When we talk about the Greek, we get ideas of gods and goddesses, fantastic stories, wars, and romance. We're told that it's an ancient time, when culture was at it's zenith. The Greeks however, are not some dead people that only the old story speaks about. Since the time of Antiquity, Greek culture has changed greatly going from Christianizing to domination by the Turks, to modernization. This has resulted in a rich new culture for the modern Greeks.
(Pic: Kostas Martakis is a Greek pop singer and model. Like the rest of Europe, Greece has adapted to pop-culture.)
Visions of the Khmers either bring out the splendid images of Angkor or the genocide under Pol Pot. For some people, it's hard believe that the current Khmers were then ones who built Angkor. French explorer Henri Mouhot even deny that the agrarian Khmers could do it. But the historical and ethnographic evidence shows that it is the modern Khmers who made Angkor. They're not some lost civilization. They're still there.
(Pic: Pich Sophea is a pop icon in Cambodia. Cambodia has made strong efforts to prove to the international community that it is capable of bringing modernity to it's culture.)
What the Age of Imperialism has brought us is an Image of a rugged and exotic Siam filled with people that were so removed from modernity and western civilization. And with the way Thailand is advertised by travel agencies, it still looks like it's the exotic place. But such images denies the Thais their modernity. Modern Thailand has grown fast economically, resulting in ever increasing technological and global awareness by modern Thai peoples.
(Pic: Top Chaiwat is a Thai actor and model. Here we see a fashion show. Thailand has since become an important place of cultural exchange and development.)
Old scientists have always wondered about the fate of the Mayans. Their temples were abandon and it seems the civilization has collapse. But the Mayans continue to exist. Their modern civilization is fraught with the effort of their ethnic groups to obtain rights and awareness in the international community.
(Pic: Rigoberta Menchú is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who dedicated here career to advancing rights for the K'iche' Mayans of Guatemala. Mayans suffer from invisibility and harassment, such as the one they faced under the CIA funded Contra.)