Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Prison-School: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

It was 6:30 when we arrived at the front entrance of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. It was already closed. I resigned myself to just taking photos of the sign. But our driver said we could still get inside. He drove us to the entrance. True enough, there were some guys hanging out (read: tumatambay) at the front. Kinda scary scenario for tourist girls, in this old high-school-turned-prison, at night, with a bunch of guys. I didn’t feel safe at that moment, but I wanted to see the place.

We were charged $3 because it was already past the museum hours. I knew the fee costs $2 so I smelled that this was not exactly legal – ala colorum na tour itoh teh. We bought the tix anyway. Our driver went with us inside. He kept on apologizing that he didn’t speak a lot of English because he didn’t go to school. We smiled and said that was okay – he was so helpful. He toured us around the deserted prison.

The ten commandments, the prisoner's version

He said he was a small boy when the war happened. He does not recall a lot about it – or he can’t express himself in English.

This is another depressing place. The walls witnessed the torture of the prisoners. Their living condition in this prison in inhumane.

Our driver led us through the rooms in the first floor. He turned on the lights for us. We cannot go to the second floor anymore. I didn’t really want to. I think I’ve seen enough.

How the prisoners slept

When Hitler ordered to annihilate the Jews, the prisoners were tattooed with numbers. Here, they took pictures of the prisoners. You have to know them, then kill them. 

All the girls have short hair


 A lot of the exhibits are graphic which depict how the prisoners are tortured. 

I think we just stayed around 20 minutes to look at all of these. That was one heart-pounding adventure. Mainly because I was a bit scared because we were the only ones visiting.

Although Phnom Pehn tourist spots are not sites for photo ops, I do suggest to spend a night here. I felt depressed after visiting these places, but I learned a lot about the history of the country. For history buffs out there, this is a good stop in your Indochina Itinerary

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