Stay Alive, My Son by Pin Yathay

By Pin Yathay

On April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh to open a brand new and appalling bankruptcy within the tale of the 20 th century. On that day, Pin Yathay was once a certified engineer within the Ministry of Public Works. profitable and hugely informed, he were severe of the corrupt Lon Nol regime and was hoping that the Khmer Rouge will be the patriotic saviors of Cambodia.

In Stay Alive, My Son, Pin Yathay offers an unforgettable testomony of the horror that ensued and a gripping account of private braveness, sacrifice and survival. Documenting the 27 months from the arriving of the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh to his get away into Thailand, Pin Yathay is a strong and haunting memoir of Cambodia's killing fields.

With seventeen contributors of his kin, Pin Yathay have been evacuated by means of the Khmer Rouge from Phnom Penh, taking with them no matter what they could want for the 3 days earlier than they might be allowed to come to their domestic. in its place, they have been moved on from camp to camp, their possessions confiscated or deserted. As days turned weeks and weeks turned months, they turned the "New People," displaced city dwellers forced to reside and paintings as peasants, their days have been jam-packed with compelled handbook hard work and their survival depending on ever extra meager communal rations. The physique count number fastened, first as malnutrition bred rampant illness after which because the Khmer Rouge singled out the dissidents for unexpected demise within the darkness.

Eventually, Pin Yathay's kinfolk used to be diminished to only himself, his spouse, and their one closing son, Nawath. Wracked with ache and disorder, robbed of all they'd owned, dwelling at the very fringe of death, they confronted a way forward for escalating horror. With Nawath too ailing to commute, Pin Yathay and his spouse, Any, needed to make the heart-breaking choice even if to go away him to the care of a Cambodian sanatorium on the way to make a determined holiday for freedom. "Stay alive, my son," he tells Nawath earlier than embarking on a nightmarish break out to the Thai border.

First released in 1987, the Cornell version of Stay Alive, My Son contains an up to date preface and epilogue by means of Pin Yathay and a brand new foreword via David Chandler, a world-renowned historian of Cambodia, who attests to the ongoing worth and urgency of Pin Yathay's message.

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We had hardly spread our blankets when the storm struck. Standing at the window, we saw people who had set up camp by the side of the road scattering in all directions to shelter under trees and roofs, abandoning their bicycles and trishaws. At least the rain brought relief from heat and thirst. As water began to pour off the roof, we ran to the edge of the veranda with our bowls and filled them all to the brim. The next day, on we went again, the same unremitting pace in first or second gear, the same mass of pedestrians and trishaws pressing southwards.

Oh, he said, it wasn't just the Republicans' fault. The Americans had deliberately accelerated the country's downfall. 'We had secret codes for communicating with our units,' he EVACUATION explained. 'Each time we tried to contact our troops, we heard the voice of a Khmer Rouge officer. ' It sounded ridiculous. Why should the Americans deliberately betray their allies? But now, listening to the general, it all began to make a weird sort of sense, for the two stories complemented each other. The Americans were faced with disaster anyway.

Some carried AK47s, others had REVOLUTION rocket launchers. All of them had chequered kramars - headscarves that they wore round their necks or over their caps. They were not walking in step, but there was nothing sloppy about them. They just stared straight ahead, unsmiling. Not one of them appeared to be over the age of eighteen. I had had no expectations, and felt no surprise, certainly no sense of impending doom, but there was something disturbing about those stony-faced teenagers, all the more so when I saw the welcome they were receiving.

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