Cambodia, Home of ‘The Killing Fields,’ Becomes a Retirement Haven
Cambodia is a country of many a bad memory. American B-52s carpet-bombed it during the Vietnam War. It barely survived the rise of a despot named Pol Pot and the genocidal killing fields of his Khmer Rouge regime.
Who would have guessed that it would become, of all things, an affordable retirement haven for foreigners, including many Americans who were of draft age when the country was convulsed by those much darker times?
Thousands of older people from Australia, Europe and the United States have moved to Cambodia in recent years, or are thinking about it as an option — especially people on fixed incomes who are attracted by the low cost of living. The Cambodian government is encouraging the influx by making it simpler for foreign retirees to apply for visas.
“Opportunity often lies in that space between the public’s somewhat negative perception about a place and the much more positive reality on the ground,” said Jennifer Stevens, the executive editor of International Living, a monthly magazine that caters to older people who are thinking of moving to less expensive countries.
“公众对一个地方持有的某种负面看法，和当地正面得多的现实情况之间，常常存在着机会，”《国际生活》(International Living)主编珍妮弗·史蒂文斯(Jennifer Stevens)说。《国际生活》是一本月刊，面向的是考虑搬到生活成本不那么高昂的国家居住的老年人。
The magazine reported that an American retiree could fund “a relaxed and comfortable lifestyle” in Cambodia on nothing more than a $1,000-a-month Social Security check. “You just get great value there,” said Eoin Bassett, the magazine’s editorial director.
据这本杂志报道， 一名美国退休人员每月顶多只要拿到一张1000美元的社保支票，就能在柬埔寨维持“一种轻松舒适的生活方式”。“在那里可以过得很实惠，”该杂志编辑总监约恩·巴塞特(Eoin Bassett)说。
The image change is certainly welcomed in Cambodia, where the unspeakable once happened.
It began with the secret bombing ordered by the Nixon administration code-named Operation Breakfast, which dumped 110,000 tons of explosives on the country in 1969 and 1970. Air Force B-52s made at least 3,500 raids inside Cambodia, contributing to a legacy of bomb fragments and unexploded bombs that still make parts of the country off limits.
Later came five years of rule by the Khmer Rouge, and one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century. Pol Pot declared a new society; reset the nation’s calendar at Year Zero; forcibly emptied the capital, Phnom Penh, and other cities; and slaughtered about two million people.
But that is ancient history to today’s Cambodians, the vast majority of whom were born well after the Khmer Rouge regime collapsed in 1979, routed by a Vietnamese invasion. The median age in the country is about 24.