101. Meeting with H.R

Australian Centre for Education (ACE)

April 2017.

Exactly 1 year before I’m deported from Cambodia.

Where’s H.R ? I ask my manager.

Um…they’re not coming.

But I thought this was a meeting with H.R.

It’s just me and my Campus Manager in the tiny office downstairs at ACE.

And where’s my witness? I asked for Paul to he here.

I asked him not to come. I didn’t think it was necessary.

Right. Can I start by saying I’m sorry. Life’s been difficult since my mum died.

When was that?

Eighteen months ago.

Eighteen months should be plenty of time to grieve.

Mr. Sensitive.

So, your absences. That’s three Saturdays you’ve missed now this term.

I’ve phoned in.

On two occasions. Once you just didn’t turn up.

My manager’s English. Started as a teacher. Rose through the ranks. I’ve got no ESL career aspirations. 10 years, I’d always said, then back to the acting career in London.

I’ve brought a character witness statement, I say.

I produce a print out of the letter I’d asked my good friend Steve Gourley to write for me.

Steve’s a highly respected children’s rights worker in Cambodia. He’s even advised to the Goverment. Is on the advisory board of LICADHO.

Highly respected.

I pass the letter across the table:

The words

highly volatile custody battle

and

death threats

jump out.

Author: Mark Dark

Actor turned Christian missionary turns his back on his Hollywood dreams to combat sex trafficking in Cambodia – and finds himself tangled up in gang culture and a surreal internal world of drugs psychosis. Based on true events.