12 century Khmer political history today


At the Bayon temple, the unknown Khmer artists and craftsmen were able to produced extremely detailed bas-relief carvings of Khmer political history on the gallery walls. This multi-level waring scenes show  events of their conquest and defeat of their enemies. Politics -conflicts of interest- at that time was mostly settled through violence, by going to war with each other.

The Bayon temple, is the heart of the temple complex, built by the ambitious builder, Buddhist King, Jayavarman VII, in 1181. This style of building, the Bayon Style, began to replace the previous dominant Hindu influences.  All the statues of any value had been plundered over time but this wall picture of Khmer history is well-preserved. I saw it for the first time a few weeks back when I visited Cambodia.

This picture of barbarism with solders killing and elephants trampling on opposing sides reminded me somewhat of what had happened in Kuala Lumpur  last Saturday 1 August. Malaysians made political history by marching  in the street with opposing views of the Internal Security Act, a long-standing law allowing detention without trial.

But one would imagine that after 900 years of waring history in this region, we would have learn t to settle our disagreements, alliances and balances of power without resorting to using the Malaysian riot police to fire tear gas and water cannons into its own citizens’ gathering.

When can we resolve our diferences among us without resort to violence and imtimidation, so that we can be stronger, freer and happier?