News / Arts & Entertainment

Cambodian TV Show Reunites Families Split by Khmer Rouge

Irwin Loy
After a four-year reign that killed one-quarter of the population, the Khmer Rouge regime collapsed in 1979, leaving many families disbanded and unable to reconcile the past.
 
Like many in her generation, Seak Mala's childhood was anything but normal. Separated from her family during the genocide, she found herself alone-no parents, no siblings or aunts when the regime collapsed.
 
While she and one uncle were born only a year apart, it has been decades since she last saw him, though she retains fond memories.
 
“We used to play together and we used to fight with each other," says Mala. "Just like regular kids.
 
“My life so far has been very difficult," she adds. "Living as an orphan without parents was never easy, with no one to support or guide me. When I fell over, I had to get back on my feet by myself. It was so difficult. When I think about it, it brings tears to my eyes."
 
Now, almost 35 years later, Mala is hoping a new reality TV show can help fill that void.
 
Called "It’s Not a Dream," the popular program is bringing the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide to television screens across the country by reuniting long-lost relatives before a live studio audience.
 
In a country that has never provided a national service to reconnect families torn apart by violence and political strife, Mala asked the show for help and was invited to have her story featured.
 
Arriving at the studio to be interviewed, producers didn't tell her that they had found one of her family members: Sarom, her long-lost uncle, who was waiting backstage.
 
As the cameras zoomed in on Mala, the show’s host asked her: do you want to meet your uncle?
 
Brought on stage, Sarom embraced his niece for the first time in more than three decades.
 
While these tearful reunions make for captivating television, the show’s producer say it is not intended to be classified as entertainment.
 
"Many, many people still need this type of service to search for their family," said producer Prak Sokhayouk. "Right now we receive more than one thousand cases from people in Cambodia to apply for our services."
 
Still, she’s aware of the demands of a national television audience.
 
"It’s a reality show but it’s also a drama," she said. "Because we need to show it to the audience; we need to make it interesting for the audience to watch."
 
But for people like Mala and her uncle Sarom, the show provides a life-changing service that enables them to get to know each other again and fill in the gaps from the last three decades.
 
This time, however, without the cameras.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”