Friday, May 23, 2008

visiting cambodia episode II: the capital phnom penh

Just want to wish Christine Yap Yee Mun, a very Happy Birthday! She turns 21 on 25th May!

The good thing about being born so late in the year is that you get to see everyone turn old (and legal) much earlier than you do

The Independence Monument. If you didn't know, Cambodia was under the French regime, which is why the French language is of utmost importance here.

The Royal Palace was absolutely lovely. Added with the fact that the sky was in a gorgeous sky-blue colour that day, I have to say that some of the best photos I have taken in Cambodia definitely came from here.
The construction of the throne hall (pic above) is filled with superstitions, esp about the seven dragons sculptures on its roof, representing protection for every day of the week. It is these kind of info that one usually gets from locals/tour guides. I don't think websites will put such info.
No photos are allowed inside these royal buildings so we could only just take pics outside - at the balcony and exterior of the buildings.
This is freaking beautiful. My most favourite building here. It is called the Napoleon building, and clearly you can see the French colonial style in its architecture. Magnifique!
A display of the coronation of a Cambodian king. Eventhough it is just a display, the face of the king totally resembles the actual face of the reigning King of Cambodia. Of course, takkan-lah I want to post his pic here so you can compare. Don't be lazy, go and search in wikipedia ok?

Btw, this is just like a small part of the display, it was so so so loooooong...

As we left the precints of the palace, I noticed the intricate details on one of the gates. Sometimes you cannot help but wonder how do they form all these shapes on metal gates? But then I am a Science student, so I will leave all these questions for architects or whatever profession needed, to answer.
In Phnom Penh, we also visited the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, which is a must-visit for every tourist to Cambodia. Why? No, not because of its scenery, its people, its photography, and etc., but mainly as an awareness of the genocide, the massacre of innocents, that took place during the Khmer Rouge regime.

It goes to show that humans, despite being the higher being, can totally abuse the power given and cause such great harm towards other humans.
This place left me so overwhelmed that I did not really take many pics. And in some case, I did not want to take any. I know, it is like avoiding the truth, but really, I do not think I can bear taking pics of the torture instruments and the graves.

Here is one of the classrooms which has turned into an interrogation (but more like torture) room. I took it from outside so it will be less scarier.
This place was once a secondary high school before it became a hell zone. As I walked around the compound, I can imagined how this place must have look like, before the Khmer Rouge took over. Students walking in and out of classes, some eating, some reading or maybe some playing in the basketball court.
The signboard above is the description for one of the torture instruments used, as shown in the pic above the pic above (lol). It is just so disgusting when I read it, let alone to imagine it.

We were fortunate to meet one of the seven survivors of this S-21 torture chamber. He told our guide (who then translated to us), his experience being locked in the prison for 3 months. Right until today, he still do not know the reason they lock and torture him.
What used to be classrooms has now be turned into many small prison cells, made sloppily with multitude of bricks.
These barbed wires were placed to prevent the prisoners from jumping out and committing suicide. I like this pic because it feels like it came from the prisoner's view, and the desperate need for freedom.
Another monument, which I think, is called the Victory Monument (or something liddat la). Sorry-lo, sometimes I did not pay attention to the guide. Lol.
As in my previous post, I mentioned that we took a river cruise where we saw boathouse villages. I took many pics like these - of shabby boathouses, of ladies' doing their washing, of families having their dinners on the boat, of children waving at us...

I like this pic simply because of the image of the church on the mainland. I don't know, maybe because it symbolizes that there is still hope for poverty in Cambodia.
They might be deficient in terms of material and money, but I really hope that they can fill those voids with lots of love.

Like Morrie said, "Love is the only rational act."

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