Collecting Money From Trespassers πŸ’΅ & Cleaning Up Their Mess Too 🚯

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Cambodians and littering go hand-in-hand, so today when I found 15 trespassers enjoying our hammock hut, instead of kindly asking them to leave, I asked for αŸ›20,000 ($5 USD).

Rewind A Bit First βͺ

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Β  Β  Β Before the trespassing incident I took some time to finish the drainage ditch I've been digging for a few days. The goal is to prevent rainwater runoff from going over the cliff's edge and causing further erosion. The only other place to send the water is the old government road, so that is the end destination for all evacuated surface water.

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Β  Β  Β On the opposite side of the house, you can see the old government road nearly touches our house, well that's because our neighbor backfilled their land several meters higher than us, causing their land to slowly drift over the road. I heard a rumor that the owner of this land (also the head military honcho here) wants to seize the road for himself. Every week I have to pile more dirt on our side of the road to prevent erosion, but if they guy cared at all about our difficulties, he would spend a half day to dig a ditch on his side of the road.

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Β  Β  Β There is no easier place to take the dirt than from the land that is invading ours, so I just try to make sure the main flow of water never comes close to the foundation of our house because that would cause major problems eventually.

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Β  Β  Β I've also noticed surface water slowly drifting towards our house over time, mostly because the edge of our house is now a few inches lower than the land nearby, so I've been shaving off surface dirt with a hoe and tossing at the base of the foundation, and I'm learning more and more than rainfall and surface water will be the number thing to worry about when constructing anything in the future.

Be A Steward Of The Land 🌏

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Β  Β  Β Just as I was finishing up outdoor work, I decided it was time to tend to ASEAN Hive and curate some content. While I was inside the house the rains came and I noticed a group of young moto riders take shelter in the shack by the highway. Usually I ask people to wait out the rain somewhere else because time after time Cambodians prove they are unable to spend 5 minutes anywhere without making the place worse than before they arrived, but on this day I didn't feel I had the energy.

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Β  Β  Β After I heard them leave I wandered up the hill to assess the damage. I found half of my laundry clips on the ground and an empty tin of shrimp crackers. I don't know why, but stuff like this enrages me, after all, you've encroached on someone else's land without asking, so the least you could is not leave the place worse than before you came. I assume they hung wet items on my laundry line, then unclipped their items and just tossed the clips on the ground instead of placing them back on the line.

Β  Β  Β I was raised to be a steward of the land, and to always leave places you visit cleaner than you found them, especially natural places like parks and forests. I really hope some day that Cambodians will learn to appreciate nature and respect the Earth, and I really the think the Buddhist monks should spend less time meditating and collecting money to build bigger temples, and more time warning citizens of the karma of careless actions like trashing their own country day in and day out.

Trespassers Are Unwelcome 🚯

Β  Β  Β Okay, with this last picture, I ask you to recall the thumbnail where I collected $5 from the trespassers. After picking up the mess the kids left by the highway, I went back inside and continued my Hive work, only to hear some human sounds 30 minutes later. I went outside and found 15 people had helped themselves to our hammock hut without asking. Normally I ask people to leave in these circumstances because they throw half their trash in the river, half on the ground, and leave animal bones lying all over the floor of the hut.

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Β  Β  Β As a vegan and more importantly a Nazarite, I don't want to touch bones or flesh, so I beg people to take their trash with them when they go and leave the place as they found it, but 100% of Cambodians have lied and not followed my instructions even after looking me in the eye and agreeing. Because this party had already made themselves comfortable, I reminded them they were trespassing, this is a private home with no business signs, and I would like them to pay $5 and take all their trash with them when they leave and place it in the bin on the highway. They agreed, murmured that the place next door is more beautiful (and I reminded them I don't need their money and they are welcome to leave), and as always, left a human sized bag of trash behind for me to deal with.

Β  Β  Β The amount of trash a small amount of Cambodians can produce in just 30 minutes is mind-boggling, Not only did they lie to me just like every other group of Cambodians, but they mixed the recyclables and uneaten food in one bag, so now I have to pick through pork bones to separate the recyclables and dispose of their trash for them. I really don't think Steung Kach is ready for Cambodian tourism, so I am very eager to fence off our land completely to prevent strangers from walking past me as I wash dishes. With a fence we can carefully control how people interact with the natural environment here, and I think going forward I will demand a $5 refundable littering deposit from trespassers in addition to the $5 fee for using the hut without permission.

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41 comments
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Indeed, we have to take care of garbage because it doesn't pollute the environment around the location we live in

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I hope there is a cultural shift towards environmentalism here some day, but I must admit I am not hopeful.

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Whoa! That's the problem if our property have no fence. Us, when we bought our lot two years ago we first surrounded it with fence before we built our tiny house.

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That is usually the way things are done in Cambodia too, mostly because of theft/security risks. Here is all military and very remote, so theft is not a problem, but tourist trespassers sure are. At the moment we are assessing what materials and what kind of fence we could build to funnel people towards a main gate.

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the problem of waste is one of the pollutions that is very difficult for us to overcome, so here we need to care for each other about garbage that we do not litter because it will pollute the environment and cause disease. I am a little sad and disappointed with the attitude of some Cambodians who do not pay attention to cleanliness and hygiene. no respect for other people's place.thanks for sharing the information.

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It is regretful, but there has never been an effort from the public schools, Buddhist religion, or government to promote environmental responsibility. The easiest and fastest way to achieve this would be via the local temples and Buddhist monks educating the nearby residents. I hope to see this change one day.

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(Edited)

Yes, the ditch you are working on doesn't seem to be completely finished, do you really want to send the water to the old government road or why don't you send it straight to the river? Wouldn't it be better to send water to the river, Justin?

The problem of garbage will never end, and the habit of littering is a very bad habit. Likewise, if we enter someone else's house or property without permission, it can be considered a criminal act and the perpetrators may be demanded to pay a fine or imprisonment. So I think, making a fence to protect the land and area of ​​your house is a very good idea because if we want to change a habit of people who have been attached to it for a long time it is a very difficult thing πŸ™

Have a nice day my brother 😊

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The water that follows the road enters the river too, but not on an abandoned property at the back. If we let the water run to the river from our property, it will cause more erosion because we still don't have lots of tree roots holding the hillside together.

It's becoming more and more clear that a fence will be needed here as soon as possible. Because of the nearby casino, many people passing by are from other parts of the country, and also often angry because they've lost money, so there are many people best not to allow on the land for security risks.

Thanks for stopping by, the rainy season is ending soon, so hopefully some construction projects can take place soon.

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Throwing trash everywhere without regard to the environment is not unique to Cambodians. It's a bad habit among Malaysians. It's common to see Malaysians throwing rubbish out of their moving cars while traveling on the highways.

It looks like fencing your property should be on top of your priority. I have no nice things to say about the trespassers, so I am not commenting on that.

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You're right, but I think overall your country is a lot cleaner from what I've experienced, but there is plenty of room for improvement. There is so much ecotourism potential in Southeast Asia, a lot more in Malaysia/Borneo than here, but all in all, if some small efforts are made to preserve the natural spaces, there will be sustainable income potential for many generations to come.

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I can't speak for the other states, but Sabah/Sarawak (Borneo) has a lot of potentials. But the land has been robbed of its natural resources with rampant illegal (or otherwise) deforestation and oil palm plantations. It's a catch-22 situation. The plantations provide a lucrative cash crop for the people, especially the rural folks, but at the same time, at the expense of the land.

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I knew the palm oil thing was a major problem in Indonesia, but I didn't know it affected your country greatly too. Those places are still forests in a way, but they don't host the biodiversity that a natural forest would with many species of trees and plants.

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Wow.. it's quite annoying honestly to have people who just trespass and litter.. maybe I think the hut has to have some electrical fencing.. Here in Miri, some houses have electric fence... The look of the garbage , it is not little.

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Oh no, you are bringing up traumatic but funny memories from my childhood. There was an electric animal fence on our property, and we kids would play with it to amuse each other. The most fun was to grab the fence with one hand and grab someone else to shock them, and a cousin of mine even peed on the fence for a double dare.

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after everything I listened in detail to what you wrote,, I just wanted to comment a little,, about those people who entered without permission,...if in my country you enter without permission.. of course you come out without teeth... hehehe....

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Haha, in the USA where I live someone can legally shoot you if you have trespassing signs. It is just a class thing because it's the rich people from the capital doing this. They have nice cars and lots of money, and they see us as poor and weak, so they have power to tread on our land use our hut without asking. However, if I went to Phnom Penh and swam in their pool without asking, I'd be arrested by the police πŸ˜‚.

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Yeah maybe you can put some posts up and just have a rope or string fence in the meantime, if you don't have the budget for a full fence just yet

Yeah litterbugs are the worst, it seems like a weird cultural thing to not care about that...but who am I to comment- I grew up with captain planet and the world patrol kids
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Or just a threatening-sounding sign...$50\hr hut rental

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I think that is a better idea than telling people this is a private residence with no business signs, because when I do this they just stare at me like "....but nobody is using it, just let us in bruh!" If I say $50 per hour, then they're more likely to think, "...this place is too expensive, let's scram!" I have lived here 12 years, am fully involved in the Khmer world, speak Khmer fluently, etc., and yet I feel I barely understand more about these people than when I had been a tourist for only 2 weeks. Cambodia is a challenge, and that's what makes it equally interesting and frustrating to live here.

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I was a Captain Planet kid too, which makes me think, please tell me you've seen Don Cheadle as Captain Planet, there's three of them in total, all hilarious.

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Ha...no I've never seen that, nor do I know that actor\comedian offhand I don't think. I remember it being a little more kid-friendly 😜 but thanks for sharing

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This is a great idea❗❗ Trespassing should have a fee, littering should have a feeπŸ˜†πŸ˜†

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I think a trash deposit will be required in the future, because everyone lies and leaves their trash behind in a hurry. With a fence we can have more control, limit outside food and therefore trash along with it. We'll aim to use banana leaves, coconuts, and bamboo as much as possible to prevent plastic waste.

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Dang! We have a problem too of people here who just throw their garbage anywhere.
I thought people their are more disciplined than ours.

Btw, you should consider putting gate/fence between your property and the road.

!1UP


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Cambodia is one the most littered countries that I have seen in SE Asia, and part of that is because of very low education levels. The poor education and many problems stemming from it all go back to the Khmer Rouge genocide, where all educated people were killed, even people that wore prescription glasses were executed.

Since the education was rebuilt and re-established, there has been zero environmental education in the public school system, and the Buddhist religion and monks have not made any efforts for this either, many pagodas here are often covered in trash. To fix this problem it will have to come from the monks first, because the citizens will practice whatever they implore.

Until then I have placed boulders and string to show a bit more of a boundary.

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I didn't know about that.
It seems it did pushed back the development of your country by a great degree.

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Charge them more. Your being kind enough to not send them on their way.

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I like the idea of charging $50/hr, would be easier than asking trespassers to leave.

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Maybe you should put a big sign saying No Trespassing, Fine. 20,000 reil.

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People would gladly pay that, but if I add another zero, 200,000 riel ($50 USD), then that would send potential litterbug trespassers fleeing.

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There's no other way you will be able to control trespasser without a proper fence. I think even with the fence, they will find their way to break in. I can only hope and pray the rest of the country start to "grow" and be considerate.

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You're right, even a weak fence is not respected here, we will need to put fenceposts in concrete and have at least a 2 meter high barrier to keep people out. The worst is when I am wishing dishes outside and a stranger walks behind me without saying anything, it's very scary and disturbing. With a fence we can meet people outside, tell them the importance of national parks, etc., remind them this is not Phnom Penh, and the expected codes of environmental conduct while here.

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