By MEALY TRUONG (
Being born just two years before the Second World War which started in Europe in 1939 and reached Asia, I vividly remember
My life as an individual human-being and not a human-doing has been a dreadful one which typifies the Cambodian tragedy. By looking back to those seventy years behind me, it is really a miracle that I am still alive! Like most of the Cambodian people, I have been almost a permanent displaced person. Moving around from my native village which changes its name in accordance to the political regimes from Cambodian one to that of France and then, to the Vietnamese government, I go from one province to another and finally, I cross the border from Viet Nam to the Kingdom of Cambodia, during those years of the end of the French war and the beginning of the American war in Viet Nam.
During those years of my wandering around, I did what I could do to survive. Luckily, I did not lose the most precious gift of my life which is Hope. I worked my way up from peddling, to running errands, to tutoring, to teaching. And during the last quarter of 1969, I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to study abroad, in Sydney University, Australia, under a Fellowship program called Colombo Plan in order to up-grade my English teaching ability. But, then war, the so-called
My life, in some ways, may reflect the history of Modern Asia. Smaller nations are too often made subordinate states. The local people are toyed with and exploited by the major powers. I, myself, became a citizen of two different countries and assumed three nationalities. As one human-being, I have survived from the great peril of death in the midst of a war-torn and troubled
To everyone’s remark, human-being is in general born with that funny ego-centric feeling. Among themselves and by their human nature, they are segregationist. Between countries, they are latent and potential racist! Only true education given by men and women of courage and wisdom can change this unfortunate reality.
As fellow human inhabitants of the same planet Earth, we are all fundamentally the same, regardless of differences in our physical features, our moral codes, our ethnic or racial demeanors! The pains and sufferings we feel are identical. They are universal.