Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Village Childhood

I was born on a Saturday in November in 1931, the Year of the Monkey, into a middle class family with a house and cattle like other people. I come from Thnaot Chroh village, Lvea commune, Kampong Trabek district, Prey Veng province. All of my relatives live in Lvea. I did not go to school, but studies in Savy Udom pagoda near my home. My parents passed away when I was a child, just young and naked. In my village people called me Chum Manh, but since I first come to Phnom Penh, I have been called Chum Mey.

I had five brothers and two sisters. My oldest brother was Ka-ek, then my oldest sister It, older brother Yak, older sister Nuon and then my brother Mon and me and then another younger brother name Mai and the youngest one Morn. I ranked number three, counting from the bottom.

My mother helped my father with the farm, together with the older children. We had about two hectares of paddy field and we harvested more than we could eat. We used two pairs of cows to do the farming, and also had several calves.

My father drank wine and after drinking he became a very noisy person, but he never heat any of us children. he just became noisy. He played the Pei- or, a traditional wind instrument for wedding ceremonies, and when I was a boy I went with him. In rural areas, after attending the wedding, guests normally bring cakes home and share them among their children. In the old days, the weddings lasted for three days and nights. When I went with him I would sleep behind him as he played into the night.

One day when I was about 8 or 9, I climbed up onto a tall house that was being built in Boeng Snaor village and fell off the roof and that's why I have this scare on my forehead, until today.

My mother worked in the fields, carrying, transplanting and threshing rice. I was about six years old when she gave birth to my youngest brother. She became ill with postpartum depression, which often happened in the old times. A distant uncle who served as a monk in Svay Udom pagoda and knew about traditional medicine paid us a visit, but he could not save her. After that I live with my father for about one year until he also passed away, leaving me alone with my brothers and sister.

1 comment:

  1. Once you get through initial "I know what's best" attitude of the manager here, you will agree that - he DOES know what's best, and he does not treat you like just some paycheck. During my wedding here, the wait staff at DC wedding venues was absolutely the best.