its hard to explain how proud i am,
to be from a country - that ive never visited,
my roots maybe all i have left of my father …
a couple things i miss about cambodia/being there
- the mornings. i’ve talked about the unique smell cambodia has before and the mornings their is a blend of freshness and that unique smell. plus, the weather isn’t so burning hot in the morning either.
- the food. my second trip back consisted of a lot of amok and some loc lac with the fried egg. my mom never makes loc lac with fried egg (must be a battambang thing), but i actually like it with fried egg. :P
- being completely internet free. my first trip - i used the internet at a internet cafe because my sisters wanted to check emails and whatnot, so i just went along (happened only once). but my second time back, i didn’t use it once - for a whole month, basically. it felt great.
- going to different cities and provinces and seeing how each place was unique from the other.
- climbing up the mountains all the way to the temples on top. i believe i climbed up a little over 5 mountains.
- night life. at night, people are still hanging around, eating, buying things. my favorite nighttime moment was in siem reap at that markets, seeing people having fun, laughing, getting their feet massaged in a tank full of small fish, and attempting to haggle prices with sellers.
- and other things i’m too lazy to list. xD
A letter from my mother to hers.
Dear Mommy Dearest,
It has been 3 years since you left us. Three years ago I began a two year long downward journey into insanity, depression, and fear unlike any I’d ever experienced in the past. Three years ago I no longer had hope and I felt like my life was over. Three years ago I wanted to be at the hospital, climb into bed with you and hold you as much as I couldn’t stand the thought of hearing your voice or seeing your face ever again. Three years ago I kept waiting to wake up from the nightmare. It felt like you are still physically here with me. Today I didn’t cry, didn’t feel hopeless, but I still miss you. Today I realized that my journey out of depression was difficult but worth it in the long run. I have very strong support from families and friends.
You have always been my life and saviour. I wanted to share with you my personal theories on the directions my life has taken. You are gone and I miss you so much. Remember mom, when I was 8 months old I got very sick. You took me to several doctors and all they could tell you is that I have no chance of surviving. They told you to make funeral arrangement for me. You never gave up hope on me. You kept on walking by feet because you didn’t know how to drive and carried me to find a doctor that could help saved my life. Half of my body had deterioated and died already mom. You saved my life. Again, our live was struck by the Khmer Rouge Holocaust from 1975-1979. We were kept in a Concentration Camp and forced to work hard labor with no food. Mom we had no food. You gave your food to us and starved yourself. We thought our live would get better after the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in 1979. Mom, I got sick again at the age of 9 years old. I caught the measels. I went into a coma for 4 long weeks. My hair had fallen off and my skin was deterioating. No one thought I was going to pull out of this one alive. There was no medicine, doctors, or hospitals. We were homeless. You sold everything we had even daddy’s gold teeth filings to buy food and medicine for me. Your strong love, strength, devotion, affection, determination, and perseverance saved my life.
How I wish I can call you and talk to you driving home from work on a bad traffic day. You kept me on the phone until you knew I was safe and sound at home because you knew I was afraid of driving. I never realized until recently just how spoiled I truly was. But I never really had to want for anything. Now I want so much that my head swims. Worst, I want things for my children.
How I wish that you are here to see my children growing up. Today I don’t feel alone now that my kids are older and able to talk to me and give me support. Amanda, Nathan, and Chandler really miss you. I am very proud of them. They have grown up to be what you thought and expected out of them. I pray every night that you would lend a healing hand to Nathan as he is still trying to coupe with the lost of both of you. Mom and Dad, please show him the path to a better health and life. He is really sick from missing you.
I’ve been having migraine headache for almost two weeks now mom. Nothing seems to be helping. Yet you came to save me again even though you are gone. You appear in my dream last night and when I woke up my head feels a lot lighter and clearer. You helped me fight the demons that were inside of me out. You always seem to make things so simple and easy.
Anyways, how are you feeling mom? I remember how sick you were. Now that you’re in Heaven, I can imagine you are running in delight. I know you are in a better place but I still long for you to be here. Is that selfish, mom? I wish you could give me some advice. There were so much widsom, knowledge, and kindness in your words. The example you demonstrated in my life has given me such love. Your strength and devotion in life has blessed mine. I am everything I am today because you loved me. You still live inside of me. I am so blessed and grateful to have you as my mother. You are my Saviour and Guardian Angel.
I Love You For Eternity,
Your Baby Daughter
WHY I WRITE is the first episode of VERSES IN EXILE, a spoken word video series produced by Studio Revolt in collaboration with Khmer Exiled American (K.E.A.) poet Khiev Kosal. Through his poetry, Kosal reclaims his place in the world as a free man— a step that begins in Cambodia not America.
Studio Revolt is a Collaborative Media Lab: http://Studio-Revolt.com/
Kosal Khiev’s Official Website: http://SpokenKosal.com/
Kosal Khiev is a poet, tattoo artist, and survivor of the US prison system. Kosal currently resides in Phnom Penh after spending 14 years of his life in U.S. prison. After his release he spent another year in an immigration holding cell after which he was deported to Cambodia, a country he has never been. Kosal tells pieces of his story through the art of spoken word poetry
The Green Papaya is a community blog and online forum where the Southeast Asian community may share its stories. Its goal is to provide an online space that engages the SEA community, fosters voices within that community, and also raise awareness about that community. Click here if you wish to submit a post.
I often blog photos of Cambodia & even mention the Khmer Rouge. I do this often because it’s something I’ve always been passionate about. I never want to lose site of who I am. I’m Cambodian. We have a history and being a Cambodian I feel like none of you guys should ever forget it. Because you know not many people know what happen. My mom was about 9 and my dad about 12 when everything happened. And it amazes me how they remember EVERY single detail. I think what if? What if those soldiers would have killed my father by the waterside while he was on his knees hands tied with a bag over his head? What if his uncle’s best friend who was made leader of a section of Khmer Rouge soldiers hadn’t stopped them? You see, some of the Khmer Rogue were normal people who would join so they wouldn’t die. My dad was rebellious & often got almost killed. What if my mom had died during the journey to Thailand’s refugee camps? I often ask my parents to tell me their accounts so that I won’t ever forget. I always watch documentaries and movies and read up on information. So I suggest you all do a little research and find out who you really are. I tell a few people about what happen and they are so grossed out by the fact that my parents had to scavenge for anything to eat even if it were a bug. They aren’t even remotely grossed out by the horrific killings and abuse Cambodian people have gone through. They say “if it were me, I’d kill myself then eat a bug.” Let me tell you that when shit hits the fan your first instinct is to SURVIVE not to die. I’m glad my parents survived and had me. But I feel so much hurt and pain for all those who lost their lives. Who knows what Cambodia would be like if this never happened.
True story. I don’t want to forget where my family came from. I don’t want to forget what my family went through. Struggle strengthens. Be thankful for today-be thankful for your existence. Your folks had it rough-appreciate them.
My grandmother was rapped and be headed in front of my Dad and aunts. My dad was only 13 years old when that happened. My auntie (whom i love dearly <3) was only 4 years at that time, remembered every single detail of that horrific night. Little did they know, it was just the beginning of a long & scary journey to the free-land they called America.
My grandfather was a soldier in the mountains of Laos and he still breathes to tell me his stories.
Straight UP. Fuck everyone who accuses me of not knowing my own culture. I KNOW where I came from and I will never forget that. I’m gonna make sure my kids live and breathe Cambodian Culture. Holla at yo next Miss Cambodia!
This is a powerful post. Don’t forget or lose respect for your Hystory! I don’t understand posts like these don’t get as much notes? Instead of Asians up with the new hype, I like posts with meaning. And this isn’t just one of those ordinary photography photos with irrelevant quotes or posts on them.. THIS actually has meaning..