A teacher in the Cambodian second city of Battambang was "crushed" when student in his classroom guessed his age as 60, chuckling as he did.
Moys Kenwood, 55, was asked his age by one of his more enthusiastic students, but he wasn't about to give the game away that easily! He asked the class how old they thought he was, encouraging them to use their knowledge of English language numbers, and, thereby, successfully 'achieving his targets'.
In doing so, however, he risked ridicule. Knowing full well that students in the past had used just such opportunities to spout stupid answers like '100', he was aware that his own question was a gamble. Would it pay off? No.
A male student threw his arm aloft, and, sniggering, said:
This was a blow to Kenwood. The students regarded him. He remained still and silent. His throat became dry, his collar uncomfortable. He could feel his fist clenching, and beads of sweat had started to form on his brow.
Did he look sixty? It couldn't be true, could it? He did his best to stay healthy; he ate reasonably well - fish and chips five times a week - and drank plenty of water; he walked a lot, up and down four flights of stairs every time there was a lesson; he didn't drink, smoke or take drugs; "sixty"? "SIXTY"?
Suddenly, the student that had said "sixty" made a bolt for the door. He was in the corridor before anyone could stop him, and the receding clatter of his footsteps was the only sound that could be heard.
A solitary tear appeared at the head of the tear duct in Kenwood's left eye, and teetered there, waiting for orders. Time stood still.
Then, a bell rang. It was time for the break, and the students rushed out of the classroom without giving a second thought to the teacher who had just been 'robbed' of five years of his life.