I NEVER imagined that the tour of duty as a roving expat journalist would one day lead me from faraway Borneo to Cambodia, the heartland of that gripping ‘Killing Fields’ movie which shot to world attention in 1984. Even Ek Matra, a top government man whom I had the chance to tipple with, said he regards the movie theme song ‘Imagine’ as the most awe-inspiring song of all time, to this day in 2019. I wouldn’t beg to differ with him on this, being a guitar fan of The Beatles.
John Lennon was killed in 1980 by a crazed Mark Chapman who has never able to win parole after he was convicted with a life sentence, for the shooting crime of John, the most political of the Beatles.
In Malaysia, the National Echo, a now-defunct English newspaper tabloid broke the ‘killing news’ to fans with a special evening edition in 1980: John Lennon shot dead – which was the headline most newspapers of the world screamed. This was in the heydays of print journalism when even SMS had not yet seen daylight – and later the Internet.
Lennon released his solo album of the same name with the song in 1971, during the Vietnam War. “Imagine”, with a utopian vision of world peace and unity. It went #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
(Beatles lyric:) Listen, do you want to know a secret? If you promise not to tell.
I am still waiting for John (79 this year) to help me compose a song – that’s what he said – not in a séance but in my wildest dream. If that sounds a bit deranged, you may say I’m a dreamer. But a promise is a promise.
Until the unimaginable happens, I’m not setting one foot on the Killing Fields in Cambodia. Only then will I go to the Killing Fields – on behalf of John Lennon.
Editor of GT2: Phil Fair