Trey Ratcliff

Trey Ratcliff

Posted on 06/07/2007

Photo taken on June  2, 2007


angkor vat
theravada buddhist
angkor wat

Authorizations, license

Visible by: Everyone
Attribution + non Commercial

276 visits

This is Sokhoun - (who is looking for an American wife, on)

This is Sokhoun - (who is looking for an American wife, on)
This is Sokhoun.

Sokhoun's dream is to leave his Buddhist order and go to a university in Siem Reap, Cambodia, but it costs $700 a year and he thinks this dream may be "too crazy" because of the expense. He wants to get a bachelor's degree so perhaps he can become a tour guide and save enough money to someday visit USA.

Sokhoun is currently a Theravada Buddist monk in Angkor Wat. He saw me laying on my back inside the quincunx taking photos one day and he invited me over to talk.

He told me about his history and what happened after the US pulled out of Vietnam. Pol Pot enslaved all his people to work in rice fields and convert the Angkor Wat reservior and surrounding land to huge agrarian Communist food machines. In the process, Pol Pot killed many members of his family and another 2 million Cambodians (about 1/3 of the population). Even after Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime was defeated in 1979, Sokhoun's family still spent most of their lives escaping and running through the jungle to escape the Killing Fields.

However, Sokhoun is peaceful, and he is very happy to meet me. We sat in the ruins of Angkor Wat for about four hours talking. He said he always wanted an American friend.

"Do you have any Buddhist Monk friends, and would you like one?" he asks excitedly and shyly.

We made plans the next day for him to travel around the countryside of Cambodia so we could visit various temples together. I could not have had a better or more relaxed time with Sokhoun. We had many more interesting and fun discussions that I will mention in future posts/pics from the ruins of Cambodia. Also, we have agreed that I will select some interesting books for him to read that I am mailing to him now. We'll start with The Fountainhead. Sokhoun is a voracious reader and the previous Communist regime did not allow books like this in the country and many of these patterns persist.

He secretly confided in me that perhaps when he leaves the Wat in three years that he would very much like to marry an American woman because they seem open, nice, and understanding. But he said this is a foolish dream and no American woman would want to marry him. I told him that was silly and I will try to hook him up. So wussup ladies? Send me your vitals so I can pimp you out monk-style!