Cratieh – 9th July 1866

After a short stopover at Peam Chelang, gunboat 27 arrived at Cratieh, a Cambodian village situated on the left bank of the river, on 9 July.

Cratieh is a small village of four to five hundred souls with no commercial trade of any kind at all. the well-built huts are spread over a great distance along the bank, surrounded by some fruit trees and some gardens. Behind the narrow ribbon they occupy at the top of the river bank, the land falls quickly and beyond this there are only some poor, scattered rice fields in the plains.

Nothing provides a sadder idea of the carelessness and indolence of the Cambodians, than the sight of these small squares of rice, lost amidst the fertile land left fallow, although neither the hands nor the beasts of burden are lacking to cultivate them.

Enough to feed themselves, but nothing more, that is the limit which the Cambodians set to their efforts almost everywhere.

Thus, amidst opportunities of richness which wait only for a hand  to render them fruitful, amidst this land so admirably blessed by nature, they remain poor and wretched, by their laziness or by discouragement pushing away the welfare and fortune which stretch out their hands to them: the sad result of a system of government that kills this rich and unfortunate country.

Garnier, Vol. 1: 52