Cambodia’s most diligent and heroic architect

Dy Proeung built scale models of temples. When the Khmer Rouge took over, he had to hide his life’s work—and his identity.

Thousands of tourists flock to Siem Reap every day to visit Angkor Wat, piling into the temple complex with their cameras at the ready.

But down a quiet side-street in the center of town, there is  a very different scene. Here, Cambodian architectural draftsman Dy Proeung lives with his daughter in a quiet, dusty house, its garden littered with miniature sculptures of the imposing temples tourists come to see.

At 82, he finds it increasingly hard to care for his miniatures and without adequate funding for repairs or restorations, they have fallen into disrepair. Exposed to the elements in his courtyard, they have gradually lost their details, eroding with time, rotting in the rain and cracking in the sun as tourists trickle in to see them for just $1.50.

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