Jenny Brockie

Jenny Brockie. Jenny Brockie is the presenter of SBS television's Insight, 7.30pm on Tuesdays.
MY DAUGHTER deferred university last year to backpack through South-East Asia. She left with a beaming smile, boyfriend by her side, waved away by a posse of loved ones.
"I arrived in Bangkok at 10pm last night. It's crazy, fun, energetic and dirty! We're staying in a nice hotel for about 7 bucks a night ... It feels weird being away from you on a holiday without family. I love you so much."
She seemed set for the carefree holiday befitting any 19-year-old. On Thailand's islands, her early experiences were just as they should be - hedonistic and exhilarating. She was taking flight, full of joy. "Here we are on Kho Phi Phi - honestly the most beautiful place I've EVER seen. The sand is like silk and you sip cocktails as the sun sets. It's paradise ..."
But she was absorbing more. "It's such a bizarre feeling, though, because it's so affected by the tsunami. You go into town ... they haven't cleared all the rubble and it's a mess. It's such a weird contrast and quite confronting. It's really good we're here, 'cos we're helping bring the tourists back. I feel so ridiculous lying on the beach and swimming all day."
She emailed every second day, increasingly intimate conversations canvassing love, relationships, lost wallets and sea urchin bites. "I got very homesick last night. There was a storm outside and I really missed you."
Eleven days later, confidence was growing. "I get quite homesick sometimes but I'm finding it really rewarding being here and getting through things."
Before she left I urged her to visit Cambodia. My trip several years earlier prompted thoughts of human nature, cruelty, dignity, survival. When she decided to travel to Siem Reap I was delighted, emailing an impassioned description of the temple complex, the country's haunting beauty, a quick history of Pol Pot and motherly warnings about personal safety.
"Cambodia so far has been the most...