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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 2 April 1999

The Gecko: 2 April 1999

Residents of the capital are encouraged NOT to start fires over the

Khmer New Year as members of Phnom Penh's fire brigades will be out busily

"propagandizing and preventing" them with real gusto and a professional flavor

that quenches flaming thirsts.

In an official letter from Phnom Penh

Municipal Fire Commissioner Soy Sokhay sent to businesses in town, Sokhay says

"we would like to inform you that our unit will prepare its forces to prevent

fires in the city and provinces on the occasion of happy Khmer New Year. Due to

our unit's food shortages [needed] to support the forces, we would like to ask

if you could help with our proposal."

His proposal to the private sector

is a masterpiece of simplicity: please donate three cases of beer.


an in-depth investigation of the plan, which top secret sources say was devised

by a consultant from the organization Keep the Home Fires Burning, it has been

revealed that funds normally used to buy water will be diverted to provide food

for the fire brigade forces. The beer is needed to replace the water as the

bever-age's foaming action has an enhanced, pro-active ability to extinguish

incendiary activities stemming from chronic lack of pay.

** A

seminar in Switzerland last week on "The Transition to Democracy", which

brought together experts from around the globe, discussed the case of Cambodia

and ended with the startling conclusion that "the transition to democracy is


** The almost-5,000 lucky guests who were invited to

the marriage of Hun Sen's daughter Hun Mana is said to have resulted in roughly

$3 million in "envelope" gifts to the newlyweds. And this doesn't include

presents of property or villas. The happy couple seem to be enjoying married

life and were last seen slipping into Hong Kong quietly on the innaugural RAC

flight on Mar 29. Avoiding the VIP limelight, they joined the queue at

immigration like the rest of the crowd, figured out how to fill in the

disem-barcation cards, and entered the fabled ex-colony like regular folks. No

security, no fanfare. Nothing. Just happy to be alone together.

** The

toxic waste clean-up in Sihanoukville took place on schedule. The dump site

was feted with a rock band and the drums of waste were moved out like clockwork.

The only things disturbed by the process were the families of frogs living under

the containers. Once the tons of waste were lifted by crane off the ground,

heaps of on-lookers rushed in to grab a ready-made meal: grenouille a la




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