When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new. – Dalai Lama
I have listened to countless stories of families decimated by the Khmer Rouge during the years of 1975-1979. I have heard innumerable slurs, degrading remarks, and generalised judgments about certain ethnic groups residing in Cambodia. I have seen vitriol commentary hurled back and forth aimed at both sides of the political spectrum that wields its power in Phnom Penh. I have participated in many meetings expressing the voices of indigenous communities torn off their land and forced to survive on nothing in Cambodia’s northeast. I have sat with garment workers whose colleagues were shot in front of them for protesting for a small pay raise. Listening is so overwhelming.
It has been a considerable gap since I’ve blogged. I did in fact suspect I’d take a while before posting something. My senses have been awoken by new experiences almost on a daily level over the last four months. Moving to a new city, starting a new job, beginning a whole new journey in this trip since I arrived in Cambodia.
Last August I got into a van with all my belonging and headed north from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, the home of the infamous Angkor Wat – centre of the Khmer Empire. It’s a real privilege to live at the base of an empire that was one of the world’s most powerful. Angkor Wat is literally a bike ride away from my house and is at the core of nearly everything that revolves around Siem Reap. I quickly settled down – or better stated, geared up – into my new job at a peace and conflict centre working regionally from Siem Reap. Continue reading