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Monday, 21 December 2009

Angkor What!? - Part Three- Cambodian Rhapsody

"If I could fit the words as picture perfect, works every time. Every verse, every line, as simple as nursery rhymes."
Crack A Bottle - Eminem

Dear readers,

Many apologies for the absence of updates from Siem Reap. I was out of access of a computer and the internet.

Anyhow, Google Picasa finally started to cooperate and help me put some pictures up. So here we are.

This is the national monument of independence, based near the royal palace of Cambodia in the heart of Phnom Penh. It was erected in honour of those who died in the violent Pol-Pot regime similar to the Malayan Emergency.

This one is really interesting. Notice the hybrid temple reliefs and the ornaments. It isn't completely Buddhist, neither is it completely Hindu. It's actually a mix of both.

That's what sets Cambodia aside from all other countries. It has a unique fusion of Hinduism and Buddhism. It's not like it's the first country to have a fusion of religions, but think again. Buddhism preaches on equilibrium and how everything in this world has makes up for each other, and that good and evil, light and darkness are of equal proportions.

Hinduism, on the other hand, believes in the triumph of light over darkness. It isn't as dependent on equality as Buddhism is. It preaches wisdom and spirituality while Buddhism focuses on wisdom, balance, and a little bit of materialism.

It's really something special that brought these two contrasting beliefs together, and that's time. It was a melting pot left on for hundreds of years...

So next we hit the Royal Palace. Here in Cambodia, it isn't as strict as Malaysia. One can enter the palace wearing short pants. In face, one can wear anything in so long as they're covered shoulder-to-knee. Inside that building is the 90kg statue of Buddha bearing more than 1000 diamonds on it's surface.

A replica of Angkor Wat before the wars that tore it to ruins. Pretty amazing and intricate.

That's a CLOCK. It's huge, and it's right in front of the Palace. Fix in it an alarm and it'll be just what I need...

Lo and behold! A Petronas in Cambodia! Apparently, it's the only branch in Phnom Penh...

We paid the Genocide Museum a visit as well, and it was a shocking experience. It used to be a high school until the Pol Pot took over it and made it an interrogation centre used to force civilians and many, many innocent people to admit that they are spies and all sorts of enemy recon.

Those two boxes above were machinegun bullet boxes used to hold ammunition during the Pol Pot regime. After being spent, they were used as "toilets" for those being interrogated. It was because there was not supposed to be any killing done in the centre, and any interrogator who kills or lets a human die before s/he produces information would be subject to heavy punishment.

It was due to one man who complained of stomach pains and had to use the toilet. After hours in the toilet, the interrogator went to search and found him dead in a lavatory. Since then, the machinegun-bullet-box-toilet was used.

Christmas is coming soon, and Angkor What!? isn't over just yet! Stay tuned for a special Christmas surprise!


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