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.)

“Yea.”

“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.”

“Oh.”

~ ~ ~

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.

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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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