1952: After failing his exams in Paris for the second year in a row, Saloth Sâr’s scholarship was stopped and he returned to Cambodia.
“There was never the least hint of what he would become,” said Mey Mann, who knew Sâr in France. Others felt the same.
“He never said very much,” Mann remembered. “He just had that smile of his. He liked to joke, he had a slightly mischievous way about him.”
Back in Cambodia, the mediocre student with the reticent manner and engaging smile devoted himself to the revolutionary struggle. By the late 1960s he had become the undisputed leader of Cambodia’s communists, and in 1970 he adopted a new name: Pol Pot.
Source: Philip Short, Pol Pot: The History of a Nightmare (2004), pp. 31, 44