INTRODUCTION: Despite the continued occupation of Kampuchea since November 1978 by an estimated 200,000 Vietnamese troops, life in the capital, Phnom Penh, has largely returned to normal.
GV & CU Street scene (2 shots)
GV Railway station, shunting, in progress, whistle as trucks pass (3 shots)
GV ZOOM Soviet-made gun concealed on truck
GV Loading train
GV Soldiers on platform
SV Monk walks along platform
SV Peasants arriving at station carrying bags
GV Truck unloading
SV INTERIOR Truck during loading (2 shots)
GV Railway workshop rebuilding locomotive (3 shots)
GV Pouring molten steel
GV Women at machines (4 shots)
SV PAN UP Locomotive in shed
GV Derelict carriage in yard of station
GV Old carriages being used as homes
GV PAN Deserted locomotive in field
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Despite the continued occupation of Kampuchea since November 1978 by an estimated 200,000 Vietnamese troops, life in the capital, Phnom Penh, has largely returned to normal. Droughts and floods have caused drastic food shortages in some rural areas, but a stalemate in the country's civil war has brought a sense of security back to the city.
SYNOPSIS: Phnom Penh was one of the great tragedies of the modern world. Once renowned as the most civilised and graceful city in Asia, it suffered three and a half years ruled by the Communist Khmer Rouge regime, reducing the city to a derelict condition. Compulsory re-education emptied Phnom Penh of its population, and many of the buildings were left as smouldering ruins. But now life has returned.
True, there are still obvious signs of the Vietnamese occupation, as in this armoured carriage about to be attached to a local train.
But a wide variety of goods is now available in the city's markets and Buddhist monks can once again walk freely in public.
By sunrise each day, the station is alive with peasants arriving to sell their goods in the streets. Most of the city's 600,000 population seem to be selling something. On the pavements, small stalls are loaded with fresh produce brought from the outlying areas and the country's outmoded railway system is hard-pressured to cope with the demand.
Farmworkers have been allowed to return to their own regions, and Phnom Penh's heavy industrial plants are gradually re-opening. One of the most urgent projects is to re-build the nation's transport system -- no easy task when western border areas are still controlled by guerrilla forces opposed to the Vietnamese.
Ironically, many observers say the standard of living in Phnom Penh has become markedly higher than in Ho Chi Minh City -- the consumer capital of Vietnam. But, because of the daunting dimensions, the country's reconstruction programme still has a long way to go.
These derelict carriages in the shunting yards at Phnom Penh's station are filled with the city's homeless. The new-found affluence of their capital has passed them by and, with the possibility Kampuchea could be plunged back into a violent civil war at any moment, their future is anything but bright.