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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 10 February, 1995

The Gecko: 10 February, 1995

THE recently-released US State Department report on human rights for Cambodia

had some not so surprising statements about the how the Khmer Rouge view the

subject. The report says that "The Khmer Rouge does not allow freedom of speech

or press in zones they control... freedom of assembly and association do not

exist... the Khmer Rouge does not permit any investigation of human rights

violations... (and) no legal system is known to exist in Khmer Rouge zones." But

because this is not really considered "news", its unlikely that anyone will

write about it.

Show-up-at-work day on Feb 7 had one major visible

effect. Lots of waiters, drivers, guards and sundry other office workers were

seen about town in their neatly-pressed police uniforms. Hmmm?

Speaking

of police, some of the regulars who man the city's street corners have picked up

a few useful phrases in English. One cop on the corner of Monivong and Kampuchea

Krom pulled over a motorist last week and after explaining that it was now

against the law to make a left hand turn, pointed his finger in a "you-me"

fashion and said "payoff".

If you're out there in the bush somewhere, run

into a bit of trouble and need to be medivaced by plane out of the country, be

prepared to pay a hefty surcharge for the lift. A plane headed out of Pochentong

to pick up an American woman who had a heart attack in the provinces was delayed

by Civil Aviation until "substantial fees" were paid up front. It was what you

might call a Heart a-TAX. No doubt the levies go towards improving the nation's

health care system.

RAC is slowly getting its feet on the ground. A local

freight forwarder called them up and asked for the rates to Singapore only to

get an "I don't know" in response. There has been one visible response, though.

Remember the supermarket, refrigerated delivery truck with those cute piglets on

the side, oinking their way happily to market. Well, since the firm caters for

RAC and pork is not allowed on the planes, the painted piggies had to go

too.

Who says Kiwis are different? Just about anyone who attended the

Waitangi Day celebrations last Monday, especially after seeing Fred Longman

bounce in circles about the floor of Deja Vu sitting in a chair and barking out

some strange kind of guttural incantations. The mystery has yet to be

unravelled.

Lilli Saxer bid farewell to Phnom Penh after three years in

the saddle. She will be sorely missed by all her friends but - take heart -

she's only headed to Rangoon to set up her own shop and promises a warm welcome

to anyone who passes her way.

The word on the streets is that US

Ambassador Charles Twining will be rotated out from Phnom Penh sometime this

year, and that his replacement will be Kenneth Quinn.

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