Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A Day to Remember



A Day to Remember

A Day to Remember

If every newspaper across the world is not using banner headlines for the brave

people of Cambodia, I wonder why not, probably because violence makes the news not

peace.

No matter then. We came from abroad after 14-years of self-imposed exile amidst fear

and trembling that violence would prevail. Yet this week, the sons and daughters

of Jayavarman have prevailed instead with sensational courage and dignity. Isn't

it 90 percent of the electorate voting against the command of some of the political

leaders? What a story for the doomsayers.

And the spirit of celebration is everywhere here in Cambodia. Thousands in the park,

where but few short months ago no one hardly dared to go out after dark.

As a young son of this great land, I stand before all the people of my country to

tell you how proud I am to be Khmer.

My dream goes on now to join with all the thousands of the Buddhist monks of the

Dhamma Yietra who marched so far and so bravely spreading the spirit of calm and

with the thousands of young Cambodian students who yearn for a way to help their

country, so that we can create together a Cambodian Volunteer Service for Community

Development and ensure that democracy, freedom and social development will be the

legacy, where we can learn to live hand holding hand and trusting heart to heart,

this is our future.

Cambodia has come from night to day. In fact, we all know that this glorious day

came after a nightmare, a long darkness. I left Cambodia 14 years ago, too young

to remember when I had to turn my heart to stone in order to keep from going mad

with the horror of the killing. I was an orphan all too soon.

I lived, at 10 years old, at Wat Aik where hundreds were killed daily before our

eyes and minds, the walls etched in blood, the halls filled with screams, the children

victims of a dream worse than death. It was no dream.

And I at 11 years old ended up with a gun, an AK-47 or M-16, who cares. My job was

to kill Vietnamese invaders, or were they saviors, I couldn't know. I made my way

to Thailand, and then what fortune. Weighing 50 lbs and with cerebral malaria, I

recovered and ended up, through no right of my own, in the USA, where I graduated

from college and learnt something about how to help others.

It burns in me to help others where my life was saved. And so I am back, ready to

turn the stone to life, and hatred to love. And life to living.

My heart is filled with tears of joy, for I know we can form a new nation of Khmer,

and Muslim, and Thai and Chinese and Vietnamese Cambodians all. No fear, no ethnic

cleansing here. But dignity and community.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from