When the Khmer Rouge was in Power

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Mark: So Pahl what part of Cambodia do you come from?
Pahl: I come from Kompong Cham Province.
Mark: Kompong Cham. And you were born there?
Pahl: Yes, I was born there?
Mark: How far is it from Phnom Penh?
Pahl: It is about two hours.
Mark: Two hours by bus, by car?
Pahl: By taxi.
Mark: Mm-hm.
Pahl: Yes.
Mark: Is it on the coast or inland?
Pahl: No, not on the coast or inland. It is inland but along the Mekhong River.
Mark: Ok . Its on the river. Ok.
Pahl: On the way to Laos.
Mark: Right ok. And you come from a village or a big town?
Pahl: Yes. yes, I come from a village.
Mark: Uh-huh. How many (are there) people in the village?
Pahl: Now, I am not sure of the population in my village because I have been away and I do not know how many people now.
Mark: But like a few hundred, a few thousand?
Pahl: Must be like one thousand people.
Mark: That is quite big. And everybody is rice farmers or…?
Pahl: Most people they do like small business and some people they do, yes, rice.
Mark: And when did you leave,..like.. how old were you when you left?
Pahl: When I left there?
Mark: Yeah.
Pahl: In 2000..I moved to Phnom Penh and I went to high school.
Mark: Right. Did you come down by yourself or with family?
Pahl: I came to Phnom Penh and lived in my sister’s house.
Mark: Uh-huh. So you finished your high school and then you got a job?
Pahl: Yes. No. After I finished high school I could not find a job because in Cambodia (there is) unemployment, you know?
Mark: Is really high.
Pahl: Yeah it is so hard to get a job so I just do small jobs and just get a little bit of money.
Mark: Casual jobs here and there like little things. Right. Ok. That is tough. A lot of people (are) in that situation.
Pahl: Yeah sure because we just woke up from genocide.
Mark: Yeah yeah. The war. How old were you when the Khmer Rouge were in power?
Pahl: I was not born
Mark: You were not born.
Pahl: But my parents lived through that situation.
Mark: What did you learn about the war?
Pahl: About the war I learned from school. But most documents are not open.
Mark: Uh-huh.
Pahl: They do not talk too much about the genocide.
Mark: Have you been to the prison? Tuol Sleng.
Pahl: Yes. I have been many times there.
Mark: It is horrible.
Pahl: Yeah. It is a horrible place to see there. You can se a lot of equipment they used to torture people..
Mark: Yeah
Pahl: And different years, different torture.
Mark: Mm.
Pahl: Yes. Come there. You will see. They had photos also. And they are arranged year by year.
Mark: Ten years ago I lived here. I was working here as an English teacher. And I visited a friend’s house. He was living in an apartment. The war was over but in that apartment many people were killed. And in the bathroom there was a bloodstain on the marble.
Pahl: Yeah. I see.
Mark: It is a very strange feeling.
Pahl: And even now there is still a stain on the floor?
Mark: Mm. Yeah.
Pahl: They did not want to clean it and make it new?
Mark: Even? It was like a stain. I guess they cleaned it but they couldn’t change the color.
Pahl: I see.
Mark: Mm.
Pahl: It sounds like a spirit.
Mark: Yeah it sounds like a ghost. Yeah. Do you see ghosts? Feel ghosts?
Pahl: Ghosts?
Mark: Yeah. Ghosts. Spirits.
Pahl: No, I never saw one but I just heard about people..they talk about this.
Mark: M-hm. In Thailand everybody talks about “Phi” they say “Phi”
Pahl: “Phi” in Thai language. “Phi”?
Mark: Say again.
Pahl: “Phi” is Thai language?
Mark: Yeah.Yeah.
Pahl: Some people if they don’t see something with their own eyes, they do not believe it.
Mark: Yeah.
Pahl: But for me I heard many times that people saw ghosts or spirits. Like that. But I cannot believe.
Mark: Until you see with your own eyes?
Pahl: Yeah.
Mark: Some people are very visual. Like they..
Pahl: Yeah. They see. yeah.
Mark: Other people like..sometimes you don’t see… but you feel.
Pahl: It can depend on the atmosphere around you. Something around you.
Mark: Yeah.
Pahl: Sometimes you don’t feel that but to see a movie that shows something horrible.
Mark: It has an effect on you.
Pahl: Yeah.
Mark: Yeah.