When a graceful, smiling Cambodian waitress expresses the hope, in the imperative mood, that you enjoy your breakfast, you can’t help wondering what she means by it, if anything at all. Can it really matter very much in a country with a recent history such as Cambodia’s whether or not a visitor enjoys his breakfast? (As a matter of fact, I did).

Of course, daily life has to go on, even after a catastrophic historical experience. Indeed, such an experience is soon forgotten, in the sense of not being present in the mind all the time. For example, I recall the time I crossed into Germany from France with my mother. It was nearly thirty years since my mother had fled Germany, and the same period of time had elapsed between the end of the war and then as between the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge and now; and, having sworn never to return, it was the first time she had been back. In those days, there were still borders and border...

 
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