Why Angkor didn't win

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09 July 2007 (The Nation) – The last time I wrote about the new 7 wonders result, I mentioned that voting patterns were a little skewed. This article quite succintly displays why the methodology behind the “new” 7 wonders list was flawed – and like UNESCO says, irrelevant.

Cambodia’s Angkor beaten by Seven Wonders voting system: official

Cambodia’s magnificent Angkor Wat temple was discriminated against by the Seven Wonders contest voting system, which favoured countries with more educated and larger populations, a senior provincial official said Monday.

Chan Sophal, deputy provincial governor of Siem Reap, where the 12th century temple is located, called Angkor Wat being overlooked as a modern wonder “regretable” but said the voting system had always made it virtually impossible for a Cambodian monument to win.

The New Seven Wonders Foundation announced the list of the new seven wonders in Lisbon last Saturday after around 100 million votes were registered by internet or telephone. The new list was chosen from a short list of 21 sites selected from an original list of 77.

“The competition just wasn’t suitable for a country in Cambodia’s situation,” Sophal said by telephone. “It is a country with a very small population, most of whom know nothing about information technology or computers so they could not vote or contribute.”

Sophal said technology such as telephones, let alone computers for online voting, were almost non-existent in rural areas. Siem Reap in the country’s north is one of Cambodia’s poorest provinces and the country remains one of the poorest in the region.

The United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has already blasted the competition as irrelevant. UNESCO designated Angkor Wat a World Heritage site in 1992.

Read the full article.

Books about Angkor Wat:
Angkor Cities and Temples by C. Jaques
The Treasures of Angkor: Cultural Travel Guide (Rizzoli Art Guide) by M. Albanese
Angkor: Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples, Fifth Edition by D. Rooney and P. Danford
Angkor Wat: Time, Space, and Kingship by E. Mannikka
Angkor Wat and cultural ties with India by K. M. Srivastava