14 years paying to Apsara Authority

During my 14th anniversary in Cambodia, I went to see once more the Angkorian temples with the Colombian television, Teleantioquia. Unfortunately, you have to face always the rude behavior of Apsara Authority and its funny policies over the administration of the temples, while many things are out of place. The journalists were surprised why after 14 years of work for Cambodian youth in technical education, I don’t have just a special pass to enter the temples. I have to pay as a foreign tourist. In order to answer the question, I asked the beautiful cashier you can see at the video why I have to pay to enter to the temples. Of course, the girl is not the responsible of it. The responsible must be living in a comfortable place getting thousands of bills per day.

The other issue is the video camera. It is forbidden at the temples, as well as the tripods. What is the fear? Well, the journalists asked me to bring them to the Apsara Authority office that is, by the way, far from the temples. A tough man received us. I was very kind in the beginning and I explained him that the Colombian television was doing a documentary over technical education and young people, etc. The guy answer immediately “everybody helps Cambodia, so nothing special.” The guy did not tell me his name, but you can recognize him easily at the office of Apsara Authority as an unsmiling balding. In order to get a permission to enter the camera you need to send a letter to X guy, then wait for at least ten days!

When I comment it with a friend in Siem Reap, she said “you are silly… he was waiting for some money that could make him to speed such process…” Oh… yes, I forgot.

Now, going to their website, it is written:

“Visitors who wish to take pictures or shoot film in the Angkor Park for commercial purposes, must respect the following procedures established by the Department of Tourism of the APSARA Authority :

A letter to the President-Executive Director requesting permission to take pictures or shoot film must be submitted to the Department of Tourism.

The request must include an attachment of the equipment list.

The request must name the exact dates and places of taking the pictures or shooting the film in the Angkor Park

The request must describe the use of the picture or film material from the Angkor Park (for example, documentary, tourist promotion, etc.)”

The point is that the documentary was not for commercial purposes. Why there is not an attitude to understand things and just closed the doors?

If the Angkorian temples are a World Heritage, why so many restrictions to film? It is a public place. Nobody owns the temples apart from the Cambodian people and, in a most extensive way, all humanity… not Apsara Authority.

After we went to the gardens in front to Grand Hotel d’Angkor and, same history, not possible to film. It is a public place, please read the rules over photography that should apply for filming: http://www.krages.com/ThePhotographersRight.pdf

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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39xwdGtVXI) and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (http://www.colombia.co/en/culture/colombians-that-are-making-this-a-better-world.html).

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