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“At times, her family don’t appreciate my abruptness, but that’s the Western way,” adds her other half, 42-year-old Brit Alex Hales.
On the day of their second wedding anniversary, celebrated with a trip to the cinema, the couple describes the endless mishaps that arise because of their different backgrounds.
I had to explain it’s different in the West,” 30-year-old Moni says with a laugh.
Such misunderstandings can be common in relationships where individuals have differing upbringings, expectations and social scripts.
She might then accuse me of having an affair, and I would have to say “No honey, I don’t have a girlfriend, I was just wandering the sweltering, filthy streets of Phnom Penh to get away from you for a few hours.” Not good.
Arranged marriage has been the tradition in Cambodia for centuries and remains the norm practiced for Cambodians both at home and overseas.
My wife, having never seen me work, wouldn’t respect me and would think I was making up stuff about once having a respectable job.
Assuming that my wife is not working, we would spend a lot of time sitting in our Cambodian home staring at each other. I would quickly start fabricating excuses to leave the house for no reason.
They have a lot of food, and a lot of gin and a lot of tonic.
The birthday girl is an expat from Ohio who works as a tour guide in Saigon.