Documentation Center of Cambodia has brought to light more than 400 notebooks
and personal diaries written during the Khmer Rouge period. They belonged to
both Khmer Rouge cadres and Khmer Rouge victims. Those written by Khmer Rouge
cadre mostly depict personal matters relating to the daily work of Angkar,
discussions held at livelihood meetings or political education sessions, and
military strategies from the central level. In contrast, the personal diaries of
victims generally recount their life stories from the heart. Both types of
notebooks and personal diaries help illustrate for us the fact that expressions
of feelings may not be curbed even in circumstances of hardship, misery, and
vicious suppression. Documentation Center of Cambodia would like to publish a
diary on the following.
Paris, January 17, 1975
This is the day
the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh. I seemed to be so happy with a hope that I
will have a chance to reunite with my family after more than one year of
separation. It seems to me regrettable that I had to depart only two days before
the occurrence of historical events...
Paris, April 17, 1975
Oh! When I heard
the war break out again in Kampuchea, I seemed...to be glad with a hope
to...meet my parents...in a short time. Oh! respected daddy and mummy, what are
you doing now. My sole and beloved mummy, I am, your child is waiting to hear
your voice and your good advice. I always win people heart and receive sincere
and warm attachment no matter where I am. This is the result of your good deeds
to me. When I hear that war ends, I imagine I have met you all. My mind is
preoccupied with returning as quickly as possible so that I can talk by
telephone with you and recount my nostalgic feelings of separation.
Oh! my mummy, once
I work for French I always imagine of working at our home, our country, where it
would be more useful. Then I want to stop working immediately.
How have you been
doing mummy and daddy? How many days will I receive your information...? I am so
worried and miss you, my beloved ones, so much. I can find no time of release.
The war is over,
yet I am still far away from...mummy. I am always preoccupied with mummy
everyday, as you are getting older. Mummy and daddy, I wonder when I can meet
June 1, 1975
I come to Banlieur
(Rueil Malmaison), a huge and pleasant house. I always felt home sick. I was so
touched by the calm landscape of a river there that I missed my village.
everlasting. Separation will interfere over time. Today I am happy, but tomorrow
will bring sadness. I donít know what my life will be? Am I useful for the
Paris, June 10, 1975
notebook reminds me of its owner who, in my imagination, seems to be smiling at
me. I got to know him/her for a short period of time. I donít know when we can
meet each other again. We were so close albeit we had just got to know each
other. It was nice to meet and talk with the friend. I knew the sadness of the
friend clearly, but I still cannot work it out at his request. Itís really hard
to read the human mind. Nothing can be used to measure it. Mind also changes
beyond our expectation although it is one of [our] old friends. This life I
almost pledge an allegiance that I am scared of being human.
In just nearly two
months of my acquaintance, I seem to have an unforgettable friendship. The red
notebook I am holding will be with me forever. I first held this notebook in
April, when there was an occurrence of the revolution implementing such red
theory as this notebook. When can I meet you again? Once we will meet again, the
notebook will be fraught with my crazy theory. Then you will find it ridiculous.
Itís too dark now.
No sound was heard, except the one of wind. Itís was a bit hot at day time but
when the night comes it turns to be cooler. Calmness makes me so occupied with
my friend who is now so far that I cannot call. Well, itís time to go now. See
you all next time.
June 10, 1975.
Paris, June 14, 1975
Tonight I dreamed
that I met you, beloved mummy. I ran to you and hugged and kissed you with a
real emotion. Then I cried out. I saw you are in as good health conditions as
before. So, I felt so happy to see you. Unfortunately, when I wake up I tried to
find you by touch and found it was just a dream. If my dream came true, I would
not so worry. I really want to meet you.
Paris, June 15, 1975
This life I am
committed to loving only one person. Actually I love many people, but the one I
love the best is only one. Choosing the right person is not easy. I ask myself
why I have chosen such a person whose is considered as having much
disadvantages. The answer is I want to draw experience. It has been said that
love is sorrow. It is very true. For this matter, if I know that [he] doesnít
love me, I will be really convinced that remorse will not take place and I will
regard it as my fate. Actually, to arrange a family is tantamount to luring
[ourselves] into trouble. It is considered just as a sweet of life. To me, it
would better to die in such young age than to live in the world of reappearance.
I may not be
seized with pain albeit my love which has been offered is not accepted. Yet, it
will be a real reflection of our quality.
[My] love can be
offered only once. If it is on the wrong track, I will be alone throughout my
life. It doesnít mean that I will
be faithful to you, but rather I may try to win my heart. I will live by the way
I have planned for my life with purity until the end of the world, just like a
raft which is floating by the water current until it becomes stuck. I will try
to live so that I can overcome my life and improve my living conditions with
dignity. I live a life of trial in almost places. How about other peopleís? Are
theirís the same as mine? Is it a game of life!
On June 17, 1975,
I arrived in Morgat.
Mortgat, June 20, 1975
Today I take a
tour along the Plage in Mortgat, and the port of Morgat where the sea rushes to
solid shore. It makes me miss my home town as well as my relatives and friends.
I wish we would have met each other. It reminds me of the remembrance of March
9, 1975 in Phnom Penh where I met a lot of friends yet felt disconsolate on
receipt of words of game worth suffering which affected my good deeds. On that
day I seemed to prefer swearing not to make good deeds with people in order to
avoid confusion with other people. Frankly speaking, I have done a
heart-to-heart deed without any contamination. Thatís why I will never dare to
do such thing again. Today two French people ask me to take a boat to see CŰte Bretagne. They
are FranÁois and Jean Pierre. I usually consider people I have met as ordinary
people joining with our journey. I always try to limit myself to neutrality.
Mortgat, June 21, 1975
Today I take a
bath at the Plage. The water in France is a bit cool, but itís okay with me.
Itís interesting. The water is as transparent as mirror, but unfortunately it
cannot be drunk. The landscape of Mortgat is very nice with interesting houses
and city. However, to me, there can be no comparison between the sea and other
things in France and the ones in Khmer country, such as fruits and fish.
Morgat, June 30, 1975
15 days have
passed. The climate in Morgat has been so nice that it seems to help reduce my
worries. I am very impressed now by the forests, sea, landscape of the mountain
foot and the vast sea side. They seem to fondle me to have continual hope for
life, which can be compared to a sea, the color of the sky and the sky with no
cloud. Yet, I am still preoccupied with the stories in the past and in the
with their families makes me feel lonely from my family, beloved and respected
parents. I wonder when I can meet them again. I am really moved and want to
return to my homeland as soon as I can at the thought of these things. Viewing
their countryís scenery makes me miss my homeland, homestead, my crops, my work,
and remembrance since my childhood. On June 25, 1975 I went to visit Brest for
the first time. It can be compared to Kampong Cham provincial town. The night
was covered by shiny moon light over the calm Morgat Mount. It was quite cool.
The moonlight here is not as nice as the one [I used to have] in Sambo Meas
along river tributary where it projected over the coconut trees and sapodilla
trees while water was running in rows as weaving threads. These are
unforgettable remembrances I used to have in my hometown. I have to make a
return, no matter how poor and difficult my life will face. I have to bring my
little knowledge to help Khmer younger generation. My hands which have been
offered by Khmer must in turn help Khmer.
Mortgat, June 30, 1975
10: ate lunch at mummy house
11, 1975: had a enjoyable dinner at house yx
Sunday, March 9,
1975: had a bleak lunch at house yx. It is unforgettable remembrance.
When tomorrow came
I collected and burned my letters and photos. Accidentally, there were two
letters left. What kind of omen is it? It is how the fate bans us from being
together. So, I tried not to panic and committed myself to taking a neutral
Morgat, 19 August 1975
Chu Y, sometimes I
have missed you. The day I really missed you was when I took a lonely
sightseeing tour in Quimper along the Oldef River, imagining how much pleasure
we would have if we had been together. Where are you now? How are you doing?
What have you been doing? I cannot predict or guess. As often as not, I am
preoccupied with thinking about you. How about you? Do you have the same
feelings? My love remains the same. You are the only person I think of and love,
even though I have no hope of meeting you. What causes me to have these
feelings? I regret that we had not said goodbye to each other the time we
separated. Is it true? The moment I heard that the war ended, I wanted to return
to our hometown immediately; I do not want to live in France. I havenít heard
anything about you. Where are you now? Can you tell me? My God, why do such
Morgat, 7 September 1975
Oh my homeland!
When will I have a chance to see you? When will I have a chance to live with my
family again? Where are you now, my beloved mother? I miss you so much. I want
to return to get a genuine picture of your lives and contribute to the
reconstruction of Cambodia. I was born in Cambodia and am interested in serving
the Khmer people. My strength is nurtured by our beloved Cambodia, and I am
grateful to it. My hands, my physical strength, and my intelligence must be used
to assist the country. My commitment to return to Cambodia does not mean that I
only want to see Chu Y to reinforce my love. Rather, it is my patriotism that
does not allow me to be in this country [France] any longer, as living here is
not useful. The longer I stay, the greater the loss. I have to return to
Cambodia to witness the events happening there. How much can I contribute to our
Morgat, 11 September 1975
The blue sea
rushes to the shore and hits against the rocks, making a natural sweet melody.
Ocean waves, are you angry at anyone? In the sunlight, the cool September breeze
gives me hope that one day I will have a chance to enjoy such beautiful weather
again. I really love the ocean. Its beauty makes me homesick and makes me miss
one of my friends who lived nearby who said, ďScooping up water to wash your
face will help you forget your sorrows.Ē I have tried, but not succeeded. Oh, my
life encounters endless sorrow and separation just like the waves, overlapping
one on top of the other. Oh the sea! If you can hear, I will divulge my anguish
so that I can obtain relief. On the face of it, there are hundreds of matters on
my mind, namely the nation, my family, living, personal education, work, and so
on - oh, tens of thousands of issues. On the one hand, I want to return to serve
the nation and on the other, I wish to find my beloved parents. I become
bewildered by these alternatives. I donít know how to make a decision. Everyone
says that I shouldnít return. To me there is no point in staying here, only to
be hired by the French. This is the problem. I am a Cambodian. Thus, I must
serve the Cambodian nation, because Cambodia is the source of my wealth. I must
meet my respected and beloved mommy and daddy. This has motivated me to make the
decision that I must return no matter what hardships I encounter. Somehow,
hardship is better than worry, and my life would be better there than here,
where there is no end to my grief. As a matter of fact, I have enough to eat and
have time to travel, but mentally, I feel so uneasy that I must return home.
Convey what I have said to all my friends there: that I will come back at any
Morgat 15 September 1975
Today the weather
is very nice. The wind is blowing hard, while the sea is rushing to the shore,
making sparks of waves. Although itís a bit cool, the sun is still shining. I am
sitting in a room, watching the waves. The colors of the sea change from time to
time due to the sunlight. The freezing wind in September makes me feel homesick.
I wonder if there is some spell that is making me miss Cambodia, although its
new administration is being criticized.
I still believe
that this regime is not bad. My decision to return home to my country is not for
a political reason. Rather, it is my own feelings that push me to serve
Cambodia, even though it is so poor and there will be so many difficulties for
me. It doesnít matter [what happens]. My main point is whether my strength
contributes to the reconstruction of the nation. In reality, life in a country
of ďmaterialismĒ is enjoyable. However, we are the slaves of ďthings.Ē I love
nature; thus, I must return to the national community - the one I love and gave
birth to me.
Life here [France]
is different from the one in Cambodia. So, whatís the point of living here? It
would be better to live in Cambodia than to live here in conditions of slavery.
Moreover, I have to return home as I am eager to see my family; we have been
separated for quite a long time. Whatís the point of enjoying a lonely life,
while my beloved mother is full of sorrow each day because she misses me?
Without mental calm and being full of sorrow, how can [I] enjoy [my life here]?
I would rather face physical difficulties than be worried. This seems to push me
to decide to return home. It doesnít matter what hardships I will face. I would
be happy to suffer rather than be worried.
Morgat 16 August 1975
Today is not a
sunny day. Itís so cool that Iím not well. The sea is steady. There is fog and
we cannot see far. I stay alone in my room, preparing luggage for my return to
Paris. I feel one day I will be back here. Here there is lovely, attractive
scenery. However, as for the people surrounding [me], some are good, some are
bad. [We] cannot read their hearts. Oh human hearts! No one is happy to see the
happiness of others. Oh my life always meets obstacles. I have never been
contented. Oh the sea! Why you donít move like you did yesterday? And why are
you not so charming? Are you worried? Why does your charm change? You seem to
know what I feel. Only scenery can rid me of my discontent. Without you I would
be much more frustrated.
Now itís nine p.m.
Tonight the moon is shining, accompanied by glittering stars. The moon is not
full yet. The sea is steady. One can see a battleship, decorated with glittering
items. The weather is also very cool. The weather here seems to be different
from that in my country, where people sit happily under the moonlight, looking
everywhere. However, they may not do the same thing here as it is so cool. Oh, I
really miss such circumstances in my home country. The charm of the Mekong River
under the moonlight can be compared to the charm here. When can I see my home
It has been six
years that Iíve lived far way from my home, and two years that Iíve lived apart
from my beloved and respected family. [I] remember every event. I left you dad
and mom with sad feelings. At this moment I miss my parents, I remember their
advice, and my motherís merits are beyond comparison. Mom and dad are poor, but
they made every effort to overcome all impediments, to say nothing of their good
understanding of national or political concepts. If every woman had the same
heart as my mom, perhaps there would be much progress in Cambodia. When seeing
other families gathering, I really miss you, mom. You might feel I miss you,
right? You donít know how far my life is roaming. I do miss you, mom and dad. I
always remember your advice: ďI leave you, but my feeling is with you at all
times, daughter.Ē I will try my best to overcome any obstacle and hope that I
will have a chance to meet you in the near future so that I can contribute to
the renewal of Cambodia.
Morgat, 17 September 1975
Today itís a bit
cool. There is sunlight and less fog. Without this weather, I would have been in
Paris. Now the schedule is changed. Oh Morgat, itís very cool once the wind is
blowing. Either visit here by next year or return home? The moment I remember
the day to return home, the moment I become happy with an infusion of sorrows.
On the one hand, I am happy because I hope I will meet my family and friends. On
the other hand, I become so worried because I am not sure whether my country is
independent and self-reliant or not. National issues always haunt me. However, I
have to go in order to witness the events happening in the country no matter
what hardships I face. Throughout my life, I have experienced hardship, sorrow,
I have seen the
cultures of other developing and developed countries. From them, I can make good
judgments on my own country. I can further realize the value of my country. For
this reason, I am still preoccupied with the traditional customs, charm and
resources of my country, which is still considered an underdeveloped country. I
think that I can put some ideas gained from various countries into real practice
in my country in order to upgrade the living conditions of the poor. If my
return faces any obstacles, I will still be satisfied because the decision has
come from my genuine, thorough consideration.
I myself will not
be one to seek political asylum. I used to live in a poor family. I will not be
completely absorbed in the wealth and charm of other countries. Although I can
enjoy my life there at any time, I am not happy to live there, because I am a
Khmer. Being a Khmer I have to help Cambodia, which brought me up. To me, the
evacuation of the people in Phnom Penh is correct. Its aim was to bring equality
for every individual. This does not have anything to do with revenge. Rather, it
is that the old regime is corrupt, and those who used their power to oppress
others have been swept out - they are individuals with minions who do not know
hardship. For this reason I think this activity is right. As for those who never
experienced hardship or knew the rice seedling, they will undoubtedly think it
is a hell. Thus, I made a decision to return home so I can witness what is
Morgat, 18 September 1975
This is the last
night for me to stay in Morgat. Tonight it is drizzling. Nothing is visible,
except fog. I donít know whether I will have a chance to come here again. Oh,
nature! You seem to be as worried as I am about leaving. Tonight I feel I am
flying far away without real direction. I think of what needs to be done when I
arrive in Paris. Who will I meet? How are my friends in Cambodia? There is no
information [about them]. When can we have a relationship again? I miss them
all. I donít know what makes me so worried about this. Can we meet each other
again in this life? Where are you now honey? Do you miss me? I decided to return
home to lead my life with my family again. However, I do not know how much you
have changed. But I miss you every day, my heart is never broken. In thinking
about you, I pity you so much. But, at the thought of you boasting, I really
hate you and seem to be happy with the revolution in our country.
experience you will realize hardship and give up your bad points. Your family,
famous for its wealth and that used to look down on others is now in the same
position as others. There is no ďclassnessĒ like before. Itís the end of your
luxurious life. And elegance, cars and wealth also vanish. What do you think
about the revolution? How do you feel? You have lived a happy, luxurious life
since birth. This is a kind of hardship people suffered for the sake of your
familyís happiness. Now no one will become your servant. I am sure you realize
the hardship and difficulties in earning money for your living. Before, when you
were far away from earning wealth, you even destroyed it. Now you understand, do
you? If you understand this concept clearly and love me as I love you, we will
be hand in hand for initiating a new family life in the new regime, moving
towards prosperity and happiness, okay? My writing is a heart-to-heart
dedication to you - my beloved and missed one.
Rueil, 8 November 1975
Time is moving
quickly. Now it has been nearly a year since I arrived in Paris the second time.
The spring of the year has passed by. Autumn is coming. Oh, nature! After
sadness, you can recover. On the other hand, human beings cannot do the same
thing. Their lives cannot move backward. Oh, the yellow leaves together can make
attractive natural carpets. The leaves, you seem to be withered, but
picturesque. The night has come. Itís really quiet. The door is firmly closed.
The darkness in the room reminds me of thoughts I have had before, mixed with
happiness and sorrow, hatred and crying. This is what it is commonly known as
the ďsuffering of life.Ē In childhood, [I] never knew hardship. [My] mom took
good care of [me] all the time. But, since adolescence came, I have never known
happiness. Why? What were my sins in my former life? However, it doesnít matter
if I have a chance to meet my family. Otherwise I will live separately from them
again. Oh life! Are there people suffering as I am?
Rueil, 11 November 1975
Today I watched a
movie called ďWest Side Story,Ē which is very interesting. It covers general
concepts on the roots of life-and-death love. However, in the end the lovers
could not meet and live together.
Rueil 4 December 1975
Why is my life
never the way I want it to be? I have only one love, but I donít have hope that
it will be satisfactory. I knew that it would be so; why do I try to shape it?
Oh my love, I have promised to love only you. If we fail, I wonít feel regret. I
will love no one but you; even though I have no hope of meeting you, I still
love you. I love you because I fee pity and because you have troubles in your
family and want to resolve them, even though you feel that they wonít be worked
out easily. You alone make me so worried. My heart, which is filled with
sympathy and the desire to help, is on the brink of being broken. Is my love
moving on the wrong track? Although itís like this, itís still my love and my
decision. Can we meet? Do you love me as I am? After my decision [to be with
you], another engagement, even if it has a thousand times more value, would not
be acceptable to me. I love only you; thatís all. If we cannot meet, I will not
be worried, even though my love is so great. Oh, I love with less hope because
we are so far away from each other. I donít know how you are or whether you have
changed your heart. As for me, my heart remains the same. Oh, my love.
Rueil 10 December 1975
Itís cool here. I
almost fell down during my return from school. Itís so cool, and I havenít worn
enough clothes. Cool weather always brings about a broken life. Old stories seem
to be with me; I cannot think of anything else. Only you make me feel constantly
distressed. What the hell! Now I choose to return home in order to make a new
life, no matter how hard it will be. I need to meet my respected mother and
father. After such a long separation, I really miss you. My life is full of
risks - separation from my beloved parents, the new dawn of love, and a loss of
education. Oh my life is different from othersí. Will it change tomorrow - will
I be happy or worried or dead? Who knows what tomorrow will bring? But despair
remains. I donít know when I can cross over this bridge of sadness. Even if the
sun is shining and life goes on, the sadness cannot dissipate. Oh, meaningless
life, you are like a tree without leaves in the winter.
Rueil 24 December 1975
Wednesday, December 24, the last Christmas day I will have in Paris. Tonight I
will go to sleep at 2 a.m., which helps me understand the life of Frenchmen
called ďtycoons.Ē Tonight I cannot really be happy because I am so tired.
Rueil 25 December 1975
This afternoon, I
watched a film called Le 3 Jours de Codois, which shows the lives and goals of
CIA agents, which is nothing more than killing in the interest of their
organization. I went alone. This was the first time I had seen such a film. Then
I visited Chek Sun Huon, where we chatted about issues related to our
Rueil 26 December 1975
I have had bleak
reminiscences again. One occurred on Saturday 22 November 1975 after I met Peou,
with whom I had dinner. After dinner I watched a film called Flut Euconbi. On 21
November 1975 (Friday), I had a chat with Bopha about my beloved brother. On 24
November 1975 (Monday), my brother called and scolded me, making me cry that
night. On 6 December 1975, I went with Rith to my brotherís house, hoping we
could resolve our conflict. However, it was worse than I expected. This made me
decide not to go there again so the he can forget me and not be worried for me.
Then I decided to return home as quickly as possible, without considering
anyoneís feelings or seeking anyoneís consent. My brother, whose behavior I
never considered and whom I usually follow, now makes me feel resentful. If what
Iím doing is wrong, I must accept it so he can justify [his exasperation].
It has now been
more than a year since Iíve met Bopha - the only friend whose mind I can read.
In this life, I probably could not find a person whose heart is like mine. No, I
cannot. Oh, lifeís troubles cause me sadness, irritation, and pain.
Sunday 28 December 1975
Oh, life! Today I
watched a movie entitled Lime Light: Les Feuse des Sampes. It was produced in
1914 in London, England. It is about the living conditions of a dancer and a
comedian. The main idea of this film is that in order to overcome hardship, one
must be brave, committed, and patient. It also illustrates a love stemming from
gratitude and sweet sentiment. The lovers have done many good deeds for each
other. But the love cannot bloom because the actor thinks he is too old, even
though the actress has fallen in love with him. A man can give advice to another
person, he but will find it hard to respect and follow the advice he has
Rueil 4 January 1976
Oh, I miss you
mother and father. How are you? I will always miss you, but at the same time I
have decided to return home as soon as possible so that I can see you and
contribute to building my country. I am so worried about you two. Now the plan
for my two-year visit has come to an end, and Iím happy to be returning home. I
always remember your advice although I am far away from you. I always think and
hope that one day I will be home. Oh, my beloved mommy! Your words are so
correct. Brother Muoy is the one who has been making me so angry. I have to
Ru Eil, 12 February 1976
On 8 February 1976
I helped organize a constitutional ceremony, in which I talked in front of more
than 1,000 people. It was the first time I had given a speech in front of such a
large crowd. I felt a little nervous at the beginning, which made my voice
tremble for a short time. But after a while, I was in full control. I did not do
this for my own advantage; rather I did it for the sake of the entire nation. I
try to support the organization as much as I can.
Rueil, 17 February
seeing Dany off to Germany, I saw a male friend. After only a short
acquaintenance, I could read his mind easily. After knowing each other such a
short while, he tried to turn our relationship into a love affair. Oh, is this
the meaning of friendship between a man and a woman? I had never thought about
such matters. I suppose our relationship is just a normal one, rather than love.
I have already made my decision. I swore to love only one man, who will be my
first and last lover. I would never change my mind, even if I met a man with
better looks, better characteristics, or better education. I will express what I
have in my heart to this male friend so that he will not be broken hearted. I
must keep my promise and never change my heart, for I have considered this
matter seriously before making up my mind. If my decision is wrong, I will
accept all the consequences. I pray to God to change the mind of my friend and
not fall in love with me, as I will only be one manís lover.
Rueil, 19 February 1976
nature in the freezing nights of winter, you make my mind wander and keep me
thinking about when I was accused of telling other people about the weakness of
my brother. Oh, God. Itís true that no one likes to have his or her mistakes
leaked to other people. He or she would be worried or angry, but actually,
everything he or she does can be criticized. I donít mean to make other people
hate you; nor do I look down on you. What I try to do is let those who are your
intimate friends remind you and help you correct your shortcomings. Is this my
unforgivable mistake, which causes your embarrassment? I feel very bored with
you, no matter to what degree you love me. Moreover, I never hope to gain your
admiration for my merits. Conversely, it would be fine if you revealed your
shortcomings to your most intimate friends. I donít mind.
My dear brother!
Youíve made me so worried; you treated me so horribly. Even though you did this
unintentionally, it really hurts me. Iíve tried to explain to you, but you
understood nothing about my feelings, causing me to be unable to study properly.
Iíve never thought at all that I am an emotionally weak person. I canít stand
your anger time and time again, which makes me lose my confidence in continuing
to learn about you. Also, a new argument begins just as soon as the old one has
I decided to
return to my hometown, no matter how difficult it is, to be as far away as I
can. And I pretend that Iím the only child in the family - no brothers or
sisters. And I try my best to serve my country with my small knowledge, without
thinking about anything else. I also continue studying to forget him and keep
thinking that I am alone and independent. I have my parents, and my good and bad
friends. Oh, is it my beloved elder brother? This stems from too much love,
which in turn becomes jealousy. [He] doesnít want to have me loved more than
him. This is [the nature of] my brother. Oh my sinful life, when will it come to
an end? Why is my life turning out to be the same as my motherís life?
Rueil, 1 March 1976
Today is the day
that my friend Kanol told me that he loves me and begged me with tears in his
eyes to love him. What a problem! Iíve firmly decided that I love only one
person. I have only said the word ďloveĒ to one person, and have used it no more
than twice. Thus, I strongly reject all proposals from other men. I donít feel a
bit of excitement to hear someone confess his or her love for me.
Oh, my friend,
please forgive me. Y, my great friend, I will marry because of duty, not out of
love or sympathy. Y! Where are you now? When we meet each other again, how shall
we behave? Or will we never see each other again?
Oh, love, love of
duty, love by force, love with no way out, love required by duty. Is this the
existence I deserve?
15 January 1977
How can I be happy
about the marriage? I man whose mind Iíve never known was forced to marry me and
is to set up house with me. Oh my God! It is so terrible. All of the reasons I
used in arguing with my mother I could not use with the organization [Khmer
Rouge]. The only choice is death. But to die because of a marriage is too
cowardly. What should I do? I cannot marry him with no love at all. What a
disgusting love. The period of my youth is ending on 17 January 1977. My wish to
be a virgin for the rest of my life is being destroyed. What about the groom? Is
he marrying me for the sake of duty or what? Does he love me? I have nothing
left but despair. If I can escape, Iíll go at once. Oh my lovely and respectful
mother, what should I say when I meet you? You are not going to be present at
this wedding. I feel so sad, mother, I donít know how to solve this problem.
Probably my life is over.
7 September 1977: The Red Earth of the
Time seems to be
moving uncontrollably fast. We have been living here for seven months. This
seven months has left constant memories under the roof of this small cottage
where we began our family life. We cooperatively built a true family here. What
a revolutionary family! We met each other because of this revolution and we love
each other through the organization. The red earth of this region makes trees
flourish. Water flows endlessly down the rivers along the valleys, mixing with
the joyful sounds of birds singing. In another direction are the farmersí rice
paddies, which constantly change colors, while our plantations are also
continually transforming. The small paths that divide the farms also divide each
field into smaller plots that are drawn like checkerboards with amazing beauty.
Plateaus of different elevations provide magnificent scenery, especially at dawn
and dusk. We will never forget this place. With the natural beauty of the red
earth, our lives seem to be cheerful and we have nothing to worry about. A
happiness that seemed impossible has now occurred. Although we were not in love
with each other in the beginning, through our efforts it grew gradually, day by
day, and now
Iíve found true
happiness in this new society. Even though I havenít fulfilled my earlier
wishes, at the moment Iím satisfied with my life. We always feel happy, no
worries or tensions on our minds, although we work hard physically. Love and
tenderness, which never happened in the past, have now evolved to a sentimental
attraction between us. Red earth creates happiness and harmony in our family,
just like its natural splendor. The memory of our newly built family in this
area will never be forgotten. Also, this place has given me some new experiences
with nature and the people around me in the revolution. Oh, red earth; I wish my
family were as red as your color.
17 January 1978
A year has passed
and Iíve gone through many obstacles in my life. I have understood extensively
the people around me, my own feelings, and the difficulties and benefits of
revolutionary life. I was struck by diseases, but have resisted. While I was
hospitalized, I got to know several individuals. There can be no comparison
between the conscious struggle against a social environment with narrow-minded
people and the struggle to overcome all kinds of hardship. I prefer the latter
over the former. I always completed my duties happily and successfully. But the
emotional struggle at the red earth makes me feel bitter and sad, and Iíve had
to calm myself down many times. Sometimes, I have felt angry with myself, and
have wept shamefully over my destiny. The organizationís line is perfect, pure,
and just; itís just the practitioners who are unwise, impure, and tricky.
the Documentation Center of Cambodia has not yet found the family of the woman
who wrote this notebook)