via Malay Mail, 10 July 2018: Gua Tambun is a site that I know very well – I studied it for my MA research a decade ago and have gone back to the site every couple of years. The news article incorrectly calls it the largest site in Southeast Asia, although it is one of the largest sites in the region. From the images in the news story the forest growth has been the heaviest that I’ve seen. The site has always had a problem with maintenance, but most of the rock art itself is well protected because it is out of reach of human hands. If anyone knows how to put me in touch with the relevant authorities, please send me an email – I would be very willing to help with the site’s rehabilitation.
The area in front of the entrance to Angkor Wat is now off limits to vehicular traffic in a bid to ease congestion.
Hun Sen Bans Traffic on Angkor Wat Road
Cambodia Daily, 4 May 2016
No cars allowed near Angkor Wat
AP, via Today, 3 May 2016
Cars, vans, and other vehicular traffic will be barred from traveling along the stretch of road directly facing Angkor Wat, the country’s most iconic tourist attraction, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on Facebook yesterday.
“From now on, only pedestrians and cyclists will be allowed to enter the road in front of Angkor Wat temple. No any other vehicles will be allowed to pass through the street, but firetrucks and ambulances will be allowed to enter during an emergency,” Mr. Hun Sen wrote.
A larger story to the previous news piece about the attempted closure of the Nakhon Pathom museum is the plan by the Thai Fine Arts Department to consolidate a number of smaller museums. While efficient, this move is not necessarily widely accepted by the locals whose museums and heritage will be affected.
Central residents protest museum-closure plan
Bangkok Post, 04 May 2015
Hands off our heritage
The Nation, 11 May 2015
The Fine Arts Department’s planned consolidation of small national museums drew strong protest Monday from residents of Nakhon Pathom and Chai Nat provinces, who oppose moving local exhibits to large regional institutions.
embers of local governing bodies, governors and residents from the provinces in the Northeast and Central regions argued that the museums and their artwork represented local historical roots and identity and had invaluable spiritual value for them. Therefore, they reasoned, the artefacts should be kept in their hometowns.
Opponents have launched online protest campaigns and pledged to mobilise locals to demonstrate against the museum closures. Protesters in both Nakhon Pathom and Chai Nat said they were ready to take over the operation and expense of the museums if the department transferred ownership to the provinces.
The Fine Arts Department last week floated the idea of closing Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum in Nakhon Pathom and displaying its pieces from the Dvaravati period (9th-12th century) at U Thong National Museum in Suphan Buri.
The department already had named nine national museums it wanted to consolidate in Bangkok and other provinces, including Chainatmuni National Museum in Chai Nat.
Plans to relocate the artefacts from the Nakhon Pathom Museum to another province were axed after fierce protests from locals in the province. The Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum houses a number of artefacts from the Dvaravati period, spanning the 4th – 10th centuries.
Museum move sparks ire
Bangkok Post, 07 May 20015
Thousands fight plan to close Nakhon Pathom museum
The Nation, 12 May 2015
Plan to change Nakhon Pathom museum axed
The Nation, 13 May 2015
Ministry scraps museum merger plan after protests
Bangkok Post, 13 May 2015
The Culture Ministry has decided to shoot down a proposal to make changes to the Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum following strong protests by locals.
The Fine Arts Department, which is supervised by the ministry, is working on the proposal as it tries to improve museums in the face of staff shortages and budget constraints.
The proposal, however, has enraged people in Nakhon Pathom province as they suspect the department wants to take artefacts and historical items from the only national museum in their hometown.
Locals do not believe the department’s explanation that antiques from the Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum would only be put on display temporarily at the Uthong National Museum in Suphan Buri province – or to be exact – only when the Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum is relocated to another better-equipped venue.
The scepticism arose when word spread that the department planned to close or merge nine museums.