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A monk and a lawyer

Nheam the Cambodian Monk with his adopted son at Angkor Wat

Nheam the Cambodian Monk with his adopted son at Angkor Wat

The title of this post sounds like the start of a joke. A monk and a lawyer walk into a bar… It’s almost a given that the joke will be based around the godliness of the monk, and the parasitic or predatory nature of lawyers. This hostility to lawyers isn’t even a recent phenomenon, in Shakespeare’s Henry the Sixth, Dick the butcher says “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

One day, while at Angkor Wat, I see a Buddhist monk in traditional orange robes taking a photo of his son. Great moment so I also take a pic. A few minutes later we bump into each other inside the temple and begin chatting. His name is Nheam, and the boy is his adopted son. He has been a monk for many years, and the boy was an orphan and needed a parent. As you might have guessed, he’s a lovely, lovely man.

Nheam the Cambodian Monk with his adopted son at Angkor Wat

Nheam the Cambodian Monk with his adopted son at Angkor Wat

I ask what he does everyday, and he says he’s studying at the local university to be a lawyer. Being an ignoramus, filled with lazy stereotypes, this doesn’t seems logical to me. I ask why a monk would want to be lawyer. He looks across at me and says that where there is poverty and corruption, they need lawyers to protect the poor and needy.

Nheam, a monk and a lawyer, and a wiser man than me.

Nheam the Cambodian Monk at Angkor Wat

Nheam the Cambodian Monk at Angkor Wat

2 Comments

  1. J Willson says

    Nice story. Made me smile.

    Jonny

    Sent from my mobile device so please excuse the brevity.

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