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Bakong Monk– Siem Reap, Cambodia Nov 2003

This was taken at Bakong, one of the sites that make up the huge archaeological treasure of Angkor Wat, Cambodia.  Many Buddhist monks study English in the temple, and love to take the opportunity to practice for hours on end with the tourists. This guy was a bit different, and talked a lot about the Khmer Rouge years in Cambodia. He told us that this very temple was one of the “Killing Fields” sites, of which there were hundreds, if not thousands, all over Cambodia. After the Khmer Rouge were driven out by the Vietnamese in 1979, the temple was consecrated again, and life went on. One thing I noticed in Cambodia, people were very optimistic, because they were glad to just be alive.

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