PEN Rorn (Thin)
PEN Rorn was born in 1946, Battambang Province. She was the second famous female singer before Pol Pot Regime and the best funny singer with her big sweet voice. There is no clear information about her family, but she was known to have three younger sisters such as PEN Rorm, PEN Chantha, and PEN Ram. Being the same age to HUY Meas, she was supposed to attend Sor Heur Primary School (the primary school of HUY Meas) or Teaksin Sala Primary School (the primary school of ROS Sereysothea and now aka Wat Kampheng Primary School). In 1960, she attended the Net Yorng Women High School in the same year to HUY Meas studying with Prof. BUN Thorng. During the extra hours at her professor’s home, PEN Rorn was so famous in using her voice for funny. She likes singing the song in the humorous way being loved among three special female students for her professor during that extra hour. Other two female students were ROS Sereysothea (Being famous in singing sad song) and HUY Meas (Being famous in poem, Smotr, and story-telling as well as narrative singing). Their senior classmate was IM Song Seum supporting her as well as HUY Meas and ROS Sereysothea in the singing career. Not only four of them, but other hundred students and sisters of Rorn and Sothea also studied with Prof. BUN Thorng. Similar to HUY Meas, IM Song Seum, and ROS Sereysothea, PEN Rorn learned more about music and singing from her professor attentively.
In 1965, she might be introduced by her professor and IM Song Seum to sing for Krosuong Khosana Kar in Battambang and Steung Khiev Bar along the Sangker River near Phsar Nat of Battambang Town. In the same year, she and HUY Meas went to Phnom Penh along IM Song Seum to sing for all residents from the capital instead of just for Battambang Province. She lived near HUY Meas and IM Song Seum in Tuol Kork area. She might sing along with IM Song Seum and HUY Meas for the early arrival, but later sang with other singers in this capital. She got very famous for the country when she started singing with SIN Sisamut in 1966. She was also known so kind to support ROS Sereysothea arriving in Phnom Penh in 1967. Later, she got married and gave birth to two sons for the following years. There is no information about who her husband was and what condition of her marriage life was. However, she was known to travel often for her pleasure time with family causing ROS Sereysothea to sing instead of her the song “Kort Bros Muk Khmol” with SIN Sisamut. From 1965 to early 1975, she sang many kinds of songs like sad, funny, rock, blue, lakhorn, traditional, and popular songs for Khmer New Year.
On April 17, 1975, PEN Rorn and her two sons were forced to walk out of Phnom Penh through national road No. 2 being away from her husband and her three sisters - PEN Rorm, PEN Chantha, and PEN Ram. As the witness in Takeo province as a person to share the cooked rice to 17 Mesa people along national road No. 2, Mrs. BUN Yoeurn said she met the famous singer, Pen Rorn, coming to get the cooked rice from her and told she was a famous singer PEN Rorn. Told the radio researcher, at very first time she did not recognize PEN Rorn because she had never met Pen Rorn like this before just only used to see her on the stage when she came to sing the song for King Norodom Shihanouk opening celebration of the infrastructure achievement in the province one or two times in Sangkum Reastr Niyum regime. According to Mrs. BUN Yoeurn, Pen Rorn was forced to go to Komar Chheanmok village in Takeo Province. After having a meal with her two sons, Pen Rorn continued her travelling. PEN Rorn was forced to work in rice field as other residents from Phnom Penh and had the same condition.
In the early 1976, Khmer Rouge officers cheated 17 Mesa people in Takeo they would return all Phnom Penh people to hold the same position in Phnom Penh as before if they told their background while living in Phnom Penh. Without knowing this trick, PEN Rorn registered her name on the list with the hope to be a famous singer again and other 17 Mesa people did the same as her. Not returned them to Phnom Penh as promise, Khmer Rouge officers planned to kill them all by taking them to put in Trop Kor pagoda for a night. Lok Ta Achar Nang, the witness, saw them lead those people including PEN Rorn and her two sons walking towards Trop Kor pagoda from the top of the palm tree. In the pagoda, there were PEN Rorn and her two sons, TRANG Orng, KLOY Dey, and other Phnom Penh family. Next morning, Khmer Rouge committees cheated all 17 Mesa people in the pagoda they would take them back to Phnom Penh at the moment. Then Khmer Rouge soldiers closed the eye of them with something (maybe kroma or black piece of cloth) and tied their hand with the rope together walking in line towards the north of pagoda. Along the way, Khmer Rouge soldiers asked all of them include PEN Rorn to take off all their cloth except underwear by telling them that they needed to get across the river and would get new cloth at the other river bank. Suddenly, PEN Rorn said Pu (uncle) could take it as pu wanted since I had some cloth left in the cloth pack. Then she and other people took off the cloth giving to those soldiers. Immediately, they reached B-52 big hole well-prepared in advance with stick and other sharp equipments. This place was 200 meter north of Trop Kor pagoda in Takeo province. The breath of PEN Rorn and her two sons were taken away in the hand of Khmer Rouge soldiers pushed their body into the B-52 big hole. There was a wonder whether PEN Rorn already knew the trick before she was killed since there was no river. “Be flexible to the current situation since too honesty could bring us the death!” “Being a kind person, the kindness is still going through until the end of life!” “Be careful in choosing a leader for the whole country since his decision could define the destiny of the nation!”
(Source: Wikipedia Khmer Version about HUY Meas and ROS Sereysothea and the research broadcasted in radio)
By: POK Panhavuth
PEN Rorn (Fat)