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SENG TY was born in the Kampong Speu province of Cambodia, the son of a respected physician who taught him to value life, aspire to humility, and seek the good in people. He was thirteen when he made his way alone to a refugee camp in Thailand in 1981. His story was featured in TIME Magazine’s article “Children of War”, and was read by an American family in Amherst, Massachusetts, who adopted him a year later. Now he is a citizen of the United States, a husband, a father and an educator in the Lowell, MA School System. Seng will never rid himself of his ghosts, nor will he forget the blood-chilling atrocities he has witnessed and experienced. However, he doesn’t crave revenge against those who carried out these atrocities. He desires to share his story of survival and courage only in order to give hope to others. He was one of the children of war tour in the US cities in early 1984, he shared his story through Phil Donahue Show, many major newspapers and CBS 60 Minutes in 1999. Seng’s wish is that The Years of Zero will give him a platform to expand his message beyond the circle of his students in Lowell, to people all over the world who are in need of a little hope.
Seng Ty's memoir about his experiences in Cambodia before and during the Khmer Rouge era is harrowing, but he manages to convey his story without self -pity, or even bitterness. He is a true survivor. The book describes his early childhood, his forced evacuation from his home and the years of toiling in the fields with barely enough to eat, the violence, threats and the unfortunate deaths of several family members. He experienced all this whilst still a very young child. He also describes how he came to be adopted by an American family and the difficulties he faced adjusting to the culture. His revenge was 'to become the best person he could be', and to pass on his story to others.
It is very difficult to understand why these atrocities happen. How can a regime inflict so much suffering, what is the mindset? How are these people brainwashed into believing what they are doing is right? Yet it happens time and time again.
A valuable insight into the suffering inflicted by the Khmer Rouge. This is a book I won't forget in a hurry. Thank you for sharing your story Mr Ty.
This book is a shocking reminder of the darker side of the human condition. In spite of indescribable hardships, cruelty, deprivation and grief Seng Ty survives against all odds and at the same time manages to send his message of love and courage to the rest of the world. What a lovely man, determined to pass on the love and courage his mother gave him, he succeeds in helping every reader to be stronger and resolute in the face of life's difficulties.
Absolutely a riveting read. You really felt for Seng whilst at the same time knowing you had no way of ever being close to appreciating what he, his family for the Cambodians went through. Truly brilliantly written and a must read. An absolute credit to Seng for being the person he amazingly grew up to be.