My dear Kacvey,
Lately in Siem Reap, an invisible creature has roamed around the various temples looking for trees as preys for its hunger. First it identified the lone tree in Ta Prom, and now five more trees in Prey Rup.
This creature has been telling people, without providing reliable studies and surveys, that these six centuries-age-old trees need to be felt as a sacrifice to its power and also because they damage the structures of Ta Prom and Prey Rup. Words and evidence are two completely different things like Ta Prom and Prey Rup!
Now, Kacvey, how could these trees do damage to the structures of the temples for all the hundreds of years that have passed? Natural force and time have combined the trees and the temples to become one, and no man has ever understood how this had happened. How could this creature not see that it is the thousands of people who trampled those structures on a daily basis are the cause of the damage? Look at the stones! They eroded and crumbled under the feet of these mortals.
It is not enough that mountains have already been shaved off trees to become “phnom kbaal trâ pék”, it warmly welcomes the chainsaws of the deforesters to the Angkor park. It won’t take long before the trees in the Angkor Thom compound will meet the same fate. The creature gets hungrier at every new dawn!
If in the future, after the trees are felt and the structures crumble, who would take the blame? Men die, Ta Prom and Prey Rup survive!
Blaming the trees to hide its incompetence and lack of skill to manage the flow of tourists is the name of the game! Irresponsibility and lack of accountability have no limit in Khmer management style!
In “The Aeneid” (III. 27-61), Virgil told the story when Aeneas, while in the Thracian Lands, tried to wrench the green growth from the ground to provide a leafy covering for an altar, he encountered a horrible and astounding miracle. When he pulled 3 bushes, dark blood came out of the bark and the roots that were broken off from the soil. Aeneas was then confronted with the human voice of Polydorus – who was killed by the Thracian king and buried on that spot – answering; “Why, Aeneas, must you rend a poor sufferer? I am buried here. Wound me no more, and do not stain your righteous hands with sin. I am no foreigner: I am Trojan-born. And when harm is done to this stalk it is human blood which flows. Ah, make haste to flee these coasts of avarice, this land of savagery! For I am Polydorus. Here death overpowered me in a crop of piercing iron-pointed spears. And so a crop resembling javelins has grown over me.”
With the para-Buddhist feelings about “nèak ta” or “khmôarch lôurng” in the back of the belief among the Khmer and “Khmer kaun chauv chèn”, could there still be similar or another kind of miracle in the 21st century in Cambodia’s Ta prom and Prey Rup?
Dear Kacvey, please try asap to secure a few photos of those trees for posterity sake! … or it may be already too late when you read this letter. Alas!
UPDATE – 7 more trees have now been slated for destruction.
Margaret Mead, once, said: “We will not have a society if we destroy the environment.”