Dive deeply into the pool called Cambodia (Part I)

Ruyi Shen, UWC Atlantic College(11-13)

If anyone asked me what I would do for summer holiday in 2012 a few years ago, I would never imagine that I could be in the poorest part in Cambodia, deep in the jungle.

On the way to a village in a jungle, a massive obvious cleared empty field jumped out in front of me. The head of the project, Chris (a retired British teacher who is an AC alumnus) pointed at it, joking that it is Chinese company’s main contributions along with Japanese’ and American’s. Yes, these are logging fields. Woods here are cut everywhere. People who buy the lands to cut trees can get a proportional small extra land for free. The worst part of the whole thing is that these land owners are robbed the lands without the chance to complain. I feel like these cleared fields are like dishonorable scars of the land. I wonder how long it is going to take for the land to recover from it. To develop, or to sacrifice the lands and woods, it is always like a dilemma

In the village, life there is tough, truly undeveloped. In the poorest part of Cambodia, the minority kids are living in a primitive state, to some extent. They don’t go to school. They are wearing the same T-shirts all year around, which are dusty and a little smelly. Their water resource is usually only the river which is far from clear, or at best, wells. When I look at these kids, there is something heavy knocking at my heart. What causes these sad situations? What deprives them of the rights they should be born with?

Everything seems to come from the history. The period during which the country was controlled by Khmer Rouge directly caused the current undeveloped society. That was a disastrous time. Statistics can be astonishing. 3 million out of 8 million people (the population at that time) are killed in Cambodia, including almost all educated people, such as teachers, engineers, previous, officers, doctors, etc. Even the several main leaders were killed according to the order from the top leader, Pol Pot. It was a time when lives are of the least value. I went to the killing field, the prison where these people were tortured. Words failed to describe the horror there. It is sad and deplorable that some people’s imaginations can be used fully only to agonizing others. Standing there, listening, feeling and watching the history can truly cast shadows about humanity deep inside one’s heart. It is always sort of scary and interesting to find that the most lasting memory of history is the most ugly, dark and disgusting part.

(To be continued…)

-United Words Team-


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