Photo Hunt: Glass

My entry might be a bit different from what other participants have this week. This “glass” represents the darkest moments in Cambodian history.

The photo below shows the glass panels of the memorial stupa inside the Choueng Ek Genocide Centre. It contains thousands of human skulls and bones, belonging to the victims of the Khmer Rouge, arranged by age and sex.

photo hunt glass of horror

I have written about this before, also a part of the Photo Hunt entry. You can find the post here to understand more about this glass of horror.

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Photo Hunt: Lazy

These are the hard-working carabaos, aka, water buffaloes, lazing in the muddy part of a ricefield in rural Cambodia. They are endemic to Southeast Asia.

carabaos water buffalloes
On my way to work, this is one of the views that greet me everyday. Cows and carabaos are important draught animals in Cambodia and other countries in Southeast Asia.

Funny how I used “hard-working” and “laz(y)ing” in one sentence. I guess when they’re not at work or when they’re done with their work, they deserve to laze around and enjoy a mud spa of sorts 😉

These beasts are a farmer’s bestfriend, especially in the Philippines. Here in Cambodia, farmers use cows more than carabaos, but I digress.

They are very useful in the farm, ploughing the fields. Farmers rely on the carabao’s slow but hard work to get the job of ploughing the fields done. Not only that, carabaos are also used as modes of transportation (riding on their backs or pulling carts laden with people and stuff). Carabao milk is also highly-sought to make cheese (kesong puti), yummy sweets and desserts.

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Photo Hunt: Under

When my pet Joe, aka, Negro Bandido (the Black Bandit) was a puppy, he followed me everywhere I go. I think he is more attached to me than my husband because I stayed home more often than he did when we had Joe.

While getting acquainted with being a stay-at-home Sreisaat, I was lucky enough to snag a few consultancy work that didn’t require me to be at the office all the time. So, that meant less time playing with Joe as I had to “work” on some days. No problem. Joe found a quiet and convenient spot to be near me the whole time.

photo hunt joe under my rattan chair
Joe’s favourite spot – under the rattan couch where I sat.

And during rare times he was not there, I knew exactly where to find him – to his second favourite spot.

invisible joe
I eez eenveezeeble. Right, Joe. Especially when no one is looking 😉

… under the small side table that I used where I was working on my laptop. This was also his favourite place to play hide and seek with me and my husband, especially when he saw us toting the camera. He was camery-shy and didn’t want to be seen by us. Quietly hiding under this table with only his cute paws on display, he probably thought he was invisible, lol.

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Photo Hunt 076: Hairy

Some of you might have seen this picture before. I posted this awhile back (not for PH) so I’m re-posting it here as I think it fits the “hairy” theme this week. Here goes:

sadhus of nepal

These are some of the sadhus I met while sightseeing in the ancient city of Bakhtapur, just outside Kathmandu (winter, 2007). Initially, I got scared when I first saw them – rugged-looking men with thick, matted dreadlocks and ochre body paints. Some even wore their extremely long hair in a bundle on top of their head.

Pardon my ignorance. I was later told they were totally harmless. The sadhus are generally revered for their holiness, having chosen to leave behind the material world to focus on their spiritual perfection, however, there are some sadhus who are feared for their curses.

Do you know what a Khumbh Mela is? This is a Hindu religious pilgrimage at the Ganges and Godavari river in India where the sadhus are the heart of the congregation. It happens only once every three years.

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Photo 074: QUIET. Please.

Before I proceed with my post, I want to tell you that the following photos and the history they stand for are horrifying and that you might find them disturbing.

Choeung Ek commune is about 15kms outside of Phnom Penh and has a deceiving quiet rural charm.  This town holds a secret of a dark, violent past – it is where one of the infamous killing fields are located.These are photos of the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. This was the terminal point of most of the prisoners of the infamous S21 Detention Centre, also known as Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide Crimes. Prisoners who were held captive at S21 were taken to Choeung Ek Killing Fields where they were bludgeoned to death and their bodies dumped in more than a hundred  shallow, mass grave sites there. Out of the estimated 1.7million killed during the Khmer Rouge rule, about 17,000 were believed to be killed and buried here in Choeung Ek.

Entering the site, a towering Buddhist stupa greets the visitors. I instantly noticed that the surroundings is cloaked with an eerie silence.

Encased in the stupa are skulls of the thousands of men, women, and children who were executed here and this structure serves as a memorial to them. Every year a special ceremony is held at Choeung Ek. Monks were brought in to pray for each and every soul that were so savagely murdered.

As we followed the path, there was a reminder for us to remain quiet as a show of respect. Only the sounds of the occasional crickets and the rustling of leaves and footsteps can be heard.

Walking  on the grounds where you know the mass graves are  is sad and eerie and there were a lot of signs that could not be ignored.

Women and children were stripped off their clothes before they were killed and thrown into these shallow sunken graves.

Babies and small children were smashed against tree trunks – my heart sank at the horrifying thought.

One of the Killing Trees in Choeung Ek. The sign says: Killing tree against which executioners beat children.

And over a little further some more  chilling reminders…

Loud communist propaganda music were played in the killing fields at night to drown the deathly screams and cries of the victims. It was very quiet when I visited but I couldn’t help but imagine the screams and cries and what went through in the victims’ minds in their last moments.

I’ve been living here in Cambodia for more than a decade now and this is the first time I went to Choeung Ek. Visiting Choeung Ek and Tuol Sleng is not for the faint-hearted. I agree it is important to understand history but, I swear, I will never set foot on that place again. It’s one of the most heart-wrenching experiences I’ve ever had.

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Photo Hunt 070: Ooooooo!

I’m not sure if my entry fits the theme this week but I’m posting anyway. These are some of the “Ooooooo” photos my husband and I took of the double sundogs from our kite-flying last week. Sundogs and photos of sundogs are exciting!

Isn’t that an “Oooooo!” moment  right there for me?

Totally! My first sundog sighting and a rare double at that. Ooooo!
Totally! My first sundog sighting and a rare double at that. Ooooo!

I love how my husband captured the double halo rings and still managed to put me in the frame. That and a silhouetted me gave it a supernatural dimension, did they not?

And here’s one I took of my husband and brother while preparing to fly the kite.

A rare moment captured here.
A rare moment captured here.

Incredible sight! What does that remind you of?

Holy cow!  A big eye in the sky!
Holy cow!  A big eye in the sky!

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Photo Hunt 069: Flats in Kampot

These are French-styled Khmer flats that are for sale or rent down on the southeast coast of Kampot. These flats are unbelievably {expensive} as they are right in the middle of the town facing Kampong Bay river.

The Kampot riverside is lined with pretty French colonial flats that have, more often than not, shophouses on the ground floor.
The Kampot riverside is lined with pretty French colonial flats that have, more often than not, shophouses on the ground floor.

My brother took this photo during a visit to Kampot last year and he gave me permission to post it here after my fruitless search for an entry that fits this week’s theme.

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