Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Wealthiest Capital City in Southeast Asia

One of the Orient’s most elegant cities in the 1920s – Phnom Penh is like a widow who have seen all the painful trials in life but remained strong and still standing.

What makes a city “wealthy”? – oversized shopping malls and pretentious towering buildings or rich heritage and affluent culture?

When can a city be called “developed”?Happy, contended people living in it or busy, unsatisfied inhabitants who got nothing to do but complain? Sad to say – that if we look closely on the real significance of a city, only Phnom Penh is worthy to be called the “wealthiest”.

Phnom Penh’s history dates back to the 1300s. It is the successor of Angkor, the capital of the greatest empire Southeast Asia has ever seen. The Khmer Empire ruled from the southern part of China in the north, down to the borders of Malaysia to the south. It is one of the largest continuing empire the world has ever seen.

Most of Southeast Asian art and architecture are based on Khmer. Our notable designs and intricate crafts exist today because of them. The Khmer Empire was so advanced that they built the largest temple on Earth over 900 years ago – when most of us are still hunting wild boars and living in caves.

When Kuala Lumpur was just a muddy riverbank; Manila and Bangkok was just tiny fishing villages. When Singapore was just a small uninhabited island and Jakarta was just a sleepy trading outpost – Phnom Penh was already flourishing with ancient art and culture.

The glorious history of Cambodia, Phnom Penh and its people is far more valuable than any of our tall buildings and ridiculously oversized shopping malls.


Related Post:

*WHAT TO DO IN PHNOM PENH: Aside from Visiting Temples and Museums

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Bjarne of Norway said...


carl said...

One day, people will view our tall building and shopping malls the same way you view the history of Cambodia now...

Its no different than traveling to Egypt, Greece, and or Rome....

I can only imagine what people will one day say of New York City...or wonder, while touring Washington, could a country as powerful as the USA fall so far....

Hubris, power, greed, and arrogance can destroy a society, and civilization faster than anything....


Friedreich said...

AMEN, RIVER! AMEN! Not too many people will view it this way. Arts, culture and heritage are far more valuable than any modern throphies. Arrogance has indeed broken all powerful cities throughout history. BRAVO!

Akihiro said...

if any of you guys have actually met pisanu, you would not think he can write this. weird dude! how come you look like a dude who dont care about anything? weird. =)

gorjess said...

Fabulous. i love how you explained thing pisanu i learned a lot from you . i dont need to go to school anymore hehe.

Carlos Javier said...

Yeah! Not only that Pisanu, what the Khmer built 900 years ago [Angkor] is still the world's largest religious structure in use TO THIS VERY DAY!

And back when London had less than 10,000 residents the Khmer had a thriving metropolis of over a million people. Awesome huh?

Which really got me thinking when I was there... I was really amazed at how the descendants of such a proud and mighty people could have went through what happened in 1975 to 1979. Very sad indeed.

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