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Published on November 3rd, 2009 | by Mike

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Mine Sweeping – Aki Ra Style

Aki Ra - A mine sweeping machineTo this day many countries still have the explosive remnants of war (ERW) scattered about. Land mines and unexploded ordinance (UXO) from the first and second world wars as well as the Vietnam war pose a constant threat to people who live in those areas. Many people have different ways to deal with the problem. Some people start charities that don’t specify exactly where the money goes. Others give money to charities, not knowing exactly where the money goes. Some go the simple route and step on the mines then blow up. A guy named Percy Hobart developed an armoured vehicle with a flail to detonate mines safely, but even though it’s a cool invention worthy of mention here at the institute, safety is not often a qualifier for manliness. In most cases, safety actually interferes with manliness. This is one such case. A real man would take matters into his own hands and not rely on machines to do a man’s job. He would risk his own life just to be recognized as one tough son of a bitch. Luckily there’s at least one real man in the area. Aki Ra has no use for inferior fancy equipment. He grabs a pointy stick and digs the mine out of the earth then destroys it with his trusty pocket knife. No need for metal detectors or machines that allow you to detonate the thing from a safe distance.

Aki Ra’s parents were killed and he was raised by the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia’s pro-communist militia, as a child soldier. Aki Ra was trained not only to kill enemies with a small arm, which he did, but to lay traps as well. In 1983, his home province was captured by the Vietnamese and he was forced to fight in the Vietnamese army. When he became a teenager, he fought for the Cambodian army. He was later trained by the United Nations on clearing land mines.

After the United Nations left the area, Aki Ra continued to clear the ERW in his country. But without their support, he was reduced to handling the explosives with no protective gear and no specialized tools (In true manly fashion). Being the man he is, he used a sharp stick and a pocket knife, usually telling jokes, laughing with whoever is with him, shotgunning beers and hitting on supermodels as he does it.

Aki Ra founded the Cambodian Landmine Museum in 1999, where some of the tens of thousands of mines he has disarmed are on display.

Here’s to a guy worthy of being called one of the manliest men to ever walk the Earth.

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So much man, it hurts.



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