It was a powerful empire that defined the history of Indo China for about 600 years till it fell in the 15th century. The country never regained the glory – colonized by French, bombed by US during the Vietnam War and then hit its abyss over the short but devastating stint of Khmer Rouge. About a fourth of the population died over four years of genocide perpetrated by ‘Brother number one’ (they still prefer to call Pol Pot by his nom de guerre).
But the glory of arguably the most significant vestige of the Khmer empire never frayed or faded away. The Angkor Wat is omnipresent – fluttering away on the national flag, designed on beer cans, imprinted on currency and medals, lending its name to night pubs. The greatest export.
I did not spend enough time in Cambodia to make any insightful commentary, or pass a judgement. But…..I could not help noticing the pitch of poverty and helplessness that has seeped in all conversations, perhaps with tourists alone to gain sympathy and dollars. The nation and people deserve a greater sense of pride.
Here is a photo documentary, touristy if you may.