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Nusantara Archive 11: Koh Pich’s ABC’s, 2021 (CH/EN)
November 25th, 2021TYPE: Publication


Koh Pich is a sedimentary land located in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh. Its formation was due to the Mekong river and Basa river’s alluvium and the change of flow directions. The first official document that mentioned Koh Pich appeared in a 1910 Phnom Penh irrigation channel plan drafted by the French colonial government. At the time, Koh Pich was still only a sandbank, and it was referred to as Koh Tauch Del Roporye. Such document is still preserved in Cambodia’s national archive. With the change of regime, Koh Pich is still remembered as Koh Klong (the island of madness) in the collective memory of the Phnom Penh residents who age over 60. The word on the street is that it used to be the place where patients of Hansen’s disease and ethnic minorities were managed collectively; in the memory of the Phnom Penh residents aging from 30 to 40, the island is a barren land full of mango trees. A local newspaper clipping from the early 90s shows the picture of a long and narrow Koh Pich with some traces of farming and some randomly-built corrugated iron houses. In 2006, Koh Pich was purchased by the Overseas Cambodia Investment Corporation (OCIC) under K. Wah group. They increased the island area through land reclamation, trying to build Koh Pich as Phnom Penh’s special district and satellite city. They replicated numerous worldly-renowned architectures such as the Arc de Triomphe in France and recruited a considerable amount of Chinese and Taiwanese construction companies to develop the place — this is how the name “Koh Pich” took shape.

Download Nusantara Archive 11: Koh Pich’s ABC’s, 2021 (CH/EN)