Ashamed to Be Cambodian

Aug 04, 2010

A child of war, Sarorn Sim grew up as a refugee in Canada embarrassed by his past and almost ashamed to say he was Cambodian. But he has since come to understand the complexity of suffering and the joy of rebirth.

One night, as she heard her father coming up the steps and pretended to be sleeping just to see his reaction. She laid still. Her father, realizing that he had worked late that day, stood there and watched her in silence. He said a prayer for her and closed her door.

The next morning, the Khmer Rouge invaded her village. Lives shattered like broken glass. Blood seeped into the ground, forever leaving their mark for reincarnated souls. Piles of bodies flooded the landscape while those who escaped ran for their lives, only to be caught and forced into slavery. She never saw her father again.

I'll never forget that night when she told me this story. I was twelve.

Today, I'm writing for you this story, not to make you weep or to cause you pain, but more importantly, for myself – for a soul looking for closure, looking for light. If I could, I'd take back every moment I felt ashamed, every instance I felt sorry for who I am and where I'm from.

I'd take it ALL back.


The writer, Sarorn Ron Sim on assignment in Haiti

Etching his thoughts on paper: The writer, on assignment in Port au Prince, Haiti in June 2010

Photo credit: Dan Denardo


As I read the comments that you have generously posted, I find solace in knowing that I'm not alone. And even though I've never graced your presence, I know that there's a world out there that understands the complexity of our being, the triumphs and tragedies of human kind. From the depths of my heart I thank you for reading and for understanding.

May peace be with you.


The post was originally published on Ronz World in January 2009.

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