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Saving ancient stone – restoration of the Angkor heritage sites

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Saving ancient stone – restoration of the Angkor heritage sites | The Thaiger

by China Daily – Asia News Network

August is probably not the best time for tourists to travel to Angkor Was (Angkor Archaeological Park) in northern Cambodia – the rainy season brings particularly muggy conditions.

But for Yuan Mengxi, an assistant researcher at the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage, her trip last month was perhaps one of her most exciting although she had been there more than 10 times.

Restoration of Ta Keo, a temple at the site built in the 10th and 11th centuries, has been completed.

“The work has been long and tough,” Yuan said.

“But it is meaningful when you see locals, including the elderly and children, continuing to worship deities at the shrines.”

The park houses the major tourist attraction of Angkor Wat and welcomes visitors from around the world.

But when the Angkor complex was entered onto the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1992, it was also labeled as being “in danger” due to unstable foundational architecture and severe damage caused over time by warfare. Many parts of the temples there have collapsed, and refurbishing foundations posed potential hazards to workers.

As a result, the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor, also known as ICC-Angkor, was organised in 1993 under the UNESCO framework. China is one of the members of this committee.

Yuan visited Ta Keo to inspect the restoration work, which the academy started in 2010.

“Maybe it’s our best way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ICC-Angkor and the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Cambodia,” she said.

Construction of Ta Keo as a “state temple” began during the reign of Jayavarman V, a ruler during the Khmer Empire (802-1431). Covering 46,000 square meters, the site is generally considered one of the most magnificent temple-mountains in Angkor.

The term temple-mountain refers to the style for the construction of state temples during the Khmer Empire, which was influenced by Indian temple architecture.

“It’s important evidence showing the transition of architectural styles from the early-stage Angkor sites with typical Hindu characters from India to the later ones featuring local Buddhism,” Yuan said.

Ta Keo is also believed to be the first temple built entirely from sandstone in the Khmer Empire. However, when the academy started restoration work, experts had to sift through tens of thousands of fallen stones and largely collapsed halls, corridors and turrets.

“We had to find the right stones in the rubble and put them back,” Yuan said.

“Everything has to be concise. But restoration is far more than putting the fallen stones back. The bulk of the work is done through detailed research before the engineers start.”

Saving ancient stone - restoration of the Angkor heritage sites | News by The Thaiger

Chinese specialists help renovate Ta Keo Temple at the Angkor complex in Cambodia in July. [Photo by Mao Pengfei / Xinhua]

STORY: The Nation


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SE Asia

Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of prestigious peace award

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Aung San Suu Kyi stripped of prestigious peace award | The Thaiger

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi has been stripped of Amnesty International’s most prestigious human rights prize, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, which she was awarded whilst still in detention in 2009.

Amnesty is calling out the defacto Burmese leader and accusing her of perpetuating human rights abuses by not speaking out about violence against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

Once hailed as a champion for democracy and peace in Myanmar, Suu Kyi has been now stripped of a series of international honors over her handling of the brutal crackdown and Rohingya exodus following outbreaks of violence in the Rhakine region in August 2017.

More than 700,000 of the stateless Rohingya fled across Myanmar’s western-most borders into Bangladesh after the Myanmar Army launched a ruthless crackdown in response to Rohingya insurgent attacks on the security forces.

Human rights organisations, NGOs and UN investigators have continually accused the Burmese military of unleashing a campaign of killings, rape and arson with “genocidal intent”.

Suu Kyi’s administration, for their part, have ignored or rejected the findings claiming that they’re ‘one-sided’. Her response has been that the military action was a legitimate counter-insurgency operation.

The international human rights group named Suu Kyi as its 2009 Ambassador of Conscience Award recipient when she was still under house arrest for her opposition to Myanmar’s oppressive military junta.

Amnesty International says she had failed to speak out over the atrocities and continues to “shield security forces from accountability” for the violence against the Rohingya.

“A shameful betrayal of the values she once stood for”

Amnesty International informed Suu Kyi on Sunday about the decision to revoke the prestigious award. So far the Myanmar leader has not responded publicly about the decision.

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Asia three most ‘sustainable’ cities. And plenty that aren’t.

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Asia three most ‘sustainable’ cities. And plenty that aren’t. | The Thaiger

Singapore, Seoul in South Korea and Hong Kong are the three Asian countries to come out on top of the list of the region’s most sustainable cities.

The 2018 Sustainable Cities Index, conducted by Arcadis NV – an Amsterdam-headquartered global design, engineering and management consulting company – found that the three cities ranked highly in the scores given to ‘people’, ‘planet’, and ‘profit’, the three measures the index uses for ‘sustainability’.

The report gives points to 100 of the world’s most prominent cities. It also identifies ‘evolutionary cities’ and thirteen ‘fast-growing megacities’. The 10 ‘megacities’ were found to be at the bottom of the people index.

The megacities included those situated in the rapidly growing economies of China and India, which were subject to high levels of inward-migration, infrastructure investment and change.

“Cities like Mumbai, Shanghai and Shenzhen exhibit significant inequality in terms of income and access to resources and opportunity,” according to the report.

Of 23 cities in the sample, 14 are in the bottom quartile, facing significant challenges across all pillars, the report noted.

Read more about the report HERE.

At fourth place overall, Singapore is just behind European cities London, Stockholm, and Edinburgh. Asian Correspondent reports that the city state is highly ranked due to its high score in one or two pillars of the index. Like Hong Kong, Singapore are in the top 10 driven by very high ‘profit’ rankings and middle of the road ‘people’ and ‘planet’ rankings.

The index report noted that most of the top 10 cities had high ‘Planet’ scores – these are Northern European cities like Stockholm and, Frankfurt which have been highly successful in combining economic prosperity and environmental stewardship.

Read more about the Asian cities HERE.

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KL driver gets an unexpected car wash in flooding tunnel

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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KL driver gets an unexpected car wash in flooding tunnel | The Thaiger

An alert driver quickly had to climb out of his car’s window to safety when water suddenly gushed into a road tunnel near Jalan Tun Razak in central KL during heavy rain last night (November 11). The flood waters consumed his car within minutes.

According to Bernama, the man identified as 26 year old Teh, says he was really scared and decided to stay put by sitting on his Honda Civic roof before rescuers came.

“I did not expect the trapped pool of water to be so dangerous as there was a truck in front of me. Suddenly water started seeping into my car so I quickly wound down my window and crawled out to safety.”

“I was later saved by rescuers who arrived at the location.”

The incident caused water damage to Teh’s car after it was completely submerged in the tunnel.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department said the department received a distress call at 5.56pm and seven personnel from the Jalan Tun Razak station rushed to the location.

“Upon arriving at the scene, we found five vehicles trapped in the tunnel and firemen brought all victims to a safe location,” the statement said.According to the statement, the rescue operations took about 10 minutes and the five men were unhurt.

KL driver gets an unexpected car wash in flooding tunnel | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Star Online

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