The pyramid temple of Prasat Thom as I encountered it on my arrival in Koh Ker in November 2001
Tonight I watched a television documentary on National Geographic that I should've made. What am I talking about? Back in 2001 I was contacted by Live Art Entertainment in Singapore, who were considering making a documentary in Cambodia. They'd read my website and were keen for me to take a small camera crew into the Cambodian jungle to search for ancient temples. I kid you not. However, not having the face and voice for television, and having a full-time job in the banking industry in England, I turned down their offer. Instead I suggested they consider the double-edged angle of lost temples and landmines at Koh Ker, buried in the forests northeast of Angkor and gave them as much information as I could muster. Then I forgot about it. In fact it was in November of that same year that I made my first visit to Koh Ker - a real tough trip that only the foolhardy would've ever considered at that time. Landmines were a real threat outside of a few temples that had been cleared but I knew there were many more in the forest waiting to be discovered - both temples and landmines. So imagine my surprise when I saw a documentary under the National Geographic banner at the beginning of 2003, following Professor Charles Higham, a noted SEA archaeological scholar, into the recently-discovered temples of Koh Ker in a film called Guardians of Angkor
. The guardians turned out to be landmines and it was exactly the angle of temples and landmines that I'd suggested over a year before. In fact the show's producer, director and writer, Dean Love, netted a couple of television awards for his programme. That's what happens when you turn down offers that come out of the blue. So when Kim Fay asked me to edit the book To Cambodia With Love a few years ago, I bit her arm off. I got a message today to say that a package was awaiting collection at the post office, so fingers crossed, my copies of TCWL have finally arrived. Whilst watching the programme I spotted a young girl trying to sell Professor Higham a krama at Angkor Wat and recognized her as Piya, one of the temple sellers I've known for many years now. She made it onto the tv, I didn't.
Labels: Guardians of Angkor, National Geographic, To Cambodia With Love