Acts of Memory

Through documenting and sharing the personal stories of survivors of the Khmer Rouge regime, the project aims to encourage youth to learn the past, and elder people to transmit their message to the younger generation, focusing on the importance of “acts of memory” for Cambodian people to move forward.

The Act of Constructing Memory at Cambodia’s Bophana Center

In a quiet Cambodian village in the province of Battambang, Heng Kuylang hacks a long bamboo sapling with a machete while reflecting on her decades of marriage to a man she has never loved.

Like countless Cambodians who came of age between 1975 and 1979, Heng and her husband were forced to marry each other under Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, a violent and dystopian attempt to end capitalism and rebuild a new society free of Western influences. Approximately one in four Cambodians died in that effort, slain in the killing fields, starving to death in forced labor camps, or succumbing to disease in a society that had nixed modern medicine.


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