My Memory of the French Presidential Election

The people of France never stop to amaze me. Macron’s new political party is only one year old, yet the people of France voted with their feet over the weekend. They are a culture of accepting new challenge like what they did back in May 1981 when they elected François Mitterand, leading the Social Democrats, who had defeated the conservatives of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to become the first socialist elected President of France. I was still living in the refugee camp in Thailand.
Back then, the word socialist equalled communist for an illiterate boy like myself. I remember the news sent shockwaves through the Cambodian refugee community in the refugee camp – we had lived under the worst kind of left wing government, and the last thing people wanted now was to be resettled in France.
Without any proper education, it was an overreaction from us, but an understandable one. The word socialism in Khmer sent shivers down our spines. What did we know about the difference between socialism in France and what we had suffered through under the Khmer Rouge? For us it was the Khmer Rouge in the streets of Paris. After all, this was the city where Pol Pot and so many other high ranking Khmer Rouge leaders had been educated about Marxism. It was the birthplace of Angkar as we had known it. There was no way we wanted to be heading back into the jaws of the Tiger we had just escaped from.
We were in panic mood to a point where we were begging the French Embassy official to reject our refugee application, “Please reject our application s’il vous plait.”
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