Meeting the King

January 1979 and June 1985.   He was no doubt Cambodia's most influential, most charismatic, and most erratic leader.   The on again, off again King. The late  Norodom Sihanouk: wily politician, honored guest of the Chinese and North Koreans, musician, movie maker, and monarch.  I met Samdech Sihanouk - first in Beijing in 1979, then five years later in North Korea.  In both encounters the strength of his eccentric, magnetic personality was amply displayed.

Emerging from the Ruins

1979.  Vietnamese troops took the Cambodian capital in January.  On April 12, four years to the day of my hasty retreat by helicopter from “the Khmer Republic,”   I crossed the border from Vietnam to Cambodia. Highway One from Bavet to Phnom Penh was a road of human misery.  

Vietnamese Occupation

November 1979 to January 1980. By the time I returned to Cambodia in November, Vietnamese control over most of Cambodia seemed complete.  The devastated country however was locked in the grip of a deadly famine; one made worse by a cruel international political game played by the big powers.

Soc Sinan

In my book, published in September 2020, THE LAST HELICOPTER: Two Lives in Indochina, I tell the story of two lives tightly intertwined between 1970 and 1980.   In this highly personal memoir, I meet Soc Sinan, the 21 year old daughter of a Cambodian military commander under Prince Norodom Sihanouk.  Five years after we met, Sinan became trapped amid the horrors of Pol Pot's 'killing fields.'  But Sinan was a survivor.  See the full story here:   www.jimlaurie.com/book  The book available from Amazon.com