Saturday, June 20, 2009

Looking back

Pont de Vernéville in Phnom Penh 1904
Le Pont Fabre in Phnom Penh 1904
History fascinates me. It always has and I hope it always will. So I was disappointed when I had to miss last Sunday's Khmer Ephemera at Meta House. Joel Montague was presenting examples from his French colonial paper collection that included old postcards and posters of Cambodia. If you want your own taste of old Cambodia seen through early photographic postcards, then look no further than here which has scanned copies of some wonderful images. I've included a couple here, both of them bridges in Phnom Penh that are sadly no longer with us, but what amazing structures they were.
To give you a bit more info about one of the bridges, Pont de Vernéville, here's an extract from a Ministry of Culture website:
The development of modern Phnom Penh began during the 1890s under the direction of architect-town planner Daniel Fabré (1850-1904). During this period the colonial administration made various attempts to resolve the recurrent problem of flooding by filling in several small natural lakes and digging a series of interlinked canals to provide better drainage. The most important of these was the canal completed in 1894, which effectively encircled the quartier Européen. This canal entered from the Tonle Sap, ran east to west along quai Vernéville (now Street 106) and south to north adjacent to boulevard Monsignor Miche (now Monivong Boulevard), before swinging eastwards again to exit into the Tonle Sap at the end of boulevard Charles Thomson (now France Street 47) at the site of a former bridge, the Pont de Vernéville.
Canal de Vernéville 1904 that ran through Phnom Penh
Talking of old photos, I remembered that my mug shot appeared in the Phnom Penh Post at the back end of last year whilst attending a movie preview at Meta House. Here it is but I don't exactly look like a happy bunny do I, and neither does my date for the night, Ameas. A much more happier looking photo was taken at Tuol Sleng of all places a few weeks earlier. It was the first time that Ameas and her sister had been to Tuol Sleng and like many Khmers before her, she had no idea it even existed, let alone what took place there.
A glum-looking Ameas and myself at Meta House (from the PPP)
A much happier pose at Tuol Sleng; same people as above!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, are you guys supposed to be mourning at the toul Sleng? You both seemed to be happy there?

June 20, 2009 9:48 PM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

I took them to S-21 so they could find out more about Cambodia's recent past which they never found out about at school. And whilst S-21 is a very sad place, for lots of reasons, we were happy to be doing something together I recall. Andy

June 21, 2009 3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really impressive with the photo of Phnom Penh in the past.
I never saw this photo before.
Thanks you for sharing this nice photo.
Good luck.

June 21, 2009 4:09 PM  

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