One Pink Cubicle:: I sprang myself up trying to figure it out what are the significances of these two cubicles. I remember I stepped in one without fear. I spent quite some time inside that cubicle, starring at the wall, breathing in the air that flows in between the 4 pink slab of cement, crouching down at a child height level, zooming my lens to the wooden bed frame, standing up feeling a twirl of dizziness surrounding my head. Nauseous. Gut-wrenched. Sharp pain. Choked by my tears flowing backward. Despite of all these emotions, I did not have any fear to walk inside for God flew me all the way to this very land. Absorbing. Jotting down mental notes and photographical notes.
One Brown Cubicle:: I could only walk past them. Hundred and Hundred of them. Corridor after corridor. I did not have anything in me to stand in one of these cubicles. This was one of the prisoners’ torture cells in Tuol Sleng Prison, S-21. I walked past one, after one, after one. They were very tiny with a size of 0.8×2 meters. Brown-yellowish wall on one end, wooden panelled on both sides. White and brown tiled floors with a majority of blood soaked tiles accentuating the spot on which my feet would stand. I was scared to walk into one of these cubicles. I was not ready to walk in it and felt the claustrophobic pressure when one stepped into one of these. Physically I was repelled by the fact that one of 20,000 prisoners was held in one of these, feeling hopeless and helpless, starving for water and food, mending the physical wounds and emotional fear, all alone for 6 to 8 months, before being carted away in a truck to the Killing Fields to be hacked to death.
A bullet was too expensive to end a human’s life. That very human could be a young man, that very human could be a pregnant woman, that very human could be a 5 year old little girl, that very human could be a 9 month old baby boy. I have seen their pictures being put up on the wall. They were looking at me with same set of eyes, lifeless eyes. All of them were being put in front of a camera to have their pictures taken before putting in one of these torture cubicles. Their pictures starred right at me. Their pairs of eyes. 20,000 pairs of eyes starred right into the camera lens, they were looking at me. I squinted. I did not stare this time. I did not want to spend too much time in those corridors. Nauseous. Gut-wrenched. Sharp pain. Choked by my tears flowing backward, again!
Pictures were taken. Humanity was taken as well.
Today whilst the world was awaken by the news of Japan’s magnitude 8.9 earthquake, I woke up by these two cubicles. Not shattering ground, no news reporters on the ground featuring about these. No death toll was counted, (well the death toll was counted already 30 years ago). Yet I woke up with these two cubicles in my mind with urges and impulses to write, with fear and disgust to pray, with hope and faith to rejoice, that one day, the God of Justice will vindicate all these. His words resonate in my heart with comfort, Psalm 37:5
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”