Saturday, October 01, 2005

Pol Pot's sister died yesterday on February 11, 2005 at 11 pm in Kampong Thom province. Pol Pot's sister died yesterday on February 11, 2005 at 11 pm

Pol Pot's Family: Testimony from his Sister, Saloth Roung

Youk Chhang

Searching for the truth magazine, April 200

Salot Family

Pol Pot's grandfather's name is Phem. I do not know the names of Phem's father and grandfather. Neither do we have information about them. Phem had a son named Salot whose name was taken by Pol Pot as his family name, SALOT Sar.

Phem was a Liberal Khmer military commander during King Sisovath's reign. At that time, he went into the resistance movement, where he lost his life. He was a friend of Dekchor (great warrior) Thoang and Dekchor Y, a former Kampong Thom Provincial governor. I did not pose the question of why a Liberal Khmer befriended a Royalist provincial governor. Perhaps they were childhood friends. However, Pol Pot's family was somehow admired for having a grandfather who was a great warrior in the old days. More research is needed to determine Phem's real occupation whether he served as a military commander or a Liberal Khmer - or both.

As for Pol Pot's father, PHEM Salot, and his mother, Duk Nem, they both were genuine farmers with no other occupations. They died in Prek Sbov village, Po Chen Tbaung sub-district where they were born.

During the Khmer Republic regime between 1970 and 1975, the village was used as a heavy artillery base by Lon Nol's soldiers. The commander-in-chief was Tep Ben. According to the villagers the Khmer Rouge guerrillas never attacked the village before the 1975 fall of the Khmer Republic armed forces. The people's representative was once Chea Chheng, and the sub-district chief was Seng Ny, who is now dead. In the village, there was a religious temple named Pov Pisey.

During the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979, the village was emptied. Those inhabitants who dwelled north of the lake Stung Sen were expelled towards the north, those residing south of the lake were forced to move out further southwards. The village was occupied by Pol Pot's henchmen, including members of the Kuoy and Cham ethnic groups, who were supposed to be close to the Khmer Rouge.

During the People's Republic of Kampuchea (1979-1989) and the State of Cambodia (1989-1992), the Cham and Kuoy people living in Prek Sbov village returned to their homeland in villages such as Tralek, Kaun Ka-Ek, Prasat sub-district, Baray district, Kampong Thom. Then, the villagers who survived the Khmer Rouge regime came back to live in their native village.

Prek Sbov villagers said that despite some intense offensives by Khmer Rouge soldiers in Kampong Thom, Prek Sbov village was never subjected to any threat. Furthermore, we were told by Yun Poak, administrative chief of Muniti Khet Kampong Thom of culture and fine arts, that in 1993 an uncle of Pol Pot (we did not ask what the man's name) came from a refugee camp in Thailand to build a two-building house. The man used to commute between Kampong Thom and Pailin where he got money from Pol Pot through Y Chhean. He also got money at Stung district from Pol Pot's soldiers in Dang Rek mountain.

Meeting Saloth Roung, Pol Pot's Sister

It was raining when we arrived. The rice fields were very green. The road to the house of Granny Saloth Roeung, who is Pol Pot's sister, was very difficult. It was muddy and slippery. The road was too small for our 4WD so I had to go on foot to her house. She was lying in bed upon our arrival. Her daughter-in-law and grand children greeted us. Later her son came to join us.

She happened to talk about Khun Meak's house in the Royal Palace. This name suddenly appealed my curiosity. And I asked her who is Khun Meak. She answered, "King Monivong."

"Khun Meak's house was a brick house, painted vanilla color. There was no real garden at Khun Meak's house. The palace had a very beautiful garden with all kind flowers. The dancers practiced their dances at throne hall. The carpets in the throne hall were very beautiful. I liked them very much. The throne hall smelled good, too. At night we had electricity. We never used candles in the throne hall.

"King Monivong was very kind to me. I was with him when he died. He was wearing nothing. [Later she said the King was wearing a white shirt and a sarong.] "I was wearing a mixed flower shirt with a black sampot," said Roeung. My hair was short and was not decorated with anything."

I asked if the King loved her hair. She kept teasing me for asking such a question. With a beautiful smile, she told me, "It is a secret ". When asked if she had slept with the King before he died. She did not answer, but smiled.

She said that the King did not like long or decorated hair. He loved short simple hair. When he saw women with long or decorated hair, he cursed at them.

"When he died in Bokor, I cried a lot. I missed him. Even now I still miss him."

I asked, Why do you miss him so much? What did he do to you?

She smiled again...."He gave me everything," said Roeung with a charming smile.

"When I first arrived at the palace, the King gave me a diamond earring (tum-hou sized 3K). Three months later, he built me a house. He bought me a car, pieces of furniture, a bed and mattress, a make-up cabinet, and everything. He even arranged furniture for me, too. He also gave me the title Neakmaneang which is equal to Queen Monique before she became The Queen of Cambodia in 1993."

Roeung laughed and said that she had only her a bare body to move into the house.

Roeung said that every hot season (summer) the King always took her to visit Kampot province, and Bokor Mountain. During the rainy season, the king always took her to visit Trapeang Chorng, Pursat Province. "He always took me with him. He loved me," said Roeung. I asked her, "Were you beautiful then?". Roeung gave me no answer. She just laughed.... Roeung said, "He [the king] ate first and I ate after him. The palace had 3 persons to cook for the King (1 French, and 2 Cambodians.) A lot of people served the King during lunch, or dinner. I used to eat with him alone."

I asked, "Where?"

"Bokor," answered Roeung. "He bought me a lot of jewelry."

I asked her if he King ever gave her flowers. She smiled and said that "we did not need to give flowers to each other because we already knew each other. The King wanted me to be a dancer, and I refused his order."

"Dare you to refuse an order from the King?", I curiously asked.

"The King could not win over my sweet begging," said Roeung with smile. "I was so ashamed to be a dancer," added Roeung. The King later agreed that I should not be a dancer.

I think she is still deeply in love with the King. She knows what to hear. She did not admit that she had slept with he King before he died. But she was happy at the same time when I was persuaded that she was with the king when he died..... She kept giggling, smiling, and laughing when talking about the King.

I asked if the King ever gave her a handkerchief and she smiled. I asked if the King ever took her for hunting alone. She smiled again. She told me that my question was very personal. "This is my secret," she said.

I asked her about the dance at the Palace. she told me to talk to Samey. "But she is dead now," said Roeung. I pointed out to her how important it is to keep the history alive. She seemed to agree and invited me to visit her again.

I felt as if I was talking to a 20-year-old, beautiful and smart woman when talking to Saloth Roeung. She is still in love with the King. I am sure that the King had slept with her and later died on his bed at Bokor. She was with the King alone when he died.

Then she began to tell me about Pol Pot. Pol Pot left his family when he was 6. At 7 he came to visit the village. He wore a white shirt and white pants with wooden shoes. He liked to make joke out of his serious statements. He said what he meant. But he made joke out of it. Pol Pot was born in the Year of Ox (1925). He should be 72 years old by now. I was shocked to learn that Pol Pot was born in the year OX because I was also born in the very same Year of Ox, but just 3 generation later. Pol Pot and Khiev Ponnary came to the village for his father's funeral, Roeung looked to me as a feudalist. She seemed to say to me that Pol Pot had destroyed her happiness.

Saloth Seng, Pol Pot's oldest brother, is a real farmer. He told me that the KR had killed his only son at the age of 21. His son served the Lon Nol army. He will not forgive Pol Pot. Salot Nhep, Pol Pot's younger brother. He said that Pol Pot was a lovely brother. I will take him back if he is found innocent. Pol Pot's grand children who are now living with Roeung called Pol Pot "it."