Sue Guiney's Introductory Post -Project Director - contains important links
My Q and A with Dana Hui Lim author of Mother and the Tiger- A Memoir of the Killing Fields. - essential background information
Chara, like all the work shop participants, is just starting to learn English. Unlike European languages, the structure and grammer of the Khmer language does not share Latin roots with English, making it very hard to master. The two languages do not even share a common alphabet and Khmer is written from left to right.
My thanks to Chara (a pen name as required under Cambodian privacy regulations)for allowing me to publish this very interesting well written story.
Boyfriend and Girlfriend
One day I went to play football with my friends. One friend asked me, “Hey! What is your name?”
I answered him, “Hey! My name is Linda and what is your name?”
He told me, “My name is Rattanak. I’m 16 years old. I have one brother and two sisters. My brother is a very handsome boy. His name is Rattana and my younger sisters are very pretty girls. One girl is called Sophy and another girl is called Rina. I have one mother and one father. My father is a policeman. My mother is a housewife.” Rattanak asked me, “And how old are you? How many brothers and sisters do you have?”
My answer is “I’m 16 years old, too. I have one brother and two sisters. One of my sisters is called Linna and another is called Linra and the one brother is called Sokunty.”
When they were asking to know about their brothers and sisters they were very happy. Linda and Rattanak were students who studied in one class and sat at the same table.
After one day, Linda and Rattanak are going to the supermarket. When they are going to the supermarket they are very close friends. After they had their talk about their families they knew each other well. So they were very happy and very close friends. In the supermarket when Linda bought something like sweets, Rattanak bought the same thing like Linda. Linda asked, “Why did you buy the sweets like me?”
Rattanak answered, “Because I like to eat sweets.”
Linda said, “Crazy boy,” and she smiled. Rattanak was smiling, too.
After three years, Linda and Rattanak finished the university.Rattanak said, “Linda, can you be my girlfriend?”
Linda said, “Wait. I want to think about this question because I want to find work first.” After she found a job Linda andRattanak were boyfriend and girlfriend.
One day, Rattanak asked Linda a question. Linda said, “Hey,Rattanak. I can be your girlfriend but you have to take care of me.”
Rattanak said, “Three months more and we will marry.” Now they are happy.
Chara, age 15