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Cambodia and its history
By Pierre with Bila

After I left Thailand, I started to go in the direction of Vietnam. First step: Cambodia. A visa received at the most corrupted border of the world and I was ready to start my stay in this country so affected by its history. Let me tell you

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In the beginning, Khmer people were among the first inhabitants of the South East Asia. Getting rid of lords of Funan, they lived their golden age between the IX° and XIII° century including the construction of the Angkor sites.
Khmers named their land Kampuchea - Cambodia. Khmer is the most spoken language in the country.

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After a long period of decline when neighboring Siams and Vietnamese kingdoms were increasingly more powerful, Cambodia accepted the French protectorate in 1863.
French colonialism left few traces, deleted largely during the communist regime that followed. Nevertheless we note the name of the avenue of General de Gaulle leading to Angkor Wat and also the Bokor Mountain station in the south, a remote hill abandoned since the independence of the country.

4





There was a short episode of Khmer Republic monitoring the independence of Cambodia, that happened after World War II. But then, following the wars in Indochina, the Khmer Rouges took the power in 1975.
The regime idealized by Pol Pot, the Leader of the Khmer Communist Party has been set up. His egalitarian society was based on the labour class, living from agriculture and where everyone was dressed in this outfit.

5



S-21: Tuol Sleng museum

To set up his ideal society, Pol Pot got rid of any potential enemy. Thus each executive, intellectual, high-ranking was arrested, then questioned until the confession of his crime against the regime of Kampuchea.
This old school, in the heart of Phnom Penh, was transformed into a prison by the Khmer Rouges, named S-21. It was one of the most terrible detention centers in the country, with 100 executions per day and thousands of victims photographed before and after their torture.

6



Choeung Ek: the Killing Fields

17 000 detainees of S21 that confessed their crime were sent to Choeung Ek, 14km of the capital city. Following the principle of Pol Pot: "It's better to eliminate an innocent than to release an enemy". Full families were killed for any suspicion.
In the mausoleum thousands of skulls of men, women, children of all ages and old persons who have been mangled with hammer, ax, baton, thus avoiding wasting valuable ammunition.

7



Life under the Khmer Rouges

Families from the cities were sent to work in the fields, then scattered. The population suffered from an unceasing malnutrition, when it was not famine. The rations of rice were exchanged for weapons and ammunition from China. The young men were enrolled to fight at the Vietnamese border.
In the last bastion of Khmer Rouges in the surrounding hills of Battambang, the enemies of the state were executed in the killing caves.

8



End of the Khmer Rouges

The invasion of Vietnam, victim of unceasing attacks from Khmer Rouges released the inhabitants of the country. Pol Pot and his henchmen fled to Thailand. In the end, two million people perished during the four years: that represents a third of the population of Cambodia, murdered by its own compatriots.
"First they killed my Father" written by a little girl victim of Pol Pot's state, is a real testimony of the horrors of Khmer Rouges. When the madness of some people results in darkest pages of history of a country.

9



New page of history

After a transition period under Vietnamese control, named the People's Republic of Kampuchea, the renewal of the country is happening since 1989 and it's mostly based on tourism development.
And to overcome their past bloody, people have erected memorials and museums for never do again the past mistakes.

10





Now the country relives. Its revenue sources are mainly agriculture and fishing. The great specialty of Cambodia is pepper from Kampot, world famous for centuries.
Technics are still evolving nowadays: now ten feet of pepper can grow on these constructions in brick (instead of three by trees). After tasting, I understand why the greatest Parisian restaurants use Kampot peppers. The different colors of grains made the color of the pepper: white, red and black.

11





Other strength of the country: maritime trade allows the Cambodia to export its two best culinar specialities: crab from Kep and pepper from Kampot. the development of the country remains very slow, limited by its instability (policy, judicial and corruption).

12





Finally a big asset for the country is the Mekong. Source of fresh fish every day and of... dolphins living in freshwater!
These dolphins so-called the Irrawaddy dolphins, are also called pink dolphins of Mekong. It is a species endangered whose numbers has dropped from tens of thousands to 85 dolphins survivors during the last fifty years. You can still approach them on a boat or with your kayak.

13



Koh Rong, the drift of modern times

Five years ago, we used to say to people to go on Koh Rong, a desert island paradise where tourists can enjoy a huge beach in front of their bungalow. Today Koh Rong is a swarm of partying backpackers and the peaceful haven is now Koh Rong Samloem

14



Koh Rong Samloem, a heavenly island for a limited time

Hurry up! Tourism development is in process! You may no longer be able to admire a sunset only for you, or make free snorkeling around a bench of undiscovered coral! The Photo Gallery is full of its splendours and be sure that in five years, these pictures will be invaluable.

15



In conclusion, Cambodia is victim of its history

During a stay in Cambodia, we observe necessarily the consequences of the killings of Khmer Rouges. A part of age of the population has disappeared, the population remained very poor and rural. Smart people turn to work for tourism, the great hope of prosperity of the country. The reconstruction is on the way...
Cambodge in videos here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-CUk3xAtkr4_JCvYU6fZPtFpb1sj0E0E

1


Cambodia and its history
By Pierre with Bila

After I left Thailand, I started to go in the direction of Vietnam. First step: Cambodia. A visa received at the most corrupted border of the world and I was ready to start my stay in this country so affected by its history. Let me tell you





In the beginning, Khmer people were among the first inhabitants of the South East Asia. Getting rid of lords of Funan, they lived their golden age between the IX° and XIII° century including the construction of the Angkor sites.
Khmers named their land Kampuchea - Cambodia. Khmer is the most spoken language in the country.





After a long period of decline when neighboring Siams and Vietnamese kingdoms were increasingly more powerful, Cambodia accepted the French protectorate in 1863.
French colonialism left few traces, deleted largely during the communist regime that followed. Nevertheless we note the name of the avenue of General de Gaulle leading to Angkor Wat and also the Bokor Mountain station in the south, a remote hill abandoned since the independence of the country.





There was a short episode of Khmer Republic monitoring the independence of Cambodia, that happened after World War II. But then, following the wars in Indochina, the Khmer Rouges took the power in 1975.
The regime idealized by Pol Pot, the Leader of the Khmer Communist Party has been set up. His egalitarian society was based on the labour class, living from agriculture and where everyone was dressed in this outfit.



S-21: Tuol Sleng museum

To set up his ideal society, Pol Pot got rid of any potential enemy. Thus each executive, intellectual, high-ranking was arrested, then questioned until the confession of his crime against the regime of Kampuchea.
This old school, in the heart of Phnom Penh, was transformed into a prison by the Khmer Rouges, named S-21. It was one of the most terrible detention centers in the country, with 100 executions per day and thousands of victims photographed before and after their torture.



Choeung Ek: the Killing Fields

17 000 detainees of S21 that confessed their crime were sent to Choeung Ek, 14km of the capital city. Following the principle of Pol Pot: "It's better to eliminate an innocent than to release an enemy". Full families were killed for any suspicion.
In the mausoleum thousands of skulls of men, women, children of all ages and old persons who have been mangled with hammer, ax, baton, thus avoiding wasting valuable ammunition.



Life under the Khmer Rouges

Families from the cities were sent to work in the fields, then scattered. The population suffered from an unceasing malnutrition, when it was not famine. The rations of rice were exchanged for weapons and ammunition from China. The young men were enrolled to fight at the Vietnamese border.
In the last bastion of Khmer Rouges in the surrounding hills of Battambang, the enemies of the state were executed in the killing caves.



End of the Khmer Rouges

The invasion of Vietnam, victim of unceasing attacks from Khmer Rouges released the inhabitants of the country. Pol Pot and his henchmen fled to Thailand. In the end, two million people perished during the four years: that represents a third of the population of Cambodia, murdered by its own compatriots.
"First they killed my Father" written by a little girl victim of Pol Pot's state, is a real testimony of the horrors of Khmer Rouges. When the madness of some people results in darkest pages of history of a country.



New page of history

After a transition period under Vietnamese control, named the People's Republic of Kampuchea, the renewal of the country is happening since 1989 and it's mostly based on tourism development.
And to overcome their past bloody, people have erected memorials and museums for never do again the past mistakes.





Now the country relives. Its revenue sources are mainly agriculture and fishing. The great specialty of Cambodia is pepper from Kampot, world famous for centuries.
Technics are still evolving nowadays: now ten feet of pepper can grow on these constructions in brick (instead of three by trees). After tasting, I understand why the greatest Parisian restaurants use Kampot peppers. The different colors of grains made the color of the pepper: white, red and black.





Other strength of the country: maritime trade allows the Cambodia to export its two best culinar specialities: crab from Kep and pepper from Kampot. the development of the country remains very slow, limited by its instability (policy, judicial and corruption).





Finally a big asset for the country is the Mekong. Source of fresh fish every day and of... dolphins living in freshwater!
These dolphins so-called the Irrawaddy dolphins, are also called pink dolphins of Mekong. It is a species endangered whose numbers has dropped from tens of thousands to 85 dolphins survivors during the last fifty years. You can still approach them on a boat or with your kayak.



Koh Rong, the drift of modern times

Five years ago, we used to say to people to go on Koh Rong, a desert island paradise where tourists can enjoy a huge beach in front of their bungalow. Today Koh Rong is a swarm of partying backpackers and the peaceful haven is now Koh Rong Samloem



Koh Rong Samloem, a heavenly island for a limited time

Hurry up! Tourism development is in process! You may no longer be able to admire a sunset only for you, or make free snorkeling around a bench of undiscovered coral! The Photo Gallery is full of its splendours and be sure that in five years, these pictures will be invaluable.



In conclusion, Cambodia is victim of its history

During a stay in Cambodia, we observe necessarily the consequences of the killings of Khmer Rouges. A part of age of the population has disappeared, the population remained very poor and rural. Smart people turn to work for tourism, the great hope of prosperity of the country. The reconstruction is on the way...
Cambodge in videos here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-CUk3xAtkr4_JCvYU6fZPtFpb1sj0E0E

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