When we come to the place there are twenty of us, they have our names. The chief of the Pol Pot talks to us, he says the Organisation will provide us each a white suit today. I know this means a cloth for the dead. They start to call us in to the room, one at a time. They don’t want anyone to see, they not want anyone to know. They kill with the ax and the knife.
Clarke Illmatical describes his attempts to adjust to live in Cambodia and the way the locals think and behave, and on the way learns how to deal with face, why white girl / localguy relationships are doomed to fail and – closer to home – how he is perceived as a black man in Cambodia.
People love to look down on each other. Even those at the lowest of the low finds someone else to judge. Hell, when I was addicted to heroin I looked down on the alcoholic who lived downstairs. “The poor bastard is destroying himself,” I’d think after waking up to find myself face down on my keyboard having typed 232 pages of “mmmmmmm.”
A country’s flag is a symbol; as is the act of changing one. Cambodia’s history is rife with coups, invasions and occupations which has not only fomented regime change but has also provided the impetus for the flag’s numerous transformations over the years. Since 1863, there have been numerous different national flags, including periods of time when more than one flag was in use in Cambodia – depending upon where one was in the country – and at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Pedro Milladino takes a trip to Aeon Mall against his better judgement, and finds himself confronted by lies, lies and more damned lies.
Pedro Milladino moves back to the big city and finds his new neighbourhood of Phnom Penh Thmey is a place of contrasts, and a place where a new urban elite are using their riches to leave an indelible mark on the landscape.
Tim LaRocco surveys the complicated web of international tensions across South East Asia and wonders if Cambodia’s careful balancing act can be maintained indefinitely.