Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The aiyong are everywhere!

The aiyong are everywhere!

The aiyong are everywhere!

ANDONG BEI - Aiyong is a popular saying among the Khmer Rouge. Khmer for "puppet",

aiyong is still the first word to reach the lips of recent rebel defectors to describe

government soldiers that have visited their areas in past weeks.

Children at this small village 8km south of Anlong Veng point and shout "aiyong!"

at their new allies, much to the discomfort of both armies fighting against Ta Mok's

dwindling band of hardcore rebels.

"The people are uneducated, especially the children. They don't have time to

study because they are busy with their families making sharp bamboo sticks,"

explains Khon, a soldier from a newly defected division.

Khon adds that he is concerned government troops will become angry at the liberal

use of the word, but hopes they will understand that aiyong is a word villagers have

heard from the mouths of their leaders and over Khmer Rouge radio from the day they

were born.

The conversational vocabulary of the jungle revolutionary also includes: yuon (racial

slur for a Vietnamese); koan yong ("puppet child" - a CPP soldier); koan

ra (a Funcinpec resistance soldier, named for his camouflage uniform, or para); and

koan cheat ("nationalist child" - a Khmer Rouge soldier).

General Chea Man, commander of Military Region 4, said he has noticed former rebel

villagers' broad use of aiyong and will ask the leaders of the defectors to clarify

the use of the term to their people. But government commanders have in some cases

earned their nicknames.

To keep sensitive communications from being intercepted by their enemies, and perhaps

even their new friends, RCAF radio operators often speak over their ICOMs in Vietnamese.

"Yuon!" whisper the children, poking fingers at their friends for confirmation

after one commander spoke over his radio.

The RCAF commander turns and jokes with the children after his message is sent, saying

later that he has made an effort to make the young ones not fear him.

He wants them to understand that he is really Khmer like they are.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all