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Published: March 12th 2007
The Burning BushPhnom Penh - Sen Monorom - Kratie
Bush fires are common in outback Cambodia. Here in Mondulkiri Province Emergency Services is your next door neighbour and a bucket of water from the well. That's why no one grows a lawn - fire hazard.
Death may be one of the two certainties in life, but unlike taxes, it certainly doesn’t have to be boring. It’s true that we can’t all choose the way we go, and it’s true that in most cases death will stick to the biggies such as heart failure, cancer or daytime television, but every so often death will try and find someone in the most bizarre of circumstances.
I’m not talking here about something like the Darwinian Awards because they are down to the pure stupidity of the deceased rather than just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. For example, how unlucky do you have to be to get struck by lightening? Surely the chances of dying as the result of a direct lightening strike are minuscule? However, if you decide during a lightening storm that the only way you’re going to get decent enough reception to finish watching Baywatch, is to go onto the roof to adjust the aerial, being killed by lightening is not bad luck, it's just stupid and deserves its place in the Darwinian Awards - the world should know what a plonker you were.
VIP Torture Room/Prison Cell - Toul Sleng, Phnom Penh
Toul Sleng - otherwise known as detention centre S-21 is a converted High School where Pol Pot imprisoned and murdered thousands of the 2 million that died during his campaign between 1975 and 1979. You don't really want to know what's going on in the picture above the bed...
We’ve all read articles at some point in our lives about a tragic death that, despite being obviously devastating for those who knew the deceased, has made us wonder about how on earth that could possibly come about. Well, I mentioned the example of lightening because I recently read an article about a 19 year old French charity worker who was killed during a lightening storm not far from where we stayed in Cambodia’s Mondulkiri Province. The article was sincere and factual in its description of the sad occurrence, yet my initial thought was not “what a tragic loss” or “how terrible for the family”; my first thoughts were “how unlucky is that?”, followed by “well, at least his friends will have an interesting story to tell in the pub”.
And so we come to the point of todays witterings.
Imagine you had picked up your copy of the Daily Mail and, having ignored the headlines about Jordan’s breasts and read the story about those other two boobs, George and Tony sending more troops to Iraq, you stumble upon this small article in the “World News” section: Brit Woman, 28, Crushed to Death by Elephant
Prisoner Mugshots - Toul SlengCambodia
Thousands of pictures of the detainees at S21 were kept by the authorities. The pictures in the middle distance are actually of the guards and torturers that served here - most of whom were between 10 and 15 years old.
- Foreign Office officials in Phnom Penh have today confirmed the identity of the British tourist who died earlier this week in a tragic Elephant Trekking accident near to the town of Sen Monorom in North Eastern Cambodia.
Vikki Brown, 28, from Fort William was travelling with her husband Robbie Crockatt, 28, when the unfortunate incident occurred.
Foreign Office spokesperson, Betty McSlapfiddle, released the following statement:
“Post Mortem has revealed that Ms Brown died as a result of what pathologists in Phnom Penh are calling a “serious flattening”.
Cambodian Police have determined that Ms Brown sustained her serious injuries when the elephant she was riding with her husband squashed her against a tree.”
It is understood that the relationship between Ms Brown and Mr Lau Chai the elephant was a rocky one that took a turn for the worse when Ms Brown called Mr Lau Chai a “bum head”.
Friends and colleagues of Mr Lau Chai claim that he was sensitive about his hairy arse shaped head and was unlikely to forget the incident.
From their initial meeting the two had been at odds, with Ms Brown claiming that Mr Lau Chai was targeting her specifically by
Corridors - Toul Sleng
The prisons were converted classrooms. It wasn't much of a conversion. For the most part they just knocked doorways through classroom walls.
walking under low branches and bushes.
When Mr Lau Chai saw an opportunity to crush Ms Brown against the underside of an overhanging branch as he stepped up the banks of a river it is claimed he didn’t hesitate. Witnesses watched helplessly as Ms Brown’s head was squashed into the basket she travelled in until it touched her feet.
Senior Pathologists in Phnom Penh have been able to post Ms Browns flattened body home in a box that should fit through a standard sized post box."
Along with the rest of her life, this was the kind of article that flashed through Vik’s mind as she was pressed against that tree. As her head pushed against her feet without even having to bend her knees, and the bright light at the end of the tunnel beckoned her in, it was Vik’s new found yogic flexibility and the realisation of how ridiculously embarrassing it would be to die in such a manner that saved her.
She didn’t want to be the subject of conversations between people she’d never met or hardly knew. She could hear the types of conversations that happen in offices everyday:
Sandra:“’Ere, Maureen, ‘ave
Prison Doors - Toul Sleng
This is an eerie and horrifying place to walk around on your own...
Few people survived Toul Sleng. Bodies were dumped in the infamous "Killing Field" mass graves outside Phnom Penh. Thousands of skulls fill both the monuments at the killing fields and the Toul Sleng Museum.
Sandra:“’bout that Vikki Brown lass.”
Sandra:“That lass what worked ‘ere few years back.”
Maureen:“Oh yeah. One with the buck teeth and flatulence problem.”
Sandra:“Noooo! That were Farty Tracey Somet.”
Sandra:“That one with the gangly, yet strangely attractive boyfriend.”
Sandra: “Aye, Bob…” A dreamy silence descends.
Maureen:“’Ee were lovely ‘e were.”
Sandra: “By ‘eck your not wrong there. Anyhow’s, that Vikki lass… you’ll never guess what ‘appened.”
Sandra: “She were only blinkin’ crushed t’death by an elephant!”
Maureen: “She never were!?”
Sandra: “As God is my witness! - Gary in Marketing told me. Says she were that flat they rolled ‘er up an’ sent her ‘ome in cardboard tube!”
Maureen: “Never!…’mangine that. Well I never.”
Sandra: “’Pparently she called the elephant a bum-head so it squashed her.”
Maureen: “Oh, you should never call an elephant a bum-head. I saw this programme on Discovery ‘bout a bloke done same thing. Trampled ‘e were. By a whole herd!”
Sandra: “Jus’ goes t’ show.”
So death came for Vikki. And when it came, it came dressed as an elephant. But what death didn’t understand about my wife, is that she
Beautiful Light - Toul Sleng
The sun does its best to hide the gloom that surrounds the building.
doesn’t like to be the subject of attention and she’s definitely not one for the ridiculous. So she shed a few tears as she was squashed like a walnut, but they weren’t from pain; they were from the idea that she should leave this world in such a ridiculous manner and be remembered as the girl who was squashed to death by a vindictive elephant. The girl people would talk about for years and bring up at office-parties as their “I knew this girl once…” story. She couldn’t accept those terms and so she gave death a health slap across his bony chops. Be sure of one thing readers, when Vikki checks out it will be in a sensible, quiet, non-attention grabbing way.
And now for something completely different… Fanta Update
Regular readers may remember from previous blogs that I am on a mission to discover and sample every flavour that Fanta has to offer. Well, through China and Vietnam, we didn’t find anything new to report, but I am positively overflowing with juicy excitement to tell you that Cambodia is a healthy, bubbly market of Fanta fantasies with three… that’s right, THREE, new undiscovered flavours. Here’s the
tally so far:
Flavours of Fanta consumed: Orange Flavour, Banana Flavour, Apple & Cinnamon Flavour, Melon Soda Flavour, Grape Flavour, Lemon Flavour, Lychee Flavour, Pineapple Punch Flavour, Fruit Punch Flavour
Tot: 2.004s; Tpl: 0.058s; cc: 22; qc: 101; dbt: 0.0568s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.7mb