Saturday, April 03, 2010

strong legs

Photo via Mu Sochua's official website

I voted for you. But don't tell anyone.

A male farmer and constituent in conversation with Cambodian Parliamentary member Mu Sochua, cited in today's New York Times.

Mu Sochua has recently traded defamation lawsuits with the country's Prime Minister, Hun Sen, after he referred to her with the phrase cheung klang, which means "strong legs", and is an insult when used to describe a woman in Cambodia.

She lost her case, and was convicted in the counter suit that the Prime Minister filed against her (at the same time he stripped her of her Parliamentary immunity). She has refused to pay the $4,000 fine, saying: "Paying the fine is saying to all Cambodian women, 'What are you worth? A man can call you anything he wants and there is nothing you can do.'"

She's currently on the campaign trail, three years before the election, because she's excluded from most media coverage, due to her gender. Everywhere she goes she adopts the deference expected of Cambodian women. "I walk into a cafe and I have to think twice, how to be polite to the men," she said. "I have to ask if I can enter. This is their turf."

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