-Some horrifying news out of Angkor Wat: One of the companies responsible for admission to Angkor Wat at night* has apparently drilled holes into Angkor Wat to install electric light bulbs. This is head-smackingly stupid and it’s not clear who OK’d this amazingly short-sighted decision. The Apsara Authority is saying that the holes in the stones were already there (although the original Khmer language article notes that tourists were finding debris on the ground from drilling). There are already holes in many of the blocks at Angkor and other Khmer temples (want to know why? check out this video here), but would those be appropriate for installing electrical lighting? Thousands of dollars of foreign money comes into Angkor park for restoration and conservation and there should be some accountability for how the sites in the park are maintained.
*It is interesting that one of the companies being blamed for this is in charge of collecting admission to the temple at night. Angkor Wat is currently closed at sundown for all but Khmer tourists and only recently has there been talk about the temple being kept open later at night. Hmmm.
-Over at the SEA archaeology blog, Noel mentions that Vietnam is proposing new laws with guidelines on restoration of ancient sites. This is in response to a couple botched restoration jobs at different sites.
-Meanwhile in Thailand some brilliant businessmen are proposing the construction of a Preah Vihear replica. The article notes that:
The construction may cause a conflict between Thailand and Cambodia. The location of the proposed construction of the Preah Vihear temple replica is sensitive and has the potential to create a conflict with Cambodia.
They’re already starting to piss off Cambodian officials. My head starts to hurt when I think about this. Fortunately that is such a ridiculous proposal that it will never happen.
In other more positive news the Heritage Watch website is now back up and can be found at this new address:
Update your bookmarks!