Wat Broyouvong Slum

Posted: August 23, 2010 in Daily Life
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Oxford dictionary define slum as: a squalid and overcrowded urban street or district inhabited by very poor people. I do not have clear definition of this word in Cambodian context, but slums in Phnom Penh are commonly found on public lands, along railroad and rivers, on rooftop and even in temple compound which I am going to introduce here.

According to the researches by Sahmakum Teang Tnout (STT), the number of slums has declined from 569 settlements in 2003 to only 410 in 2009, as the results of Phnom Penh Municipality’s eviction plans to beautify and develop the capital and some slum upgrading projects. In the STT’s The-8-Khan-Survey-2009, it is reported that there are 400 families living in the Wat Broyouvong settlement. Basic wooden houses stand right from the temple gate reaching the wall of the temple. There are even houses built right on the corridor of the Vihara, the main temple building. I went from the backside gate and could not find my way inside the Vihear, as the corridor was walled, assumedly to prevent further spread of the community.

Wat Preah Yuvong
Monks on their ways to collect alms

Wat Preah Yuvong
The temple gate has its architectural beauty in style, which the people living there have no luxury to appreciate, but their own families to care for.

Wat Preah Yuvong
Houses lined on both sides leading to the Vihear.

An aerial image recorded by Google

  1. Well said and nice pictures. I do feel pity of the poor families, but it is a chaos and ruining Buddhism to let such slum in the temple compound. The temple is a temporary savoring place, but not a place for people to living permanently like that. I hope the PP authority and the Ministry of Cult and Religion will find a way to deal with this problem.

  2. I really love the colors in that first photo.

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