HOF003: Rivaux Lay

Rivaux Lay was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from a middle-class family with several owned businesses. At the news of the Khmer Rouge occupation, he was ecstatic since this meant the civil war was coming to an end but this excitement diminished once the Khmer Rouge ousted the residents out of the city, including his family.

He was immediately thrown into sixteen-hour workdays and endured punishments of all sorts under a diet that saw one teaspoon of rice a day. In 1977, he was at Cha Lat Tambon, a province meant for front line workers. During this time, he was accused of being Chinese and educated, which led to two execution attempts.

During his time in the refugee camp, he learned English and assisted other Cambodians with translation. Since his arrival in Canada, he worked for Somerset West Community and Health Centre as a Community Outreach Worker and as Multicultural Liaison Officer with the Ottawa Immigrant Services Organizion to help counsel Cambodian immigrants and has founded Soma Selepak, a traditional Cambodian dance troupe.