HOF032: Neang THONG

Neang fell greatly ill after the Khmer Rouge siege and her family was ordered to cross the canals, which her parents had to build makeshift bamboo rafts to cross.

Her body swollen and unable to move, she was placed in a destitute hospital and given medication that was snuck in by her mother and the elderly.

She recovered and was sent to the fields. She was reprimanded often for acts that were disapproved by the Khmer Rouge. She grew fearless of them and when her husband fell ill, she demanded to go see and stay with him, confronting the supervisor and the head of the village, an act that is easily punishable by death.

After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, she arrived at the refugee camp with her family. She had relatives in France and US, who were attempting to sponsor her but a relation of her husband managed to get a sponsorship from Canada. Due to the immediacy of this, she took the offer but was separated from her siblings and mother, who eventually went to France.

At first, she was sad of her separation from her family but her sponsors softened the landing for her in Canada; providing her comfort. She currently has three kids and five grandchildren, and is grateful for Canada’s contribution to the refugee community.