Tag Archives: Cambodia

Angkor – Exhibit at ACM

When you can’t be at the real place … a museum exhibit is most welcome.

There is always something to be thankful for. And living in a beautiful convenient city like this is one of them.

Temple of a Thousand Faces


A novel which centers around Angkor Wat, Prince Jayavarman VII’s forced exile and his eventual return to Angkor as King. John Shors did a wonderful job in recreating life as the Khmers might have experienced it, within and around Angkor Wat, which already existed as a magnificent and worshipped structure then. His characters are humanly flawed – they fail, they succumb to their desires and ego, yet they also give in to the simple joys of life – being with family, waking up next to your loved ones everyday – all these facets come together to give light and depth to each character.

“Why did you come here? Why did you attack us?”
Asal had asked himself the same question. “The nature of men is to wage war,” he replied, and then offered her a flask of wine and bamboo tube, which she took. “Chams. Khmers. Siamese. We all fight.”
“Perhaps if you were women, if you created life, you wouldn’t be so quick to take it.”




Every Saturday, Dr Beat Ritchner gives a short cello recital at the Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap to raise awareness and funds for his Kantha Bopha Children’s hospitals. With great, wheezing breadths (which I tried to ignore), his cello becomes his voice, crying for children all over the country, and the world. Children whose parents are too poor to afford even basic healthcare. Children who die from simple ailments, easily curable in a developed country. Children who don’t get a chance in life, because they have been disadvantaged from birth.

In between pieces, he narrates reasons why the existence of his hospital is so important for the children of Cambodia. He gives facts, figures – the number of children that would die each day, if not for the Kantha Bopha hospitals in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. He argues that the government should help, but isn’t doing as much as they should, and one can easily sense his frustration at this point.

If I didn’t see it for myself through the touching video, it would have been hard to imagine – the thousands and thousands of mothers, fathers and children – people who get Hope from the existence from a hospital such as this. And the lives that might have been lost if not for Kantha Bopha.



To a certain extent, the visit to the hospital made me realise how oblivious I am to the good life I have.

And when realisation strikes – the realisation that it could very well be me living in a mud hut, a 3km walk away from the nearest hospital, too poor to buy basic painkillers, or vitamins… All in a twist of fate… The realisation slams me like a heavy weight that drags my guts down to the depths of my stomach. And at night, before I sleep, in the air-conditioned room and under cosy comforters, I wonder to myself: “What good did you do to deserve the wonderful life you have?”

And the self-reply whispers: “Maybe its time to start doing something MORE to make yourself worthy of this life you’ve been given.”

The Cambodian Landmine Museum and School


The museum is approximately 25km North of Siem Reap. It’s worth a visit if you want to show your support to the work Aki Ra is doing to help his country. There is a souvenir shop where you can purchase items. Our trip there was partially ruined by stomach-upsets (no thanks to the lunch we had at the roadside stall a few hours before), and the lack of a guide. According to the website, guided tours are available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. We were there on a Saturday, so I guess it was just our luck.

After we came home, I watched this video:

Immensely touching. Redemption may be difficult, but it is possible, as long as we are willing to try.

Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity

Day 5 of Cambodia.

We decided to head down to the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity, after reading many good reviews about the place.

After a 2-hour or so ride (we silently thanked our hotel staff for advising us not to ride there in a Tuk-Tuk), we arrived at a relatively isolated area, near Kbal Spean.

The passionate guide brought us around the grounds, telling us of the various projects undertaken by the centre, ranging from wildlife rescue, to releasing of animals back into their natural habits.

Unfortunately many of the animals were in enclosures and it was not always easy to spot them.

The primate enclosure was quite a sight to observe, though. They are so human in so many ways.

Only this fellow here was spotted roaming freely around the centre’s grounds, and it gave our guide a few friendly “dance moves”, apparently to express affection, much to our amusement.

Overall, the work they’re doing there is indeed commendable, and they could sure use the extra donations from visiting tourists.

Reminder to self, should I ever go to such a place again: Bring mosquito repellent. Bring shades. Bring sunblock. And avoid the ants.