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   Undertoad  Monday Jan 22 12:39 PM

January 22, 2007: Cambodian jungle woman



It's the weekly Cellar IotD/Neatorama collaboration!



From Japan's Mainichi Daily News comes this incredible story of the woman in the center, there.

Cambodian Rochom P'ngieng disappeared at age eight, while herding water buffaloes, in 1988. Now, nearly 20 years later, this woman is said to be one and the same. After living for all that time in the deep jungle, she can only communicate through a series of grunts.

Quote:
Villagers in this town of 100 in the northeastern province of Rattanakiri have simply dubbed her jungle woman and turned the family's hut into the must-see attraction, with dozens of locals and journalists stopping by to peer inside for a look at her.

So far, the family says she mostly uses sign language to indicate her basic needs. She pats her stomach when she is hungry or needs to go the toilet and has taken a liking to the family's collection of karaoke videos.
Mothers, don't let your eight-year-olds handle the water buffalo herding. They are too young for it, and might get lost.



On the left. She doesn't look too happy, and in fact the caption on this image says she has tried to run back to the jungle a few times, unsuccessfully.

Be sure to visit Neatorama for more neato items every day!


lumberjim  Monday Jan 22 01:04 PM

The assumption is, then, that this is HER family she is now residing with?

Quote:
she can only communicate through a series of grunts.
there's a joke in there, but I can't decide whether to go with the Marine(grunt) angle, the perfect woman angle, or the 'that sounds like me after a night of drinking' angle.


Sheldonrs  Monday Jan 22 01:10 PM

you
i wanna be like you
i wanna walk like you talk like you too
you'll see it too
someone like me
can learn to be like someone like me
can learn to be like some like you
(one more time!)
YEAH!
can learn to be like someone like ME!!!!!!



Undertoad  Monday Jan 22 01:12 PM

Original entry edited to add the URL for the story.



monster  Monday Jan 22 01:14 PM

If she was 8 when she went missing, she should not have forgotten her language unless there has been some serious brain injury



Trilby  Monday Jan 22 01:27 PM

I bet her family was all-like, "Oh, don't even try to blame this on your mother! Where you been for, like, twenty daymn years, girl? We figured you done run out with our water buffalo and traded them in for magic beans. Ha, HA!"



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Jan 22 02:06 PM

She disappeared in 1988 at the age of 8, which makes her 27/28ish. Her mother is 40.



bigw00dy  Monday Jan 22 02:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by monster View Post
If she was 8 when she went missing, she should not have forgotten her language unless there has been some serious brain injury
I would assume that since she had no one to speak her language to, it would eventually loose its 'bookmark' in her brain. If that makes any sense?

One other note, I wonder if they cut her hair since her return. I would think that after nearly 20 years, even my hair would be longer than her hair is!


Trilby  Monday Jan 22 03:16 PM

maybe it's a big scam.

Is the guy in the first picture picking at her arm?



Happy Monkey  Monday Jan 22 03:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by monster View Post
If she was 8 when she went missing, she should not have forgotten her language unless there has been some serious brain injury
I'd guess she could have forgotten it, but she's in a much better situation than someone who went feral at a younger age. She's probably got the brain structure built up to relearn/remember it, at least.

(Of course my qualification to make this diagnosis is one self-paced psychology course at least ten years ago...)


rkzenrage  Monday Jan 22 03:42 PM

*sends loving and healing energy to her and her family*
I hate seeing it when this happens.



monster  Monday Jan 22 04:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigw00dy View Post
I would assume that since she had no one to speak her language to, it would eventually loose its 'bookmark' in her brain. If that makes any sense?

One other note, I wonder if they cut her hair since her return. I would think that after nearly 20 years, even my hair would be longer than her hair is!

You use language when you think, though, so it's not something you lose with time unless you just stop thinking. Many people who move to a country where a different language is spoken report that at some point they changed the language they thought in, but I find it unlikely that she picked up some animal language to the extent that she thought in it and lost her native tongue.

If she is the long lost daughter, she must either be too traumatized to speak or her vocal chords need "re-training" to make the correct sounds, but in either case she should still understand what is spoken to her.

Regarding the hair, everyone has a natural maximum hair length. For many people this is longer than they are comfortable with, so they never find out how long it will get. Bur mine, for example, only just reaches my shoulders at it's maximum length. Each hair only stays in your head for a certain length of time, then it falls out and (unless you're Elspode) is replaced. If your hair is slow-growing, it doesn't get to be very long before it falls out.


Sheldonrs  Monday Jan 22 04:24 PM

Doubts grow over identity of Cambodia's "jungle woman"

Jan 22 2:44 PM US/Eastern







She sits for hours at a time, staring at the floor or at the throngs of villagers that have mobbed this small shack, her unsmiling face betraying nothing other than occasional fear flashing in her eyes.
Amid growing doubts over the identity of this silent woman who mysteriously emerged from the jungles of northeastern Cambodia, the family caring for her insists she is their daughter Rochom P'ngieng, who disappeared 19 years ago while guarding a water buffalo.



"I dare anyone to wager 10,000 dollars if they think she is not my daughter," challenged Sal Lou, a policeman in this isolated village who said he immediately recognized his child by an old scar when she was brought naked and dirty from the jungle 10 days ago.

The woman was caught nearby as she tried to steal food from a farmer, hunched over like a monkey and scavenging the ground for pieces of dried rice in the forests of Ratanakkiri province, some 600 kilometers (400 miles) northeast of the capital Phnom Penh.

Since being taken to Oyadao, the woman has tried three times to escape back into the jungle, tearing at the dirty white blouse and patterned skirt her would-be parents dressed her in.

"Over the weekend she acted crazy -- she was scared of the crowds and the journalists trying to take pictures of her," said Rochom Ly, 27-year-old Rochom P'ngieng's younger brother.

Since then, the woman appears to have become more settled under the glare of curious villagers and foreign journalists who have made her an international story.

Scores of people have come to watch her, milling around Sal Lou's ramshackle house, staring silently at the woman as she sleeps, sits squatting against the wall or is spoon-fed by Sal Lou's wife, Rochom Soy.

Many have begun to question Sal Lou's story. How, they ask, could a woman from the jungle have such smooth hands or soft feet. If she had been truly wild, why are her fingernails neatly trimmed and her hair not a matted tangle, they say.

Mysterious scars around her wrist appear to be the result of being bound for long periods of time, further adding to the questions many have over the woman's past.

"I am doubtful that she went missing 19 years ago. I came here to see what she looked like, and she looks normal like us," said Dub Thol, who traveled from a neighbouring district to see the woman.

The woman has offered up no clues as to how she spent the past nearly two decades -- uttering unintelligible grunts or gurgles and communicating only her most basic needs with simple gestures.

Sal Lou told AFP that despite not speaking, she has begun to understand his own hill tribe language of Phnong.

"When we talk to her she understands, but she cannot reply to us. This is because she has forgotten the language, she has not spoken it for a long time," he said.

"She follows what we tell her to do. When we tell her to sit, she sits. When we tell her to sleep, she sleeps and when we tell her to stand up, she stands up.

"So, sooner or later, she will know how to speak. From day to day, she has begun to understand."

Sal Lou said he wanted the woman to be taken to Phnom Penh for medical treatment and appealed for funds to do so.

The jungles of Ratanakkiri -- some of the most isolated and wild in Cambodia -- are known to have held hidden groups of hill tribes in the recent past.

In November 2004, 34 people from four hill tribe families emerged from the dense forest where they had fled in 1979 after the fall of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, which they supported.

They had lived in the jungle in total isolation for a quarter of a century, limiting speech for fear of detection and moving at any sight of an unfamiliar footprint or a freshly-cut tree.



yesman065  Monday Jan 22 11:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brianna View Post
maybe it's a big scam.

Is the guy in the first picture picking at her arm?
Maybe he was showing the scar talked about in the article.


SPUCK  Tuesday Jan 23 04:26 AM

I read that they were doing the paternity tests on the police guy and the girl.



wolf  Tuesday Jan 23 02:38 PM

I was wondering about that ... should be a very simple matter, even in Cambodia, to collect samples for DNA testing. I could see several American Talk Show Hosts falling over themselves to get these folks on their show for one of their "Who's Your Daddy" specials.

(All right, I admit it. On the rare occasions that I watch Morey or Montel, I get a kick out of seeing some obviously slutty woman who is certain that so and so is her baby daddy being informed that she is wrong. Particularly if she's already dragged two or three other possible daddies onto the show. This is great TV, much more exciting than Masterpiece Theatre.)



wolf  Tuesday Jan 23 02:40 PM

Looking at the photos, I don't think she looks like any of the other folks in the pictures, eye and face shape is entirely different, and when it comes down to it, she looks too well-nourished to have spent 20 years or whatever in the jungle alone. Unless of course, Kala, her Ape Mother was suckling her the whole time.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jan 23 02:58 PM

But why test? Does somebody else want to take care of her?



monster  Tuesday Jan 23 07:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
But why test? Does somebody else want to take care of her?
She appears to be being held against her will. Surely, if she is not their daughter they have to let her go/be thrown in jail?

Does putting her on display for the gawkers 24/7 constitute care? The family want "funds" to take her for medical treatment -what treatment does she need? It seems a little weird to me that they allow people to watch her sleep, but maybe it's just a different culture thing.


xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jan 23 08:42 PM

No TV.



monster  Tuesday Jan 23 08:50 PM

I'm obviously slow tonight, I don't follow....



Clodfobble  Tuesday Jan 23 10:46 PM

He's responding to your comment that, "It seems a little weird to me that they allow people to watch her sleep"--if you have no TV, watching people sleep might become more interesting.



zippyt  Tuesday Jan 23 11:43 PM

Sorta like watching the paint dry , or the propane trucks filling up ( Hey one might 'Splode !!!)



SPUCK  Wednesday Jan 24 05:20 AM

Or grass grow.. Or puddles evaporate.



Sundae  Wednesday Jan 24 05:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolf View Post
(All right, I admit it. On the rare occasions that I watch Morey or Montel, I get a kick out of seeing some obviously slutty woman who is certain that so and so is her baby daddy being informed that she is wrong. Particularly if she's already dragged two or three other possible daddies onto the show. This is great TV, much more exciting than Masterpiece Theatre.)
Tends to be the other way round in the UK, and I love it too:

Watch some sullen young girl being dragged on by her (now) ex who is saying he heard down the pub she'd slept with 15 men at the same time as him anyway so there's no way the kid is his and that's why he hasn't bothered going round to see it in the 9 months since it's been born blahblahblah. And of course it ends up being his and she is stirred into some sluggish flicker of life by being vindicated on national television. Cut to another sullen faced young woman in the audience who is his new girlfriend and already pregnant...


monster  Wednesday Jan 24 07:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clodfobble View Post
He's responding to your comment that, "It seems a little weird to me that they allow people to watch her sleep"--if you have no TV, watching people sleep might become more interesting.
Cambodian Big Brother -gotcha. I wouldn't let people gawp at my family like that, but then I wouldn't go on a Jerry Springer-type show either. Horses for courses I guess.


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