UKArchive

UKArchive ID: 36268

Kong Sam's Beautiful Shoes
by mitch
Originally published on February 26, 2016 in Poetry        


A homage to Kong Sam, a humble cobbler, who survived Tuol Sleng:


Kong Sam's Beautiful Shoes
======================

There is a shop
Selling beautiful shoes
For Beautiful People
Seeking beautiful views
And their maker left a school
Made of bloodied bricks
As he whispers in darkness
Of Rule Number Six:
“While getting lashes and electrification
You must not cry –
You must not cry at all…”

Words must scream
For those without choices
Music must sing
For those without voices
Art must bear
The unbearable news
While wearing Kong Sam's
Beautiful shoes
While wearing Kong Sam's
Beautiful shoes

RECORDER SOLO

Words must scream
For those without choices
Music must sing
For those without voices
Art must bear
The unbearable news
While wearing Kong Sam's
Beautiful shoes
While wearing Kong Sam's
Beautiful shoes

The Educated –
They died the same
As the humble clerk
Who could sign his name
In the Killing Fields
In the jungle deep
Their spirits lie
And they never sleep
While getting lashes and electrification
They cannot cry –
They must not cry at all….

Words must scream
For those without choices
Music must sing
For those without voices
Art must bear
The unbearable news
While wearing Kong Sam's
Beautiful shoes
While wearing Kong Sam's
Beautiful shoes

“I'm wearing Kong Sam's
Beautiful shoes!”
———————————-
(c) 2015 All music, lyrics, vocals
and instruments by Paul D.E Mitchell
Coyright PRS protected

© mitch (pdemitchell on OLD UKA)

UKArchive ID: 36268
Archived comments for Kong Sam’s Beautiful Shoes


Gothicman on 26-02-2016
Kong Sams Beautiful Shoes
Yes, Paul, a talented rendition as a total working, including voice and solo instrument. It may well be the recording quality or the recording stream allowed in subbing music, but, for me, there is too much concentrated volume of different sounds. Using keyboard always seems to have this “drowning” effect, and often makes up for a weak tune. You appear to have a good strong singing voice, which, with less volume of accompaniment, would come over much clearer and feel more personalised, less run of the mill. Even the solo part would benefit I think by letting it do its clear and clean interim bit without being absorbed too much in accompanying sound. Here, I'm only going on about the musical form and presentation, the lyrics are excellent, especially as they are little psychedelic in their subject choice. I think also these songs should be under that genre or group (not sure which is which, wouldn't make the Home page though) But, this is only my take on things, others might well disagree. But, enjoyed, even as it is.

Trevor, late of Tiger Bay.

Author’s Reply:
Cracking critique Trevor late of Tiger Bay! You are absotooly right – it is hard to mix for different machines – it's womping on a large system but unbalanced on the iPads. Will rethink a remix. These beasts start of as poems that evolve into songs over time… cheers. Paul


franciman on 26-02-2016
Kong Sams Beautiful Shoes
This moved me Paul. It also made me realise that our belief we are poorly treated is naive in the extreme. Great work, inspired me to start reading more on this sad history.

cheers,

Jim

Author’s Reply:
Thanks Jim – only two people ever got prosecuted for Tuol Sleng where 20,000 died and only 7 survived. The 'Art must scream' was from grafitti daubed on one of the walls. Cheers. Paul


Mikeverdi on 26-02-2016
Kong Sams Beautiful Shoes
As a written piece it's stunning in its complexity. So well put together I was overwelmed. I know nothing of its story…soon I will. I see you are nominated already, I can only offer my congratulations.

Mike

Author’s Reply:
Thanks, Mike. The Khmer Rouge made ISIS look like beginners. They announced a Year Zero and obliterated anyone they considered one of the bourgeosie. The structure was so rigid that the torturers merely referred to “anka louu” or “from on high” as all the justification they needed. Paul


Bozzz on 27-02-2016
Kong Sams Beautiful Shoes
Paul, a very well written and moving piece, though I am a bit disturbed by your use of the word 'electrification' when you really mean 'electrocution', the use of electricity to kill or injure.

Yours aye…David

Author’s Reply:
Hi David – the use of the word is how Rule 6 was translated: google 'image tuol sleng rule number 6' and you will see the image of the sign at the Tuol Sleng genocide museum. I came across Kong Sam's story a long time ago but I cannot find any trace of the article on the internet now. There are indeed shops selling beautiful shoes nearby even one called 'Tuol Sleng Beutiful Shoes' but the owner is called Syphal but many others were opened by survivors of Comrade Number 1 in Phnom Penh. Only three survivors remain alive so Kong Sam has to be a metaphor now.

Chhung Kong was a French teacher at Tuol Sleng before the school was taken over and deemed a class enemy of the peasant revolution. He was sent from the “bourgeois” city to work in a rural co-operative 30 kilometres (20 miles) away, digging water canals to irrigate the parched land.

Chhung says he survived by “luck”, unlike family members including his father, three brothers, sister, nephews and nieces who died from starvation. Even today, he still refuses to enter his old school, its blood-stained floors preserved as a chilling testament to the thousands who died there after its conversion to notorious death camp S21.

“Now, I just drive by it… I never enter the place… Why? Because it is the place where I taught students… I still (want to keep) the feeling that it is a school, not a prison,” says Chhung, who never returned to teaching. In 2010, a UN-backed war crimes court sentenced former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, to 30 years in prison — later increased on appeal to life — for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people. He was the first person to be held accountable for the regime's crimes. August 2014 – the two most senior surviving Khmer Rouge leaders — Nuon Chea, 88, known as “Brother Number Two”, and former head of state Khieu Samphan, 83 — were given life sentences for crimes against humanity. Both appealed unsurprisingly.


sweetwater on 28-02-2016
Kong Sams Beautiful Shoes
When I read your words I thought they had a very strong message full of sadness, but it wasn't untill I read your reply to David that I understood the meaning behind it. Congratulations on the nomination. 🙂 Sue.

Author’s Reply:
Thanks, Sue.., It's a strong historical thing. But seeing cambodia emerge from all that darkness gives one hope. Paul