160916 Phnom Penh

Our day today was a very hard one. When I returned from my visit to the world renowned ‘killing fields’, I wrote these first few paragraphs, in another place, because that was on my heart on my return.

I have just returned from an excursion to the “killing fields” in Cambodia and before I go to lunch, I just want to say how depressing it is to hear of the dramatic way that one man created such havoc to so many innocent people in this beautiful country. Around 2 million people, or 20% of the population, were killed by a sharp blow to the back of the neck on the edge of the mass grave into which they would fall. These victims were educated doctors, lawyers, teachers and their children, as well as anyone who looked educated. Wearing glasses qualified you to be held in S21 for torturing and investigation under terrible circumstances, before being taken to the killing fields.

Why am I telling you all this? No, it’s not because I want to make you feel scared of your existence in a ‘safe’ Australia. I would never consider that to execute innocents, is the direction anyone should take to benefit mankind. However, when someone in authority takes control of a situation without considering ALL avenues that could be implemented, to me, it borders on dictatorship. All dictators perish or are overthrown.

Thank goodness, for the Cambodians and the world, Pol Pot was overthrown. However he lived to die of natural causes. His punishment was a life sentence to give him mental torture in pondering how shocking  his self-centred ideology was. War is only about greed and overpowering the innocent. Never entertain the idea of war in any situation, but then, we do not live in a perfect world.

While I visited the killing fields Lyn, who had visited them two years ago, attended a Cambodian cooking class. The class went to the market and purchased the food and then went back to the classroom to prepare two courses. I’m hoping the new recipe gets used on our return – it looked scrumptuous.

The afternoon until 4:00pm was free, so 4 of us found a place for anotheimg_4685r massage. The ladies had a foot and shoulder massage while Greg and I had a 4 hands massage. It wasn’t as good as the massages we had in Saigon, but acceptable.

We were given a ride on a tuk tuk to the Raffles Le Royal Hotel where we had high tea and were entertained by some guys who performed a Traditional Khmer Shadow Puppet Show. Greg, who it turns out is rather dry and humorous, came to Lyn afterwards and thanked “mummy for the 2 year old puppet show”. After the show, we were allowed to roam around the Hotel and found the wine glass that Jackie Kennedy left her lipstick on. This was before the Pol Pot regime, and was kept in a safe place for all those years.

Tomorrow we are in Phnom Penh for the morning and then cruise on up the mighty Mekong River.