Inside Cambodia

Mittwoch, 3. August 2005

Catching frogs in forest

Just after the sound of bullets, mines being exploted, and the screams of humans and animals being killed anarchily by the Khmer Rouge; Cambodians could rest in peace - thanks to the liberation of a few heroes on the 7th of January 1979.

The sound of laughter burst out, but it was no true laughter, because we still had the sorrow of famine. In the day time, all the villagers went every day into the forest to find some wild potatoes and wild mushrooms for food; or they cut the forest down to make the rice farm because Cambodians live accord with rice as their most important food.

At night time, when it was raining, they always went into the fields and forest to catch frogs or fish. This became very custom, especially in the SamRong village where a 14- year-old boy named Veasna was living, because everything there had been completely destroyed in the civil war.

One night it had been raining cats and dogs, because it was the rainy season. In Cambodia there are only two seasons known by all the people (even the illiterate): the rainy season and the dry season.

Veasna and the other villagers were very happy. Veasna said to one of his friends<<Sou, what a lovely night !!! Where we are going to catch frogs tonight?>>.<<Wait!!>> Sou replied<<Let's discuss with the others>>. Suddenly, a group of those boys, about ten, came to one agreement: They did as usual. But that time, it was a bit far: about 8 km up to the north of their village and near an old village where villagers had been moved out after the Polpot Regime. Then they broke the meeting and went back to their own houses to get equipment such as head touches,Krang(Container for keeping fish/frogs made of bambo and vine) and catching net with along handle.

When 7.00 arrived the journey started. On the way they were very happy, some of them were singing different types of music, and others kidded around with eachother. It did not seem a long time before they reached the forest where they could start hunting. Right at that time, they were bursting in great laughter after one of them, Sva (monkey) said <>. Don't worry, come with me... Please? Said Dara with a musing laugh. To be countinued.............

Samstag, 28. Mai 2005

The result of beeing student

- written by Sam Nang Chong, Cambodia -

In my last text I mentioned that I was about to work as a moto driver. As you know my family is very poor, so when I told my mum about that, she was very depressed, because I had to buy a motorbike, and that is not cheap. Finally my parents decided to sell a pair of cows and an area of land so I can have motor for working.

lucks new moto
Quelle: Postbote; Luck's new moto

I could not work every day so I could have time to study, but I was not a good student any more. One day I felt, as if I could not finish my school so I decided to major English in a private school called NCI.

Just a short time being a motor taxi driver, the guesthouse that I worked with had some problem. So the manager decided to close. On the other hand, the money that I had paid for the school went off too, so I felt very tense. Fortunately the last turn of my job at the guest house I met a very kind and generous tourist. He was the one who lifted me up and showed me the way to go so far.

Some time I asked myself that why he spends a lot of money on me like this; I am not his relative at all, and especially I have never done anything for him. He’s even my father's relative, he was the person that my father used to help, when he was very poor.

My father is a kind person too. Before Khmer Rough my family lived in the better situation and in the other village. We had a reasonable house to live and enough food to eat, because it was a place with fertile land to make farm, but now it is just forest. At that time my family always cared about the sorrow and happiness of their neighbours, we never got cross with anyone.

Quelle: Postbote; Roofed cottage

But any way: when Pol pot regime finished everything got different. We had to build a new house, but we could make just that roofed cottage to live so far. Also we had no rice. Nearly all of the people just went in the forest to get the wild potatoes to eat.

One day my father came down with illness. First I did not know to who to appeal to. Then I went to my father relative because I thought he could help me. My farther was a very thankful person to him as well.

But what happed?

He did not help me anything, but he said that this was the result of that I am being student. Every cent my farther spend on me I should take to study to support my family and so on. At first I felt very angry with him, but he was right. If I had not studied my family would not been so poor like that. But my farther did not feel sorry about that, because he liked the educated persons. He didn't want me to be like them. You know, my mother is illiterate. She always wanted to read and write, but she couldn’t. So she wanted me to be the educated person in our family, even if she looses her life.

At my village my family is very poor, but I am nearly the highest educated boy. Anyway, one day I will get the result as well as my attempt. Like one true saying ''attempt is very bitter, sour, hot, but the result that we get is very, very sweet''.

Do you want to know why my mum is illiterate? Her mother did not allow her to study. She thought that if the girls get educated and literate they would only write letters.

To be continued...

Sonntag, 8. Mai 2005

What was the way like?

written by: Sam Nang Chong, Cambodia

Last time I spoke about my english teachers and my studies. I will tie up to this now...

In late 2001 I became more and more the first class student - in both: State school and pagoda. So the head monk asked me to stop studying at the state school for being a monk and staying in the pagoda. Otherwise I had to go back home for living. I didn’t want to be a monk at all, because in that case I would give up my school and with that my main aim. But the head monk would not have accepted if I did not become a monk. So I decided to do both.

asian pupils
Quelle: Postbote, Children in front of the school

What was the way like? I asked my teacher for permission to sit out my studies for a while and take this time to be monk. After around six months as a priest, I decided to go back as a simple person. Many times I tried to ask the monk for admittance. First he did not agree, but after I told him several reasons, he finally said ok. But he did not let me stay in the pagoda anymore, he was very angry with me, because he wanted me to study Buddhism.

It was realy sorry for him, but my future had more importance. First I had to help myself and one day I will do anything as the thanksgiving. What do you think of my decision?

If I had stayed with my parents any longer and working on the rice fields, I could have filled just my own stomach. I stopped thinking of every thing. I did not care about the distance from home to school.

In school I had one teacher who always took care of me. First I could not get the new grade, because I had not done the final exams, but luckily she could help me.
I was studying in grade 8 and I was still the best student. The schools are very good – even in the countryside and not only the private schools. In that time I already had good English teachers.

When the old year finished, my friend asked me for changing the school and study in town. I agreed with him, because I thought that I could find anything to work at night. My parent consented with me as well, because my old school was very far from my home and there was no road. Besides everyday I had to go alone through the forest and then across the river. They were worried about my safety.

In 2003 the last year of Junior High School was coming I had a new school called '' SAM DECH OV HIGH SCHOOL'' (I also call it the “school for money.”)

What were the school and the teachers like?

The facilities were more than good, but in the school for money every teacher tied to be on and off and was corrupt. The law in Cambodia said, that the state school must be free of charge, but only one school followed. Every month
we had to give them some money for the score. Especially in the private classes: if we gave them nothing, they would have ignored our questions. Do you thing they were bad teachers? Not really bad. If they had not acted like that, maybe they would have died of hunger. Their
salary was much smaller.

Do you have an idea how I could support my own studies?

First I tried my best to find anything to work at night. There were a lot of open jobs, but I could not even get an interview. Luckily, I knew one person who was working as a motor driver in a guesthouse; at that time they were recruiting probationers, so my friend asked me to work there. be continued...

Mittwoch, 20. April 2005

Is there anyone interested...?

Part of an E-Mail, that was written by Sam Nang Chong in Siem Rep in reference to his text on this website

...thanks a lot for posting my story in the website and for correcting some mistakes. Have you finished it yet, how can I continue reading it? The headline is very good; it really matches the story. Is there anyone interested in it and how do you feel about it?



Mittwoch, 13. April 2005

Educated with chunks and monks on your back

written by: Sam Nang Chong, Cambodia

Last time I have already mentioned my first day in pagoda: I spent many more days there. Let's see what was happening?

Quelle: Postbote; Pagoda from inside

Just a short time later, I could make sense of living there.
Soon after that the new term was coming after vacation. So I asked the head monk to study in the school that is around seven km away. The monks allowed me, but at night I had to study the Buddha prayer and the rules of the monks, because every person who lives there must one day become
a monk.

I started my secondary school in 2001. At night I learned to pray until 9.00 or 10.00 p.m. When I was in my room, I always reviewed my lessons from school, did home work and checked, what I had to study the next day until mostly midnight. After that I could go to sleep.

In the morning it was hard as well: I had to get up at 4.00 a.m. – otherwise one of the monks would have hit us. After getting up I was every morning supposed to prepare breakfast for the monks. During this, I always reviewed the things I had learned in the evening, to make sure and remember well. If we did not remember some things, we were hit, blamed or punished.

Quelle: Postbote, Pinnacle of pagoda

Even though I was a cook but I had never had the chance to have breakfast, because we could not eat before the monks had finished - or we will be in sin. Furthermore my English class was early at 5.00 p.m. My English should have been very well, but unfortunately my teacher was not good at all: He could not speak or write in English....he just copied the translation from the book and asked us to copy. Moreover he made a lot of mistakes. I spent much time with him – maybe a bit too long, but his course was very cheap. Anyway he was very good to me, because he taught me to know the ABC, what I won’t forget. Thanks to him.

To be continued...

Freitag, 4. März 2005

The difficult childhood of "Luck"

I am sure that the people all over the world have different experience. Today we will hear one experience of millions. Whose is that? Let's check it out:

I was born in 1985 in Sam Rong Village, Lieng Dai Commune, Angkor Thom District Siam Reap, Angkor Down town. I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters, but now they are already separated from me.

I have a bit difficult childhood, because the time when I was born was just the end of the Pol-Pot-regime.

I could not go to school until I was 7 years old, because we had no school. The school I did was very far - about 5 km, How did I travel? On foot! Through the rice fields. But anyway, I enjoyed it, because some of my friends had no bike as well. I had been studying there for 6 years until I finished primary school in 1998.

Due to the secondary school and budget to support me to go on at province centre; I had to force to stop and help my family. I was still young, so I could not lift the heavy things and cut down forest to make farm, so my farther made me to feed the cows. I did it for 3 years.

Quelle: Postbote; Cambodian Cow Boy at work

During I was working as a cow boy, I always brought a book with me - to read when I had free time Besides, I also liked singing. What kind of music did I sing? Of course romantic song. I just climbed up the tree and flung my voice in the air; talk about this reminds me of many things happening then:

At that time - even though I worked as a cow boy - I never forgot to think about my future.
And I felt very jealous to my friends, that they were able to study. I thought about that, finally I found the solution. What was that? Ministry! I thought it could help me to study, and get the bright future. So I asked my parents to stay with the monks. But it was easy find; firstly I tried to find in the province centre, because it's near to the school. Unfortunately I could not get in there. The “head monks” did not allow me to stay with them. So I came back to one more, called Brey Pagoda; it is in Bantey Srey District - in the countryside as well. But there is a school near which is called Bantey Srey Junjior High School. I could stay in that pagoda in 2001.

What happened to me for the first day? Yes! I felt very helpless, I missed everything: parents, friends, cows, homeland, because I knew absolutely no one there. And when the night was coming, I did not know where to sleep and that night it poured with rain. Lightning, thunder and thunder storm were coming up a lot. I felt frightened. Cold. My tear dropped out as the way that the rain fell down, I had never left home before. I nearly run home, but I tried to grit my teeth to stand up with everything. Fortunately, there was a monk coming out of the small thatch-roofed cottage, and said some softly words to me: "Come on to stay with me" . From then on we are friends, but now I have never met him since I left there, because his village is very far from me.

Kambodscha von innen

Wir sind davon erschüttert, dass mehrere Tausend Kilometer weiter im Osten Dinge passieren, die sich an Grausamkeit gegenseitig übertreffen. Sei es die brutale Hand der Khmer rouge, sei es die "illegale" Prostitution von Kindern oder sei es die Unmöglichkeit der kambodschanischen Bevölkerung zu handeln.

Wir sehen, wollen helfen, wissen oft nicht wie. Wichtig ist, das Land, die dort lebenden Menschen und die Jarhunderte alte Tradition und Kultur verstehen zu lernen. Das gelingt meist nur durch eine Sicht von innen. Wie sieht etwa ein junger Kambodschaner die Vergangenheit, die Gegenwart oder seine eigene Zukunft? Was denkt er überhaupt über die Missstände in seinem Heimatland?

Ich freue mich, dass sich ein junger Kambodschaner auf der Suche nach seiner eigenen Identität bereit erklärt hat, sich in diesem Blog zu öffnen und uns in englischer Sprache seine Lebensgeschichte zu offenbaren und uns zu erzählen, wieso er auf den Spitznamen "Luck" hört. Er gewährt uns damit Einblick in die für uns manchmal fremdartige Kultur und deren Rituale.

Quelle: Postbote; Luck in Siam Reap

Über E-Mail wird "Luck" über sein Leben und seine Gedanken schreiben, die wir als Postbote hier bloggen werden. Eine Korrektur des Textes werden wir nur im Falle der Unverständlichkeit oder der Fehler in der englischen Schreibweise vornehmen. Einschlägige Kommentare können wir gerne übersetzen und ihm per Email zukommen lassen. Luck schrieb, dass er sich über alle Fragen freut und sie gerne beantworten will.

Trau Dich!

Du stehst draußen,

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