racialism in Cambodia


guard one

The French have made the temple complex into a park and it has become a popular picnic place for the local Cambodian people. The entry fee to the Angkor Wat temple complex is US dollars 20 for foreigners and free to Cambodian people. So the Cambodian government employs skilled racialists to determine the difference.. Between White Europeans and brown skinned Asians the differences are obvious, but one wonders how good they are at identifying Chinese and Thai, who can often pass as Cambodian and so get in for free. There is a guard house at the entrance where foreigners are required to buy a pass and receive a lecture on how they should not pass on the unexpired portion of their pass to another. There is a checkpoint where a guard asks to inspect the pass and also suggests that you might like to pass on any unexpired portion of the pass to him. There are also jungle paths which avoid both the guardhouse and the checkpoint. There are penalties for local people who may guide you to these paths. There may also be landmines.

guard two - a very polite guard

There are further guards on each temple within the complex. This one was relatively mild and polite. He just says hello and you get the idea and show him the pass. Others are really obnoxious. They hang out in groups of three, 2 in a blue uniform and one in a brown uniform. Most of them do nothing but one group decided to perform. On detecting the approach of a foreigner he would run out and stick his foot in front of yours, demanding to see your pass. The author told him that he could look at his pass but if he did he would not enter and so did he really want to look at his pass. The obnoxious guard said yes and so he did but then the author departed without entering the temple. The 3 guards then awoke and became perplexed. They must be excused their behavior. They do not consider it rude. It is just that they have had a horrific past and do not know any better. Read more about the concession holders of Angkor Wat called Sokimex http://www.talesofasia.com/cambodia-sokimex.htm. You might have thought that your 20US$ was going to a fund to pay for the restoration and upkeep of the park and the temples. Not so. Until recently only about 5% of the takings were given to Apsara. This has now improved to 50%. But still most of your money goes to a consortium of Japanese businessmen and some well placed Cambodians.

US dollar 30 fine

There is a US dollar 30 fine for passing on your ticket. While the tickets have a photograph on them there is a thriving industry in replacing the photographs. The cost of a one day pass is US dollars 20; three days US dollars 40; and one week or seven days for US dollars 60. Since it is possible to visit all of the main attractions in one day and to visit everything in some detail in three days, it is very difficult to decide which is the best deal. So after paying US dollars 60 for a one week pass and deciding that you have had enough after 3 days leaves you with 4 days to pass on and so the mess continues.

Page created on May 25th 2002 and updated on January 23rd. 2014.  angkorwat  sign guestbook  You are visitor number  number of hits