A week after being shot in the face by an unknown assailant, nightclub singer Huot Lakhena lies in a Calmette Hospital bed, wondering if she still has a career.
The bullet entered her left jaw and exited next to her right nostril, shattering some of the bones in her face.
Perhaps because she was singing her last song of the night when she was shot, her mouth was open and her teeth weren’t damaged. But her face is bandaged and bruised, and she doesn’t know how bad the scarring will be.
“I didn’t hear anything,” the 22-year-old said Monday, tears spilling out of her still-swollen eyes. “Someone must have wanted to shoot me.”
Police say they have no suspects in the shooting, which occurred last Wednesday night at the Samneang Reatrey Karaoke, a few hundred meters north of Wat Phnom.
Huot Lakhena had worked there just 20 days. Her usual workday was 6:30 to 11 pm, and she earned about $100 per month.
Nuon Samuth, deputy chief of the Srah Chak commune in Daun Penh district, said the shooting may just have been a tragic mistake.
At about the same time, he said, police fired a shot while arresting an alleged drug dealer nearby.
Huot Lakhena has worked as a singer since 1999. She has performed on television and once spent four months on a singing job in Australia.
She is still so weak she cannot sit up by herself, and her mother and sister must support her in bed when she tries to eat. So far, her medical bills have totaled $1,000.
A Calmette doctor said she will have to stay at the hospital for “a few weeks more.” Her employers have not visited or indicated they will help with the medical bills, she said.
Meanwhile, all she can do is wait, try to get stronger, and wonder what she will see when the bandages come off.
“I want to sing forever,” Huot Lakhena said.