Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Viewing Siem Reap from A Top and From Real Life...

Viewing Siem Reap from atop in the air, I managed to get a glimpse of the town (not city really) at my own leisure.

I've been to many places throughout the years. And each time prior landing, that I think it is the best chance to get a feel how the country economically by just looking from afar.
I saw that mostly are unplanted paddy field, which I think that it is actually dry season now. Probably that explain why the town seemed to be enveloped by a thin layer of dust.
There are not many buildings around, mostly congregating at this so called National Highway 6, ending up east at an intersection, with one side leading to the Angkor Temples, while the other side at the old market.
There are big rivers flowing around the Mekong delta, and flood into the Tonle Sap when wet season come by.
Can’t really see the temples from sky, probably they were covered by the trees around the temple area. But apart from there, there were very little trees around. Words were flying that the Cambodian government had them all chopped down, sold them and pocket all the money after that.
After being around here for 3 days, I tend to felt that there are much more that can be done on this big flat piece of land. However, everywhere we go, we were stricken by the look that everyone seemed so poor, and country seemed war torn. There were beggars without leg, children pulling our clothes hoping we would buy something from them, mother with babies asking us to buy something as well.
Most people can be seen trying very hard, means and ways to make ends meet, but there are just so little to do around Especially on a dry season like now when they can't plant any rice, you really catch them sleeping everywhere, anywhere.
On the other side, rich people thatpaved the road to a certain tourist attraction and charge heavy tolls, police guarding temples asking entrance fee. There is also this Sokha that does the ticketing ($20 a day) for Angkor temples but keep most of the money for their own 5-star hotel investments elsewhere. Biggest joke of all is the USD$25 airport tax being levied onto us prior departure, when the airport was offering nothing special at all!
Thus, it is not too long before I come to a conclusion that the Government in reality has done very little for their own people. Worse is that since NGOs are everywhere here, and that the Government decided to let the foreign fund help its own people, eventually it become a norm the top level pocketed the funds siphoned from various channels.
It is sad that in past the country was one of the most populated and advance country, yet now turned to such war torn condition. Perhaps the Angkor Temples will stand another thousand year looking at their people suffer, but will this country able to rise up improving its people’s living condition by maximizing what the Angkor Temples has to offer?
I won't know about that, but for now I do know I had enough of being make a charitable tourist by the people peddling their poverty around.
Pictures of Siem Reap and Angkor from danachow

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