Published: August 20th 2008August 11th 2008
This painting, displayed under a forest tree, is labelled "For Foreigners." The artist wants people to know what happened there.
Cambodia has so many concrete statues, for more than Borneo. As an expatriate journalist in Kampot writes, It makes sense when a large part of the population cannot read, ... ie 'Turn right at the rhino and then left at the horse.'
Besides random African animals Batambang has many pictures, statues and tableaux with obvious didactic roles. I was fascinated by these:
The Killing Cave
Take the painting in my second picture. It is labelled For Foreigner
. The Khymer Rouge killed many people. They took them to the hole above a limestone cave, knocked them on the head, and threw them in. Some unlucky victims they threw in alive. The cave is now a shrine to the memory of the several hundred people killed here. Skulls and bones have been gathered into a glass-sided stupa.
The Lady with the Hair
There are statues of this lady all over Cambodia, and Laos too. I like to ask the locals about her and here are two (contratictory) answers. In the first one some out of the sea. The crocodiles were unable to swim and the holy people were holy people were crossing a dangerous sea and were
The hair lady is most commonly shown alone, but in this tableau she has a group of reverential admirers.
attacked by crocodiles. The maiden appeared and plaited her long hair, which she used to siphon all the watersaved. In the second answer the Buddha was travelling by boat and couldn't proceed because the river was too dry. This time the maiden plaited her hair and used it as a hose to pour water into the river. The Buddha and his monks were able to proceed on their journey. Now as to which version is the more credible ....
The Wooden Stick
"The name Battambang or Batdambang, literally means "loss of stick" Kranhoung the Stick King)." (Wikipedia) Maybe he threw his stick from Angkor and it landed at Battambangung Stick King).
The wicked king Ravenna kidnapped Sita and took her to Lanka. She was rescued by Rama (with a little help from Hanuman and his troop of monkeys) and returned to India. Here she is again being supported by Rama. The dress style of these statues shows how thoroughly the Indian Ramayana has become part of South East Asian culture. In this photograph a modern couple, with a different message, look down on Rama and Sita.
The Buddha Dharma
The Bus Stop Family: (from left) Simon, Brett and Teo sitting behind the guest house bar.
statues in the grounds of the wats often tell stories from the Buddha's life.
Travel Notes I spent five nights at The Bus Stop Guesthouse and splurged US$20.00 on a large room with a balcony and writing desk. It is run by Aussie Brett Mattherson and his wife Teo. Laundry and wifi are free. There is a bar where expatriate workers gather to drink. Brett answers emails reliably: email@example.com. Their web page is http://www.busstopcambodia.com.
How I've been
I started writing this in Angkor and am just managing to get it finished in Phnom Penh. It's not so easy to write with a travelling companion! Plus the only decent keyboards are in the tourist drag, which I'm happy to avoid. It has been great to meet up with Ray and have someone to share travelling experiences with. We have seen a lot and talked a lot and both of us are planning more travel posts on Cambodia. But mine will have to wait until we have toured the Mekong Delta and reached Saigon. Tomorrow we hope to catch Graham and Andrew over the other side of the Vietnam border and start the tour. Merle:
Preah Bat Dambang Kranhoung, himself, with his stick.
I'm thrilled you are reading along! Ali:
I'll still be able to compare the Vietnamese railways with our experience on the Trans-Siberian. Sylvia:
I dashed through Phnom Penh. I thought it busy and dusty, but didn't see too many beggars. We are going back for a proper look around tomorrow. Going to be staying with Kate's sister. Di:
I never had an experience like this one on the Indian tracks. Mary:
Cambodian food turned out to be gently spicy. Lots of coconut and lemongrass, but they go lightly on the chilli. Tho for lunch today I was given chopped red chill in vinegar on the side to brighten up my veggies. Tamara:
You'll win a medal if you don't watch out. Azam:
Please stop making me homesick with all those cakes! Barbara:
Keep up the Geography studies ... and don't be afraid to ask questions!
There are more photos below