||The father and mother are upset. Their son, Neng,
is behaving strangely and they don’t know why. Things start
to go missing from the house and they begin to suspect that their
son is stealing from them.
In fact some time before a dealer approached Neng and persuaded him
that taking Yabaa, amphetamines would improve his performance at school.
This is just what Neng wanted to hear as he is worried about failing
his exams. But soon he is taking the drugs every day and if he doesn’t
have any he feels very upset and frustrated. He persuades his sister,
Tjamii, to give him her silver earrings, pretending he needs to buy
medicine. But the money he gets from selling them is still not enough
to pay for his drug habit. He now owes a lot of money to the drug
dealer, who is insisting he pays up. The son has no way of paying
him. The dealer follows him to the family home demanding goods in
payment for the drugs. The family have been out looking for their
son who has not been home for several days. They come in just as the
dealer and their son are preparing to leave with the family’s
The father stops them and demands to know what is happening. Now he
discovers the reason for his son’s strange behaviour. He is
addicted to Yabaa (the crazy drug). The dealer still wants his money.
The father agrees to pay him on the condition that he gets out of
his house and stays away from his son. The dealer agrees but says
that Neng will not be able to give up and will come to find him anyway
to buy drugs. Now the family question their son asking him why he
is taking drugs. Why didn’t he talk to them about his problems
instead of getting involved with strangers? The son is very nervous
and upset, he is only thinking about getting his next high. He attempts
leave, the family try, but cannot restrain him. Now the son runs off
and they don’t know where to find him.
||Neng, who is addicted to amphetamines, has run off
to hide and take drugs in the forest. His family cannot find him.
They are worried that the amphetamines are destroying his brain and
making him crazy. They consider their options. Does he belong in hospital?
They could lock him in their house until he got over his addiction
and keep watch over him. But they have heard that addicts can get
violent when deprived of the drug and they are not sure they can restrain
him. They have heard that a new detoxification centre just opened
nearby and they think about sending Neng there, but they would need
to raise 500,000 Kip to do so, thats more than double the families
savings. Their son’s addiction is also costing them a lot of
money and casting their lives under a dark cloud of worry. They cannot
decide what to do.
So they go first to see the police and an officer goes with them to
the forest to find their son. They manage to catch him and put him
in jail in the district capital. The mother goes to town to be close
to Neng for a few days and visit him every day. He is in a terrible
state. The mother goes to see the district drug office. The official
recommends her to send her son to the new detoxification centre. She
decides to try to raise the money.
Back in the village, Neng’s sister, Tjamii and his girlfriend,
Maeha, are out the front of the house where there is a small party,
when the dealer approaches them and offers them drugs. Maeha thinks
it would be fun to try some, but Tjamii reminds her what happened
to Neng. But the girlfriend, Maeha says she can control it, unlike
her boyfriend. Tjamii protests and says Maeha is fooling herself that
the drug always controls the person taking it not the other way around.
Maeha refuses to listen and goes inside with the dealer. Neng’s
sister stays outside as Maeha goes in with the dealer. She thinks
of her brother in jail and feels sad.
The family has raised the money for the detox and the son is taken
to the centre. A lot of addicts are staying there together and they
tell each other their stories.
The son comes back out and rejoins the family. They tell him they
have talked to the rest of the village and he should not worry, they
will give him another chance, if he promises to stop stealing and
keep away from drugs in the future. Neng promises to try and feels
optimistic about succeeding.
A few days later, he is hanging around in the village, it is the dry
season, he has no work and is depressed. He has bought some drugs
from a friend and now has the agony of decision. Should he take them
and feel better for a short while, knowing that this could be the
beginning of a new addiction?
||Neng takes the drugs, but feels guilty and worried
that someone will see him high and realize that he has gone back on
his promise not to take drugs again. He feels all mixed up, confused
and paranoid, and this trip is not enjoyable at all. He crawls into
the dark of a bedroom at the back of his girlfriend’s house
and there he wants to sit out the effects of the amphetamines. His
heart is beating fast, he is sweating all over and cannot calm down.
In fact Maeha comes in to the house and starts to cook dinner. Neng
calls out to her, when he is sure she is alone. Maeha is very startled
but when she looks at him closely she sees his wild eyes and sweating
face and knows he has been taking drugs. He explains how terrible
he feels not having any work and she suggests that he try to make
a small living by repairing bicycles. In his nervous state, he blurts
out that he loves her and asks her to marry him. She hesitates. Then
she says that she can only marry him and start a family, if he manages
to keep away from drugs. He promises her with all his heart to give
up this time and never start again.
A few days later Neng announces to his family that he would like to
set up a bicycle repair business and asks his father for some money
to buy an air pump and some other tools. His father is happy to help
him and the investment required is not a big one. Neng goes from door
to door in the village telling people that when they need something
repaired they should come to him. When Maeha passes his house, he
is busy fixing a bicycle with his new tools lying around him. She
smiles happily at him and his heart fills with hope for the future.
One day a friend, Seng, drops by at his shop. He is selling drugs
and he begs Neng to buy some. Neng tells him, he is not interested.
Seng puts pressure on him saying that Neng is no fun anymore since
he came back from the centre. Neng tells Seng that he is being cruel,
doesn’t he realize how hard it is for him to give up drugs?
Now he has made a new start and he is not going to ruin this chance,
not for Seng or anyone. Seng says now Neng has money and can afford
whatever he wants, and he should help his friends. Neng looks at him
closely. He recognizes some signs in his friend’s eyes, in his
nervous gestures and speech that he used to know from himself. Neng
asks his friend if he is addicted to amphetamines. First Seng denies
it, but then confesses and explains that when he could not pay for
his habit, the dealer forced him to start selling in exchange for
drugs. Neng makes a decision to help his friend.
They go to see the police and agree to set up a trap for the dealer.
Seng arranges a meeting between Neng and the dealer, pretending that
Neng is interested in selling. When the dealer hands over a large
amount of drugs to Neng to sell, the police come in and arrest him.
The dealer is angry when he realizes he has been set up. But Neng
tells him very emotionally that he almost ruined Neng’s life
and he is not prepared to let him ruin those of other young people
in the village. Seng breaks down and cries when he realizes that he
is no longer under the dealer’s control. Neng comforts him and
promises to help him kick his drug habit. Perhaps they can even work
together on his new business.
A few months later, it’s Neng’s wedding day. His girlfriend
is looking so beautiful and happy, and all his family and friends
have come. Seng is also there and managing to keep away from drugs.
The wedding party plays music and sings to celebrate Neng and Maeha’s
future life together.