Cambodia is one of the most memorable places that i've visited, even surpassed the European countries that i have visited so far. There are still so much to learn about the rich history of the country, the culture, the adversity of the Cambodians, still trying to get out of the casting shadow of the brutal remains of the Khmer Rouge Regime.
I have learnt a few new things in this trip :
1) Siem Reap is named after a defeat of Thailand. 'Siem' meaning 'Thailand', 'Reap' meaning 'Defeat'
2) The most common auto rickshaw you seen on the road, resembling the 'tuk tuk' in Bangkok, is not known as 'xxxxxxx' (damn it! i cant recall the name! can someone who knows advise me plsss) The Cambodians are trying their best efforts to break free from the association with Thailand as they have been centuries of old bloodbath as long as the Angkor days.
3) Wondering why each step of the Angkor temples was built so steep and narrow, even a bound feet lady might not be able to fit onto the steps? There is a reason behind it, acsending to the temple is like making your way to Heaven, filled with challenges and difficulties. (not for everyone!)
4) The per annual Capital income of Cambodia is about USD480. 90% of the poverty stays in rural areas and 1/3 of the Cambodians only earns One USD a month. They survived by having their own crops and livestock.
5) Education is free for government schools, but literacy rate is still low because the parents cant afford to provide basic stationery like pencils and paper for the children.
A visit to the Angkor Children's hospital is heart wrenching. The poor brought their sick children from far away villages to visit this charity hospital. As the hospital is short of staffs, they do not operate on weekends. You see a group of parents, with their ill stricken kids, 'camping' at the lobby area for days sometimes.
Some kids are victims of landmines, with approximately 300 victims who suffered from landmine explosion each year. Their tiny lives were blasted away with a simple 'click' of the mine. Those who survived will face the brutal fact that life will not be the same anymore. Yet, the poor and sick seems to be more positive than anyone of us. They were excited to have visitors coming to the hospital, and smiling enchantingly at the cameras. I guess, simplicity is bliss.
Some pics to share, prepare your tissue papers!!