This letter is concerned about one article in the Phnom Penh Post on October 20 -
November 2, 1995 called "Refugee's lament of a place to call home", written
by Mr. Ronnie Yimsut, Oregon, USA.
My Dear friend.
This is the reply of your question, "Please let me know if anyone has a good
answer out there." From one idea of a local Khmer, and I think of many others
Please don't have so much confusion; the overseas Khmers, far from the motherland,
they lose something but they gain something too. We must work hard for sure - but
it's our obligation - to obtain a good standard of living in the US, or in other
parts of the world.
I know, questions of a citizen's rights, one step outside their native country, the
rights must be decreased, this is natural.
The US is not a heaven on earth, neither is France nor other countries. I remember
one French proverb "Avant d'aller au Paradis, il faut visiter une fois Paris",
this is the idea that want to show the sky rocketing development of a place like
France or the US or England or Malaysia.
I have had to work very hard, from one regime after another - King Sihanouk, Pol
Pot, Lon Nol and now after the recent elections. I have all gone through successively
as student of the male nurse of state; male nurse of state; farmer; again male nurse
of state, before graduating as a medical assistant, to medical doctor and recently
to a post graduate diploma. I have traveled and have had training courses in foreign
lands where the main religions have been, in turn, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.
My friend, I have had, as you too, many intimate friends, cousins and other relatives
abroad, some of them I have known earlier but others I have not.
As you have said, many overseas Cambodians were traumatized.
I have seen by my naked eyes the refugee or concentration camps, the demonstrations
of the refugees in the second country, and the events afterwards.
As you have mentioned, along with the sour note of the failure, there were hopes
Let me tell you one thing; earlier last year, during a training course sponsored
by ADRA on Public Health, one of the lecturers was an expatriate Khmer living in
the US. He was famous and intelligent and I think, like so many others, that "Cambodia's
loss is America's gain."
Personally, I don't consider the overseas Khmers as fatal. Everywhere in society,
there are good men and bad men.
I understand you and other compatriots; "Cambodia is still one of the best places
in the world, despite all her problems". We learn from our mistakes. I think
and hope that with the slow but steady advance in development in every sector, Cambodia
will improve step by step. Finally, I wish you and all other expatriates luck, health,
unity and progress.
- Dr Sengly Chuong Deputy Director of the Health Service, Province of Kratie,