Yeah I am back again from my annual MIA culture. 3 months, not a very long period of time but a lot of things did change. There’s something I’ve forgo and there’s something new coming into my life. Good things come around when you least expected it, guess it sum up my 3 months back there is a quite positive one. I wanted to share a very romantic place to visit in Taiwan but i accidentally bought the wrong hard disk out so next time I guess. Finished reading one of my favourite and heart aching book about the history of Phnom penh so why not just share it first. Enjoy the read people. Hi Puddin!
This is a very depressing post. A real life story that haunts my heart for nearly a year before I decided to share. Every time when I am trying to write about it, I can’t help but to avoid. To avoid going through the feelings I had when I visited that place. It is a painful but meaningful visit. The day when we visited the place, it was nothing but silence and doubts on how humankind can be so cruel and merciless. Every piece of the story, every edges of the building, it lies the blood and prayers to survive.
It was a school. A normal high school. Situated at the centre of Phnom Penh. Strategic, or perhaps too strategic.
This harrowing history accommodated a very short period of time. 3 years. The tragic 3 years from 1976 to 1979 when the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia. Khmer Rouge was ruled by a Cambodian revolutionary named Pol Pot who later referred the country as the Democratic Kampuchea. I was shared during the ruling of the Khmer Rouge, everyone was evacuated from their home. They were told by the new government that the act of migration was to avoid the bombing from the Americans. But this act of transformation changed the fate of the Cambodians. Most of them would never get to meet their loves one any more. Money is just a valueless paper. During the 3 years of the Khmer Rouge regime, it’s just purely tortures, interrogations, and executions.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was formerly a high school which was then converted to a security prison 21 (S21) where most of the party related or educated personnel like government servants, teachers, doctors, academics, students, monks or even the innocents one were captured and tortured. It was best known as the torture chamber in Cambodia. More than 1.7 millions lives were taken during the 3 years of Khmer Rouge Regime.
There were building A,B,C and D. Building A consists of the bigger rooms for the higher ranked government servants. Building B consists of the Galleries, Building C has the smaller cells for the prisoners and Building D holds the memorabilia including the instruments of torture.
This is one of the room in Building A. A classroom, converted into a torture chamber where blood stains were still visible until today. A steel bed with slackers to chain their prisoners. Some were tortured in the room until death. Some were brought to somewhere for execution.
They photographed every prisoner when they were brought in and when they were dead.
There were no words to describe the fall of humankind. The evil in them to how they have treated their same kind.
Classrooms, transferred to cells. Every prisoner was only given 4 small spoons of watered porridge. Legs were chained with the slackers; some prisoners will have to eat the faeces and the urines from their inmates. Some were starve to death, which will be the least painful way to die.
This is the cell of one of the survivors Chum Mey.
Wired corridors were built to prevent the prisoners to commit suicide by jumping off the building after a few successful cases.
Galleries that holds the photographs of the prisoners.
Look carefully at the picture. The tag was pinned directly through the skin. But what is pain as compared to the series of interrogations that they have been through?
Photos of deaths. Every prisoners will take turns and brought to interviews for their skills, their background, or any information of parties involved. Even if they have nothing much to provide, they will still be interrogate. The common interrogations will be pouring acids to the nose, twitching nipples out, slicing skin, heavy punching until the skulls were broken, slice open the body and have your organs removed without any anaesthetic, some were attached to the intravenous pump and pump every drop of the blood causing them to bleed to death. These were to test how long a human can survive with all the blood was drained. Even when I was writing this, I feel disgusted.
Some of the skilful prisoners like the 2 survivors were taken to paint out the process of torturing. Such as below.
Devices of interrogating.
This, supposed to be a playground of the school were then converted to a torture devices. Prisoners whom were passed out during the interrogation will then be hung upside down and dipped in the urine alike chemical to wake them up for more interrogation.
Almost 20,000 lives were taken here before they ran out of place to bury the corpse and that is when the killing field were discovered to execute more human beings. (will be updated soon).
The last few coffins were the last few corpses to be found in the prison after the fall of Khmer Rouge.
I was glad I have the chance to actually talk to 2 of the survivors of the Genocide S21 prison. They have been through so much, went through years of counselling before they were able to stand out and live their own live again.
There will always be loss of lives in every revolution. But what is more sickening and heartless than this? A brutal experience that not only haunts the civilians but also the country. Making the greatest impact in destroying the strength of humanity.
Tuol Sleng buildings were preserved as how they were left after the Khmer Rouge were driven out. The museum is open for public, it was served as the memorial for the Cambodians as well as an important educational site. I spent weeks studying the history of Cambodia before I went, spent 4 days venturing into the actual tragic places and talked to the related beings about their encounter, ending my Cambodia trip knowing a little bit more about the world and a little less about myself.
To the victims who sacrificed during the Khmer Rouge Regime. May your souls rest in peace.