Week Ten Reflections

mickyatesCambodia, CambodiaFMP, Critical Research Journal, Documentary, FinalMajorProject, FMPWeek10, History, Photography, Reflections Leave a Comment

It is the ‘final’ push on the Book at the moment – Vicky is hoping to get the file updated this weekend.

I am still awaiting some critical information – the book cover material, and the ISBN number from Cambodia. I need to chase (again).

Stepping back, in editing some of the last sections, I am reminded of people we have known that we just cannot include. And that saddens me.

We first met with Yer Youg in 2001. He was the head of Beng Village, just outside Angkor Chum (to the west of Siem Reap), within the Khmer Rouge Reconciliation area.

Mick Yates. 2001. Yer Youg. Beng Village.

He was a lovely man, very interested in how the school could develop. And he was a man of style! The header shows him in 2009, when he was 65.

Beng Village had a grass-roofed school, and it was one of the first places that we constructed a ‘mini school’. Rather than force the young children to walk a long distance to the nearest 5-room school, we had all agreed to create a satellite schooling system, featuring  simpler 2-room structure. This turned out to be very successful, and became part of the future model for the Ministry of Education.

Mick Yates. 2001. Mini-School. Beng Village.

We visited the school and the village several times, and every time caught up with Yer Youg. Neither of us can speak the other’s language, but somehow we always had a good time, and the villagers used to see us as two old grandads together …

Keo Sarath. 2009. Mick, Yer Youg & Ingrid. Beng Village.

The last time we saw him was in 2011. It was with profound regret that when I was able to visit Beng in 2018, last July, I learnt that Yer Youg had passed away the previous March. He was 75 years old, and a much missed village elder.

This project is about closure in several ways, but there are moments of intense personal sadness. Too many stories, and Yer Youg’s is one that I feel that I just have not done justice to.

I was too late.

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