Sunday, February 10, 2008
It could be worse
The kids and I spent today with my parents who just returned from a trip to Southeast Asia. They travelled independently through Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia but frequently hired guides to offer a local's perspective. In Cambodia, they spent a day with a young father who spoke near-perfect English. He talked about his country's history and the Khmer Rouge, low wages and poverty, and public education. He sends his six-year-old daughter to a public school. "I have to pay the teacher bribes just to get her to give my child attention," he told my parents. He said that he attended school to become an "official" tour guide and then took a test. How was he able to pass the test? By giving the officials a hefty bribe under the table. Yes, our San Francisco school system seems rife with little problems but it could be so much worse.