1st Cambodian Thai Exchange Program, Cultural Night
Every country has it own history and believe of how they exist and what they are coming from. This kind of believes set the standard, behavior and characteristic for each individual in that country and how they should react toward other countries people.
At school I was taught how Cambodian and Thai related to each other in term of business, culture, lifestyle, religion and the endless conflict from land possession, border dispute to the political constrain. Since the very early, in my memory, people from both sides keep fighting about this and that over time to time even the real roof of the problems are almost forgotten and they keep hating each other without any realistic reasons- but the history.
I didn’t hate Thai people, but I did afraid of them. Instead of spending my vacation in Thailand, I went to Vietnam many times, I really didn’t care how good ,or beautiful Thailand is, I just didn’t want to hurt myself with them – those I called Unreasonable people.
First time, I was having a Cambodia-Thai Reconciliation workshop in Siem Reap and Sisaket, I was so worried that I might get into trouble with them. I forced myself to fake a smile and always go away from Thai people. How bad I was sharing the night with three old Thai people who cannot speak English well. Early morning, I woke up with their blanket on me, they smiled at me and said some words in Thai, I didn’t understand the meaning, but I guess they were worried about me with the cold whether there. One of them made a hot tea for me, it smelled and tested so bad; however, I tried to drink it. They looked as worried about me as I was the youngest in the room.
The last day we had to depart to each country, they gave me some gifts and say something so good about me. I was so sorry for them that I didn’t have anything to give them back and I didn’t think they would tread me this good.
This was such a good life experience for me, sooner after this, I shared this unbelievable experience with all ICA members and without any hesitation I decide to be one of the CTEP organizing committee. The fruitful result of the program, the inspirational life stories, life experience and that sweet moment together keep my inspiration so high to share this wonderful living experience with those whom we used to call ENEMY to all my friends, students and staff.
As a result, to be closer to them, now I’m learning Thai language and songs and I’ve been to Thailand almost ten times within a year, as I have home there to stay , many friends accompany and looking after me, and I feel so confident to share my idea and talking with them openly.