The Killing Fields, Cambodia

Our vlogger William Shears visits Cambodia’s Killing Fields and reports back on his experience.

When I was asked to visit the Killing Fields, I was unsure how was best to cover such an issue. I had watched a few other You Tube videos which had shown the bones and skulls you will see if you visit the fields, for me this did not seem right to display the graphic sights and quote the horrendous statistics about what had happened on these fields. Instead I wanted to focus on the reason of why you should visit the Killing Fields.

Once I had visited the site, I made my way to Battambang to go on the famous Bamboo Train, six hours outside of Phnom Penh. I was left bewildered while travelling to Battambang on how to script this video. It was not until I went on the train, that I met a 75 year old Khmer who had war wounds on his body, that I drew up the reason for me, why you must visit the killing fields.

The old man spoke to me in fluent English, once I quizzed him about his ability to speak fluently. He told me that he had spent seven years of his life studying at Oxford University in the UK when he was 21.

I was quite amazed to find this out, considering all he seemed to own now was a small wooden shack selling bamboo train t-shirts, loop warm fizzy drinks and pot noodles to the tourist who would stop there for ten minutes before returning back to Battambang on the train. It was not quite the life style you would have expected from one of the few privileged Cambodians who gets the chance to go and study at Oxford.

He told me that he had come from a privileged family and his father had loved him a lot so sent him to London before being forced to come back and fight in 1965.

It is clear that since his time at Oxford till today he has had a very rough journey. For me it does not matter what side he was on during the Khmer rouge, what is clear that the fighting had a major effect on his life.

As I said in the video this is so true for all of the Khmer over the age of 40 weather they have lost family, been a guard or be losing your family status as is so true for the 75 year old Khmer. The Khmer rouge had a clear impact on their lives; however they are still so friendly. As was the 75 year old Khmer I met.

For me this video was why you should visit the site and not what you will see at the sight. I hope I got my view across and managed to do it in a respectful manner.

William Shears


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