The Gecko heard that the airport at Ban Lung, the capital of Rattanakiri province
in the newly-established "Autonomous Zone" has been quite busy of late.
The flights coming in aren't filled with defecting troops nor arms for any rebel
forces. Rather, the planes landing are loaded with cigarettes. You figure it out.
While stealing some of your neighbor's electricity seems to have become a full time
career for more than a few clever individuals in Phnom Penh, one of the embassies
in town has responded in kind. They now have someone on staff whose unofficial title
is Director of Electrical Cleansing. The electrician in question not only spends
much of his time burrowing around embassy residences, uncovering surreptitiously
spliced wires running throughout the neighborhood, but an added line item in his
job description entails following the leaky leads to whatever culprit in question
and delivering stern lectures on the penalties of trying to steal some juice again.
His sermons are electrifying.
A businessman in town was having some electrical problems of his own. Every time
he touched his fridge he got a shock. After checking and re-checking the appliance
he finally determined that it wasn't his icebox that was hot-it was the floor. Rubber
sandals solved that problem.
The Gecko heard a story of how True Love was blown up by UNTAC-literally. There was
a gal who worked for the electoral component who had a boyfriend in Prey Vihear.
On a visit to see him she noticed his piece of shrapnel and commented how it would
make a nifty paperweight. Some time later, back in Phnom Penh, she gets a call from
UNTAC security telling her to come right over as they have discovered a bomb sent
to her from Preah Vihear. In spite of her pleas, security destroys the parcel. End
of story? Not quite. A few days later DESs nationwide get a special message to be
on the alert for "strange parcels that might be booby-trapped and sent to try
and disrupt the elections."
An insurance company in town has sent around a circular reminding one and all that
coverage on incoming freight is now manditory per a decree issued by the Council
of Ministers. Sounds like the company is trying to cash in before the Council cashes
The Foreign Correspondents Club of Cambodia opened with a splash last week. The only
unhappy participants at the innaugural gala were the bats hanging off the ceiling.
Some, in their search for an evening meal, flew a bit too low and hit the electric
fans and found themselves as side-dishes on some guests' plates with their wings