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|Emy's first chemo session|
Nov 2, 2010
Aug 10, 2010
Cambodia is the 5th Asian country I've visited and the fourth in South East Asia. The main purpose of the visit was to get away from Singapore during the long weekend for the celebration of the country's 45th birthday and of course to capture the scenery of the famous Angkor Wat.
We took Airasia flight from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia to Siem Reap in the morning of August 7th. It was a 2 hour trip. On our way to the hotel, I began to observe the people and the city; people talk like thais, Cambodia is a third-world country, and the place is much more like a common province in the Philippines. Angkor Wat might be the only reason why someone would spend dollars for a 3rd world country. That was my first impression.
We stayed in Hotel Lin Ratanak, 3star hotel situated 20 minutes away from the airport. After we secured our room and settled our things, we began touring the city of Siem Reap. First stop is the Tonlé Sap ("Tonlé" meaning "Large Fresh Water River," but more commonly translated as "Great Lake"). The floating village became an attraction for tourist, not really worth the prize of $12. The village is a reflection of how poor Cambodia is, I hate how children would swim near our boat and ask for dollars, some women use their babies to gain sympathy and some aged 7-10 hold a snake with them just to attract tourists' attention. It was for me a desperate measure.
We then headed to "the killing fields" where a collection of skulls from the war are being displayed in a giant glass container, which according to my research are the skulls of the warriors during the war with Siam, former name of Thailand. It was a short stop over, just fewphotos and a visit to a small shop then we hopped in our vans and proceeded to Angkor Wat to buy our visa for the next day. We had a buffet for dinner with a cultural Cambodian dance in the background. After dinner, the night was spent by the ladies shopping at night market while the boys treated themselves for a massage. Did I mention that we were 19?
The whole day of the second day was spent inside the Angkor Wat. It was huge, historical and religious. What pissed me thou were those Chinese who were so ignorant because they disrespected the temple by taking photos and touching the boobs of those carvings at the walls. Idiots! Pictures below will best describe Angkor Wat.
The people. The people of Cambodia are just like some Filipinos. They tend to take advantage of the tourist as much as possible. Take for example a flute which would be offered initially for a dollar each, then they would insist and would give it to you for 2 for a dollar and the bargaining would never end until they offer it for 5 for a dollar. The most stupid mistake a tourist can do is to buy a thing without haggling and once you buy something, vendors would flock around you. Cambodians are mixture of Malay and Chinese, most of them look like a typical Vietnamese. They speak so soft and these people also smile a lot.
The food. Cambodian food is very Asian. Not so much difference from the Philippines. One of the best that I've tried was their green mango and how they did the salt and spicy thingy which came with the mango. I also like the "amok" dish. A fish, or chicken or pork cooked with coconut milk and presented and served at a coconut shell. They are not good in cooking sweets and desserts.
Siem Reap might be famous to tourist but it's NOT one of those places that I would say " I’ll definitely go back" - bads ordenes
Jul 25, 2010
British Weekly Exclusive
“I’d write that book again,” Alan told us on Thursday, after undergoing a ten-hour grilling from the city state’s Criminal Investigation Department into his book:Once a Jolly Hangman, Singapore Justice in the Dock
“I don’t believe in backing down from bullies,” Shadrake said, who is best known to BW readers as the author of the long-running and controversial column Shooting From The Lip.
“Everything I wrote (in the book) was true and when I go to court I intend to give as good as I get.”
The 75-year-old author was granted bail on Monday after 24 hours in jail following the high-profile launch of the new book. He could face two years in jail for defamation because of his allegations of institutionalised injustice in the Singapore’s legal system – specifically its application of the death penalty, which many international observers consider to be merciless and arbritary.
The country’s Attorney-General has now served Shadrake with a contempt of court order, saying that the book impugns the impartiality, integrity and independence of the judiciary.
Shadrake told reporters he was freed after a local activist posted bail of 10,000 Singapore dollars ($7,240) for him.
“I’m feeling pretty shaken at the moment,” said Shadrake, whose case is to be heard in court on July 30.
His passport has been impounded to prevent him from leaving Singapore until the case is resolved.
Shadrake revealed that he hade made the decision to go back to Singapore for the book’s launch after extensive consultation with famed legal scholar Francis Seow – himself a former Singapore Solicitor-General and now perhaps the country’s most famous dissident and opponent of Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew. Mr. Seow is now an American citizen and a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School.
“The legal advice I received was that provided I had extensive evidence to back up the claims I make in the book – which I do – then the CID here would have a very hard time making anything stick,” said Shadrake.
“Although they are giving me a very gruelling time here – every day I am interrogated for eight to ten hours, often covering the same ground - I would write the book again in a heartbeat. I am not allowed to have an attorney to be present when I am questioned. But I’m not going to be cowed. I’m looking forward to my day in court.
“I feel I am making history with this book. I have had messages of support from all over the world. I have the British government, Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists on my side and I’m hopeful I will prevail.
“Everything I have written is true. There is a wave of change coming in this country. It’s time for Lee Kwan Yew to stop running Singapore like his own private fiefdom.”
In his book, Shadrake examines the history of the death penalty in Singapore and exposes its unequal and frequently merciless aplication. The books alleges that foreigners and the wealthy are less likely to receive the death penalty. Perhaps most embarrassingly for the Singapore authorities, Shadrake scoops an interview with Singapore’s former chief executioner, Darshan Singh. In an article Shadrake wrote for The Australian newspaper in 2005 – but which has since been removed from its website – Singh is “credited with being the only executioner in the world to single-handedly hang 18 men in one day – three at a time”.
Amnesty International earlier urged Singapore’s government to immediately release the elderly author.
“Singapore uses criminal defamation laws to silence critics of government policies,” Donna Guest, Amnesty’s Asia Pacific Deputy Director, said in London.
“The Singapore government should release Shadrake at once.”
She added: “If Singapore aspires to be a global media city, it needs to respect global human rights standards for freedom of expression… Singapore should get rid of both its criminal defamation laws and the death penalty.”
Amnesty International said last year that Singapore was “estimated to have one of the highest per capita execution rates in the world.”
It said Singapore had executed at least 420 people since 1991, adding that the number was probably higher as “not all sentences and executions are reported publicly”. Singapore, which has one of the lowest crime rates in the world among its five million population, has retained the death penalty since its days as a British colony. Convicts are still executed by hanging.
Shadrake has enjoyed a rich and varied career in journalism, dating back to his days as a Fleet Street correspondent in West Berlin in the 1960s, where he numbered among his drinking buddies two giants of postwar American journalism, Harry Reasoner and Dan Schorr. His experiences in the spy-infested, cloak-and-dagger world of Berlin at the height of the Cold War gave him a lifelong taste for intrigue which served him well as he subsequently became a master of the Fleet Street scoop. In the 1970s he turned to writing books, scoring a spectacular success in writing the first authorized biography of Bruce Lee in cooperation with the martial art legend’s wife, Lynda.
He moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1980s and quickly became a fixture at Ye Olde King’s Head pub in Santa Monica and various karaoke bars in West LA, where his rendition of “Summertime” was often in great demand. He continued to write for US and UK publications including the Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Mirror, the Globe and the National Inquirer.
Shadrake moved to Las Vegas in 1998, where he specialized in local showbusiness stories before moving on to Singapore after falling in love with a local woman who he met on a BW press junket. For the last couple of years he has divided his time between Singapore and Indonesia.