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Soulful music of folk orchestras of handicapped war survivors in Cambodia can move you
In Cambodia's Siem Reap, which I happened to visit in April this year, one can find groups of savaged war survivors with their maimed limbs by landmines sitting near the ancient temples, market places, and parks eking out a living by playing music with folk instruments.

It is a moving sight, since they just create music and do not expect anything from the tourists and visitors. They never ask for money, but gratefully accept whatever they are offered voluntarily.

They start arriving, right from early morning and mainly sit around the ancient temples. They are the survivors of Cambodia's killing minefields. Many of them blind and maim, put aside their crutches and artificial limbs to sit around as a group holding their folk instruments. They then calmly play soulful music that can really move you.

They play both merry music and mournful melodies with folk string instruments, flutes and small drums. These groups, consisting of 5 to 20 amputees, blind and wounds-scarred sit together to play soft soulful music at public places. They just find means of survival and hope by playing music for the visitors.

These severely handicapped musicians' lives depict Cambodia's horror and agony that remained war-afflicted for many decades leaving several million dead due to American bombings, the Khmer Rouge reign of terror and a bloody civil war.

The condition of the disabled people seems to be bad due to poverty and slow economic growth. We were told that in Cambodia about one-thirds of the people earn less than one dollar per day.

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