DAILY PHOTO: The Bone Room

Taken in October 2012 in Phnom Penh.

Taken in October 2012 in Phnom Penh.

These display cases of skeletal remains are at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh. Just one of the many horrific legacies of the Khmer Rouge.

DAILY PHOTO: Artifacts of Torture

Taken in October of 2012 at Tuol Sleng.

Taken in October of 2012 at Tuol Sleng in Phnom Penh.

The artworks high in the frame demonstrate how the otherwise nondescript implements of torture were used. These were a couple of the more disturbing exhibits at Tuol Sleng Museum. Tuol Sleng was a school that the Khmer Rouge pressed into use as a prison and center of torture.

BOOK REVIEW: First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia RemembersFirst They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Warning: This is about as depressing a book as one can imagine reading. It is told from the author’s perspective as a child during the Khmer Rouge period of Cambodia’s history. Her father had been in the Lon Nol government, and this made life particularly perilous for their family. It follows the family from the day they are forced to leave their comfortable upper-middle-class existence in Phnom Penh through her move to the US. In between, you are shown what its like to be starving (literally), to be a child separated from one’s family, and to see a long string of man’s inhumanity to man.

While it is a sad story, it is well-written and candid.

I was often reminded about what Viktor Frankl wrote (much more eloquently than my paraphrase), that the sad fact that survivors have to live with is the knowledge that the best did not survive. The author tells of the actions that she was not proud of that she was driven to by starvation and life as an orphan.

I highly recommend this book, but be prepared to be sad.

View all my reviews

Angkor Photos, Part 3

This is the third installment of photos from Angkor that I took in October 2012. Unlike the previous two installments, each of which included photos from multiple sites, all of these photos come from the Angkor Wat. (While most people think of the entirety of the ancient city as Angkor Wat, in reality Angkor Wat is just a portion (granted a big and important portion) of what was the city of Angkor. “Wat” means temple, and this was the main (though by no means the only) temple in the ancient Khmeri capital.

This is part of a massive bas relief  battle scene

This is part of a massive bas relief battle scene

You can see where someone gouged out a cube of the wall (lower right.)

You can see where someone gouged out a cube of the wall (lower right.)

One of the courtyards of the main temple building

One of the courtyards of the main temple building

There are hundreds of these bodaciously ta-ta'd maidens on the site.

There are hundreds of these on the site.

 

Courtyard as seen through a window with a couple pillars remaining

Courtyard as seen through a window with a couple pillars remaining

Ornate wall carvings abound

Ornate wall carvings abound

Between theft from the French, vandals, and the Khmer Rouge, most Angkor Wat Buddhas lack heads

Between theft from the French, vandals, and the Khmer Rouge, most Angkor Wat Buddhas lack heads

 

Another wall carving

Another wall carving roughed out

The main walk. There is a bridge across this moat which is contiguous with this grand walk.

The main walk. There is a bridge across this moat which is contiguous with this grand walk.

These are symmetrically located to either side of the main walk.

These are symmetrically located to either side of the main walk.

Temple facade

Temple facade

 

Wet season was just ending when we visited. Standing water was ubiquitous.

Wet season was just ending when we visited. Standing water was ubiquitous.

Escargot like these may have been why the French colonized this country.

Escargot like these may have been why the French colonized this country.