Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Book spotlights life for children under Khmer Rouge rule

Book spotlights life for children under Khmer Rouge rule

Book spotlights life for children under Khmer Rouge rule


“One day, two boys caught a cat and banged its head to a tree trunk. They then set it on fire and tore the meat to eat by sharing with me, but this was to be a secret, otherwise we would be accused of being thieves . . . We looked like vampires eating such things,” journalist Chhay Sophal recounts in his book Mom & Angkar’s Kid, which was launched yesterday.

Sophal was 12 when Phnom Penh was was evacuated and he was sent to live in the Khmer Rouge’s child mobile unit.

His book intertwines his memoirs with interviews and research of the regime.

“I made the book’s title Mom & Angkar’s Kid because in that period, they trained us to hate our parents,” the former Reuters reporter said.

He describes an enduring guilt for “being so crazy to scorn [my parents] lives during the Khmer Rouge regime and saying that ‘I will smash them if they do something wrong for the revolutionary Angkar’”.

“I want to show the next generation about the children’s rights violations and abuse during Democratic Kampuchea,” Sophal, who is not participating in the Khmer Rouge tribunal, said.

“If there had been no January 7 [overthrow of the Khmer Rouge], I would have had an idea to smash my mom, because I was absorbed into Angkar’s ideology,” he said.

The book is fully financed by Minister for Information Khieu Kanharith.

Adhoc’s KRT Justice Program co-ordinator Latt Ky said that the Khmer Rouge’s treatment of children was akin to complete indoctrination.

“Kids were pulled out of school and all their education was political education,” Ky said. “They don’t really understand their actions and even when Angkar asks the child to kill his father and mother, the child sees no choice.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]


  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • IPU slams government claim

    The president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron, has refuted a claim by the National Assembly that she “highly appreciated the achievements of Cambodia” in its July national elections with a tweet saying “Of course not!” before adding “No congratulations”. A delegation from