Friday, August 10, 2012

Cambodia - The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek & Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

During my Kembara Prihatin trip to Cambodia, we were give 1 day to tour around Phnom Penh. We were taken to few key attractions of Phnom Penh and I have to say, it was eerie. At first I don't even want to join them (was thinking of accompanying my aunt and her friend to purchase some goods for the Muslim Floating Village but my aunt said since I enjoy historical places, I should go). OK lah.... I go lor...

Please understand, when it comes to places like this; I AM VERY scared (listening to surah Yasin memanjang). Why?

The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek

From Wikipedia
The Killing Fields
The Killing Fields are a number of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime, during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Cambodian Civil War (1970-1975).

Analysis of 20,000 mass grave sites by the DC-Cam Mapping Program and Yale University indicate at least 1,386,734 victims.[1][2] Estimates of the total number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including disease and starvation, range from 1.7 to 2.5 million out of a population of around 8 million. In 1979, communist Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea and toppled the Khmer Rouge regime.
The Genocide
The Khmer Rouge regime arrested and eventually executed almost everyone suspected of connections with the former government or with foreign governments, as well as professionals and intellectuals. Ethnic Vietnamese, ethnic Thai, ethnic Chinese, ethnic Chams (Muslim Cambodians), Cambodian Christians, and the Buddhist monkhood were the demographic targets of persecution. As a result, Pol Pot is sometimes described as "the Hitler of Cambodia" and "a genocidal tyrant." Martin Shaw described the Cambodian genocide as "the purest genocide of the Cold War era.

This was the uncle and auntie that 'took care' of me during the tour, my aunt 'titip' me to them..... they were such a darling, insisting to pay everything even after I said "Uncle, Lily ada duit bayar, it's only USD3". Was so touch.... if uncle & auntie's kids happen to read this. Your parents rocks!!!! The bestest!

PS : They are funny too, I kept laughing listening to them both.

I saw this in few websites, apparently all the skulls & bones of  victims killed by Khmer Rouge soldiers are stored inside. Memang tak masuk ler.... lalu sipi sipi jek.

This picture was zoomed, I wouldn't dare to even step foot at the corridor.

From Wikipedia

In some cases the children and infants of adult victims were killed by having their heads bashed against the trunks of Chankiri trees. The rationale was "to stop them growing up and taking revenge for their parents' deaths."


This was once the mass grave.

Uncle being a tour guide.... kelakar giler, all aunties taking his pic lak tuh. Cute kan.

From Wikipedia

Pol Pot (19 May 1925 – 15 April 1998), born Saloth Sar (Khmer: ប៉ុល ពត), was a Cambodian Maoist revolutionary who led the Khmer Rouge from 1963 until his death in 1998. From 1963 to 1981, he served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea. From 1976 to 1979, he also served as the prime minister of Democratic Kampuchea. Pol Pot became leader of Cambodia on April 17, 1975. During his time in power he imposed agrarian socialism, forcing urban dwellers to relocate to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labor projects. The combined effects of forced labor, malnutrition, poor medical care, and executions resulted in the deaths of approximately 21% of the Cambodian population. In all, an estimated 1.7 to 2.5 million people (out of a population of slightly over 8 million) died as a result of the policies of his three-year premiership.

Apologies in advance for appending all Wikipedia links, reason being the history is too long for me to even pen it down, best way is to read and visit the place - honestly. You can still feel the pain and suffering if the people of Cambodia.
For those who is doing any DIY trip, you can either charter the tuk-tuk (its a fair distance from town to Killing Fields) or hop to the next available tuk-tuk outside.

Next place is equivalently eerie....
From Wikipedia

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Khmer: សារមន្ទីរឧក្រិដ្ឋកម្មប្រល័យពូជសាសន៍ទួលស្លែង) is a museum in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The site is a former high school which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge communist regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979. Tuol Sleng (Khmer [tuəl slaeŋ]) means "Hill of the Poisonous Trees" or "Strychnine Hill".

From 1975 to 1979, an estimated 17,000 people were imprisoned at Tuol Sleng (some estimates suggest a number as high as 20,000, although the real number is unknown). At any one time, the prison held between 1,000–1,500 prisoners. They were repeatedly tortured and coerced into naming family members and close associates, who were in turn arrested, tortured and killed.

Scary huh!
YES!!! Another one to my list.

This is how the whole place looks like.... bila masuk memang tak sedap hati. I don't even dare to go up to other floors.

Next was more fun & leisure then scary & eerie. Hehehhehe..... we took a boat trip (OK! I was still scared, me no like water remember, and no life jacket lak tuh).

Now, after seeing this, scary right? Right? Right?

The cruise was pleasent, however the weather was cloudy. Pictures didnt turn out good (not that it was any good to begin with pun).


Meitzeu said...

nice photography.

Beautiful Cambodia.

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Azizan Zolkipli said...

Saksi kepada kekejaman rejim Pol Pot. Terasa nak aje saya bermalam di kedua2 lokasi tahanan dan penyeksaan tu.

Ehhh, Tuol Sleng Genocide tu pun World Heritage ? Taklah ! Itu cuma 'Memory of the World' aje kan ?

Kena periksa balik senarai UNESCO ni ...

MasZuber said...

zaman pol pot mmg org cambodia nie kena siksa..

mesti spooky area tue..

Zara AB said...

I was in Cambodia last May. Mmg betul. Those 2 places - Killing Fields and Genocide Museum are tooo eerie for me too!

Lily Riani said...


thanks! it is beautiful.


nak bermalam... ish! jgn kot... unless nak jadi seekers ehheheh.... rasa nye most site di iktiraf sebagai UNESCO.

Lily Riani said...


mmg spooky, you patut gi museum cam na dia seksa orang... ish! we are lucky and blessed.

zara ab,

kan kan kan.... spooly kan. ngucap memanjang ok.

Unknown said...

Killing field, The Genocide, Pol Pot...the places I have been shouting to visit every now & then. Sabar je my friends. Bising nak gi sini tapi ended up gi South Korea.

Thanks for sharing Lily, really enjoyed reading ur experiences.

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