Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

For this week’s photo challenge I chose a photo from Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. At one time this used to be a high school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. However, during Pol Pot‘s rule, this school was used as a prison to unjustly house some of the citizens of Cambodia. Many would later be tortured and executed. This photo was taken from behind the wire on the second floor of one of the buildings.




Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused

This week was definitely a challenge for me because I usually delete any photos that are unfocused. I did manage to find a couple though that didn’t end up in my virtual trash bin.

This photo was taken in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

This photo was taken at the Semmegoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Malaysia. Can anybody guess what animal is making its way through the trees?


Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

My inlaws standing together at Namsangol Hanok Village in Seoul, South Korea.

Pigs huddled together in a small village in Cambodia.

My expectant wife and our unborn child together.

Dropping By the Palace in Phnom Penh

The royal palace in Phnom Penh is one of the must-see sites of Cambodia. These beautiful buildings have been occupied by Cambodia’s royal family since the 1860’s. Only during the brief, but brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge was the palace unoccupied.

The Throne Hall was once used by royal officials. It still gets use today during royal and religious ceremonies.

The Moonlight Pavilion has been used and continues to be used as a stage for Khmer classical dance.

The Royal Palace buildings not only look good from afar, but also up close. The detailed sculptures found under the roof are quite lovely.

The gardens around the buildings are well-maintained and make for great photos in and of themselves.

The Royal Palace is a place you should definitely visit if you are in Phnom Penh. The colorful buildings and gardens make for a great spot for photos.

The Killing Fields of Cambodia

This is my second blog installment covering the genocide that ravaged Cambodia in the 1970’s. Between 1975-1979, an estimated 2 million people were killed at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot. The mass graves of these victims can be found in various locations in the country. The most famous one, Choeung Ek, is found a short drive from Phnom Penh.

At one time these fields contained an orchard and a Chinese graveyard, but during the regime, the fields were used for mass graves. Around 8,900 bodies were found here.

As the weather changes throughout the year and Cambodia is hit with monsoon rains, the rain causes the soil to wash away. Bones, teeth and clothing continue to surface during these times.

A large stupa stands in the middle of Choeung Ek. Inside its glass walls are the skulls of victims. Many of the skulls show fractures indicating how the the person met his or her death.

Most of your walking tour around Choeung Ek is done in silence as you listen to information through a portable audio device. This device also contains the stories from the survivors of the regime. Most, if not all tourists, listen to these stories as they walk around a peaceful pond.

A journey to Choeung Ek is necessary when visiting Cambodia. It is another glimpse into the genocide that occurred during the Khmer Rogue regime. It is a peephole into the sad history of this country, a look into what an evil ambition for power can accomplish.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

*Sorry for my absence. I was on a trip to Cambodia and didn’t have a chance to blog while I was there.* 

During a recent trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, I had the privilege (if you can say that) to visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The museum is housed in a former high school that was used by the Pol Pot regime as a security prison during his 1975-1979 reign.

The genocide that he oversaw on the people of Cambodia was horrific and yet mostly unknown in the western world because of its overshadowing by the Vietnam war, which happened before it. In all, about 2 million people perished under Pol Pot’s iron and brutal fist. Many of them died at Tuol Sleng.

These people were murdered for being doctors, teachers, nurses, etc… Anyone who did not fit with Pol Pot’s plan to turn the country into a completely agricultural state met their demise.

One of the ladies who took us there was a teenager at the time of the dictatorship. She lost grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters. Basically her entire family. It was difficult to hear her story and see the freshness of that experience in her watery eyes.

I wouldn’t call it a privilege to visit this site of inhumane treatment. Though I do feel a trip to Cambodia isn’t complete without meeting its history head-on in Tuol Sleng. Without knowing Cambodia’s history its difficult to understand its current state. It will also make you appreciate the friendly Khmer people all the more.