Thursday, June 26, 2008

Abhisit said the parking lot “is an essential part of our national heritage, without which Thailand would never be the same again.

We have always reaped huge financial windfalls from our incompetent neighbors and the parking lot outside the black magic Khmer temple of Preah Viharn is part of that centuries-old cultural tradition.”

A parking lot as part of Thailands national heritage? No, no no! A little PR advice: Claim the Temple as Thailands national heritage. And call it Khao Phra Viharn (as its known in Thai) not Preah Vihear (the way the Cambodians call it.)

I presume he's talking about Cambodia's inability to pave a road to the temple. To Cambodia's credit, look at the photo..the temple sits on a cliff. That's Cambodia way, way, way in the background. The ground is significant tactically. Soldiers loyal to the Lon Nol government in Phnom Penh continued to hold it long after the plain below fell to communist forces. The Khmer Rouge made several unsuccessful attempts to capture the temple, then finally succeeded on May 22, 1975 by shelling the cliff, scaling it and routing the defenders, Thai officials reported at the time. It was said to be the last place in Cambodia to fall to the Khmer Rouge. Things came full circle in December 1998, when the temple was the scene of negotiations by which several hundred Khmer Rouge soldiers, said to be the guerrilla movement's last significant force, agreed to surrender to the Phnom Penh government.

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