TikToker criticized for filming video at Angkor Wat that distorts Cambodia culture

By Tu Nguyen    November 16, 2023 | 01:15 am PT
TikToker criticized for filming video at Angkor Wat that distorts Cambodia culture
Visitors to the Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap Province of Cambodia. Photo by AFP
Cambodia has requested TikTok to remove a video of a Vietnamese social media influencer that was filmed at Angkor Wat temple complex with "inappropriate costume and content."

The video was filmed by Hua Quoc Anh, a TikToker living in Ho Chi Minh City with 700,000 followers, at Cambodia's famed Angkor Wat in Siem Reap Province on Oct. 30.

In the video that went viral on social media about a week ago, a girl wearing Thai traditional costume and holding a stick walks around the temple complex. It also incorporated images of the Thai flag and king, accompanied by the sound "Hello Thailand."

On Nov. 12, the Angkor Wat World Heritage Conservation Authority (Apsara) assessed that the video seriously affected Cambodia's culture and heritage and said it had asked the social network TikTok to block it.

The authority also urged online users not to continue sharing the video with "inappropriate content."

The video has now been removed from the TikTok platform.

The Apsara Authority expressed its "deepest regrets" for not preventing the video from being shot at the site and pledged to bolster efforts "to maintain the cherished image of Angkor," Khmer Times reported.

Amid public backlash from both Vietnamese and Cambodian online community, a Vietnamese TikToker came out to apologize to the Cambodian people.

"Now I knew I was wrong, I knew my mistake, so I sincerely apologized to Cambodian friends. Never again will something like this happen," he said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

The TikToker refused to share the reason for filming the video in Cambodia and inserting images and sounds related to Thailand.

Kim Phalet, an international tour guide in Cambodia, said Cambodia and Thailand once had a dispute related to the Preah Vihear Temple on the border with Thailand. Therefore, the act of inserting Thai images into videos shot at the Angkor Wat Temple angered the Cambodian people.

Angkor Wat is considered the heart and pride of the Cambodian people. The temple complex attracts millions of visitors every year from all over the world, and was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1992.

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