Destination Cambodia

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       October 15, 2013

 

Author  Walter Mason

Distributor:     
ISBN:                 978-1-74237-662-2
Publisher:         Allen & Unwin
Release Date:    

Website:    http://www.allenandunwin.com 

Ah, Cambodia – what can one say about this tragically beautiful Country with a brave heart and the will of the people to recover and rebuild on what once was and is a legacy of tragedy.

Walter Mason takes us into a world of people, mystery and traditional beliefs not readily available to the average traveller who goes to the country for a short period of time.

Amongst pages there are pathos, sadness, life, hope and incredible tenacity as Walter peeps into the life of many Cambodians he has met and known as they move forward into modern times.

As a Cambodia- phile he introduces us to some of the many people he has come to know well over the many years he has spent in this mystical Kingdom.

We met Panit, who takes not just Walter but all readers, on the journey to his village. We are given an insight into both sides of the Cambodian makeup – that of modern and traditional aspects of the culture blending into one to make up what is rapidly becoming the modern Cambodian. Panit has his cloth talisman to protect him on the bus journey to his village where we are introduced to his mother, village life and the traditions and superstitions which are firmly woven into the Cambodian lifestyle, whether it is modern or traditional.

Some small mention of the mazing temple of Angkor Wat is made from the perspective of if you are there you should go as it truly is majestic, and having survived the changing politics of Cambodia should be treated with respect. Walter is somewhat cynical of the tourist visits where they snap and go and but don’t have an understanding of the significance of the temple in Cambodian culture.

There are some very funny moments a man the bulk of Walter has to cope with such as the bus journey on the way to a prayer breakfast. He was seated in the bus next to a man who was far larger than he, making the journey somewhat more uncomfortable that usual.

Along the way and as it often does when travelling in such countries by bus, the arm rest of the seat fell off. The driver stopped the bus, removed the offending arm rest, placed it at the front of the bus and left Walter sitting in a backless seat for the remainder of the journey. How many travellers can relate to that story!

Amongst pages there are pathos, sadness, life, hope and incredible tenacity as Walter peeps into the life of many Cambodians he has met and known as they move forward into modern times.

We met Panit, who takes not just Walter but all readers, on the journey to his village. We are given an insight into both sides of the Cambodian makeup – that of modern and traditional aspects of the culture blending into one to make up what is rapidly becoming the modern Cambodian. Panit has his cloth talisman to protect him on the bus journey to his village where we are introduced to his mother, village life and the traditions and superstitions which are firmly woven into the Cambodian lifestyle, whether it is modern or traditional.

Some small mention of the mazing temple of Angkor Wat is made from the perspective of if you are there you should go as it truly is majestic, and having survived the changing politics of Cambodia should be treated with respect. Walter is somewhat cynical of the tourist visits where they snap and go and but don’t have an understanding of the significance of the temple in Cambodian culture.

There are some very funny moments a man the bulk of Walter has to cope with such as the bus journey on the way to a prayer breakfast. He was seated in the bus next to a man who was far larger than he, making the journey somewhat more uncomfortable that usual.

Along the way and as it often does when travelling in such countries by bus, the arm rest of the seat fell off. The driver stopped the bus, removed the offending arm rest, placed it at the front of the bus and left Walter sitting in a backless seat for the remainder of the journey. How many travellers can relate to that story!

Ah, Cambodia – what can one say about this tragically beautiful Country with a brave heart and the will of the people to recover and rebuild on what once was and is a legacy of tragedy.

Walter Mason takes us into a world of people, mystery and traditional beliefs not readily available to the average traveller who goes to the country for a short period of time and then leaves.

As a Cambodia- phile he introduces us to some of the many people he has come to know well over the many years he has spent in this mystical Kingdom.

We met Panit, who takes not just Walter but all readers, on the journey to his village. We are given an insight into both sides of the Cambodian makeup – that of modern and traditional aspects of the culture blending into one to make up what is rapidly becoming the modern Cambodian. Panit has his cloth talisman to protect him on the bus journey to his village where we are introduced to his mother, village life and the traditions and superstitions which are firmly woven into the Cambodian lifestyle, whether it is modern or traditional.

Some small mention of the mazing temple of Angkor Wat is made from the perspective of if you are there you should go as it truly is majestic, and having survived the changing politics of Cambodia should be treated with respect. Walter is somewhat cynical of the tourist visits where they snap and go and but don’t have an understanding of the significance of the temple in Cambodian culture.

There are some very funny moments a man the bulk of Walter has to cope with such as the bus journey on the way to a prayer breakfast. He was seated in the bus next to a man who was far larger than he, making the journey somewhat more uncomfortable that usual.

Along the way and as it often does when travelling in such countries by bus, the arm rest of the seat fell off. The driver stopped the bus, removed the offending arm rest, placed it at the front of the bus and left Walter sitting in a backless seat for the remainder of the journey. How many travellers can relate to that story!

Amongst pages there are pathos, sadness, life, hope and incredible tenacity as Walter peeps into the life of many Cambodians he has met and known as they move forward into modern times.