HOF032: Neang THONG

Neang fell greatly ill after the Khmer Rouge siege and her family was ordered to cross the canals, in which her parents had to build makeshift bamboo rafts to escape. Her body swollen and unable to move, she was placed in a destitute hospital and given medication that was snuck in by her mother.

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

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

At first, she was saddened by her separation from her family but her sponsors comforted her and facilitated her settlement in Canada. She has three children and five grandchildren, and is grateful for Canada’s contribution to the refugee community.