Fish and Baths

sunrise over the Mekong

Sunrise over the Mekong

an old post, one of many, about Ba. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sitting quietly, motionless in the dark, I spotted some ducks near a pond during a walk through the park with my dad.

“Ba… do ducks sleep?” (I am horrible at anatomy and physiology of anything non-human.)

“Yea,” Ba exhaled between brisk steps.

“Oh.  And do fish sleep?” (I heard they slept or rest but I wasn’t sure.)


“How do you know?”

“I used to go into the river with my flashlight and see them lying still at night.”

“Why are you going to the river with a flashlight? To take a bath?”

“Yea.” Ba continues walking; my naive [American born] daughter questions not slowing him down at all.

“And Ba…when did you stop taking baths in the river?”

“We only had places to bathe [other than the river] until modern times,” he answered, after a pause.

“You mean…you took baths in the river from the time you were a kid until the country fell to the Khmer Rouge in 1975?” I asked in Khmer.

Nung hay [that’s it],” he replied back in Khmer. “I would go to the river to bathe, and when I returned, I carried two big jugs of water on both my shoulders,” he explained.

“For what?”

“What else? For water to cook rice with. There was no clean water.”


~ ~ ~

Each day at home I realize how much I have to learn.
About my culture.
About my history.
About my family.

About how I have a heck of a lot of growing up to do if I ever want to be as strong as my parents.


One thought on “Fish and Baths

  1. yeah it’s so weird to think that our parents lived so differently than we do now. too bad i don’t want to learn that much about korean culture…. other than the food! 😛 also, fyi, i’m staying up all night and sleeping on the plane… see u soon!

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