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Forest of StruggleMoralities of Remembrance in Upland Cambodia$
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Eve Monique Zucker

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836115

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836115.001.0001

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The Story of a Village Elder, Part 1

The Story of a Village Elder, Part 1

Chapter:
(p.75) 4 The Story of a Village Elder, Part 1
Source:
Forest of Struggle
Author(s):

Eve Monique Zucker

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824836115.003.0005

In this chapter, the author tells the story of an O'Thmaa village elder named Ta Kam, whom she met while conducting her fieldwork in the region. Ta Kam, a man in his seventies, turned out to be a problematic figure in the troubled history of the village and its project of reconstituting trust and relatedness. According to the villagers, Ta Kam was a killer—a collaborator who had betrayed his own people during the Khmer Rouge era. The author talks about the villagers' attitudes toward Ta Kam and their stories about him, Ta Kam's version of his story, and why they did not seek revenge and kill him. She suggests that a lack of strongly distinguished categories of victims and perpetrators contributes to the difficulties in reconstituting the social and moral community in O'Thmaa village. She also discusses the meaning of elders for Khmer society in the post–Pol Pot period, the differences between the Prei Phnom and Doung Srae communes, and the morality of the generation of Prei Phnom elders.

Keywords:   village elders, trust, O'Thmaa, Khmer Rouge, victims, perpetrators, Prei Phnom, Doung Srae, morality, relatedness

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