A High School Turned Torture Prison

Monday, August 01, 2011

Torture Prison, Cambodia

Chichi and I often played a game of describing a place we've been in just one word. It allows us to capture our impressions in the most honest and concise answer. It was no surprise that when it came to Phnom Penh, we both answered: Depressing!

Yes, Phnom Penh is truly the Feel Bad capital of Southeast Asia.

The atrocities of the Khmer Rouge are still felt in this scarred city. There are 2 major sites where the evidence of the horrors are well preserved: The Killing Fields of Cheong Ek and Tuol Sleng High School. Tuol Sleng ironically translates to "Hill of the Poison Tree". It was an abandoned school that the Khmer Rouge converted as a prison and interrogation center for political prisoners.

It was a place where people went in but never got out.

Words alone are not enough to capture the thoughts and emotions we've been through when visited this school turned prison. So I'll walk you through the experience with these images:

Torture Prison, Cambodia


Torture Prison, Cambodia

Torture Prison, Cambodia



Torture Prison, Cambodia


"Someone was hurt before you, wronged before you, hungry before you, frightened before you, beaten before you, humiliated before you, raped before you…yet, someone survived…You can do anything you choose to do."
— Maya Angelou

Torture Prison, Cambodia


Torture Prison, Cambodia


Torture Prison, Cambodia


Torture Prison, Cambodia


"...everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
Viktor Frankl Quotes from Man's Search for Meaning 


Torture Prison, Cambodia


Torture Prison, Cambodia


God be with you all. Hell is waiting for Pol Pot.

Torture Prison, Cambodia


Torture Prison, Cambodia


Torture Prison, Cambodia  

Nearly 20,000 people are known to have entered Tuol Sleng; of these only six are known to have survived.
"We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived."
Chris Cleave (Little Bee)

Feeling melancholy,
Sole Sister Lois

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16 sole trails

  1. These photos are moving. Thanks for sharing them.

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  2. Tuol Sleng was a very haunting experience but nevertheless educational. Hopefully tourists learn a lesson from this. Despite the somber mood, I really think it was a must for visitors to Phnom Penh. I am a great admirer of the resilience of the Cambodian people.

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  3. It always makes me sad and mad whenever i read something about Phnom Penh.. Sad because of what the inmates had gone through, and mad of the extent of how madness can turn into atrocity..yet again, this is another beautiful post from you gals..it serves as a reminder to us to be always vigilant

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  4. That photo (6th) of the woman haunted me for weeks! If I remember correctly, she was holding her child. Is she the one? *sob*

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  5. eery place! and the photos captured that!
    nice shots you have here!

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  6. Thank you Danielle for your kind comment. We'll be sure to drop by your travel site as well!

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  7. Resilience is the word carlo. And I would say it's not just the resilience of the Khmers but the it really depicts the resilience of the human spirit. Truly unbreakable. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

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  8. Madness and Sadness. Those are 2 sentiments we felt as we went through S-21 Prison Victor. It's definitely something we had to see and experience for ourselves. The history books are no match as a learning tool compared to travel. Travel can teach us so many essential things.

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  9. Yes gaye, I think it's the same one. It really gets to you doesn't it? I felt sad especially for those children who never had the chance to grow up.

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  10. Thanks for the compliment Archer. Yes, you can say the place really haunted us to the core.

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  11. It's sad and scary how low us humans can go. Thanks for reminding us about this through your post.

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  12. Yes, we humans can be the most beautiful creatures and the most destructive at the same time. We have to realize what we're capable of. Thanks for dropping by Ced!

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  13. whoo. pictures pa lang depressing na
    *nice shots

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  14. Yeah, Phnom Penh was pretty heavy on the soul ayan. Thanks for the compliment!

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  15. I need to be emotionally ready when I go there. 

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  16. I think youre perfect contestants for tv5's THE AMAZING RACE PHILIPPINES! Join now!

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