Rochom P'ngieng, now 27 years old. ©2007 Thanhniennews.com
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A woman who disappeared in the jungles of northeastern Cambodia as a child has apparently been found after living in the wild for 19 years, police said Thursday.
The woman — believed to be Rochom P'ngieng, now 27 years old — cannot speak any intelligible language, so details of her saga have been difficult to confirm.
"She is like half-human and half-animal," said Mao San, police chief of Oyadao district in Rattanakiri province. "She's weird. She sleeps during the day and stays up at night."
Well hey, I personally don't find anything weird with being up at night and sleeping in the day... I do it a lot... assuming I get to sleep at all. Seriously though, Jim turned me on to this story yesterday as an illustration of a point of view he's been trying, futilely, to get me to come to. No more about that. I thought he might post this but it seems up to me.
I have always had a fascination with feral people... I think it is just amazing that we have the ability, when it is well and truly necessary... to revert so completely to our built-in animal survival instincts, so very dormant in most of the cultures in the world today, and especially here in America, as so nicely capsuled in a post by Mac on Posthuman Blues as commentary relating to a rash of brain worm infections in Texas.
It's even more impressive to me when we need to do this reversion to our survival skills as toddlers and young children... the lady recovered in this story had to start surviving when she was just 8 years old. Incredible, indeed. It's doubtful of course that I'll ever understand how this critical process of the mind works, but still, it is interesting to try and speculate.
She's long lost any language skills through lack of use... but I wonder... what has become of her mind, her intelligence, her humor, her memory, her personality... and perhaps more importantly, what has become of her soul? I really hope that she's not lost to the jungle these qualities that made her the girl her parents loved.
I hope the media keep track of her and report back to us... I don't think they will... they wouldn't consider that "news"... could happen, I suppose.