Thursday, 8 December 2011

Close call

My mother and I were sitting during a quiet evening.

"How's your blog?" she inquired in Chinese.

"It's going," I replied.

"Oh, I have a story for you," she said excitedly, sitting up straight.  "You know how it was forbidden to steal food from the Communists, right?"

I nodded.

"Well, one day, when your dad was working in the fields, he stole a large bag of vegetables!" she said.  "He hid it while on the job, but when his shift was over, he brought it home.  It was so delicious, especially since we barely had any to eat."

My eyes widened in terror.  "Did they catch him?" I asked fearfully.

"Wait, listen!" my mom screeched.  "Eventually the Communists realized someone stole their food.  They were very angry.  Your dad was so scared.  He couldn't eat or sleep.  He stayed up all night, waiting for them to knock on the door to kill him."

Oh my God! I thought.

"They did confront him and find out it was him.  Oh yes, he was terrified.  But the weird thing is they let him get away with it.  They left him alone."

Breathing a sigh of relief, I asked, "Why didn't they punish him like they did to the others?"  My mom didn't have an answer for me.  I was just glad they spared his life.

"Your uncle later on did the same thing," my mom said, shaking her head.  "Again, they spared his life even though they found out he stole food from them."

I don't know whether the men in my family are just brave or foolish.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Smoke breaks

Sorry for the lack of interviews lately.  My dad has been going through a tough time.  He has been coughing nonstop for the past few weeks.  After several visits to the doctor, his health has improved a great deal and he has been coughing a lot less, but he hasn't made a full recovery yet.

My dad is a smoker, but due to this cough, I think he has stopped in the meantime.  It's likely he'll return to old habits once the cough has passed, but I think that's a slippery slope.

On vacation in France last year, my cousin Hing and I talked about the Khmer Rouge regime a bit.

He told me the reason my dad smoked was because of the regime.

My dad, as well as many other workers, were nearly worked to death during the regime.  The only way they were able to rest was to take a smoke break.

My dad didn't smoke at the time, but the more breaks he took, the more he smoked.  He's been smoking for over 30 years.

I look at my dad and my heart aches.  He's had a hard life and I just want to make things easier for him, but instead I feel helpless.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

CAWesome Cambodian dish

This week in journalism class, we are learning how to write reviews. I have decided to write a restaurant review for my assignment, because I love food! I know, I know, how does this relate to my blog in any way?

I've been watching The Food Network a lot lately. Annie Sibonnay of From Spain With Love states that you can really learn a lot about a culture through its food. I definitely agree with her there.

I know this post (and some of my recent posts) have not been following the original protocol I had intended for this blog.  I figured a little variety would be refreshing and interesting once in a while.  Plus I have to let my family members recharge once in a while.  Asking for stories about a traumatic experience can be quite draining, despite what I had initially thought.  Oh well, live and learn, I say.

Anyway, a recipe is a type of story, and this Cambodian dish is one heck of a tale! My mother makes this dish at home a lot, and it is a hit with my family.

File:Caw.jpgThis dish is called Caw.  It is a type of Cambodian stew typically made with pork, eggs, and tofu.  It is savoury yet sweet all at once!  It's delicious with rice.

Here's a recipe I got from Khmer Krom Recipes.


  • 4 cups water
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 green onion, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups fresh coconut juice
  • 1 1/2 lb pork meat
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
Put eggs and 4 cups water in a pot and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove boiled eggs from hot water and soak it in cold water.  Peel egg shells and set it aside.
Make caramelized sauce by putting 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a pot or skillet that is big enough to hold all of the ingredients.  Stir frequently until sugar turns into a dark brown colour.  Immediately pour 2-cups water over caramelized sauce and stir well.
Add garlic, onion, fish sauce, sugar, salt, and coconut juice.  Stir well.
Add pork meat.  Stir and cook on low heat for 40 minutes.  Occasionally stir and remove any bubbles that form on top.
Add boiled eggs and simmer until the pork meat is tender.
Sprinkle with black pepper.
Serve hot with rice.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Q&A with Thet Sambath

Video description from YouTube:
"On November 8, 2011, CSS [Cambodian Student Society] and The Department of Asian American Studies had the opportunity to sponsor an exclusive screening of Enemies of The People, directed by Thet Sambath and produced by Rob Lemkin. For the first time in the Long Beach community, Mr. Thet and Mr. Lemkin were able to take time and have a Q&A at CSULB." 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


An excerpt from my interview with my dad for my Remembrance Day journalism assignment:
"One day, we were doing labour in the field.  And we were so quiet.  All you could hear were the sounds of the hoe.  And suddenly, I see two men with guns.  Those were Khmer Rouge soldiers.  We hardly see soldiers during the time.  That’s the only time that I saw soldiers carry guns.  They walked to a young man not far away and they took that guy, walked to a bush in the woods close to where we worked.  Everybody pretended to see nothing but we watched from the corner of our eye.  About half an hour later, we saw the two soldiers walk out from the woods and we never saw that young man again."