While visiting the infamous S21 in Cambodia, I remember a cousin telling me of a documentary film. John Lennon’s Imagine was playing in the background as “a field of cabbages” panned in. We were kids when she told me that tale. The cabbages were actually skulls of Khmer Rouge victims. In later readings I found out that the location of the ‘cabbages’ was called the Killing Fields.
Almost three decades later, last week, I found myself right where the atrocities took place. Bones in glass cases, pieces of victims’ clothing, holes where corpses were dumped juddered my entrails. I wanted to get out of Phnom Penh as quickly as possible. I was hoping my mind would not register the images. But it had. I would be asking myself what did I learn from the experience. Now I see a bit how Imagine relates with the ‘cabbages.’
Host Susanne at Living to Tell the Story describes Friday’s Fave Five as “time to take a look over our week, recall blessings great and small and pick our five favorites to share.”
The company of a friend. Being alone makes me extra grateful for exactly that. It is not nice to meet the new year or any other important celebration all by oneself. I am glad I had someone who happens to be in the same circumstances as I do – single, no immediate family nearby. We splurged on fine dining, 5-star entertainment and a weekend getaway to a quiet beach resort over the new year.
“Take lots of liquid.” It is one statement that would have meant nothing if I saw or heard it from where ever while struggling with a cold. But it came from someone who has become special to me these past weeks. I would not exchange this little show of caring for all the luxury moments I had at Grand Hyatt, Intercontinental and Hilton last weekend.
Angkor Wat. The world’s largest religious site is virtually right down my backyard. For 13 years it seemed like I took the close proximity for granted because although I always wanted to visit, I never had the company, and I am not adventurous enough to go alone. Finally last week, friends organized a trip there with former professors. I had mixed feelings observing good, old teachers take the ‘back stage and this time, let former students dominate the talking‘ during the travel.
Forgetting an envelope with leftover cash from my Hong Kong trip. The time was perfect to have remembered it contained wads of US dollar bills to pay for the Cambodia trip.
Learning. We proceeded to Phnom Penh after the awe and grandeur of Angkor to see the Killing Fields. Khmer Rouge stunned me to the bones and gave me second thoughts on visiting Germany’s Dachau camp one of these days. But I am grateful to learn that there ought to be more compassion for the living and respect for the memory of those who wanted to live but did not have the chance.