s i x p e g s

fashion, music, fun, love and everything about my life.

Cambodia – The Killing Fields and S-21 Prison

with 10 comments

I love the food in Cambodia.
Partly because of the wide variety of various cuisines we can find there.
My favourite would be the Thai and Khmer food though, totally dig those!

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We set off to visit Phnom Penh on our 3rd (or was it the 4th?) day of our trip.
We hired a driver to bring us there and around the city.
The ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh took around 5 hours odd.
Fortunately, the car ride was pretty comfortable and we managed to catch up on our sleep in the vehicle.
Although the total travel time took up more than 10 hours,
the few hours we spent in Phnom Penh made it totally worthwhile.

Lunch break before we start our day in Phnom Penh.

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A told me about this place called The Killing Fields.
You may click on the link above to read up more about how this place came about on its Wikipedia page.

I was initially a little worried about visiting this place, after hearing how
we might still see fragments of dried white bones embedded in the ground as we walk around the fields.
The sheer thought of how thousands of tortured souls had lost their lives at this very place gave me the chills.
What’s more frightening is how recent this horrible genocide is.
I don’t understand how can any one person bring himself to play God and decide how
other innocent lives should be ended based on what he believes.

But ironically, being there physically made me feel anything but afraid.
It was calm, and peaceful in its own ways.
I guess not being alive is afterall a release and an escape for the victims who suffered in this genocide.

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World peace – funny how people can laugh when they hear people wishing for world peace.
Deep down, we all know that without world peace, nobody will be truly happy.
It was really heartwarming moment to see these beautiful paper cranes at The Killing Fields.

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In case you can’t see what is written on the wooden board in front of the tree, it says:
“Magic Tree – the tree was used as a tool to hang a loudspeaker which
made sound louder to avoid the moan of victims when they were being executed.”

These cowardly bastards.

There are still fragments and pieces of clothings partially buried in the ground.
Pieces of fabrics from clothes of the victims who lost their lives at this very location more than 3 decades ago.

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I was too engrossed taking in everything there was to see at the fields that I didn’t take much pictures.
There were many, many mass graves over there.
And out of the few labelled ones were graves of headless victims,
graves of victims who were stripped naked before they were executed, and many more.
Many of these graves were just a small plot of land with an overgrowth of moss.
But the one that caught my attention was the mass grave of hundreds of women and children,
it was the only one with young green plants growing on the grave.
Made me feel comforted and at peace when I looked at it.

Don’t know about A, but I didn’t dare to talk too much when I was walking around here.

Before the victims were being transported to The Killing Fields to be executed,
many of them were being tortured and imprisoned at the S-21 prison.
This prison, previously a school, was named S-21 (meaning Security 21).
And this place was one of the many prisons used to house the prisoners during the revolution.

While The Killing Fields gave people a somewhat calm and serene feeling,
the S-21 prison is filled with a mixed emotion of cruelty, anger and a lot of fear.
The buildings were gloomy looking.
As I walked around the place and looked at pictures of the people who once
spent the darkest hours of their lives here, I could almost feel their fear and hear their silent screams.

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They chained the victims to these old metal bed frames.
Hung on the wall is a picture of someone who had lost his life on this bed.

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That metal tin box you see above is the toilet for the prisoners.
The waste in the boxes will then be collected into this huge clay jug
and used as one of the tortures for the prisoners in the S-21 prison.

These are the rules and regulations for the prisoners at S-21.

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These are pictures of the cells in the prison.
Each dark and tiny classroom has 11 cells, divided by tall wooden planks.
There are no windows, only a small opening on the door that will
only be opened during meal times where the prisoners were given a 1 or 2 mouthfuls of thin and diluted gruel.
I didn’t dare to take pictures into the cells. Too damn freaky.

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The barb wires were put up to prevent the prisoners from killing themselves by jumping off the building.
According to our guide there, the prisoners were not even allowed to walk around the premise.
Instead, they were being tied to a long rod and carried around like animals by the soldiers.

Oh well, I know today’s entry is a little gloomy.
But I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that such cruelty and barbaric behaviour still exist in our society.
We should all learn to love each other more.
Ok, here’s a picture of a hungry A waiting for dinner to be served.

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Will be back with more pictures from our trip down the Tonle Sap river and Kompong Phluk.

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Written by SIXPEGS

June 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Posted in A, Travels

Tagged with , , , , ,

10 Responses

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  1. Wow.. you made Cambodia alive with your photography! Which camera did you use?

    Diy

    June 24, 2011 at 10:03 am

  2. Diy – Thanks! :) I used the Olympus EP1.

    sixpegs

    June 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm

  3. It’s disgusting how Pol Pot was unrepentant even before he died…what a devil.

    kate

    June 25, 2011 at 1:28 am

  4. Hey Pegs! U made the scenes look so alive, even when I’m just scrolling down the page. It’s heartwrenching to read about the encounter these ppl went through but then again, it taught us sth. This entry is simple yet meaningful. Truly enjoyed reading it. =)

    Lilian

    June 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm

  5. Hi dear,
    Haven’t spoken to you in a while!!
    How have you been?
    Great photos you have there =)
    I didn’t visit these places you did the last time I went.. Looks like another trip is calling..

    Joey Chong

    June 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

  6. Hello! I’m interested in going to Cambodia to see the Killing Fields and S21 too. May i check if you did a free and easy tour there? Did you book the local tours via your hotel? Lastly, how long of a stay is just nice? :D Thank you!

    Charlene

    June 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    • kate – i also say.

      Lilian – Thanks for reading Lilian.

      Joey Chong – hey joey, yeah I haven’t seen you in a while! I’m doing good. :) You should go there soon too!

      Charlene – It was a free and easy tour. No I didn’t book the tours through the hotel. Just talk to the drivers there, they would all be dying to drive you around during your time there. Go read up more online too! :) I like around 5 days would be good? Not too fast paced.

      XX – FOOD IS NAISE! I spent $2.5k for everything.

      Jenny – Aileen is a man.

      sixpegs

      June 28, 2011 at 9:16 pm

  7. Omg the food looks so good! What was your budget for the trip?? I’d like to go backpacking after my studies :D

    XX

    June 27, 2011 at 9:24 pm

  8. Are you lesbian now?

    Jenny

    June 28, 2011 at 1:18 am

  9. hihi! ur photos of cambodia looks awesome! (: cant wait for my own trip alr! anw was just wondering are there any dress code for angkor wat in siem reap and the killing fields and s21 prision in phnom penh? (:

    huka

    July 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm


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