Nearly lost my father

While we were staying in Takeo town, my father was staying alone in our home town, Ang Tasom. It was attacked every day by the Khmer Rouge. At one time, the small town was sealed by the Khmer Rouge troops for one whole month. My father was there too. The government’s soldiers could not advance to reach and free the town. The food supply was cut off. The airplane dropped the food and other materials via parachutes, the only way to supply those encircled inhabitants. But, some of them lost to the Khmer Rouge and some of them reached the soldiers and its population.

 Every afternoon, I took my brothers to the street, some time with tears, and looked westwards with the hope of getting good news from the front. Most of the time, only bad news, that we got from the withdrawal soldiers. We thought of what could happen to our dad. Day after day, no news from him. We were nearly hopeless, but still hoped that everything would be fine with him.

 Finally, after 30 days of sealing the town without success, the Khmer Rouge withdrawn their troops. The town was liberated by the government’s soldiers. My father came to Takeo to reunite with our family. We were very happy to see him unharmed from the thirty days of fierce fighting. He did not return again to our home town. It was his very wise decision.

 After regrouping and planning again, the Khmer Rouge started the second offensive which was more aggressive and intensive. After some days, the town had fallen into the hands of the Khmer Rouge. It was reported that all inhabitants, soldiers, including children or babies were all killed instantly. It was the brutality of the war; Khmer against Khmer.

 Since then, I have never seen my home town again till 1981, when we drove a bicycle along the road # 3 to our home village in Ang Rokar. I could see that our house was completely destroyed (burnt to the ground), including all the fruit trees my father planted before the war. It was a sad feeling. One could imagine, if there was no war happened, how prosper our family could be. However, we, all our family members, were lucky enough to survive the wars (1970-75), the Pol Pot regime (1975-1979) that some people or other 1.7 million Cambodians could not.

My father is still alive and he is living in Phnom Penh. We wish him well and long life. He started planting many fruit trees again on the compound of my mother’s stupa.

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