The real Cambodia

You describe Kenneth Morgan (Travels, 1 October) as having discovered in Cambodia "a land that has escaped its turbulent past and is on the brink of a resurgence". Had he have visited the night market in Phnom Penh, he might have seen the starving children there, wearing blank expressions. This is the centre of life, not the river front, with its bars and cafes that are for tourists. Morgan does not mention the beggars with missing limbs as a result of landmines, the mothers struggling to bring up children on the streets, or the huge numbers of orphans trying to bring themselves up on the streets.

I would recommend to anyone travelling to the Cambodian capital that they take the local ferry and cross the Tonle Sap, the great lake in the central plain. This gives a more realistic view of a country struggling to survive against corruption, NGO interference, and the sex tourism industry that so badly affects south-east Asia.

In the two months I was there (I worked at an orphanage) I saw a nation struggling against the odds, confronting prostitution, begging and crime. It is not all negative, and certainly things are happening that will help towards a better future for some - but it will be a long, slow and, I feel, painful struggle.

Sally-Ann Duggan
Ludlow, Shropshire

This article first appeared in the 22 October 2007 issue of the New Statesman, Who’s afraid of Michael Moore?