Monday, October 15, 2012

That Girl – In Which I Quote The Khmer Rouge




While I was getting ready, she told me about her week at work, flying out to Los Angeles for an interview, then up to Seattle to see a demo of some software in beta, and then having to fly back on an overnight flight for some reason I didn’t catch. She sat at my computer and yawned. Bored, she checked her phone then put it down and idly clicked a OneNote icon on my desktop with the title “randomQuotes.” She clicked through some of the pages.

“Why do you have all these political quotes?” she asked.

I looked over at what she was reading.

“Because they’re interesting,” I said. “And some of those are quotes you see people use on the web a lot but without attribution. I tracked them down and found the original sources. But most of them are pretty serious and I never get a chance to use them myself. So they’ve just kind of accumulated.”

“Are all of these from overseas?” she asked. “These are all the kinds of places you see in the news but you never really know where they’re at.” She pointed at one and said, “Tahrir?”


"The Egyptian government and the western media always try to equate Tahrir with the revolution and vice versa in an effort to limit the space of the revolution, but that utopian, materialistic image of Tahrir has long been distorted," she said. "Now we need to concentrate on mass marches across the whole country. Tahrir can be a start or end point, but no longer just a destination in its own right."




“Egypt,” I said. “Tahrir Square is in Cairo. But that quote is interesting because the language is so academic. What kind of street rebel talks like that? You know who talks like that? So-called ‘rebels’ who attend the Kennedy School of Government, or the equivalent in France or Britain. That’s a good quote because it says so much more than just what it says.”

“And this one is about the Balkans,” she said. “Why does anyone even use that word, ‘Balkans’? It doesn’t even refer to a real place now.”


"We never, until the war, thought of ourselves as Muslims," said Mikica Babic, a 32-year-old history teacher. "We were Yugoslavs. But when we began to be murdered, because we were Muslims, things changed. The definition of who we are today has been determined by our killers. In a way this means these Serbs have won, no matter what happens in the war."




“I think it’s a mountain range,” I said. “But it’s become part of normal speech. You hear the word ‘Balkanized’ a lot in politics. As a reference to fragmenting, manipulative politics it’s more important than the place.”

“Hey, this one’s from Singapore,” she said. “I know where Singapore is.”


Singapore's move to tighten casino regulations hasn't met much resistance from casino operators so far. Las Vegas Sands' Mr. Adelson said in July that his company isn't concerned by Singapore's moves and doesn't expect the tighter rules to significantly hurt its business. "We don't have a problem if [Singapore] wants to put a limitation on either visitation or the exclusion of very poor people," he told analysts in an earnings call. "We don't see the future coming out of poor, unfortunate, very vulnerable people."


Singapore Bets on Casino Revenues
from The Wall Street Journal


“Yeah,” I said. “It’s about Southeast Asia, but you know the same issue is important here in the US. I think the future does sometimes come from poor, unfortunate, very vulnerable people whether the businessmen see it or not.”

“Southeast Asia is up above Australia,” she said. “I know that because it’s where that city is.”

“What city?” I asked

“You know what city,” she said. She giggled, then said, “Bangkok. You know. Bang. Cock.” She giggled again.

I said, “Oh my god! Here, from that same general area, have you ever heard of the Khmer Rouge? They once had political slogans that were interesting.” I clicked on a page.


The Khmer Rouge believed parents were tainted with capitalism. Consequently, children were separated from parents and indoctrinated in communism as well as taught torture methods with animals. Children were a "dictatorial instrument of the party" and were given leadership in torture and executions.

One of their mottos, in reference to the New People, was: "To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss." The philosophy of the Khmer Rouge had developed over time. It started as communist party that was working together and searching for direction from the Vietnamese guerrillas who were fighting their own civil war.


Khmer Rouge
at Wikipedia


She laughed. “At least that’s an honest slogan! The Republicans and Democrats both act like they could use that slogan today!”

I sighed. I clicked on a page and said, “Look, here’s a real political one that’s old but also about the modern world.”


Diamonds, Daisies, Snowflakes,
That Girl
Chestnuts, Rainbows, Springtime...
Is That Girl
She's tinsel on a tree...
She's everything that every girl should be!

Sable, Popcorn, White Wine,
That Girl
Gingham, Bluebirds, Broadway...
Is That Girl
She's mine alone, but luckily for you...
If you find a girl to love,
Only one girl to love,
Then she'll be That Girl too...
That Girl!


That Girl
at Wikipedia




“That’s very sweet,” she said, and kissed me on the cheek.

I took her hand and said, “Let’s go. We’re very lucky. Somehow we managed to talk a little about politics but we didn’t get into a big fight.”

“That’s because I’m tinsel on a tree,” she said. “I’m everything that every girl should be.”

Of all the quotes, that’s the one she remembered!


























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