My appearance is the most obvious way no one would mistake me for a Cambodian. Of course, there are numerous other reasons.
One that has proved to be inescapable is a position favored here by man, woman and child for activities as varied as eating, playing a version of chess and merely whiling away some time, often a lot of time.
What they do effortlessly and clearly without discomfort is squat.
I suppose there were years in my early life when I could do that, but those days are decades past. Hell, I can’t sit in a basic yoga starting position without falling backward, so reduced is my flexibility.
I do remember a college roommate who played the catcher position in baseball and used to boast about his ability to maintain a squat for long periods of time. (He didn’t have that much memorable to discuss, it seems, though I confess to having envied his achievement.)
Certainly, I’ll never be taken for a native speaker, someone whose body type is typical of an Asian or a lover of all foods Khmer (think fried larvae and barbecued snakes, among other treats such as, I don’t know, rats).
Even if I could surmount those obstacles, I know I’ll never get my old knees to comply with squatting for more than a few moments. I guess I’ll just have to get used to being a stranger in another land.