This story is very well-written and very much believable. It could have happened in reality. Great novela.
The story itself is a little far-fetched with an IT-guy managing to hack into his employer’s computer stealing the source code for financial transactions that can make hackers rich or get them into prison. Far-fetched inasmuch as you wouldn’t expect this kind of hacking to happen in Phnom Penh of all places, at a garment factory at that. He wants to sell this code but doesn’t know how to go about it. Therefore, he asks the main character to help him with that for a cut of the proceeds. A meeting is set-up with a buyer who wants to re-sell it for bigger bucks. The ending is typically noir as one doesn’t expect it. Our minds are too much tuned to more favorable endings.
I am averse to things religious and spiritual, especially when they are so far-fetched and contrived to be utterly ridiculous as this story. I don’t know what this writer thought he would achieve when writing this weird story. It may have been inspired by the author’s readings of D. H. Lawrence but is nowhere near that. This story does not belong in this anthology.
This is more of journalist’s account of a boy named Rith Samnang, or Sam for short, who survived the Khmer Rouge, a refugee camp and hard years in the U. S. Like many young Khmer without education he ran afoul of the law in California and was convicted of armed robbery and attempted murder in a gang-related case. He served 7 years, which he also survived more or less intact. The U. S. deported him back to Cambodia after his release as he had not obtained U. S. citizenship (like many before him). Here he reinvented himself and became a translator for the U. N. Tribunal for War Criminals. Nothing spectacular about this story as expats forums and newspapers cover those stories extensively. One rumor or possibly fact, if you will, got some exposure early on in the story. The Khmer kid claims to have been forced to eat human liver by his superior cadre. After his return he locates this cadre who is now a restaurant owner. The journalist is invited and they eat the restaurant’s signature soup. Sam says to the journalist, “Eat this it will make you a man”. This is the same sentence the cadre told Sam at the Khmer Rouge camp so many years ago. The journalist is disgusted and leaves the restaurant, not knowing whether cannibalism was really practiced or was it just a make believe story to frighten people.
Darkness is Faster than the Speed of Light – Prabda Yoon
Play with Fire- Giancarlo Narciso
He is then taken on a tour of a new irrigation system in the province and meets a cadre there who does not hesitate to speak openly about the inner workings and failings of the system. His minder, a beautiful Khmer lady with Indian ancestry, appears also a little disillusioned with the system by now. He goes back to his lectures in the U. S. with a different view of the Khmer Rouge experiment.
It is a well-written inside account as it is known these days – nothing new to people who are familiar with Cambodia and its history. These people might want to skip this story in the book. Others, less familiar, may well like it.
The defining statement of this story is: “Cambodia had swapped the Khmer Rouge for the Khmer Riche. The Elite had turned the entire country into a huge tribute system. So much money was concentrated in so few hands.”
A Coven of Snakes – Bob Bergen
Rebirth – Neil Wilford
I am not much for poems. Some of them are good, some less so – in my humble opinion. Read for yourself.
Powered by WPeMatico