In April 1975, the city of Phnom Penh was falling, emptying of its inhabitants. A spell of death, destruction and terror followed.
Forty years later the scars are barely visible on the outside. Peace seems to be well established, and under the iron fist of the prime minister Hun Sen, the city is booming. The skyline is rapidly changing, the post-Independence heritage is getting destroyed, scaffolding is ubiquitous.
Workers are moving in from the provinces and building landscapes of columned mansions, fountains and manicured gardens. Satellite cities are mushrooming, and these gated communities epitomize the aspirations of an emerging middle-class. There is recklessness in the air, a very palpable thirst for a modernity that appears to be built on layers of oblivion. Oblivion of history, oblivion of the squalor that lies just two steps away from the golden decor of the latest Karaoke bar; as well as an enduring poetry.