Informit article: Holiday in Cambodia

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Disaster tourism in the Killing Fields and bomb trekking tours in Laos.

The post-punk era certainly had its defining moments, with songs of teenage angst seared onto the memory of a generation. In the period from 1978 to 1981 jarring guitar chords were often married to leftist politics, and served with a high dose of youthful cynicism. The Dead Kennedys’ ‘Holiday in Cambodia’ summed up a generation’s malaise with an aural blast that coupled insolent lyrics with killer riffs: ‘It’s a holiday in Cambodia / Where people dress in black / A holiday in Cambodia / Where you’ll kiss arse or crack.’ Jello Biafra’s screeching vocals provided ironic commentary to Pol Pot’s nightmarish regime (1975–78) when world attention focused on the Killing Fields and the infamous torture school Tuong Sleng (S-21), some fifteen minutes by pedalled rickshaw from Phnom Penh. Flared jeans and ritual murder sat side-by-side in this confused and contested period. Why would any holiday-maker want to visit this hell-hole?

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