Life During the Khmer Rouge Rule of Cambodia – A Conversation with My Mom

On September 15, 2017, the Netflix movie “First They Killed My Father,” directed by Angelina Jolie will be released. After seeing the trailer, I couldn’t help but remember the stories my great grandma, grandparents, and mom had told me about their life before and after the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge (The Communist Party Kampuchea), started in April of 1975, and ended January of 1979. I decided to show my mom the trailer, get her feedback on this upcoming movie, and just have a conversation about her life during those dark times.

When I showed my mom the trailer, I did not tell her what she was about to watch. As she was watching the trailer, she started saying, “what?” “this is….,” and as the trailer was concluding, “this is Cambodia.”
Note: I’m speaking to my mom in English, and my mom is responding in Cambodian, so I am translating my mom’s response to English.

Q: What do you think about the trailer, “First They Killed My Father?”

No movie or TV show can explain what really happened. It can show what happened, but there’s so much more outside of it. The feeling and emotion of what we [people of that time] went through, can never be truly shown on TV. Yes, most of what I saw in the trailer, I went through myself, but there’s just so much more to it. The feelings and pain we felt at the time – I don’t know how to explain it. That time felt like forever. We had no calendar or anything to really keep track of the days that had gone by. We lived in fear, and we kept trying to survive. I don’t even remember my actual birth date. I still remember when I heard on the radio that the war was over – “3 years, 8 months, and 20 days,” but it felt a lot longer than that, a lot longer.

Q: In this trailer, kids were trained to use weapons. Did they really trained kids to use weapons?

Continue reading “Life During the Khmer Rouge Rule of Cambodia – A Conversation with My Mom”

Common Questions Twins Get Asked All the Time

A while back, I was asked some “twin” questions by friends, and co-workers. After talking about it with my identical twin sister (Wendy), we realized that we still get questions that ranges from normal to outright ridiculous. Here are some frequently asked questions that we usually get from friends, co-workers, and relatives.

Have you guys ever switched places when you were in High School/College? 

No, we did not. I know some twins who did switched places. But for my sister and I, we have subjects that we’re better at. For example, in High School I was better at English, Math, and Physics while my sister was better than me in Biology and Chemistry. When we attended college, she majored in Business while I majored in Communication. Switching places would give us so much anxiety because we would be constantly worrying about what might happened.

Do you do the freaky twin thing? Like answering at the exact same time.

One time, someone asked my sister and I if we do the “freaky twin thing” and followed up with, “when is your birthday?” We both obviously have the same birthday, so we both naturally gave an answer at the same time since the question was directed at both of us. They were astonished by our response and said, “that was freaky.” If we both know the answer to something, and you ask both of us at the same time, you’re going to get two same answers at once.

Do you two always finish each other’s sentences?

Not always. But when we do, it’s because we are both well-informed of the given topic, or we just have the same interest. For example, we both used to do competitive figure skating so we know all the technical rules and regulations of the sport, and as a result we are more likely to finish off each other’s sentences. Because of this, it usually leads to the next question of- Continue reading “Common Questions Twins Get Asked All the Time”