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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Airline's use of Bayon questioned

Airline's use of Bayon questioned

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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

Thailand.

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

jet.

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.

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