Dunno if you’re aware, but as little as two and a half decades ago Cambodia was being ruled by the Khymer Rouge, a completely evil regime which stripped its population of everything from material possessions to individual self worth. History didn’t exist beyond year zero…. the year they took power, and children were taught that the expression of love and relationships was wrong and they had to reject and disown their families. Any person showing any kind of intelligence or individuality was seen as a threat, arrested, tortured and inevitably killed in the killing fields. The brain washed kids were used to police the adults…… nice hey. For me, the onslaught and attempt at the complete destruction of the human spirit on an entire population was worse than what the Nazi’s did during world war 2. I’d argue the point if I thought it was worth it.
While in the capital I went to a place called Tong Sleung (probably got that spelling completely wrong). It’s the school that was converted into a prison and used as a centre of torture during the KR years. I had a really strange experience there.
As I walked around, seeing the places where these atrocities had occurred and seeing the pictures of the people it had happened to, I started feeling really low, it was really getting me down. I couldn’t comprehend how such a thing like that could have occurred and what could have brought people to commit such acts of evil on other human beings. It’s awful. Then as I continued to walk I started thinking of all the people I loved back home, me mum, little brothers etc, and suddenly I was in the opposite polarity. I was feeling elated and full of love! I started thinking….. should I be feeling like this in such a place?……. then I thought, Damn right…….. this place needs all the love it can get!
Near the end of the tour route there was a wall with a load of graffiti on it. Some of the comments were a bit wise…. other comments were distinctly unwise, but one beautiful person had written a quote by Gandhi, which, as I read it, made me feel as light as a feather….
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”
Could you have put a truth any better then that? Is there a greater path to your infinite power and potential? Beautiful.
Anyway, just as I returned to the guest house, literally as I walked in the door, the opening credits of a film were on the tv screen. I had intended to go straight up to my room and get some kip cos I was cream crackered, but thought I’d wait for a moment and see what the film was….. it turned out to be the Killing Fields. I’d never seen it before so I thought I’d better go with this synchronism and watch it. Bloody Hell…… 2 hours later my heads fucked. Superbly human film, but with the double whammy of actually being at a site where some of that shit actually happened hours before you can imagine where my emotions were. So I went out for a walk along the river. Felt pretty numb at the time…. wasn’t thinking anything, just watched the world go by as it passed me.
I passed this food vendor and saw a pastry type thing that looked edible, so resolved to munch it!!! Just as I was about to purchase it, a little beggar boy came up to me and indicated for me to buy him one. I thought…. why not and said “ok”. Then his eyes lit up and he started shouting “My friend, my friend”…… and out of nowhere another beggar boy turned up (his friend) and he asked me to buy him one too! I was like “You cheeky little monkeys…. go on then”. So we each had one and as it happened it turned out cheaper for me anyway cos the vendor geezer was gonna rip me off, but the lads made him charge me the “local” price!!! 🙂
So I went and sat down by the river and started to munch on me pasty like type thing, which was actually quite nice. To my surprise, a couple of minutes later, the lads come and joined me. I thought they’d just scarpered, so we just sat there by the river stuffing our north and south’s taking the world in. It was pleasant uninteractive company. Then this lady drinks vendor came up to me offering me drinks, and I started having a joke around with her, and to cut along story short, as time passed by, more and more Cambodians added to our little group until there was about 8-10 of us having a bubble by the side of the river and not speaking a word of English! A pukka evening by all accounts!!! It was so lovely 🙂
Phenom Phen was the place I started getting ill on the “local” food though. I’d pretty much stuck with it up until then, but ever since every time I eat or even think about eating this fried rice/noodle malarkey, I come over all tom dick! It aint the way forward for me…. and to be quite frank…. when your dinner comes out of your arse, looking the same as when it went in your mouth, there’s something definitely wrong with the recipe!!!
Anyway, after Phenom Phen it was onto Silhoukoville to be by the beach for a week (it rained!!!) then back to Phenom Penn and onto Laos via Kratie and Stung Tren.
Love and Light,