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posted by Harbinger on September 24th, 2009 9:00 AM

posted by Harbinger on August 14th, 2009 5:15 AM

I think you mean auctioned into "private collections". Public collections are museums.

Doesn't much matter, either way it's never seen again by the Cambodians.

The Angkor Wat guides in Siem Reap (is he a car guide or a motobike guy?) tell all kinds of whoppers. Cultural protection isn't an excuse, it's a fact. If they put the statues "back in the temples", they'd be looted again.

Cambodia has been to hell and back in lots of ways, the most important of them being the genocidal murder of 25% of the population, but in a more minor way, it is one of the world's biggest victims of cultural theft. The government hasn't been weak, it has been admirable to get back even a tiny percentage of what was stolen. It's very hard and Western governments have been very far from cooperative.

Mr Thy is grumbling because the tourists grumble about the $5 and that's bad for his business as a tour guide. I won't even comment on how people happily pay to go to a museum to see the stolen version, but complain and call it greedy when they are charged in situ.

Sorry, bur defying the perfectly reasonable request not to take pictures and publicly distribute them is not something I find appealing at all. Bad tourism.

posted by Harbinger on August 14th, 2009 1:08 AM

The point of the picture ban for that gallery has nothing to do with Cambodian heritage. It's to deter the international antiquities market (which has already looted Siem Reap substantially) from getting what's left.

The locals get in just fine. The problem is when they hack the statues and sell them to jerks to smuggle into Europe and the States, who clean up the paperwork and then donate them to museums and take a big old tax break.

How do you think most Cambodian art got to the west?

Dumb thing to do. The government is trying to preserve the cultural heritage of the country. They don't want pictures posted on the Internet for a reason. Orders will be placed. Already happened once.

posted by Harbinger on July 8th, 2009 8:48 PM

Oh my. Someone's cranky.