Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Reader's Diary #175- Vek Huong Taing: Ordeal In Cambodia (FINISHED)

I feel at least a little more informed now about Cambodia and what people went through under the brutal regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. I'm fortunate enough to have my own afterword to the story, through the travels of friends of mine a couple of years ago.

Ordeal In Cambodia was published in 1980. It ends with the escape of the Taing's, the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge by the Vietnamese, and a glimmer of hope.

However, I know the repercussions are still being felt. People still lack a workable government (apparently the government and police force are still corrupt and known for bribery and threats), medical help is woefully deficient and people are suffering the consequences, and you can buy "happy pizzas" at local diners on which toppings include ecstasy and LSD.

But back to the story. As I wrote earlier, I did appreciate the Christian perspective. It was nice to see how some people coped emotionally with the atrocities surrounding them. Furthermore, it was contrasted interestingly with communism. While communism is not a religion, it is like Christianity in that it is a frame of mind, an ideology. To be fair, Taing compared an incorrupt version of Christianity with corrupt politics, so the conclusion that one is better cannot be proven (at least with this particular text). That is, it would be more fair to compare Christianity when it is not working with the corrupt politics. Still, the comparison (albeit indirect) made the book more thought-provoking than I had anticipated, which was nice. Are the two ideas, by their very nature mutually exclusive? Both Taing (a Christian) and the Khmer Rouge (who killed Christians) left the impression that they would think so, but others are not so sure.

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