Dr Heidi Hoefinger completed seven years of research on the hostess bar scene in Phnom Penh from 2003-2010. She received her PhD in Media Communications and Social Science form Goldmiths, University of London. She is the author of the upcoming book Sex, Love and Money in Cambodia (Routledge, 2013).
Creating New Meanings of Khmer Womanhood
“Some girls make $60 a month; I spend $1,000 a month,” Trang proudly stated as she sipped from her chocolate Martini while relaxing in a Phnom Penh hostess bar. As if to emphasize the point, the sparkling diamond rings on her fingers were complemented by two diamond studs encrusted in her teeth.Trang, married to a British doctor, is considered a ‘success’ story – someone whom many other bar girls (a self-referential term) admire. This is not only because of her spending power and prestige, but also the financial and emotional support she provides to the younger, less experienced girls, whom she calls her “sisters”. Continue reading