This weekend in Cambodia has been the local elections. The past two weeks has been a buzz of huge parades down the street lead by each party, party propaganda plastered on every street, and the quiet discontent of a people who know that their votes will count only as far as the government will allow them.
In being immersed in the lead-up to the election I was speaking with some local Khmer people about the election. I was asking whether the voting was fair, whether it was counted correctly. This was their response: "Cambodia is a very corrupt country. This election is no different".
One of the stranger things I stumbled across this week was a postal box on the corner of a busy road. It had a sign on it stating "Postal Box for Complaints About Corruption". Corruption can be seen here everywhere - it's blatant and everyone gets away with it.
Being here at this time has made me realise how blessed Australia and other Western nations are. I hear so many people (and I have been guilty of this too) complaining about political parties in power, badmouthing politicians they don't like, and having a sob-fest about our political situation. I don't want to make light of politics in the west... I just think we need to be counting our blessings.
We have the right to vote for who we want. Our votes are not coerced or forced. Our votes are counted properly. The party that the majority vote for is the party which actually gains the power.
It seems basic. However so many in the world do not have these simple privileges. So many are surrounded by so much corruption that it actually becomes normal, a regular part of life. This corruption infiltrates into every part of the society. This corruption becomes life.
So today I am remembering how blessed I am. I will remember that I had a hand in voting in the leaders in my country. I will hold onto the fact that my country has empowered me to have a say. I pray that the people in nations such as this will someday have that privilege too.