November 18, 2010.
Raks Thai’s Balcony, Bangkok, Thailand.
It has been four days since we parted; still, my mind is all occupied about you. Not sure where I should start writing about impressions I have on you as there happened to be so many that words may fail to capture all emotions smoldering inside my mind.
You asked me on the first day we met what expectations I had from you, and I have to admit here that I did not expect much besides getting to know “Cambodians” better as there was a lot of stereotypes shaped in mind and this seemed like a good chance to answer my curiosity. Obviously, by thinking of them as “Cambodian”, a sense of otherness is created with such labeling. The sense is there, admittedly.
Getting to know, you are not like any others I’ve gotten myself into. You are different – in a good way. You never told me what to think; you suggested. You never asked me to do what I did not feel like; you waited until I became comfortable enough myself. You did not just provide ideas; you proved them practical. You listen. You care. You never judge. It amazed me how you gained trust so fast from all of us, but then I realized it’s probably because you’re so open up to us that we did not see the point of lying. Honesty laid a firm foundation for trust to be built upon. In you, I trust – believe, even and that is true in all levels of society.
The word “peace” fantasized many of us. We dreamt of it. We liked the idea of it. Yet, we did not really know how to achieve it – let alone, to build it as we hope. I myself was a supporter in peace just like many others; however, it would be a lie saying I never had a doubt. I did. Great deal of a doubt. After all these years searching for the term, it was you that turned such doubt into belief. You did not only give hope that it could happen, you proved it possible. And now I am not merely a supporter, I am a believer and it’s only when one belief that action can be made. And it’s only when action is made, that it becomes real.
It had been an amazing, inspiring, loving, thought-provoking, lots-of-hugging week with you. You really reassured my initial assumption that human beings are just one of the same kind regardless of socially-created nations and all those external conflicts that obstruct the bond. It became obvious to the eyes that Cambodians and Thais are no different considering the matter, easily proven by how we laugh over the same jokes and cry over the same situations. You prove my first impression of us being different wrong, and I am thankful for the lesson.
Though the time spent with you was short, but this is surely not the end – especially now that we are spiritually connected. It was inevitably sad to say goodbye, yet it was very pleasing of a sight how we hugged each other so tightly, so sincerely. Some may think this emotion would just come and go as time passes by, but I disagree. Once something has touched our heart, it can hardly fade away. So many inspirations I gain from you and it is surely not going to end as we parted. I believe in peace, but now I am taking it to another level by working for it. You have my word.
Pachara Sungden (Imm)