Escaping the Khmer Rouge

A Cambodian Memoir


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SKU: 9780786436729 Categories: , , Tags: ,

About the Book

The Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia for three years, eight months and twenty days. After overthrowing Lon Nol in April 1975 and establishing a so-called Democratic Kampuchea, the Communist-sponsored government was responsible for the deaths of as many as two million people, almost one-third of the country’s population. Here, Chileng Pa vividly recalls life under the Cambodian Communists. Attempting to conceal his identity as a policeman for the previous government, Chileng changed his name and moved his family to the village of Prayap, near the Vietnamese border. In April of 1977, after two years of starvation and cruelty at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, Chileng was forced to watch as Communist guerillas brutally murdered his wife and two-year-old son. With nothing left for him in Prayap Chileng fled to Vietnam, but eventually returned to Cambodia as part of a Vietnamese invasion force that would end the bloody reign of the Khmer regime. In 1981 Chileng and his new family found their way to America. His “simple strand of remembrance” serves to honor all those who died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge.

About the Author(s)

Chileng Pa passed away in 2005.

Anthropologist Carol A. Mortland lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Bibliographic Details

Chileng Pa with Carol A. Mortland

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: chronology, glossary, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3672-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2828-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface by Carol Mortland      1
Cast of Characters      3
Chronology      5
Introduction by Carol Mortland      9

1. My Good Life      17
2. Love at First Sight      32
3. Becoming an Adult in a Country at War      40
4. Serendipity and Separation      51
5. Hope and Heartbreak      56
6. “Liberation”      66
7. Bamboo Grave      96
8. A Poem for Grandmother      116
9. Witness to Death      118
10. The Worst Night of All      143
11. A Fearful Escape to Vietnam      161
12. A New Life in Cambodia, Thailand, and America      176
13. An Interruption to This Story      198

Epilogue by Carol Mortland      199
Glossary      219
Suggested Reading      221
Index      225