At home with strangers: social exclusion and intimate labor in Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo (2013)
10 Sep 2018
Tunnels and Traps
12 Jan 2012
12 Jan 2012
We went to the Torture Prison right after we went to one of Khmer Rouge’s largest Killing Fields site. S21 or the Tuol Sleng Prison is a few miles from the Cheung Ek Genocide Museum. This used to be a primary school building complex. One can still see how these torture chambers and improvised jail booths have once held young Cambodian grade schoolers through humid afternoons for their lessons. In the middle of the building square is the school yard, this must have been the only sight of relief for the many victims who were once detained here. The first sign that would greet the visitors is a crossed-out sketch of a man smiling, with only a Khmer script on top of it. Tourists and visitors can roam the prison complex freely and look through the artifacts recovered in the prison. Looking through the exhibits, one can see how improvisation is very much part of how these implements of cruelty were created and used. Classrooms were installed with rows and rows of confession booth-like wooden cells for prisoners. Chains are made from scrap metal rods forcibly formed to fit the wrists of prisoners. Waterboarding has to be done on used wooden wardrobe cabinets filled with water. The tools for forced labor was also used as tools for torture, shovels, rakes, bolos, and axes. Whips are made of barbed wires or spiky veins. Some of the prisoners were sentenced to die by hanging at the schoolyard’s horizontal bar.