I have a feeling that if there wasn’t a place like Cambodia, we would have to create one. I’ve never been there; but I understand that any place capable of building Angkor Wat and nurturing Pol Pot (a unanimous first ballot inductee to the Evil Fucker Hall of Fame) is someplace one can still notice from a great distance.
I experienced shame when I realized that I have never selected a rerun by Alex Sinclair before. He lives in that strange land and writes brilliantly of it; such darkness; such twisted humor; such exquisite selection of words and images. So, today it is my pleasure to present Alex’s first LS piece, Chicken Farm Blues. Trust me, it is not the sort of thing you will easily forget.
Q: All in all, do you think Jack at last found the bottom of the bottom he was looking for–or, in your estimation, did he screw it up? (I think he failed because he became decadent to the degree that he no longer appreciated the quest for the evil and rotten.)
Q: I know that this is an awfully general question, but I’m curious: How is it in Cambodia nowadays? Many of “my fellow Americans” envision it as a little hell on Earth due to the Khmer Rouge. (This popped into my head because I just heard Holiday In Cambodia by the Dead Kennedys about an hour ago.)
Question no 1:
Did Jack find what he was looking for? I think personally he bit off more than he could chew. Cambodia has always attracted foreigners or Barang as we are known in Khmer, like Jack. People with a self destructive streak who are curious to peak over the precipice, and I think I probably was one of these people once. But Cambodia is a place of such extremes I think westerners rarely realise what they are doing until its too late.
There is no safety net.
I think Jack wanted to play a game without knowing the full extent of the stakes.
Question No 2:
First and foremost, Cambodia is the love of my life. It’s a place with an almost unbelievable history of horror, ghosts, survival and triumph. The people are indomitable and wonderfully kind and I have found the majority of my Cambodian experience to be an overwhelmingly positive one.
I would urge anyone to visit the place and remain unchanged.
There is an air of unreality and magic present in the simple doing of everyday things in Cambodia and I don’t think I have ever been bored living there.
However, Cambodia like anywhere else has an underbelly, a dark side, and the dark side that I write about is a tiny part of the whole story. The only difference is that Cambodia’s extreme poverty, dreadfully sad history combined with a tradition of mysticism and magic gives it an underbelly that is truly harrowing.
It is a kingdom of crying ghosts and of course recent cataclysmic world events have not been kind on the country. But the people remain unbeaten and smiling, as I should imagine they will always be no matter what the world throws at them.
Someone better at writing than me put it best; “Cambodia will make you fall in love with her and then she will break your heart”
3 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – Chicken Farm Blues by Alex Sinclair”
Thank you for your fine replies. Cambodia sounds fascinating.
Excellent as always Leila!!!
Anyone reading this, I strongly urge you to seek out Alex’s work.
His content is sometimes brutal but the realism, perception and experience in his words are exceptional.
This guy is in my top ten of favourite writers on this site!!
Alex – Love the answers. And don’t talk yourself down. When I read your account of Cambodia, there is no better writer!!!!
One of the more unsettling short pieces I have ever read. Wonderful job!
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