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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'M SORRY, PLEASE FORGIVE ME

I took a little walk down Monivong Road to post this. I left my friends at Raffles Hotel Le Royal, the hotel where we are staying. To be quite honest, I don’t know what to post. I’m sure a lot of you maybe expecting a lot of our adventures posted here.

As the leader of this group, I made it a point to avoid one tourist attraction of Phnom Penh – the Killing Fields in Choeung Ek. But one over-friendly tour driver was able to persuade us to take a little look. We came unprepared. There is a reason why we avoided that place, but we gave in.

WHY MUST MILLIONS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE FOR ONE MAN’S CROOKED VISION?

I AM ANGRY! I am angry that it happened. I am angry that it’s taking longer for Cambodia to recover. I am angry that we are not helping them enough to rise to their feet. I am angry that Western countries are luring young and gifted Cambodians away disguised as a "scholarship".

I am angry that children are in the streets. I am angry at myself gambling away money at casinos in Poi Pet. I am angry at myself for staying at the most expensive hotel in Cambodia!

I am checking out tomorrow. I’ll stay at the cheapest hostel I can find and give my luxury hotel accommodations’ worth to the kids outside this Internet café. I promise.



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18 Comments:

Bjarne of Norway said...

I don't know what to say, my friend. How can we react to this post? We get rude awakenings in this lifetime. I feel that this is one of yours. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Googoosh said...

That place made a huge impact on me when I visited Cambodia in 2005. Experiences like this would make us think twice and hopefully change us for the better.

Carrie Puyat said...

The more you post personal insights like this, the more endearing you become to me. I feel for them too.

Akihiro said...

i'm stunned

D. Merchant said...

You never fail to surprise us with your posts. I kinda expected a careless, glitzy, extravagant adventure. I'm glad you took a pause and reflect. My hat's off.

JOSH said...

my boss recently had their vacation there, and they also tried avoiding that killing fields because according to her, its one very depressing place.

your description here reminded me of d holocaust.... i think d contribution i can be good at is to pray for their souls... amen.

riain said...

I once asked an American friend who has been around the world which country he doesnt want to come back. And without hesitation, he said Cambodia. And I asked him why - since I always heard that this is a very beautiful country with alot of history and gentle people, and he said, he know that but he doesnt want to come back as Cambodia is the saddest country he has ever been to - the widespread poverty, prostitution and the seeming national trauma that was still etched after the Khmer Rouge slaughter of decades past. In 1997, a young Filipino priest saved hundreds of Khmer lives from a student who threatened to bomb the school grounds in Batambang. The young Filipino priest died.

Sofia for BISEAN said...

Snap out of it buster!!! We got a job to do. Remember your post yesterday? We will show the world "how beautiful this kingdom is". And we will baby. We will.

Ton said...

Its insightful that you mentioned that pirating "disguised as scholarship". We Thais warned the Laotians about this. Do not send your smartest youths abroad.

The west usually urge them to stay and contribute to "their" society and not the countries where these young people come from. It's sad.

Nam said...

By being there, you are already helping. One has to be aware of the problem before one can lend a hand in making a different. Do continue to enjoy the trip but bring back with you all the memories and experience as an impetus for contributing to positive changes to Cambodia. The most meaningful and sustained positive changes for Cambodian require on-going and long term efforts which I hope a person in your position could initiate to the best of your ability.

Carlos Javier said...

Wow. I too felt the same when I visited Cambodia.

And I agree. Any nation - especially one populated by a kind and gentle people like the Khmers - does not deserve what happened to Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.

You guys should go see . Its up north though; Now there's one guy who's actually doing some good for his country - he digs out the damned devices! If you should give, IMHO this dude should get it.

Cheers Pisanu. You really surprised me with this one! ;)

And yup, sorry for f*cking up my previous comment. LOL.

carl said...

Oh, I just couldn't resist...

I am not going to take anything away from the Cambodian people; lord knows they have suffered enough...

But isn't that true of alot of countries and peoples?

What about Burma? Its their turn to get a little attention.

Lets look at it realistically. Can a poor person get ahead in the Philippines? Not really, its all about who you know and what family you come from. Which is really a shame because if the rich and powerful weren't so gluttonness the Philippines should be ahead of South Korea by now...

Then you have Thailand...if you are poor and or dark skinned..what are your chances? Slim to none. Ditto for Laos and Vietnam....

Look at the control that the ethnic Chinese hold on some of these socieities....

I love to see young men who's Cambodian parents were refugees who resettled in the US walk around with tatoos claiming "Khmer Pride" and they got a white girlfriend.

I am no Marxist nor am I trying to pick a fight with anyone...but lets not begrudge someone the opportunity to better themselves with a scholarship at a foreign university...if their society had opportunities they would not have to leave.

But most importantly, we cannot change the world...but we can change ourselves and a discussion of Cambodia is just the trick...

Do we feel superior for things of which we have no control over (like who our parents are and whether our family was rich or poor?) Do you feel superior because of your ethnic heritage? Do you seek out the opportunity to do good for others? Do you judge people by their skin color, their ethnic background, their sexual preference? Do you like or dislike someone before you even come to know them as an individual?

We cannot change the world, nor can we make amends for the wrongs of history...but we can will ourselves to change and to involve ourselves in making the world a better place for those who shall come after us...regardless of what continent they live on and or which state they were born in...

Its all about respect for the individual.

TAo

Deacon Miller said...

I agree with Carl. I appreciate your sensitivity but you need to grow up. There are several places in the world that are much worse off than Cambodia.Darfur, just to name one.
Cambodia has wonderful resources and a good future if the people will find some spine and throw out the corrupt government.
They would not do it with the Khmer Rouge, maybe they will with Hun Sen and the CCP.

Anonymous said...

you have a heart as big as china.
your kind graces the world only once in a hundred years.

(a chinese saying from mulan)

Preyanka said...

I saw the Killing Fields when I was 10 years old. It was a harrowing experience and one that I will never forget.

Rhys said...

I haven't got at clue what Carl had just said. And Deacon second it with an uncalled for advise of "growing up".

You two needs help in thought organizing.

The author was spilling his guts. This is what he felt after a particular experience. Is he judged by this single post? Because this is what you 2 just did.

carl said...

Now, now...I did not say anything about Pisanu having to grow up. I actually admire his feelings. I also admire the pride he has for Asian countries.

BUT, lets not forget, the Killing Fields was not genocide (one group of people trying to wipe out another) it was Khmer trying to wipe out Khmer.

When you sit and comment on all the nice qualities of the Khmer people lets not forget that the Killing Fields were also part of the Khmer psyche.

Its like touring a palace. It may be a beautiful place and the current resident may love his/her people but also lets not forget that a lot of poverty in the world is caused by the fact that in some societies people believe that some people have a birthright to wealth, power and prestige. One is born into their lot in life.

Its all Ying and Yang....while this site celebrates the good lets not forget that some of the qualites that we admire and respect a people for are also the same qualities that can cause the evil that exists in a society.

The whole attitude about individuals not leaving their countries to pursue higher education because they never return to improve their countries is wrong...because if their countries could be improved there would be opportunities for advancement on individual merit in their countries...if there were they wouldn't have to leave.

TAO

M|O|N|G|K|O|L said...

This is a very inspirational post, dude. I really admire your thought and compassion for Cambodia and our people. I wish most people in this world were like you.

We, Cambodians, are terribly saddened by and ashamed of this part of our history. It's unimaginable that Khmers would kill Khmers. All of us have lost innumerable loved ones and friends to this murderous regime. These innocent souls were killed for no real reason. What have they done wrong? Simply because they were highly educated? I am ashamed!!!

Putting all that aside, I hope you have a great time in our beautiful land. And guess what, P' Pisanu? You are making me miss home more than ever.

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