It’s hard to get past the contradictions in this city. First, the Cambodia has been through the most hideous, maniacal, murderous regime in recent memory. Pol Pot was as bad as Hitler, only he was murdering his own people on a scale that’s unfathomable. Two to three million people, almost half the population at the time, killed within a four year period is insanity. His Khmer Rouge regime had no plans for the future, no vision to grow the country. Instead what was once the equal of any other country in South-East Asia is now still arguably the poorest.
This is where the second observation sickens me. There is so much incredible architecture to be admired in this city. The Royal Palace and National Museum of Cambodia just to name a couple, and they should be maintained for all to see. But then you see some of the embassies that have been built, or the Council of Ministers building, and you wonder why they can build these on such a grand scale, yet there are so many homeless, penniless people living in the streets right outside. It doesn’t make sense to me, although I’m sure we can all take a pretty good stab in the dark at what’s going on.
While I didn’t love Phnom Penh, I’m glad I came, even if it was to simply give me some perspective of what is going on in the world, and appreciate a little more what we have at home in Australia. After all, one of the reasons we embarked on this nomadic adventure was to get out of our comfort zone, see the world (warts and all) and find out if we Australians really do live in the ‘Lucky Country’.
Here’s our video of our stay in Phnom Penh, we hope you enjoy it…
MUSIC: “Curtain Up” by Jahzzar