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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko : 21, Februray , 1997

The Gecko : 21, Februray , 1997

Petanque Diplomacy was the name of the game at Sar Kheng's house last Saturday

when ministers from both parties, diplomats, journalists and friends gathered together

for a day-long sports fest to see who could best throw lead balls at a small red

ball. Samdech Chea Sim graced the affair, looking like a relaxed golf pro on vacation

in his sneakers, shorts, polo shirt and vraiment chic links cap.

The competition was keen - and grueling. One diplomat, after going down in defeat

in several matches, started complaining about "petanque elbow". A French

embassy team went head-to-head with a German team. After the former lost, one observer

wondered aloud if "the French had to concede territory to the Germans"

as a result.

One of the most vocal concerns at the competition was whether or not the matches

would spark a response by FUNCINPEC. Speculation was rife that the Royalists would

start up either a badminton or darts tournament, and that out-of-shape diplomats

would thus be spending most of their weekends shuttling between athletic round-ups.

At the very least, Sar Kheng, with able advice from his spin doctors, displayed the

face of a regular guy who can hang out with the boys, put politics aside and focus

with laser-like accuracy on the more immediate challenges of petanqueism. Not a bad

recipe for long-term strategic positioning. The press, for its part, would be delighted

to join His Excellency again for a match any time.

** The holder of PO. Box 150 at the Phnom Penh Post Office loves to get mail

but some of the recent missives arriving at his address are causing him to wonder

about the state of the global postal system. One letter he received was sent from

New Jersey, USA to PO Box 150 in Lusaka, Zambia. He took the liberty of opening the

letter and found a check for $1500 from a US church group to support their African

outpost. The honest lad duly returned the check, explaining that Cambodia was different

than Zambia. A second letter arrived from Australia addressed to PO Box 150 in Bandar

Seri Begawan, Brunei. It has since been re-routed.

However, PO Box 150, Phnom Penh is anxious for mail addressed to him, but he's a

bit shy about going public. Prospective pen pals should send any and all correspondence

to: Mr. I. B. Lonely, PO Box 150, PP.

** A reporter went down to Kirirom Park with some NGOers who had four armed

guards with them, but when they tried to go a see a sawmill there they were told

that they didn't have enough troops to do so. Apparently there are a few too many

KR defectors living in the area and proper bridges have yet to be constructed between

them and the local RCAF units. Be advised.

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