Author shares struggles of living in Cambodia - Tucson Local Media: News

Author shares struggles of living in Cambodia

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Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 4:00 am

One piece of paper led to the next and the next until an 800-page book, “Bamboo Promise,” of her life’s struggles, in a Cambodian culture, unfolded into a shortened book form.

Vicheara Houn grew up in a wealthy home in Cambodia.  She experienced the Cambodian genocide in the 1970s and, through her book, shares the struggles of fear and tragedy that she faced.

“I wrote this to let the Cambodian, in the young generation, to understand where they came from,” said Houn. “There’s struggle.  What I said is from my heart so I hope they absorb it.”

Her life in Cambodia soon came to an end as she moved to the United States in 1984 with the support of her husband’s sister, who was already living there.  Houn and her husband have two children.  Over the years of marriage, Houn’s life grew more and more unhappy, because of the conflict between her and her husband.

“He not the man I dream of. We not get along well,” said Houn. “I start writing a little scratch piece a paper that I couldn’t believe that I had to go through all this horrible life again.”

Houn became depressed, but said that writing helped her.  Her husband left her little and Houn struggled to supply a sufficient amount of food for her children.  She also lost her job and couldn’t find a job.  She wanted a better life.  A better solution.

“The answer seem to never be found to make me happy, but I kept writing and writing,” said Houn.

For 10 years Houn wrote until she reached 800 pages of writings.  An assignment in her son’s class is what ignited the fire in Houn to want to publish her writings.  She gave 40 pages of her story to her son who in turn gave it to his teacher.  His teacher was impressed and highly praised Houn’s work.

“I want to publish my book,” said Houn. “Before you become a known author you have to start somewhere.  This is my philosophy.”

With no past publishing experience, Houn worked hard to get her book published.  The publishing company told her it would take a while for it to be published so Houn decided to self-publish instead.  Her first copies came out in e-book form in early March 2012 and she now has made a small amount of copies in paperback form.

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Welcome to the discussion.

2 comments:

  • VICHEARA HOUN posted at 3:21 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    VICHEARA HOUN Posts: 2

    My hope is that young Cambodians and Cambodians in the Diaspora will read this, and more erudite texts, to learn more about what happened to their country and its people. I hope all who read will understand how a radical, violent political movement bent on death and destruction, was able to consume nearly two million innocent souls, while the world stood by. It is only when you know why something has happened that you can prevent its re-occurrence.
    It is important that the world learns how Cambodians, my family and I included, lived and died through four years of Hell on earth. Nearly two million Cambodians were executed, starved, and tortured to death. All who survived, both victims and victimizers, have been traumatized and permanently scarred.
    I also hope that, in some small way, my book will help Cambodians remember the history of their country and not let history repeat itself. I hope it will make young Cambodians more sensitive to the trauma that their parents and grandparents endured. Also, my book shows how naïve many of the most privileged were to believe that nothing so horrible could happen to our country. My father, who had promised me that nothing would happen to us or to Cambodia, is my best example of this blindness. In our case, genocide was the price we paid for ignoring the signs, and assuming that something cannot happen simply because you can’t imagine it.
    The weaknesses in Cambodian society, in particular our sometimes blind and unquestioning obedience to our leaders; our failure to educate all our citizens; and our acceptance of a society based upon class distinctions rather than the value of all people paved the road for Pol Pot and his angry and vengeful followers. Our neighboring countries and the rest of the world allowed it to happen for a variety of reasons – primarily, of course, self-interest.

     
  • VICHEARA HOUN posted at 2:17 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    VICHEARA HOUN Posts: 2

    I also hope that, in some small way, my book will help Cambodians remember the history of their country and not let history repeat itself. I hope it will make young Cambodians more sensitive to the trauma that their parents and grandparents endured. Also, my book shows how naïve many of the most privileged were to believe that nothing so horrible could happen to our country. My father, who had promised me that nothing would happen to us or to Cambodia, is my best example of this blindness. In our case, genocide was the price we paid for ignoring the signs, and assuming that something cannot happen simply because you can’t imagine it.
    The weaknesses in Cambodian society, in particular our sometimes blind and unquestioning obedience to our leaders; our failure to educate all our citizens; and our acceptance of a society based upon class distinctions rather than the value of all people paved the road for Pol Pot and his angry and vengeful followers. Our neighboring countries and the rest of the world allowed it to happen for a variety of reasons – primarily, of course, self-interest.
    [smile]

     

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