Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mr Battambang

The folks making the documentary In Search of Camp 32 are now back home in Australia, getting their footage, etc in order to be able to head towards the finishing line to complete their film. The blog of their time here in Cambodia caught my eye because it talked about their visit to Battambang with my very good friend, Sak. I know they won't mind me sharing their blog post with you about meeting Mr Battambang.

When we were in Phnom Penh, we were fortunate to meet with Andy Brouwer who gave us the contact number for Sak, a Battambang expert. As soon as we arrived in Battambang we contacted Sak, who promptly met us at the hotel. We didn’t know it at the time, but Sak would turn out to be an incredible resource of information and contacts. And would also become a dear friend to us all. Not only did he arrange much of our day-to-day logistics, put us in contact with people who would prove to be invaluable to the project and share his wealth of information on the Battambang region, he also opened up his heart and shared some of his experiences during the Khmer Rouge. He is a couple of years older than Hom. Sak witnessed and experienced atrocities that are nothing short of harrowing. He is presently writing a book about his life during that time (in English). Sak is an avid reader and excellent communicator.

It’s difficult to put into words the profound effect Sak had on all four of us. His quick wit, generosity and passion for the local environment both urban and rural were infectious. Sak is bursting with knowledge and a deep desire to educate others about Battambang, a city often neglected by tourists. I had previously travelled to Battambang 3 years ago and to be honest I didn’t think much of it. But within hours of seeing it through Sak’s eyes I had grown to love the place. Sak, we simply cannot thank you enough. Your efforts have enriched our film more than we could ever have imagined. We look forward to seeing you again soon. [Sak is pictured with Producer Gaye Miller].

More on In Search of Camp 32 at their website.

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