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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 03, Sept 1999

The Gecko: 03, Sept 1999

There's a bit of hand-wringing going on behind the scenes in diplomatic circles

around town, especially among those who want this government to succeed. The question

on the front burner is the text of Prime Minister Hun Sen's speech to be delivered

at the UN General Assembly later this month.

Sources say a first draft of the speech has a bit of a chest-thumping, sabre-rattling

tone, with the PM venting his spleen, among other issues, over the UN's longstanding

support for the Khmer Rouge during the 80s.

While the merits of the PM's beef with the UN may be grudgingly recognized, diplomats

hope that a softer, more user-friendly, Hun Sen - the Statesman-like approach - will

prevail in whatever is finally delivered.

Hun Sen's "tough guy approach" won't work in New York, said one envoy.

** History is unfolding in mysterious ways these days, especially as witnessed

at the Cambodiana Hotel last Sunday. From about 8:30 am several hundred Cambodians-smiling,

giggling, chirping-filed in through the lobby to attend the United Church of Christ's

Sunday service, receiving an almost ritualistic one-armed hug from an American brother

with a Bible who greeted one and all.

The congregation packed the upstairs ballroom and the service commenced.

With echoes of raucous rythmic clapping, "hallelujahs", and "Praise

Jesus" wafting all the way to the entrance, at around 9 am two minivans pulled

up and out walked 35 ex-Khmer Rouge-stone-faced, grim, dour guerrilla commanders,

with most generals and colonels kitted out in their new RCAF finest. Ee Chhien, Non

Nou, Meas Mut and the rest did not look happy.

The mood was sombre as the lads had come to tell the UN's Ralph Zacklin: "We

support unity. A trial is a bad idea."

One couldn't help but wonder what their chances in the afterlife - Christian, Buddhist

or Orwellian - will be as chances fade that they will ever get judged in this one.

** Whatever happened in Bangkok, one thing is now clear.Ambassador Wiede-mann

was ill and was never at the Regent poolside.

** And then there's the Ant Stag party. It started out reasonably enough.

Samdech Bpee Roy was King of the Bus for about 15 minutes. After ascending the two

flights of stairs at Sharkies it went downhill from there. Although the real guest

of honor-a true Prince-maintained an almost Buddha-like composure, standing cross-legged

in his birthday suit while handcuffed to the wall.

It's all Redfern's fault.

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