I move through Cambodia with open eyes. As I look at women working in shops, men fixing bikes & people sleeping in their hammocks- I try to imagine what their life was like as children. Did they experience the war? Did they lose family to the war? Do their children & grandchildren know what they went through?
Cambodian’s are wonderful people. They are genuine & honest. They look at foreigners with kindness instead of greed & frustration. While they do hold similarities to other Asian countries I have traveled through, there is something unique about them.
I explained their uniqueness & happiness by the traumas they went through. I thought they are happy because they are grateful. They are grateful to have survived the horrible tragedy of the Khmer Regime & they are passing that down through the generations.
The film, First They Killed My Father has its second premiere tonight in Battambang. The movie was filmed here in 2016. They anticipate thousands of Khmer’s to be in attendance. As I prepare to go, I read an interview with Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father & survivor of the war. Loung Ung hopes the film will teach the world about Cambodia & furthermore, she hopes to change false perceptions of the emotional experience of a child surviving war and genocide.
“I think people will see that it takes more than anger, [and] it takes more than strength to survive. It takes love, it takes soul and we Cambodians have that in spades,” Loung Ung said.
After reading that it hit me. Khmer’s stand out because of the love they have for life & one another. They didn’t grow this love because of the war, they survived the war because of this love.