Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thai Embassy Burning

One of the primary targets of the rioting in Phnom Penh back in January 2003 was the Thai Embassy.  The destruction of the building was pretty symbolic and complete by the raging mob on that night.

Again, the chance to have a look at such destruction was pretty tempting, coming from somewhere like Australia where Occupational Health & Safety, and general liability fears, would prevent anyone from going anywhere near such damage. Not to mention the criminal investigations that would go on if such a thing was to occur at home.  Not in Cambodia though.

The sight of massive military tanks on the street, barbed wire attempting to look like the area was cordoned off, and the police presence was there - just not very effective. Nor were they trying to be.

Taking in the pink Royal Thai Embassy, sooty and a shell, we were actually able to get up to the gate to have a look through the broken gates.

The smell and the sight of the burnt out car at the front, told the tale of the night of that week.  All sparked by a comment, maybe exaggerated and highlighted in the "right" circles for such a response.  This event was such an eye-opener as an Expat.

Again, at no time did we feel unsafe while all this went on, it was very targetted and all over in a few hours.  But just a strange example of the way such a country works sometimes - or doesn't, depending on which side of the riot you believe.

This post is part of a series marking 10 years since I travelled to Cambodia to work as a volunteer.

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