ANGELS IN HELL (Part 9): Wandering souls

‘There are things you could not recognize, It’s love’. – Hayao Miyazaki, ‘Spirited Away’

In 13 million Cambodians, Vietnamese are 5-10% of this population, the most numerous one among ethnic groups present on this country. Everywhere you could still hear familiar National Vietnamese language that resonates somewhere…

Though not too friendly to each other, two races Vietnamese and Cambodian know how to live in peace together, communicate to each other like being forced to do so, to accept their common fate.

Beside ‘difference in culture’, Cambodians (also named Khmer, Krom) always look at Vietnamese under ‘bad impression’, though even whenever happen troubling event in their land, Vietnam always appear to be good promised land to Cambodian refugee who ran away from disaster.

It’s amazingly strange that for an asylum they run into Vietnam land, for money they choose Thailand.

The number of ‘Cambodian Vietnamese’ living in Vietnam is not small at all, up to one million, mostly they are Theravada Buddhists and concentrate in provinces of the west and sparsely distributed to some border provinces.

‘Vietnamese Cambodians’ once wandered into this land of Cambodia by unknown force and reason like to stay instead of returning to homeland. The most part of Vietnamese living in Cambodia were born here in Cambodia; children born here could not speak Vietnamese, their present homeland is Cambodia. Still adults speak Vietnamese and observe Vietnamese cultural traditions and it’s a laudable good thing. But it should be sad to say that most of them have to carry on fishing nets, and are merchant peddlers, bottle trash collectors or making a living by engaging in … prostitution industry.

Therefore whenever referring to ‘Vietnamese’ living in Cambodia, anyone could think of wicked profession; it is estimated that there are 80- 100,000 women (1/3 are girls under 18 years old) who are working… or forced to work in servicing sex seekers all over Cambodia; this business alone would bring in huge profits to human traffickers. These girls were lured or abducted; some were sold by their parents or relatives.

Usually owner hides little girls with great caution and only shows them out whenever requested by customers, with price fixed at 30 dollars a time; therefore all out efforts must be envisaged when there are attempts to rescue them, it’s very difficult and dangerous. When little girls requested, they will be brought out in group and Mme order them to roll up their skirts for the customer to look at and choose like he is trying to buy a meat loaf in a market. They are sold and transferred back and forth from hand to hand as a merchandise; even when lucky enough to return home, they would still be pushed into evil muddy places many times afterwards.

In order to answer to the question: ‘How could you be certain that those victims should be Vietnamese?’

Aaron stated that:

(Quote Aaron Cohen, NTY)

Price for a Vietnamese young girl does not merely range from 500 to 1000 dollars… A volunteer disclosed:

(Quote, NTY)

A teacher turned into a volunteer in Sway Pak said:

(Quote, NTY)

‘Spirited Away, a Cartoon movie, directed by Japanese Hayao Miyazaki told the story:

(Quote, NTY)

Watching this movie, I thought of Vietnamese girls, if we change the content and character we could have numerous little Chihiro bearing Vietnamese names, they are abused by witch and monster. The only one difference would be that those small fragile souls would wander for ever in a loveless underworld, because they are considered animals only.

Many Vietnamese little Chihiros ‘had saved’ their parents but by their own small body not yet in puberty, not so lucky like Chihiro who had found an escape way. A character in the movie, Kamaji, has to say:

(Quote, NTY)

I hope those lost little souls will find love, the love that comes from volunteer agencies and compassionate hearts which are contributing money and sweat to hinder, prevent and save them from the hands of wicked gangs.

Siem Reap is also famous of the presence of Angkor Wat monument on its premises. In his Mémoirs, former emperor Bao ñåi has described as follows:

(Quote, NTY)

For a Back Pack traveler, one of the most expensive expenditures in a trip to Cambodia is the ticket to visit Angkor Temple; it’s nearly 10 Km from Siem Reap. Its original Pali name is Nagara, but Cambodian translation is Angkor, the Capital.

Angkor zone comprises Angkor Wat (ñ‰ Thiên, the sole tower facing westward in multi-structures of Angkor, so multitude of tourists gather here in the evening to watch the sun setting), inside are stone works with finest engraves, recognized as the highest Khmer construction arts.

Angkor Thom (ñ‰ Thích, a city of about 9 square Km with huge structures), Bayon (famous Temple with smiling Buddha statues), Ta Prohm (with colossal old trees grow among ruins of temples, making out of it a unique wonder; it used to be shooting field for the movie ‘Tom Raider’).

Furthermore, many splendid monumental zones such as Phnom Bakheng, Banteay Srei, and Preah Khan…

Angkor Wat Angkor Thom is sacred place, mystical and contains many myths. Archeologist Victor Goloubew writes in ‘Le Phnom Kulên’:

(Quote, NTY)

Georges Coedès accepted those references in his work ‘Pour mieux comprendre Angkor’:

(Quote, NTY)

You could not see all Angkor in one day; sometimes it needs to walk around for a week to feel much more its uniqueness. There are plenty of means to explore Angkor: bicycles, electric bicycles, ride on back of a motorbike, tuk tuk… and car… and copter, balloon (to see grand view of Angkor).

Angkor Wat, the largest of Angkor zone, with 398 rooms and open and spacious galleries. The highest point is the summit of the tower of the Main Temple, with its height at 65 m. From the summit of Angkor Wat, your eyeing range could reach surrounding immense forests. Wide water trench with lotus inside does a good job to prevent forests invading and damaging though abandoned through out many centuries.

The Art of engraving stone on ceiling, gallery, balcony… succeeds to realize the extraordinary strength and the finesse of magic hands of Khmer people in old times. It’s amazing to see that on walls thousands of faces of fairies Aspara differ distinctly to each other. Angkor Temple Monument is the concretion of a finest level of knowledge on volume, space and composition of linear lines with rich carved relief traits, in symmetry with imposing design and harmony.

These ruins were discovered by French explorer Henri Mouhot in the mid 19th century; but the first visitor to Angkor was a Portugal monk, Antonio da Magdalena in 1586; in trepidation he praised:

(Quote, NTY)

In front of this great work of human race, I wonder why man could be so intelligent and at the same time so ignorant when they could have figured out inhuman devices to hurt each other. Those ‘also atrocities indescribable’ had and are happening not too far from the great monument of mankind.

Here at this moment to a tourist, who might have an easy mind, all nuisances must be dissolved, disappear away, but for me they won’t do, I had a bit of strangely mystic feelings! It’s mystic, mystical, intrinsic supernatural… I have to come and pray gods, and wake them to wide open their eyes to look at crimes happened around them!

Looking at stone monuments of Angkor as they dare to challenge time, I remind of a verse of a Poet of the West:

(Quote, NTY)

Why did man treat each other ‘with indifference’ like that? Though they are merciless to each other, they are also evil towards sacred historic remnants that need to be preserved like Angkor Wat. Attentively we could see, on walls, fairies Aspara, Devata… beautiful and suave figures inflicted with bullet damaged holes.

According to a report from the AFP, a news agency, Angkor Wat is one of the most aged and famous constructions of mankind and Cambodians which Records of Guinness 2007 praised as the most greatest monumental structure of the world. However in recent years by integration movement and economic development, this construction has been threatened, among different causes, not few ones are man made. This destruction is only possible due the most part to man.

So far, Angkor Wat has been regarded as ‘the heart of Cambodians’. This is an old, massive imposing, splendid structure which attracts millions of travelers from four corners to come and visit and make researches. Particularly in 2006 more than 2 million visitors came to Cambodia of which more than half had come to Angkor Wat; while in 1993 visitors are only 7600 when it was ranked in World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

According to Mr. Seung Kong, deputy director of Angkor Wat Preservation (AAA) sub-section threat to Angkor Wat is growing greater and greater, this happen everyday, every hour right in front of everybody.

Since 1993 when classified as Cultural heritage of the world, Angkor Wat has become a point of interest for tourism and in projection of the government, Angkor Wat would attract in 2010 about 3 million visitors a year.

The volume of visitors increases, danger would be more imminent and bigger, if appropriate measures of renovation are not taken seriously, because collected statistics from UNESCO specialists are showing that many individual temple monuments, constructions are easily subjected to damage, erosion and in reality many motifs, bas relief, shrines, drawings or writings on Angkor structures are Vþ BY (not allowed drawing) or stolen, steps of stone escalators damaged or insulted with indiscriminately carved names.

Therefore in some relic shrines, visitors are strictly forbidden to loiter or touch by hand items on display. Another not less important danger to Angkor is that waves of new constructions such as lounge houses, hotels had been erected in Siem Reap not far from Angkor Wat only a couple of Km. Records show that 250 constructions of these models had been built recently.

Those constructions are advancing too close towards Angkor Wat and this trend develops faster and stronger day by day the danger becomes clearly evident. One of the price man has to pay is a heavily contaminated fluvial system and transport on waterways is limited.

Centuries ago, when Angkor Wat still was the Capital of Khmer, fluvial system was still dense, transport on this system was still convenient, now it has disappeared and by too fast development, mostly in construction, many large loads of stone of Angkor Wat are sinking or suffer of severe cracking.

For example Bayon temple; it is a famous structure with beautiful minute decorative motifs on more than 54 surrounding towers and is considered an old and most famous construction work in Angkor, but it is sinking or buried by sand around it.

According to the evaluation of AAA specialists, this situation is caused by over limited exploitation of underground water in this area, especially in Siem Reap, to serve hotels and restaurants as well as surrounding Angkor Wat residents. Every hotels in Siem Reap has to dig at least 10 wells providing thousands of cubic meters of water everyday, mostly in dry season when the temperature reaches about 40 C degree and it suffices to make a simple calculation to know that every day these wells pump up over 8000 cubic meters of underground water and in a very short span of time underground water would go dried up.

This is the main causes that makes all structures of Angkor Wat temple monument complex sink or submerge into ground. It is not to refer to man made trash that contaminates the environment.

Based on UNESCO estimation, everyday Angkor Wat needs at least 15,000 cubic meters of water, water supply could not meet needs so more new wells have to be drilled while the fever of building hotels never goes down.

Writer Pierre Lotti gave some comments in his ‘Pelerin d’Angkor’:

(Quote, NTY)

A precious gem at hand, they’ve look down at it, now UNESCO has re-classified it in the list of World Most Eroded Heritages.

Tamara Teneishvili, UNESCO coordinator on preservation of Cambodia Angkor Complex has to exclaim:

(Quote, NTY)

It’s Deputy Minister of Cambodia Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, has to admit:

(Quote, NTY)

‘If Siem Reap had no realistic action, this city could become a Pattaya of Thailand in a near future…’

International preservation world heritages organization, Heritage Watch, has not hesitated to call the state of commerce and exploitation of temple monuments of Angkor without any reservation at all as such:

(Quote, NTY)

‘They are swallowing culture and characteristic identity of a nation’.

Which god could stay at the place like this one?

Leaving Angkor Wat, I went looking for refreshing drink outside from retail peddlers; in a nearby inn the song ‘Kiep Do Den’ (Gambler) in Cambodian was broadcasted. By the way I bought a Coca Cola can for the tuk tuk driver who had waited for me at the bus station before, when I arrived in Siem Reap, suddenly a boy cut in my way to approach me in English:

‘You buy coke for your driver!’

This boy has a seriously stern face, he told me to buy a soda like he wanted to order, to warn me. I said:

‘I bought it already’.

He rounded his eyes wide open and grouchy threatened:

‘Show me!’

‘Why I have to show you?’

I felt uneasy listening to interrogative words of this brat, I asked him. He gave me a stern look and left. I wondered what he would become in the future. Is it true that this guy, in some sense, could be one among thousands of wandering souls in this sacred but sterile corner?

By Khmer customs, a dead has to be incinerated not buried. This is a customary Hynayana Buddhist rite which Cambodians have observed through many centuries.

Essence or spirit of the dead is wandering in space, but souls of many beings living in this country do not enjoy of a happier fate. It does not refer to spirits of little girls that had died unjustly and unwillingly by Ravana demons or Aids; they died in such injustice, where could they wander about?

Chuyên mục:Tác giả, tác phẩm, Thân hữu, Xã hội

Thẻ:, , , , ,

Trả lời

Điền thông tin vào ô dưới đây hoặc nhấn vào một biểu tượng để đăng nhập: Logo

Bạn đang bình luận bằng tài khoản Đăng xuất /  Thay đổi )

Twitter picture

Bạn đang bình luận bằng tài khoản Twitter Đăng xuất /  Thay đổi )

Facebook photo

Bạn đang bình luận bằng tài khoản Facebook Đăng xuất /  Thay đổi )

Connecting to %s

Trang web này sử dụng Akismet để lọc thư rác. Tìm hiểu cách xử lý bình luận của bạn.

%d người thích bài này: