many believing the Khmer Rouge would be good for Cambodia.
Unlike his long-held infatuation with the Royal Rosarians later in life, Kilong’s adoration for the Khmer Rouge soldiers would quickly fade.
Soon after the war’s end celebration, he saw a group of the soldiers humiliate a man in the street near his home. After berating and threatening the half-naked man to the point of urinating on himself, they shot him in the head, killing him instantly right before Kilong’s eyes.
The Khmer Rouge regime and its Marxist leader, Pol Pot, are notorious for what followed.
They transformed the entire country of Cambodia into a network of barbaric prison-like labor camps, forcing families apart and out of the cities to work on communal farms and build infrastructure.
Workers were not allowed possessions or contact with their families. They were expendable cogs in a machine, worked to death and frequently tortured or executed for trivial missteps.
Cambodians starved to death beneath trees full of ripe coconuts and oranges. In the newly communist and heavily militarized Cambodia, trees belonged to everyone, so their fruits were off-limits.