Southeast Asian History
A child in the Land of Bones – surely the bogyman does exist. How else to explain what happened to Loung Ung in her five-year journey through the Killing Fields of Cambodia? And, of course, we always remember that Loung at the start of this narrative – Year Zero, the forced expulsion of nearly the entire population of Phnom Penh, which was about 2.5 million people – was five years old. By any reckoning, little Loung should not to have survived and simply been another silent victim added to an estimated 2 million killed in the Cambodian Genocide – that’s roughly a quarter of the population in 1970. So, a child in the middle of a political science experiment in social engineering can, perhaps, better explain some of the great issues of the last decades of the 20th century – the dynamics of extreme ideologies, total and absolute power, race and racism, and survival in a society that has completely collapsed – than a handful of political scientists or specialists in Southeast Asian history. Long before The Walking Dead, The Living Dead, The Book of Eli, Night of the Living Dead, Terminator, and other apocalyptic films burst on the scene, little five-year old Luong had walked through the Valley of Death, haunted by red-eyed bodiless witches – the Eaters of the Dead – and emerged as a frail ten-year old child aged beyond her years but, nonetheless, a survivor. Based on your knowledge, what were three significant events that contributed to Loung Ung’s survival? Explain and be very specific.