28 May 2011

Cambodia on Foreign Stamps (Part 2)

The end of Cold War in 1989 reset the world power balance, it also broke the strong economic and political tie with the former Soviet Bloc.

One of the few remaining communist states - Cuba celebrated
50th years of diplomatic relationship with Cambodia in 2010

Under the new world order Cambodia rapidly embraced the globalized economy by developing whole new international and regional economic partnerships. In 2004 Cambodia became a member of World Trade Organization (WTO) which offers firm and predictable treatment for products and services of Cambodia in the worldwide market.

Cambodia on United Nations 2006 Flags and Coins series

Regionally a significant move was made in 1999 by joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Cambodian flag depicted on 2006 Malaysia,
2004 Laos and 2010 Vietnam ASEAN stamps.

Currently ASEAN has ten members covering all southeast Asia except East Timor. When first founded in 1967, the bloc aimed at improving trade cooperation within the anti-Communist nations of the region. ASEAN now has the goal of facilitating economic growth, social progress, cultural development and environmental improvement. However the organization does not always work well as expected, recently it fails to resolve Cambodian-Thai border conflict.

The border conflict basically focuses on Prasat Preah Vihear, a Khmer temple which straddles the border in the Dangrek Mountains. The ancient Khmer Empire had a vast territory which included all or parts of modern-day Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and Malaysia, it has left numerous temple ruins scattered across the area, particularly in Thailand and Laos.

Laos 1997 Commemoration of Lao Admission to ASEAN. Built in 11th century,
Wat Phou is a Khmer temple in present-day Champasak Province of Laos.
The temple has a unique structure, in which the elements lead to a
shrine where a linga was bathed in water from a mountain spring.

Laos 2003 World Heritage Site - Wat Phou 3v and S/S FDC.
The temple was designated a World Heritage Site in 2001.

Thailand 1995 Thai Heritage Conservation - Phimai Historical Park 4v set.
It is Khmer heritage rather than Thai, built in the reigns of King
Jayavarman VI and VII of Angkor (1080-1219), Prasat Phimai is
located in now Nakhon Ratchasima Province of Thailand.
It was a Tantric Buddhist temple.

Thailand 1997 Thai Heritage Conservation - Phanomrung Historical Park
1st Series S/S. Prasat Phanomrung is a Khmer temple complex set on
the rim of an extinct volcano in now Buriram Province of Thailand. It was
built in sandstone and laterite in 10th to 13th centuries. The complex
was a Hindu shrine dedicated to Shiva and it symbolises Mount Kailash,
Shiva's heavenly dwelling.

Thailand 1998 Thai Heritage Conservation - Phanomrung
Historical Park 2nd Series S/S

Amongst all Khmer temples the mega star is Angkor Wat. Built for King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century, Angkor Wat was the state temple of the Khmer Empire, and it also served as the première temple of Angkor Thom, capital of the empire during its height.

France 2011 150th Death Anniversary of Henri Mouhot

Angkor Wat was popularized to Europeans by French explorer Henri Mouhot. In his 1868 travel journals "Voyage dans les Royaumes de Siam, de Cambodge, de Laos et Autres Parties Centrales de l'Indo-Chine", Mouhot enchanced his description with illustrations and exclaimed that none of the ancient Greek and Roman buildings could be compared to the splendid Angkor Wat.

France 1993 UNESCO World Heritage

Vietnam 1993 Southeast Asian ancient architecture

Japan 2003 ASEAN-Japan Exchange Year

Mozambique 2000 World Heritage Sities - Asia

World tourists flock in Angkor Wat and surrounding ruins bringing in thousands of millions of US dollars. Although the money is big, in a country like Cambodia which everything rebuilds at ground zero, the piece of cake shared by social services is small. Education and health care for children is inadequate and it heavily depends on foreign assistance. If education can reduce poverty, Cambodia has a long way to go.

Andorra 2004 Children of the World - Cambodian children FDC

For part 1 of "Cambodia on Foreign Stamps", please click here.

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