Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KR-era sandals get a fashionable retread

KR-era sandals get a fashionable retread

KR-era sandals get a fashionable retread

A happy customer, much too young to reflect on history.

T

he rubber sandals forced on the Cambodian people under the rule of the Khmer Rouge

and shunned ever since are making a comeback among the younger generation.

The sandals, made from tires, are now seen as lasting longer and being of better

quality than some leather ones.

Cambodians stopped wearing the rubber shoes after the Khmer Rouge regime was ended

in 1979 because they were associated with Pol Pot and the killing fields.

Now, however, the sandals can be seen again in the stalls at Psah Chas (Old Market)

in the center of Phnom Penh.

The vendors are all ethnic-Vietnamese women. Those spoken to by the Post did not

know about the shoes' Khmer Rouge connection.

Leum Lang, 42, who came to Cambodia in the mid-1980s, said she was told by a friend

that the tire sandals lasted longer. Her son came up with the idea of making them

so that they resembled current fashion shoes.

They differ from the Khmer Rouge originals in having no strap and having metal studs.

Young students like to buy them because they look like the normal sandals that are

sold in the market.

The real thing - ex-KR soldier 'upgrades' from 'Pol Pots.

The mother and son duo have been in business for five months. Leum Lang said the

first three months were good with five or six pairs selling each day for US$3-4.

Now, the price is down to 8,000 Riel, but she can sell only three or four pairs per

day

Phan Kang, 18, from Prey Veng, who does construction work at the National Museum,

liked the tire sandals because they lasted longer - one year as opposed to the five

months his previous shoes lasted.

Nine-year-old Sok Ruotha, a student in Phnom Penh, said the tire sandals looked like

normal fashionable ones, but they were cheap and had a buckle on them that could

be polished.

"My parents never told me about the Khmer Rouge tire sandals so I don't know

what they were like."

Perhaps one day soon, these too will be collectors items, living on only in the collective

memory.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the

  • Soaring global fuel prices: an opportunity for Cambodia?

    Cambodia is feeling the squeeze from the soaring global coal and oil prices. Electricity du Cambodge (EDC)would certainly be hurting from this reality, and most likely re-assessing its plans to add more coal power stations. EDC buys half of Cambodia’s electricity from plants

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when