Every skull in this monument somewhere in Cambodia once belonged to a human being with hopes and dreams, a life filled with sunsets and worries. Then one day a group of people decided that their way of living was wrong and they got murdered. This picture was taken in the early nineties when I worked in Cambodia as a UN soldier. Our task was to keep the former murderers, the Khmer Rouge, away from the people who wanted to live again on their ancestors’ land. Today, it is not going so well in Cambodia, and I wondered how much they have learned from their history.
I have written about these skulls before; they fascinate me, and they have also put my life on a trajectory I would probably not have taken If I hadn’t lived in that country for a while, between monuments
The human mind sees the world, like looking through a reflective window.
I like to share some experiences I had with communication on the work floor, not so much about communication between two people, like a wife and husband or two friends but within groups. Communication between two or more people is hard, that is a statement that most people will agree on. Why is it hard, and what can you do to improve it is another thing entirely. People disagree why this is hard, you can read thousands of books about it. Ironically we probably misunderstand each other also when we discuss these matters.
I have no special knowledge about communication, the only thing different between me and most other people is that I not only ask these questions, but I also like to look for answers endlessly, as some kind of obsession. I learned the most from others by reading there books, specially about philosophy and psychology. There are also many good lectures on the internet from all kind of sources like universities and companies like the great courses. You will enter a “rabbit hole” if you search for answers but that should not stop you.
One of my first jobs was for a small company with two owners and up to 4 employees. I was a surveyor there Communication was pretty straight forward, go to this place in that country and measure this and that, you have 5 day’s. That was more or less the extent of our communication. I drove with my assistant, in most cases to former east Germany, booked a hotel and worked the rest of the week. This was in 1996 and we used one of the first GPS systems to make a grid that other surveyors could use. The equipment needed several hours to get a fixed point within a couple of centimeters, pretty slow compared to the modern equipment.
In 1993 I worked in Cambodia as a Dutch Marine. The region we were working was for years in the hands of the Khmer Rouge but now all the Cambodian refugees that had lived for years in Thailand where coming back.
On this picture you see the kids that lived in the village not far from where we stayed. There is nothing special about this picture and these kids, that is what so striking for me. Put them in newer cloth and in a western city and they blend in.