Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Cambodia 2014 – High and low and in between

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I have just been on an early research trip for the second edition of my Moon Angkor Cambodia guide, first published in 2011. Cambodia has come a long way since then, the country is a little better well off and the poor are not quite as desperate  as they were a decade ago, but the culture of impunity remains pervasive, the government remains dangerous and corrupt and the magnificent Angkor temples remain under assault from millions of tourists who appear to have little interest in Khmer history and tend to focus on doing selfies with their GoPro or Iphone sticks.

That said, the temples are achingly beautiful and there are rare moments of quiet and contemplation, especially at the lesser visited sites. This Vietnamese lady was unconcerned about the crowds in Angkor Wat and made a showy effort with her prayers at every shrine she passed.

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