Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is one of the remaining memorials to the genocide during the Khmer Rouge era in the 1970s. I was visiting Phnom Penh of Cambodia and not only I had the chance to visit the touted Museum of Horrors but I have a personal local guide showing me the grounds and reliving his family’s survival and sacrifices during that period.
Through his heartfelt words, his story is simple yet heartbreaking. His family survived the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979 because his father was a fisherman and he gave all his catch every day to the army while the rest of his family have to make do with scavenging with leftovers and roots by digging in the ground. This ensured their safety in exchange of rumbling stomachs. Many of his friends and neighbours are not so fortunate. Some were separated from their families while others were taken as prisoners.
Tuol Sleng means “Hill of the Poisonous Trees” was one of the many 150 execution centers and had housed more than 20,000 prisoners. As I strolled through the quiet grounds, I passed by many tourists but silence befall upon all of us as we shuffled through the halls of terror that one could only imagine. Torture was a daily routine to get confessions out of the prisoners, some were forced into medical experiments and were sliced open and had organs removed with no anaesthetic. Others were attached to intravenous pumps and every drop of blood was drained from their bodies to see how long they could survive.
Below are the photos taken by me on my visit there.
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Kally is a former Sales and Customer Service manager turned Writer and Founder of MiddleMe.net. She came from Singapore; lived in Shanghai and now calls Kuala Lumpur her home. After hanging up her corporate briefcase, she now pursue her passions – Writing, Traveling and of course, hunting for good food
Connect with me @ Kally@ladyredot.com