THE Royal Culture Ministry has taken strong exception to the use of Bayon and
Angkor Wat images on a Bangkok Airways aircraft, saying the depiction amounts to
appropriation of Cambodia's cultural icons.
Ancient Khmer symbols grace a Bangkok Airways jet, itself named "Angkor", after its destination.
In a recent communique to
the Council of Ministers, secretary of state in the culture ministry Prince
Sisowath Panara Sirivuth said the government should consider some sort of
official action against the airlines for doing so.
Speaking to the Post
on July 2, Prince Panara said his ministry was merely acting on the concerns
expressed in complaints by some Cambodian citizens, including travel agents, as
they felt the airline was trying to confuse the foreign tourists into believing
that Angkor Wat was in Thailand or was in some way connected to
The airline, when contacted, however expressed surprise at the
"meaningless" controversy, saying that written permmision was obtained from the
Cambodian government before using the Angkor impression on its Boeing 717-200
In a written statement, Bangkok Airways president and CEO Prasert
Prasarttong-Osoth said the decision to decorate the plane in the spirit of
Angkor Wat was taken in light of a joint Thai-Cambodian tourism promotion scheme
entitled "Two Kingdoms, One Destination."
The craft used on its Samui
sector, he said, was similarly painted in a bright tropical illustration of
sand, sea and swaying coconut palms to reflect the character of the destination.
Bangkok Airways operates direct flights from Bangkok to Siem Riep, Phnom
Penh, Samui, Singapore and Sukhothai, among other regional destinations.