The Jams are Dead. Long Live the Jams

I’m seven. I’m bustin’ my little butt to second base in a game of wiffle ball that will go down in the annals of memorable Wilt Family reunions.

A distant, distant, oh so genetically distant relative, a huge oaf of a man with an overabundance of chromosomes and an underabundance of teeth, chases after me. When he goes for the tag my right leg somehow ends up in between his scissoring tree trunks of legs and ….SNAP!

I’m on the ground near second base staring up the trunk of an elm tree. Relatives stop talking about the weather long enough to say, “Did you hear that? It sounded like a chicken bone snapping.” And then they return to their conversation. “Mable Sue, how much rain did…

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What do making Jeans and Bowling have in common?


These workers would rather not do either.

I took them bowling. Nails were broken. Heavy balls were heaved. And sore arms were rubbed. It didn’t take.

My extensive, highly-scientific, ground-breaking research has turned up yet another amazing discovery that will contribute to the human knowledge-base…

Garment workers don’t like bowling….

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Notes From a Garment Factory

Roo Hsing Garment Factory

The following are excerpts from my notes from my visit to Roo Hsing Garment Factory:
“My boss says that he would like to dry your pants.”

“Sure, that’d be great.”

A phone call is made and someone whooshes in and off my jeans go

We walk down the line starting at a completed pair of Levi’s. Some 85 people have a hand in sewing one pair of blue jeans. That doesn’t count the people who cut the fabric, wash the jeans, make the pockets, or ship.

It’s seeing a pair of jeans being disassembled in 85 parts.

The famous Levi’s gold thread spirals from the top of the sewing machines and into the blue jeans in short spurts.

The girls, and they are mainly girls, not guys…

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If Willy Wonka made blue jeans…

…his factory would be about the same sizes as the Roo Hsing Garment Factory in Phnom Penh.

As I approach the mirrored-glass doors all I can see is my reflection. The plant manager opens the door and I disappear. An endless room of workers and sewing machines appear.

Some 85 people have a hand in making one pair of blue jeans. This Blue Jean Land is occupied by 1,000 workers.

More on this later…

Thanks to Levi’s for arranging the visit and thanks to the management at the Roo Hsing factory for giving me a most thorough tour. And the best part is that while they were giving me a tour, they got a stain out of my Made In Cambodia Levi’s that had been on there since the…

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Where Kent is Wearing

Suntex Factory

All of our underwear comes from somewhere. This is where Kent’s came from.

Kent, aka Denzel, a member of WAIW’s Underwear Wall of Fame, sent me the address of the factory that his MADE IN CAMBODIA boxers originated. I tracked it down. That’s me in front of the Suntex factory.

The Suntex factory is on the outskirts of Phnom Penh near an infamous Killing Field. I went there on a scooter. It was hot and the road was a dusty, stinky mess. From the entrance, the factory looked big, more of a compound really.

I didn’t get a chance to meet any of the workers, but I can give you a rough idea what they are like from my…

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Roasting Dr. Timmerman (My Brother)

After some 26 semesters at the University level, my brother, Kyle, has finally graduated with a PhD in Exercise Physiology. His advisor held a roast in honor of the occasion that none of us ever thought would come.

I missed it. My excuse: I was sleeping. And, oh yeah, I’m in Cambodia.

I really wanted to be there. There were a lot of friends and family that were attending the roast. I always appreciate when others join-in to help make fun of my big brother. Usually, I have to do all of the heavy lifting.

Despite my on-the-other-side-of-the-world status, I still contributed to the roast. From my hotel in Battambang, I recorded 3 minutes…

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At the urinal I'm the only one that touches me, GOT IT!

The bathroom attendant is wearing a red bow tie. When I walk in he bows, and not just a little bow, a big one. I consider urinals and opt for the one in its own private little nook. I unzip and I’m about to begin.

That’s when the shoulder massage starts.

What the @#$@#%!! If there is one rule that I’ve strictly maintained my entire life it’s that I don’t urinate if someone is touching me. Especially if that someone is giving me a shoulder massage. And most especially if he is wearing a red bow tie.

I look over my shoulder, the left one, as he kneads away. My face is twisted with violation. I shake my head no and then nod for…

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This is the first entry in the Create Your Own NGO Contest, and it’s a good one. I about OSHIT myself from laughing. Thanks Kyle.


Organization for Super Hero Identity Theft

What’s the first thing to go through a superhero’s head when his secret identitiy has been compromised? That’s right, O.S.H.I.T. It is O.S.H.I.T.’s mission to quickly relocate unmasked crime fighters, and to assign them new aliases in the event that their true identities are discovered by any of a variety of ne’er-do-wells.

If you haven’t entered, and I know you haven’t, do so now! Because like John Cougar Mellencamp said, “You gotta stand for something. Or your gonna fall for anything.”

UPDATE: Kyle aka Malaria Boy, my brother graduated from…

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Black Market Blue Jeans

Black Market Blue Jeans

The Russian Market is truly a SWEAT shop – all of the shoppers are dripping in sweat. But it would take a lot more than a little heat to scare them away from the $5 Levi’s or the $3 GAP polo shirts.

The place is a labyrinth of crafts, junk, bikes, fruits and veggies, restaurants (I love me the fried bananas), and clothing shops. Two average-sized foreigners can’t pass each other in the narrow walkways without getting “friendly.” Clothes are piled on tables and hung from the walls and ceiling, hiding the actual structure of the building. The shopkeepers, like ET among the stuffed animals, can be seen if you look real close.

Entering is the shopping equivalent of being…

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Granny was a Garment Worker

Levis continues to rock. In the very near future I will be touring one of the factories that produce their jeans. Is it weird that I’m excited to see how my blue jeans are made?

I was talking with my Grandma Wilt today, updating her on my progress here in Cambodia, when she chimed in with an interesting bit o’ tid…

“I used to work in a garment factory in Versailles (OH). We made bibs for Lee…I sewed on the pockets.”

She only did the job during the summers and didn’t like it very much. The money wasn’t very good.

“The more pieces you completed the more you got paid. I was never fast enough to make much money.”

So there you have it. I’ve traveled…

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