Of course, I didn’t know much during the Khmer Rouge regime in between 1975-79, I started knowing something was in late 1982 when I was unable to chew and swallow the porridge of banana trunk. This dinner image has inscribed in my mind ever since. Many people including my siblings were so skinny, infected and weary.
Sit down under a tree to protect from a scorching sun, as I looked at far distance, my mind was so imaginary. Sometime, it thought of having a nice home equipped by luxurious furniture. Sometime, it wandered far to horizon through the air as my ears heard of airplane was flying. Sometime, it desired for huge amount of money to pleasure life. Suddenly, I was shaken by a rocket explosion at the edge of Phum Dong-het. I must rush to look around if my cows are still nearby. But none I saw. All my cows were so alert and I thought they left for home already. I had to run fast back home for both security and herding the cows to avoiding from eating and destroying seeds of neighbors.
It was in 1987 when I was in grade 7, the situation at my village was so ravaged by fractional fighting especially between Khmer Rouge guerrilla and Vietnamese army. The village is comparing like a cord for the players of “tug-of-war”. Villagers were so subservient to the inquiries of both Khmer Rouge army and Vietnamese army. In the night, they had no choice but to welcome Khmer Rouge army. In the day, they have no choice but to greet Vietnamese army. But if any of these two groups come to my village on a wrong schedule, the fighting must be happening. Both sides had good quality of weaponry and guns supported by their ideological masters in this very deadly confrontational war. The villagers were the front shield for them. But I don’t think that both factions had respected the universal rule of warfare. Very often, villagers who are civil people and gun-less were shot to dead, bruised, maimed or kidnapped; grain of rice, vegetables and livestocks are target for fighting supply. More often, family that has young singled and pretty daughters must hide them from the eyes of those soldiers from both sides. As we had to work hard on the rice field in the day, some night we had to stay inside bunker or escape away for personal and live-stocks security without having a nap.
Life of this plight became adaptable for me as a young kid who pursued voluminous imagination. My thought of desiring to hand huge amount of money was to escape away from this horrific area or to bribe those soldiers not to come to our village any more.
My daily life was a task to herding 4 cows in the evening and attending school in the morning. My school was very far away. I went to school by walk. One day, I was late to be arrived home on time to feed grasses to the cows because of fighting happened at the middle pathway back home. I had to hide under a big trunk of tree to secure myself from bullets and kidnapping. In that time, I lost one pencil and my dirty short pant terribly torn. My mom and sisters were so frightening that this fighting possibly blocked my way back home and I was worried in kidnapping or shot.
Of course, I didn’t know much during the Khmer Rouge regime in between 1975-79, I started knowing something was in late 1982 when I was unable to chew and swallow the porridge of banana trunk. This dinner image has inscribed in my mind ever since. Many people including my siblings were so skinny, easily infected and weary.