Where is Cambodia located? Southeast Asia, neighbors with Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
What is the name of the capital?Phnom Penh
What is the climate like? It is located close to the equator. It is hot and tropical with a rainy season and a dry season.
Tonle Sap is a great lake in Cambodia and there are many rivers.
What kind of food could you get in a country with lakes and rivers? Cambodians catch fish and grow rice. Eighty-five percent of the people are rice farmers.
Language – The language spoken in Cambodia is called Khmer or Cambodian. The people who live there are also referred to as Khmer or Cambodian. You can use either word.
History - Cambodia has had many different types of government during it’s history. (Teacher’s note: the answers to the following questions can be elaborated on)
Can you name some types of governments? (democracy, kingdom, communist)
What was the famous ancient government in Cambodia? The Kingdom of Angkor.
Who can tell us something about this period? Such as territory, temples, religion, slaves, life for peasants, threats.
What happened to Angkor? Decreased in size and power due to invasions from Thailand and Vietnam.
Which foreign country colonized Cambodia? The French took over.
What was an advantage of being controlled by the French? Cambodia was protected from its invading neighbors.
What was a disadvantage? They lost their freedom. They felt resentment toward being controlled by foreigners. Was America ever controlled by foreigners? How did we feel? What did we do? Does the US exercise colonial power over any countries or territories? Puerto Rico, Siapan (location of US sweatshops)
When did Cambodia become independent from France and who ruled the country? 1954 Prince Sihanouk
Why did the US start bombing Cambodia in 1969? Because they thought Cambodia was supporting the Vietnamese communists.
What happened in 1975? The genocide began. The Khmer Rouge took over, put everyone in work camps and started killing educated people. 1.7 million people died from execution, starvation or disease over the next 4 years. (Teacher’s note: Lesson 2 is devoted to the genocide)
How did the genocide end? The Vietnamese invaded and pushed them out in 1979.
What was the attitude of the Cambodians toward the new Vietnamese-backed government? They were glad to be free from the Khmer Rouge but they didn’t like being controlled by the Vietnamese.
Who was the civil war between? The Cambodian government vs. the Khmer Rouge and other groups.
What finally ended the civil war? Pol Pot’s death. It is interesting that one man was able to keep the brutal Khmer Rouge movement going for over 20 years after the genocide ended.
Who is the current leader of Cambodia? Hun Sen
What happened to the Khmer Rouge leaders? All but two of them live freely. The United Nations and Cambodia are negotiating to set up an international tribunal to bring the Khmer Rouge leaders to trial.
What is Cambodia like today? Buddhist, democratic, recovering from genocide, poverty, lack of schools and medical care, government corruption.
What did you find interesting about Daravuth’s story?
- Why was he well-liked by the other orphans?
- How does he deal with anger?
- How did corruption affect his education?
In 1999 Daravuth won the immigration permit lottery in Cambodia and was given permission to move to the US with his wife and son. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you’d like to write Daravuth you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be forwarded to him.