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Appreciate Everything

{My Uncle Chea and his youngest son Grant}
Welcome today's guest contributor my mom's brother Chea, who I know as having a big heart and being a great mentor, shares his story and how today he works hard to give his children everything they need but to appreciate it fully.
When you try forgetting that something bad happened to you, it just keeps coming back into your head. That's what happens to me, my family, and other Cambodian families after the Khmer Rouge took over in 1975 and ruled until 1979. The memory constantly flashbacks from time to time of how almost 2 million people were killed because of disease, starvation, hard labor, and torment during the regime. Luckily, only one person in our family was killed. My grandmother on my mother's side died suddenly of diarrhea. After the Khmer Rouge was forced out of power, a lot of people left the country and scattered all over the world. I left my parents behind to join my sister, Seakleng, and her husband, Long, on April 1981 in a refugee camp in Thailand. In December of 1981, we came to United States and settled in Alabama.

{from left: Derek, Grant, and Sareth}

Through hard work, dedication, and the American dream, I live a much better life; but I never forget who I am or where I came from. Now I am married and have two children. They are the love of life, and I'll do anything for them. My wife and I did not talk much about the Khmer Rouge regime to our children, but we always teach them of how to appreciate everything they have and to never waste anything. We always remind them that a lot of Cambodian families are so poor that they hardly earn enough money just for food. They cannot afford to send their children to school, so I always stress on my children of how important an education is.

It breaks my heart when I read the news and stories online of how a lot of Cambodian families in the slump earn their living by begging, or send their children to beg or to the trash dumps to pick up anything that they can sell so they can earn money just to buy food. Even worst, they were forced out of their homes by the land grabbers because of government ignorance and corruption. When you think back of how cruel and inhumane the Khmer Rouge people were to us and other Cambodian people, it’s hard to forgive and forget of what happened. But there is one thing as a human being: it is not hard to help someone who is in need, especially those people in Cambodia.


Thanks Uncle Chea for the article and donating books for the auction!

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