Cambodia has reportedly demanded that Amazon stop selling lavatory seat covers decorated with scenes from its world-famous Angkor Wat temple complex, and bath mats depicting the national flag.
Chum Sounry, the Cambodian ambassador to the US, has written an indignant letter to Jeff Bezos, the CEO of the online retail giant, expressing his “shock and dismay” that the images had been used on lavatory lids, shower curtains and bathroom mats, reported Deutsche Welle.
He is said to have denounced the “outrageous way to use the Flag of the Kingdom of Cambodia as the design of a bathroom mat set” and declared that “dissemination of these ignominious products must be stopped quickly.”
Among the novelty products available on Amazon is a three-piece bathroom collection of two mats and a lavatory seat cover with hand-drawn pictures of Angkor Wat, a Unesco heritage site and one of the largest religious monuments in the world.
Angkor Wat was the capital of the Khmer Empire between the 9th and 15th centuries, and remains an active spiritual and pilgrimage site for Buddhists.
It is so central to the southeast Asian nation’s identity that it features prominently on the red and blue national flag.
It has also become a major tourist draw, although a spate of semi-nude pictures by visitors prompted the temple authorities in 2016 to issue a new dress code stipulating that shoulders and knees must be covered up to respect the site’s sanctity.
The ambassador’s outrage was reportedly supported by Pheoung Sackona, the Cambodian culture and fine arts minister on social media, who said that her office would also file a complaint with Amazon.
She urged citizens to inform the government about other products which “insult Cambodian culture.” Amazon has not responded to requests for comment.
Lavatory covers depicting multiple national flags are available on its site, including the flags of the UK, US, Japan, Bolivia, Albania and the Maldives.
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