Showing posts with label Cambodia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cambodia. Show all posts

25 March 2014

The Killing Fields

I love touring and sightseeing. I don't hesitate to visit an interesting place twice if there's a chance. But I am not visiting this place again even if you paid me to do it.

Cheong Ek Genocidal Center in a distance

After many whispers of wows at the splendor of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, my companions and I proceeded to Phnom Pehn. I was kicking to finally see the Killing Fields. "This is it," I mused as my 12-year old self: "those rows of 'cabbages' (skulls) in a documentary with John Lennon singing Imagine, now the Killing Fields for real." We then started exploring.

At first I thought this was an old pigsty. What we saw were...

And that was when we fell silent -

especially when we realized that much of the ground is still strewn with clothes of victims.

 more clothes

'Truck Stop:' "place where trucks transporting victims to be exterminated from Toul Sleng Prison, stopped."

Truly depressing. I wanted to get out as much as I was in a hurry to get in at the beginning of the tour. 

"'Killing Tree' (left) against which executioners beat children.  'Magic Tree' (right) where a loudspeaker was hung to muffle victims' screams."

Did they say children?!? I fought back tears while reading the signs. 

Some skulls showed signs of bashing. They have forensic shots of those in the Center (top photo). Our quiet chat branched out to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's cousins - butchers Idi Amin, Milosevic, Saddam, Hitler... ethnic cleansing :(

While trying to be brave in front of these skulls, I wondered about the kind of tour I got myself into. Did I just pay to be subjected to something so raw as hell on earth?

I like to think I learned something out of such an experience.

'shelves' of skulls at the stupa

24 April 2012


It was a quiet Khmer morning. Friends and I were traveling to Siem Reap. The van we were riding in slowed down by a procession. Curiosity managed to snap a shot of what looked like a miniature house carried by a truck. As it disappeared into gathering speed I saw a coffin inside it.

The deceased apparently had something thousands of his countrymen we visited at the Killing Fields the day before never had - an obsequies.
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16 March 2012


Dove wings, rustling greens
deeds penetrate the heavens
a whiff of cool blue

Now comes the quiet
clear blue remnants of Khmer
may souls rest in peace

Question: what's the deal
between green and violet?
True color matters

Blue MondayHaiku my Heart , Haiku Heights

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