Sayang Sama Cucu

Sayang Sama Cucu
Saya sama Cucu-cucu: Ian dan Kaila

Senin, 12 September 2011


Cambodia is a small country in South East Asia. An agricultural country with tropical monsoon climate, it is sharing borders with Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
An ancient Buddhist Kingdom had build a grandiose gilded stone structures. Know its called Ankhor – a mixture of Court and a Budhist shrine. The colonial era’s ruling Nobilities claim that they are far descendents of the Ankor’s makers. Lately this Nobility leaning all the time to the French, forming a Protectorate Kingdom, after the World War II Cambodia became independent Constitutional Kingdom.
Majority of inhabitant around 80% is Khmer of origin, which are peasant, they are growing rice and tending buffalos.  Chinese traders which creating their own exclusive society as everywhere in south East Asia and then the Vietnames which are there for generations doing mostly the intellectual’s job. All of them are interacting harmonicaly  in this idyllic invironment of Cambodia.
Well, in 1975, suddenly  Pol Pot and his hordes of Khmer’s peasants with AK 47 in abundance, invaded the Capital and other major towns in Cambodia, sizing the power of Cambodian Kingdom,  ousted  the King,  Prince Norodom Sihanouk,  and proclaimed  a People’s  Republic of Kampuchea. 
The Khmer Rouge –peasants-turned-to-soldiers, created horrible havoc amongs the nation of Cambodia by forcing other ethnical component of the nation as Chinese of origin, Vietnamese which generally inhabited the towns, to be toiling in the muds paddy fields, regardless the habitual differences between peasantry and educated people. Whole Nation’s economical activities were in stands still.
Rapes and looting, than murders, atrocities and genocides became wholesale, marked in the book, “The Killing Field”
How come ? The World astonished and dumbfounded.
First, it was understandable that the elite group of native Khmer, lost the social tie with the mass of simple peasantry, because they are too long living comfortaby on the laps of Franch colonialism. After they assumed the power in Constitutional Monarchy, they seemed to be negligence of their paramount national duty – to protect their weakest fellow country men – the Khmer peasantry correctly.
     Nature dictates that sowing and harvesting rice should be in accordance with season.
 So, during rice harvesting season, the amount of harvest is abundant and “laissez faire” attitude helps to make the price of hulled rice down. 
  In the old time, these Khmer peasants simply put the hulled rice in their barns and to made it as currency, to trade with dried fish, salt and other their meager needs.    
    Now, the consumer goods are flooding the markets, who amongst the peasants don’t crave for petromax lamps, Aladin lamps, outboard motors, motorbikes etc.
    Mekong river also determines the planting seasons in most paddy area in Cambodia, annual flooding season allows only once a year of paddy growing safely, unlike the irrigated sloping area.
  The ruling Nobility, showed no respond to this difficulty, created a rule that no Chinese of origin  Cambodian citizen were allowed to own paddy fields by the Government. ( may be they help themselves ? )
  It was ridiculous, these Chinese of origin citizens -traders did not need to own the paddy fields, the Cambodian chinese citizens own every rice mills in country, every  big rice barns and silos, these traders flood the market with goods craving by the peasant, imported from Hongkong,  these goods tempted the peasants very much, therefore Cambodian peasants wanted cash their hulled rice at the time of harvest to shop with.
    Nobility of Cambodia who rule the Nation actually had to help this situation by creating a Government Agency with Government money to purchase in fair price the Hulled rice to stabilize the price, if necessary to distribute hulled rice’ dryer instead of the Rule of paddy field’s ownership.
Meanwhile there was a war in neighbouring country, Vietnam.
The popular Leader Ho Chi Minh successfully convinced the intellectual and the military that the paramount duty of his Nation is to help the weakest segment of the Vietnamese. It was the peasantry,  they needed badly the improvent of educations, healthy invironment and infra structures. Ho Chi Minh called the Vietnam Nation to help.Soon after the Dien Bien Phu victory agains French Colonial troop, his call enchanted the people of Vietnam.
     Northerner tighten their notch of their waist belt, an begun to serve these calls of their Leader. ( Actually they were fascinating on Dien Bien Phu victrory against Colonial Force.)
Of couse this calls of the Leader against “laissez faire” toward backwardness of the Peasantry, spread out to the whole country immidiatly, to the South, nearby the Capital city of Saigon, Bao Dai the Head of Nobility was considered to be slow, Americans were upset at this sluggish Ruler, he was disposed by semi Dictator Ngo Din Diem, and than to be disposed again by a military Dictator Nguyen Kao Ki, and than to be disposed again by another a military Dictator Nguyen Van Thiu.     
  The motive of such successive  changes, as every body understood  in those time, if Uncle Sam was upset especially against so called “Domino Priciple” of Communism.  Money was no matter, and money is subject to corruption. Hanoi was bombed mercilessly by B52 bombers for month.
This is a bad luck that this war certainly effected the idyllic life of Cambodian people and Prince Norodom Sihanouk as the King, who painstakingly steered his helm to neutrality. More bad luck was the activities of North Vietnamese along the border intertwined it, as it was known as “Ho Chi Min trail” . 
The porters, carriers, with carrying poles, with bycicles they carry the war’ materials  silently to Saigon ! Finally Saigon fell in Vietcong hands.
Ufortunately, some war materials were missing only to be found by Khmer peasants or to be given as presents by Vietcong. No matter, the war was spectacularly won by General Giap. What matter were these Khmer peasants, which were dark skinned, almond eyed and of small complexions  had new toy, it was an AK47 fully loaded.
  The most bad luck , that Pol Pot brought them to invade the Capital city and other major towns, only to herd the non peasants, populations of the city and town to toil in the paddy fieds.                 
     So they mean it as “re-educations”. These peasants-turned-to-soldiers were wondering, with index fingers ready to press the triggers of AK 47 and they became incredibly respectable and clever as never before.
      No wonder, months afterward, looting and rapes,  atrocities snd genocides which were described in the book of “ The Killing Fields” actually happened. 
   Two Capital City fell to its encounter’s hand: Saigon fell in Vietcong hands, there were war tribunals ,yes. Some, I believed were executed, yes, many sent to prisons for years; yes, many sent to re-educational programs  yes, it was up to the Victor, but what happened when Pnom Penh fell to the hands of the Khmer rouge – peasant turned to soldiers ? World knew what happened.
            Lesson from this human tragedy:
   Don’t ever let any part of the society down, especially the lowest one.
   The upper class of Cambodian society very busy to up keep their positions, the nobility, the traders, the intellectuals, all of them careless for improving the peasants life, to let them to be structurally poor and uneducated, they didn’t care of villages and hamlets minimum infra structures to make villages’s life easier  (at least free from malaria). They careless of agricultures product’s price to be part of “laissez faire” policy, because someday, the whole society will reap the phlegmatics attitude.(*)  
(The Writer : Mr. Subagyo, lives in Surabaya City-Indonesia, South East Asia)



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