Golf, Cambodia, and the ‘very cornerstone of morality’

19 Nov

Golf, Cambodia, and the ‘very cornerstone of morality’

An example of the often quite interesting, random range of incoming messages I get daily and my sincere reply. From this morning:

Dear Nate,

I have read your missives on Face Book with great interest. You are truly prolific and I walk in your shadow. I hardly ever reply to Face Book. I hardly get the time.

Due to our mutual deep friendship with XXX I am writing after all this time to let you know that I have an article appearing in the Los Angeles Times travel section this Sunday about golf in Cambodia, the substance of which I feel you might disapprove of.

All I can say is that it has changed dramatically since I was there twenty years ago. I understand that there are still large problems, least of which is not corruption. But they are trying. I think now that Cambodia is bursting at the seams with all kinds of opportunity. It is fragile but very promising.

So I went in May and played golf at some great courses. I met the people, visited the temples and enjoyed the experience, in spite of some of the memories that still haunt me.

I had lunch with Keng Vannsak in Paris in 1993 at his home in Montmorency. My French was very rusty but he managed to convey to me in no uncertain terms how things had spiraled out of control under the Pol Pot regime.

So Nate, I hope you may not judge me too harshly.

I love golf and I strongly believe that wherever golf thrives, so does character, humility, and the very cornerstone of morality – concern for other people.

We are strangers to one another but I sincerely wish you health, happiness and success in all that you do.

Kindest regards,

XXXX XXXXXXX

My reply:

Thanks XXXXX,

For the kind words and thoughtful message.

In no way do I harbor any disapproval for your trip playing golf in Cambodia, or your take on golf’s role in the health of people or society.

I can think of uncountable things that are a far more negative use of one’s time than playing golf. Killing innocent people, pillaging and looting valuables that belong to the nation, State, and the greater, common good for personal gain, an unhealthy fondness for domesticated cats, and related nefarious behavior amongst them.

Actually, my step brother has made a career professionally, and a damn good living and a good chunk of change on the PGA tour, out of hitting a little white ball across manicured lawns, for 30 years. As far as i know, he has done no one significant harm while he was distracted enjoying himself doing so, providing for his family, paying his fair share of taxes, providing harmless diversionary entertainment for middle age white people globally, and generally contributing to the greater common good of society.

I mean no snark in the above at all. The more golf in Cambodia can only divert those who can afford it and allow them to mingle with one another during their downtime from their primary focus of deriving their ill gotten loot acquired via the most crude ripping off of state assets and oppression of the commoners.

If those who have a piece of the pie of power can spend more time partaking in that recreation, and therefore avoid focusing their energy on their day job–ruining the lives of the people under their jackboot, I say God Bless golf in Cambodia.

To golf and morality, together, for a better Cambodia, I say two thumbs up.

Really.  I mean it.

I don’t have a better answer, myself.

I hope you remain well,

Nate

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