Bob Shoreman

January, 19 2015


Their son, Attorney James Abely, just told me that he has received nearly 40 emails about his parents photo as seen on our class website all of which have brought great joy to the family.  I would like to express my sincere appreciation to those of you who might have some connection to the Abely's and thought enough to send the link on.  I don't know who you are, but that small effort has made some nice folks very happy. God Bless you, one and all. Bob Shoreman


Bob Shoreman

April, 29 2014




The attached photo of Joseph Abely (BHS '46), and his lovely bride, Brenda Conlon Abely (BHS '48) along with me, Bob Shoreman (BHS '62). The Abely's were married at Saint Joseph's RC Church in Belmont in 1957. This photo was taken in the company of their son, Attorney James Abely, on April 27, 2014 at the Frederica House Restaurant on Saint Simons Island, Georgia, where we have been meeting every Sunday evening for quite sometime, but I didn’t know until recently that they were both BHS alumni.




Visit to Buddhist site proves to be a mixed blessing


By Malcolm Carter

February, 15 2014


Vendors flank route toward the top of the "mountain," more than a-500 stair climb away.

Vendors flank path toward the top of the “mountain,” more than a-500 stair climb away.


My Cambodian family, as I now think of them, called early Friday morning to suggest a trip to Oudong “mountain,” a 38-km (23.6-mile) drive from the center of Phnom Penh.


The drive turned out to be excruciatingly slow and dusty, thanks to road construction and a relatively minor national holiday.  A half-hour journey became one lasting more than one and a half hours.  Thankfully, the car was air-conditioned.


The mystical character of the site is inescapable along with beggars whose needs are all too evident.

The mystical character of the site is inescapable along with beggars whose needs are all too evident.


The holiday, Meak Bochea Day, is an annual celebration meant to remind followers of Buddha and his teachings.  If you aware of the theft of relics of the Buddha and the subsequent arrest of an alleged and unlikely thief, Oudong is where the burglary occurred.


Because of Oudong’s religious significance and the broad expanse of accessible parkland, rare in Phnom Penh, Cambodians flock there on the holiday.


Oudon 3


By the time we arrived, long after any ceremonies, the base of the hill was thronged with Cambodians and their vehicles, plus food and other concessions, restaurants in long roofed sheds, and activities that ranged from waiting to use one of two old-fashioned toilets (if you get my drift) to shopping and feasting.


The scene was more like a carnival sans fun rides than a religious observance. The atmosphere was entertaining, enthusiastic and charged with energy. Nice!


Cambodians of all ages visited Oudon on Friday.

Cambodians of all ages visited Oudon on Friday.


The restaurants with rude roofs and open sides are something else.  They consist of wooden pallets on which Cambodians are comfortable squatting, not me, plus hammocks slung among them for resting after the climb.


I chose to dangle my legs over the edge while eating half of a sumptuous barbecued chicken, the rest of it having been relegated to chicken soup.  Of course, there was rice.  Rice, always rice, which I’ve come expect like a native.  Soup is served almost as often, the weather notwithstanding.


Most parents forbid most teen-age boys and girls to socialize in couples, so they seize opportunities for group activities, of which a trip to Oudong is a good option.

Most parents forbid their teen-age boys and girls to socialize in couples, so their offspring seize opportunities for permitted group activities, of which a trip to Oudong is a good and acceptable option.


The food in the restaurants defines “cooked to order.”  We ordered the food, picking out the precisely best chicken, before heading up those stairs, which I managed without embarrassing myself. 


As for the climb itself, I was hardly the oldest to hike up the stairs.  There were elderly men and women assisted by children and grandchildren as they hauled themselves up and then down steps that sometimes were perilously steep with uneven surfaces.  I don’t know how they managed the ascent.  Faith can be a powerful motivator, I assume.


Oudong-8We were accompanied the whole way by a kid who insisted on fanning us in the hope, eventually realized, of payment.  We also passed a disconcerting number of beggars and also witnessed monkeys that were as comfortable with us as we were with each other.


(Remembering an unpleasant experience with monkeys in India, I held tight to my camera.)


Oudon-6Oudon-7


At the summit and in areas not far below, we came upon a number of stupas and small temples.  Some of them seemed to be ancient, one of the most memorable having a base encircled by a protective band of carved elephants.  (At the very top was a gleaming white edifice that I neglected to photograph, not realizing that we had more to see.  I wish we hadn’t hurried along, though my stomach was starting to growl impatiently.)


Our five-hour outing was more than a little diverting, an unexpected pleasure — despite the clouds of dust and slow bus we were unable to pass — and another glimpse into a life that has been, until now, quite foreign to me.


Email: malcolmncarter@gmail.com



Here's recent pic of Ann Steele Williams, J.D. (my cherished SO) and I visiting Chicago's landmark 'Bean' at Millennium Park. Ann also is a ’62 NJ HS graduate.




Greetings Malcolm,


I was intrigued by your essay about Cambodia and your major life change. It seems that the world is a better place now. You write passionately about seeing smiles on the faces of the people.


I arrived in the region in March 1970. My base camp was at Tram Chim (see the map link) strategically located in the middle of the Plain of Reeds along a major line of communication, 125 miles of canal between the Mekong River and Saigon.


There was an encampment located on the south bank of that canal opposite the village of An Long which held several thousand Cambodians seeking refuge from the horror of the Khmer Rouge. That's me at the helm of my 'combat' Boston Whaler en route to the refugee camp. When I got there I saw fear, anxiety, and uncertainty on the faces of the people......quite a contrast.


The Plain of Reeds was situated in a military operational region designated as the 44th Special Tactical Zone (see the link). Inundated by the monsoon flood waters, the Plain became universally navigable to shallow draft sampans carrying troops and materiel coming from the north. During the monsoon season, it was the southern terminus of the Ho Chi Minh trail which it was my primary mission to interdict. I shot the pic of this Everglades-type air-boat during one of those missions. What appear to be two black dots on the horizon in the right of the photo are two more air-boats attempting to draw hostile fire from a suspected redoubt out of the field of view. Needless to say, it was a target rich area. My secondary mission was to win the hearts and minds of the people.....quite a contrast.


It's not clear to me what you are actually doing in Cambodia, but I could take a pretty good guess. Be well and stay safe.


Bob Shoreman, BHS '62

Saint Simons Island, GA

February, 5 2014


http://mapq.st/1asjiX3

http://www.gingerb.com/vietnam_cao_lanh.htm



In Cambodia, that certain smile is everywhere.

By Malcolm Carter

January, 23 2014


In front of an apartment building nearing completion, this pair could not have been more charming.

In front of an apartment building nearing completion, this pair could not have been more charming.


They, whoever “they” are, have dubbed Cambodia variations of the “land of a million smiles.”


In a nation currently beset by grim political protests and bedeviled by widespread poverty, malnutrition and corruption, perhaps it is odd to be writing about smiles.  But I have been struck by their prevalence here.


I cannot walk a block without encountering a countenance that smiles back with my merest suggestion of a friendly nod.  Even omnipresent tuk-tuk drivers, who ceaselessly hale potential fares, smile back when refused with barely a polite gesture.


The contrast to many New York City taxi drivers, U.S. Postal Service employees and other service personnel in a range of businesses is striking to the extreme.


Children smile, vendors smile, everyone smiles at the slightest encouragement or sometimes no encouragement at all.  The smallest child with only a fledgling’s vocabulary often takes me aback with a volunteered “hello” in English in addition to that infectious smile.


I have two theories for the phenomenon.


One is the clichéd explanation of cultural tradition. The other one seems like a contradiction, though some may argue, not unreasonably, that the second notion underlies the first explanation.  Let me express it as question:


Could it be that decades of deprivation and oppression have created a culture of defeatism among the large working class?  (How fruitful is the work remains a subject for another post.)


Consider the tuk-tuk driver, for example.  He, almost invariably “he,” has a mammoth army of competition and therefore is lucky to make a few dollars a day.  He doesn’t expect much and possibly is grateful just to be acknowledged.  Thus the smile.


tuk-tuk driver


Bear in mind that there is ample reason for a spirit of defeatism – how’s that for an oxymoron? – in a country where factory workers strike and subject themselves to all the power that a government can wield in the hope of receiving a monthly wage bigger than $90.


Living is cheap in Cambodia, but $90 a month buys little more than rice and a shared one-room shanty.


If anyone wants to make an omelette, he better not break those eggs.

If someone wants to make an omelette, he better not break those eggs.


In a country where the sun beats down mercilessly (except during this unusually brisk winter of balmy days in the mid 80s — hey, it’s all relative) and the rainy season brings floods, umbrellas can be an essential amenity.


Throughout the year, however, it looks to me as though a number of the some 15 million Cambodians are more prone to take an old song to heart than to carry an implement , so they let a smile be their umbrella instead.


I am not unaware in writing this post of the danger of sliding into condescension.  That is far from my intention regarding a people I respect so much, and I hope I have succeeded in demonstrating how I feel about them.


I am not unaware in writing this post of the danger of sliding into condescension.  That is far from my intention regarding a people I respect so much, and I hope I have succeeded in demonstrating how I feel about them.


When a Cambodian smiles at me, I have to admit that I experience a soupçon of suspicion along witha frisson of warmth.

I have come to perceive those smiles as being not only genuine but also containing the cool hard shells of the bittersweet lives that so much of the population leads.  It does not escape the poor that a Westerner can have the capacity to improve their lives in the smallest of ways.


At the same time, it is true that Cambodians also smile at other Cambodians, and they smile readily no matter their social and economic standing.


I welcome the smiles whatever their origins, and I’ll keep smiling back.


Email: malcolmncarter@gmail.com



"Please join in wishing Mal the very best on his new road of life's journey."
Mal posted on Facebook that they are settling into Cambodia well.
Happiest of New Year's in 2014! Prue                     12/27/13