The Christian Approach? I think not!

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I have a lovely daughter in law. She is Filipino and wouldn’t hurt a fly. She is sensitive and kind and supporting my step son in Cambodia while he works in the hospital, helping those less fortunate than himself.

There is a man named Lindsay Clarke. He is Australian. Lindsay Clark from my experience, is not sensitive and far from kind. I want to tell you about them both because they have a connection which is not only cruel but ‘apparently’ driven by faith and a devotion to Christianity.

This is the story. I hate unfairness, injustice and ignorance and this smacks of all three.

My daughter-in-law was visiting her favourite café in Siem Reap Cambodia last Wednesday. It is one we frequent often when I am there. She was with her two year old son, my grandson, who loves ‘The Blue Pumpkin’ very much, and especially their mango shake.DSC_0052a-1024x682 Suddenly, out of the blue a young man came and grabbed her shopping bag. She was terrified and so was her son. The man was pulling the bag so hard that he was twisting her arm. Fearful of what he may do next she let go of the bag. She called for help but no one came to her rescue. The Khmer people are peaceful and have suffered much in the past and they may have been afraid to intervene. At this point another young man came and began videoing the incident. My daughter-in-law was confused, scared, and hanging onto her child who was crying in fear. A few minutes later some Cambodian women and a young American girl named Susan DeTroy came laughing and giggling in front of her. My daughter-in-law was now shaking and my grandson was hysterical. They told her they were grabbing the bag and videoing   a drama for training purposes for their organisation. My daughter-in-law became very angry, not understanding why they would pick on a mother and a child to use for fun and training, inflicting pain in the process. They never asked her consent to video her and her child. Can you imagine if that happened in England? At first they wouldn’t tell her the name of their organisation claiming they couldn’t remember it and asked her why she was making such a big deal. Fortunately, my stepson was working at the hospital close by and he came with another professional person and suddenly Susan DeTroy could remember everything. They quickly apologised. They said they thought she was Khmer (Cambodian). As though to harass a Cambodian woman would have been acceptable, but surely to harass anyone is unacceptable.

Now, here is where Mr Lindsay Clarke comes in. The organisation they worked for was a Christian one. Christian? I don’t know about you but this isn’t what I thought Christians do. Tell me if you know differently. My daughter-in-law is now too embarrassed to return to ‘The Blue Pumpkin’ and my grandson has been traumatised. Yes, they will get over it but was it necessary? And this is in the name of religion?

So, let’s go back to Mr Lindsay Clarke, who is he exactly? He is the CEO and founder of this organisation who hopes very much that any blog posting of mine will send a lot of traffic to his website, and feels that Susan DeTroy and her colleagues did nothing wrong. Of course this is not what he told me. I emailed Mr Clarke with my concerns. Here is my email verbatim.

Subject: Assault in Siem Reap

Lindsay Clarke

I urge you to respond to this email to explain the disgraceful actions of your organisation before I take further steps… My daughter in law was assaulted by members of your staff in Siem Reap city centre, (Cambodia) outside ‘The Blue Pumpkin’ café. She was with her two year old son and they had their bag grabbed and were videotaped without consent. It was not until later when my step son who works in the hospital in Siem Reap, confronted them did they admit who they worked for… YOU, and said it was for training purposes.

The member of your staff who was confronted was American and apparently named Sue or Susan and was said to be on a Gap year. There were others involved who were Khmer.  In my opinion it would be prudent of you to terminate her time with you and her team as she is discrediting your organisation and Christianity as a whole.

 I am a British novelist and freelance writer with a large readership and following on the internet. I have no qualms to bring this to people’s attention. It is disgraceful to do this kind of thing to people on the streets on Cambodia. They told my daughter in law that they thought she was Khmer (she is Filipino). This makes me think that you consider it acceptable to harass Khmer people. How disgraceful of you. My daughter in law has been left very shaken by this incident especially as your team seemed to find it funny. This time it seems you chose the wrong person and I look forward to your response regarding your very obvious racism and abusive behaviour in this particular case and how you justify it in the name of Christianity.

 Regards

 Lynda Renham-Cook and Dr Andrew Cook

I cc’d everyone in the organisation and included my husband Andrew Cook. Mr Clarke’s response to me was.

‘Thanks for your email Lynda.

If you would like a phone call from one of our senior team please let me know and we shall arrange it.

Regards

 Lindsay Clarke CEO & Founder

However, he sent a completely different email to his team. How do we know this? Mr Clarke ‘replied to all’ not realising my husband was on the cc list. The following email is what Mr Clarke really feels.

  ‘Hi Team,

No one responds to this email, especially you Susan. No need to:) 

I won’t say what I really think on email but basically go for it Lady the publicity will drive traffic to our web site. Oh! Except she doesn’t get any more blog likes that any of us. Check for yourself!!!

So for those not in the info loop, hardly anything this women said is accurate and I will on this occasion not run with her advice, so Susan is going nowhere, didn’t do anything wrong and is fully supported by our team and particularly me. We at ****don’t react we pro act.

Hope you are all having a brilliant week.

Pray for each other and enjoy the journey.

Grace

Honor

 Lindsay Clarke CEO & Founder  

linds_pol_old

So Mr Clarke (pictured above) thinks there is nothing wrong in assaulting young women with young children on the streets of Cambodia.

Susan response was.

Subject: Re: Assault in Siem Reap

Thanks for the support guys 🙂

-Susan 

To be fair Susan is young and we all make mistakes. However we wanted her to be aware that people have feelings and that her actions were not the right way to promote Christianity. We hoped for a response as it would have shown she had some integrity. We have not had a response to date. This was my husband’s email to her.

‘Hi Susan

One of my favourite quotes is from Micah 6 verse 8, which reads, “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” To me this and the teaching of Jesus on compassion and love for others encapsulates true Christianity. As you are working for a Christian organisation in Cambodia I assume we share the same understanding on this, and we both want to live our lives on this foundation. The reason I am writing to you is to share something that I am troubled with. I am writing to you as the Father-in-law of ***** the mother with the two year old child that you met last Wednesday. ***** is a lovely but sensitive woman who is working hard to support her husband who is on a placement with the main hospital in Siem Reap. She is like any other woman in that she is worthy of respect and love, and the fact that she has an Asian background does not diminish this fact.  Your actions last Wednesday have disturbed her a lot to the extent that she is now uncomfortable to venture into Siem Reap centre. She feels embarrassed and that she has been made a fool of. You may think she is over-reacting but you don’t know her, or her background. It really is very insensitive of Lindsay Clarke to minimise the incident and email you saying No one responds to this email, especially you Susan. No need to :). There actually is a need for a genuine response. ***** was very upset by your conduct with her and by your refusal to give the name of the organisation you work for, and that you only were able to remember this when my Son arrived. Are you really happy, before God, with your conduct?

I know that you have been told that you cannot respond to first email, and therefore I don’t expect a response from this. I only hope that you think about what you are doing and ask yourself if your work with ****** is bringing good to the people you are in contact with. I found Mr Clarke’s email to you (he accidentally included me in the c.c. list) very disturbing for a Christian organisation, but that’s another story.

I hope you enjoy your time in Cambodia. It is a beautiful country with lovely people – please be good to them!

Dr Andrew Cook & Lynda Renham-Cook

 

But what Mr Clarke does not know is that I am not going to mention his stupid website with his oversized donate button. You can find that for yourself if you are so interested. But I have published his email to show he supports racism, and unsolicited videoing of women and children to highlight his work, which he describes as ‘Christianity’.

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13 thoughts on “The Christian Approach? I think not!

  1. As an Australian, I feel I must apologise for another Australian’s actions. I am not christian, and what you described is exactly why I am not. I, too, always thought Christians to be kind and giving and never to hurt anyone in anyway. What you describe is a clear case of bullying. Something which our Prime Minister frowns upon and has created campaigns to “stamp bullying out”. The people in that christian organisation are using their ‘western’ power over countries with less education and knowledge. It is shameful.

    I am not good writer like you are, Lynda, so I hope you can understand what I am trying to say. Please send my love and apologies to your daughter-in-law and grandson, and I hope she finds the courage to return to “The Blue Pumpkin”.

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  2. As both a Christian and an expat living in Cambodia, I am deeply ashamed when I hear this story. Unfortunately there are people who think that respect, privacy, child protection and common decency – which are safeguarded by legislation in their own countries – simply don’t apply here. And that’s without going into why this was so wrong on a theological level.

    Your husband’s response was fantastic!

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  3. How utterly vile and disgusting. No, this is not Christian behavior – these are lousy Christians working for the almighty dollar. They have no souls. I’m glad you pursued this. You’ve told all your followers and we’ll tell others. This idiot might not get the web traffic he wants after all.

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    1. Thanks so very much for your support. We greatly appreciate the supportive comments and to know we are not alone to feel so hurt by this. A simple apology would have been enough. In fact we would have responded to phone call suggestion had that accidental email not arrived… Thanks again xx

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