Made in Cambodia

Robert Horne

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Phnom Penh, 15 September 2013. Photograph: John Vink

The crowd would be bigger this time. As Malee jumped down from the tuk-tuk she felt the clamour all around her; a noisy dusty sweaty spirit thing that folded her in, that she gave herself into. It would be the biggest push ever. Motorbikes came in from all directions: from the South West road, and along Veng Sreng Boulevard from the city; some walked up in groups of four or five along dusty side roads from their apartment blocks. Open trucks arrived packed with protestors, some with handkerchiefs over their faces against the dust, others wearing a defiant uncovered look, staring into the wind. She saw the iron gates of the industrial park, chained and padlocked this time. The same old woman sat at her tiny rice stand as before, and grinned at Malee through stumps of teeth and nodded as if to say she remembered her, then gestured to her rice and sauces. Malee’s sister Reap jumped down behind her, holding the hand of their young cousin Cris, then Ryan.

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