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    The New Yorker | Anthony Veasna So | 2/3/20 | 39 min
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    The New Yorker
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    • bill
      Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
      4 months ago

      This is beautiful, powerful, heart-wrenching.

      Inverting their lives, Tevy and Kayley would sleep during the hot, oppressive days, manning the cash register at night.

      I mean... fuck. I grew up working behind the register at my mom and dad’s liquor store, but that’s where the comparison ends.

      Her daughters have no idea, but when Sothy opened Chuck’s Donuts it was with the help of a generous loan from her ex-husband’s distant uncle, an influential business tycoon based in Phnom Penh with a reputation for funding political corruption. She’d heard wild rumors about this uncle, even here in California—that he was responsible for the imprisonment of the Prime Minister’s main political opponent, that he’d gained his riches by joining a criminal organization of ex-Khmer Rouge officials, and that he’d arranged, on behalf of powerful and petty Khmer Rouge sympathizers, the murder of Haing S. Ngor. Sothy didn’t know if she wanted to accept the uncle’s money, to be indebted to such dark forces, to commit to a life in which she would always be afraid that hit men disguised as Khmer-American gangbangers might gun her and her family down and then cover it up as a simple mugging gone wrong.

      The obvious comparisons kill me. My job was a way for my parents to give me money. The shitty people we had to interact with (crooked cops and business dealers) weren’t a physical threat to us.

      The world is a hellhole, but it’s teeming with life. I loved all three women. I’m still thinking about all three of them, constantly, three days after meeting them.

      My life maps to this story in a cool way. I live, day in and day out, in places like Chuck’s. It’s a great life, for the same reason that these people are great people.

      Misery and strife build character, but resignation is haunting.