Cambodia : S-21 Tuol Sleng, Phnom Penh


I recalled writing a paper on the Vietnam War during my college days and I did have some cross over information about the Khmer Rouge.

I had grown up being told about the Khmer Regime and The Killingfields by my mother.

I was quite conflicted on whether we wanted to visit S-21 or not. In the end, I believed it would be an eye opener on on of the worst genocides to occur in modern history.

Stopping at the entrance, buy your tickets and head on into the school compound.

Please observe the silence and respect here.

The outlook of the area depicts any typical school. There was a large garden and a court for sports activities. It is only when you begin entering the classrooms, do you notice how somber the mood is.

1. You must answer accordingly to my question. Don’t turn them away.

2. Don’t try to hide the facts by making pretexts this and that, you are strictly prohibited to contest me.

3. Don’t be a fool for you are a chap who dare to thwart the revolution.

4. You must immediately answer my questions without wasting time to reflect.

5. Don’t tell me either about your immoralities or the essence of the revolution.

6. While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all.

7. Do nothing, sit still and wait for my orders. If there is no order, keep quiet. When I ask you to do something, you must do it right away without protesting.

8. Don’t make pretext about Kampuchea Krom in order to hide your secret or traitor.

9. If you don’t follow all the above rules, you shall get many lashes of electric wire.10. If you disobey any point of my regulations you shall get either ten lashes or five shocks of electric discharge.

You are asked to not take photographs of the displays. You should also be silent and respect the somberness of the compound.

As I go thru the classrooms, more instruments of torture is added. Each room had more sadness and it builds up. I stood there in awe at the depravity that is the human race. Capable of such inhumane acts.

There were visitor books that were signed by people near and far. Many from Sweden signed off in apology of the role played by Sweden during the genocide of The Khmer Rouge Regime.

As you make your way clockwise thru the blocks, you will pass a few large beams. These beams were used to hang prisoners by the legs and dunked into large bowls of water.

Shackles line the floors and you can imagine those who found themselves locked to the metal beds and the floor subject to torture and murder.

The Khmer Rouge took photographs of many prisoners in some sort of documentation project.

As I look at the portraits, I see resignation in their eyes. They have questions as to why and what and when?

Some are oblivious of what is occurring in S-21.

One of the last rooms had skulls in them and I could not sneak a photo.

I decided not to go to The Killingfields. S-21 was draining enough.

It was a sad moment but an educational one.

For more in depth photographs visit :

USD6 per entry.

You can spend an hour here. If you are quick, 30 minutes.

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