Possibly the most emotional start to a holiday I’ve ever had. The largest Phnom Penh Killing Field followed by S-21 does not provide uplifting stories, rather a meditation on how fast humankind can degenerate and to how low a state.

One in every five citizens murdered by the government (consisting of fellow citizens). Children committing acts of extraordinary brutality: bullets were expensive, so the executioners used knives, machetes, hoes, sticks to do their work and allegedly palm trees to kill babies.

I’d have been a gonner: educated? Check. Wears glasses? Check. Soft hands? Check. Unable to paint? Check (a surprising number of the Tuol Sleng survivors could paint and survived by painting the commanders).

Apparently the Khmer Rouge thought China’s great leap forward was not ambitious enough. For all its many faults, at least the current government is not following the same path. And the people seem to be getting on with things: our guide taught himself English and is driving around the capital on his own for the first time (Apple maps seem OK here).

Now to go back in time to the Angkor empire which bestrode Indochine in ancient times. And eat some more yummy Khmer food.