While I think I can be prepared for the kids (since you know about the insane amount of panhandlers we have at home), I’m sure I’m going to be a sucker for their pleading eyes. :(
.-= Erica´s last blog ..Couchsurfing Communities =-.


wes May 10, 2010 at 7:49 am

I’m sure you’ll manage. The charm wears off after about the 100th time ;)


Argentina Vacation Packages May 8, 2010 at 10:45 pm

your photos was superb, I don’t know why all these things are happening in this world…


Sue May 11, 2010 at 2:30 am

Great pic Wes…… It sucks about the situation with these kids….. I guess in some sense it happens everywhere……


Casa De Hamilton Pool May 14, 2010 at 5:15 am

Great pics as always mi amigo (mi amigo is Thai for “do you want food?” – or at least that is what my iphone says)


louisa hametner May 18, 2010 at 10:00 am

I am so happy to hear you buy them food! That is a much better gift! I would want to adopt them!!


blaine howard newcomb June 14, 2010 at 8:29 am

surprisingly i have been reading your writing for more than an hour. normally i flit around the web. really enjoy your style and content. i hope you get a book out of your posts. good luck.


wes June 14, 2010 at 10:59 am

Thanks, Blaine! Glad you like it.


Travellyn June 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Great photo of the street kids. Such a sad situation for children in the poorer countries. Makes you appreciate what we have. Interesting post.