Thursday, January 20, 2011

Slow boat. Fast study.

I am leaving today for Cambodia and I thought my trek was going to be long but simple. LAX to Seoul: 13 hours. 1 hour layover. Seoul to Phnom Penh: 6 hours.

I am sitting at LAX now waiting an additional 2 hours for my delayed flight which will put me in Seoul too late to get a flight to Cambodia until some unknown time that, apparently, cannot be ascertained here in the U.S. while I am waiting around. So I sprung for the fancy lounge with wireless and free coffee and juice and pretzels and stuff.

I am going to use the time to dig in a bit to reading about Cambodia. I am reading FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER by Loung Ung. It is Ung's story of the madness of Khmer Rouge. She was a five year old in Phnom Penh when the genocide began.

I was thinking about the importance of this history is to getting a better grasp on the situation with the girls at Transitions Global, most of whom were sold into the sex trade by their parents. Such an unthinkable thing ... until you think about the fact that most everyone in Cambodia of the age of 30 or 40 is a survivor of the unthinkable. If you have watched your parents' murder and been subjected to ritual torture, how good of a parent are you likely to become?

I'm also digging in (love my Kindle!!) to V.S. Ramachandran's THE TELL-TALE BRAIN. He is an incredible neuroscientist who gets this mind-body thing like no other.

History and science: it makes total sense to me now that these are rich areas to learn about human behavior. Too bad I am so late to the academic party on this.

But I guess that makes a bonus layover in Seoul and an extra couple of hours at LAX my own personal university.

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