Angkor Wat neglected by the British


Wen / TU he Yue (British sociologist)

Every year, I will celebrate my wedding anniversary with my husband. This year, we will attend the “read China” International Conference in Guangzhou, so we chose Angkor Wat, which is only two hours away from Guangzhou.

It’s interesting to say that the British like to go to Thailand for holidays, like the coast and beach of Thailand, but have little interest in Cambodia, Thailand’s neighbor. The British rarely heard of Angkor Wat. The BBC has photographed the world’s important historical landscape almost all the time, but it seems that Angkor Wat has been omitted. The reason may be that Cambodia is a former colony of France, and the beauty of Angkor Wat is also discovered and passed down by the French. However, there are few British contributions to this place and few experts studying Angkor Wat. A French friend of mine told me that most French people love to go to former French colonies for holidays. At that time, I thought: I had seldom met the French in the past ten years. The original choice of the British resort was different from that of the French. Angkor is a good example. We heard French and American English several times in Angkor Wat.

In October, Britain was cold, while Siem Reap, where Angkor is located, was still hot. Out of the hotel, we were stopped by a Cambodian in yikemo. He had a very good attitude and a big smile, and moved my husband with his poor English. Take us to three shrines (including Angkor Wat) for $30. There is no seat belt or helmet on the namo. For the first ten minutes, I was in a panic for fear that we would be hit by a car. Because Siem Reap looks like traffic chaos, but it is said that in Southeast Asia, the worst traffic order is not Thailand, nor Cambodia, but Hanoi, Vietnam. I often say to my husband half truely, “I don’t want to be killed by a car.”

When we reached the last shrine, we were exhausted and sweated. “It’s like a movie of the doom.” Said the gentleman. Besides Angkor Wat, there are many temples here, all of which have a history of nearly a thousand years. Unfortunately, there is not half a text diagram. Before that, I used a lot of energy to observe the civilizations of ancient Greece, ancient Rome and Britain. How did the interrupted Angkor Wat civilization and Dynasty history affect the later generations? With my own knowledge reserve, I can’t find the connection point yet.

Siem Reap, where Angkor is located, is very small, even very poor. The level of municipal construction is very low. There is basically no construction on the road and garbage is everywhere. The hotel we stayed in is in the center of Siem Reap, but it is totally different from the whole city, just like copying the western ecology in this Buddhist town. As soon as you step into the hotel area, you can immediately enter the quiet garden. It is said that most of the hotel guests come from the United States, Australia and China (few British). Hotel service students’ attitude and their humility and politeness are often based on the etiquette of putting their hands together. The British sometimes don’t understand the differences among Asian countries. They also put their hands together for me. They thought that was the general etiquette in Asia, which made me laugh and cry.

Will you see Jesus and church in the British Hotel? Can’t. Can be seen everywhere in the hotel Buddha and temple, eat breakfast also bow to see. The fusion of the Old French style and the Buddha’s garden design makes me feel strange: comfortable, self satisfied, quiet, but not strange.

China has a great influence in the whole city of Siem Reap: there are Chinese restaurants for Chinese guests, shops run by Chinese businessmen, recipes are often printed in Chinese, and RMB is accepted. The most amazing thing is that Cambodian shopkeepers also speak Chinese. I used RMB to buy two skirts as gifts for the children, so I asked the shopkeeper if he would visit Buddha every day? She said no, but she went to the temple to worship Buddha every new year. I am very strange. The whole city of Siem Reap gives me the impression of Buddha and the ubiquitous symbol of Buddhism. I thought that Buddha is an important thing in people’s life.

At the end of the holiday, my husband and I went back to Guangzhou to attend the “read China” international conference, where the weather was pleasant.


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