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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 13 June, 1997

The Gecko: 13 June, 1997


THE word from Foggy Bottom is that during the upcoming visit of UN Secretary of

State Madeline Albright, America's most senior diplomat will talk tough and straight,

unlike previous State Department envoys who have been accused of being too user friendly.

While couched in diplomatic language, Albright is expected to tell it like it is

on the FBI investigation, problems with narcotics trafficking and the unsettled question

of expected elections.


Major General Sok Pheap of DNUM-bodia, who is the new Deputy Commander of the

5th Military Region, is getting into the swing of thing since his joining civil society.

He has new snappy business cards, listing his Samart as well as two Thai mobile phone

numbers, which are blood red in color. Just a small coincidence.

The palms opens its upstairs bar on June 20th. Drinks and snacks will be free from

6pm to 9pm. A jazz band will entertain guests. After 9, the party will continue with

Tiger draft at a buck a pop.

Should a general memorandum go out to the entire population in Thailand explaining

the some things in Cambodia have changed in the last decade such as the name of the

country? A recently released poster explaining cellular phone services from the Bangkok-based

company Total Access Communication shows a map of the region with the country we

all know as the Kingdom of Cambodia listed as "Democratic Kampuchea". Hello!

Earth of Thailand, come in please!

Will golf be the key to national reconciliation in Cambodia? Now that all 18 holes

at the new course are finished, links fever is spreading like wild fire among senior

government officials, especially since many of them have been given honorary membership.

Samdech Chea Sim is giving it his best shot and is now a frequent visitor to the

driving range at the Royal Phnom Penh Hotel. He's got a bit of hook in his swing

which is why all the practice. Minister of Tourism Veng Sereyvuth is now the proud

owner of a natty new pair golf shoes and clubs. His drives are straight but he is

trying to develop more distance. General Pol Saroeun is alleged to have a form which

could make him the Tiger Woods of the local golf scene. Minister of Defense Tea Banh

has also been taking aim.

When all these Excellencies get out on the course will they become fair-way buddies?

Some months back this column reported that Martin Flitman was taking messages on

his beeper from anyone seeking romantic advice. Martin has now moved further up the

technology chain and has just acquired a mobile phone, after not having had one for

nine years. He can be reached at 120-802-822. His services are still available for

those in need of a soothing word, sage advice, horoscopes, a bit of palm reading

or general counseling.

There is some serious grumbling in the trenches at UNDP. Front line grunts within

the bureaucracy say that the agency's tsar, Paul Mathews, not only gets the daily

copy of the International Herald Tribune first, which they can understand, but that

he then passes it thru the ranks with the crossword puzzle completed - usually with

every last clue filled in. Embittered staff even speculate that he surreptitiously

uses a crossword dictionary. For shame!

Come on Paul. Be a pal. Xerox the puzzle first and pass it on for the word junkies

down the line.

Sources say Malaysian Foreign Minister Badawi and ASEAN Secretary-general Ajit

Singh, who cam to tow on June 9,asked to meet with both PMs at the same time. Prime

Minister Ranariddlh is alleged to have said "No way." The joint meeting

didn't happen.

Sources in Bangkok say that Sam Rainsy sent one of his people to the US Embassy there

with a letter for the FBI rep Thomas Nicoletti, who headed up the grenade investigation

here in Cambodia. The delivery guy met someone else who received the letter, but

Rainsy's man said he must deliver it in person. The Embassy says no. The snafu results

in the Marines being called in to kick the KNP envoy off the premises - without giving

him back the letter. Rainsy is allegedly confused about how the US government works.

Members of a Thai gambling club are said to have visited the Kingdom this week and

checked out the Floating Casino while in town. They apparently cashed out with $4

million in profit and may be back for a second visit in the near future. Who says

investing in Cambodia can't be profitable?



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