My mother’s generation are always appalled at the young generation’s choices or ways of life. They want things to run for us smoothly and, as they say, with no defiance. She, like other people of her age, has gone through so much that life has taught her to be quite different from her children including me. Born after Cambodia freed itself from France, she, in her late teen, suffered, sweltered in the Khmer Rouge regime. (I promise myself to write about her, just like what author Frank McCourt wants every one of his student to do: write about your family.)
She wants me to study hard, so then I can become somebody. She wishes that I change my mind and live abroad. But I don’t listen to that. She wants me to escape to a haven, better than Cambodia, which I think there’s no better place than home. In fact, I can go and stay in other countries for a few years, but the intention to live abroad never satisfies me.
She says it’s only a matter time. Yes, maybe, I say. Perhaps, someday I’m going to change my mind about what I do and where I want to live. Everything depends on time we have and time given.
However, the time given to the old generation (my mother’s) was so little that many had lost their childhood and happiness. I know, old people, for instance, my parents have missed the most fun in their life, holding hoes and eating shells instead of being in school, hanging out with friends and realizing their own dreams. It’s something I wish all the parents now had had. Looking at the history pages, I feel pain for my mother and other old-timers who could have had their dream come true only till life was full of sorrow later.
How do the old people educate their children in Cambodia? Most of them, as I vicariously feel, want their children to acknowledge their gruelsome conditions in the past. For example, my parents more then often mention something about the Khmer Rouge regime. Now, the question is how much Cambodian youth know about the Khmer Rouge regime. It’s very less, according to some studies. Parents are a bit closed-lipped about who was behind it, but they are so generous to tell what happened to them.
I hope it’s only a matter of time that the old generation begin to heal as the Khmer Rouge court is proceeding. I, too, want to see and hear something from the new generation. I don’t want to discuss some same problems many old people have here…when it comes to teaching their children to live socially. I know there’s so much to say here about Cambodian parents, children of the Information Technology era..etc… However, it’s better to stop and think.