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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 21 July 2000

The Gecko: 21 July 2000

A first year pupil returned from school recently and showed off to his

family a new remote controlled car. When asked where it came from he replied his

class mate had given it to him as a "bribe" to do his home-work for him.

His proud father (a Cambodian policeman) commented the lad would go far in life with

such commercial acumen being shown at such a young age.

If you ever thought that US foreign policy was difficult to understand, it could

be that there is a conspiracy afoot designed to keep the inquiring public confused

and in the dark.

The Gecko heard from an "informed source" that US Secretary of State Madeline

Albright is considering visiting Cambodia at the end of July. In an effort to confirm

what could be a historic visit Bell Atlantic National and International 411 was called

get the number for the State Department. The number was tried and a bemused operator

said it was the department of Commerce.

Try again. This time Department of Labor. Okay. One more go! Bell Atlantic gave out

as the correct number for STATE, but an answering machine chirped happily:

"This is the State of Washington offices in Washington, DC. Please leave a message

at the tone."

Now the Gecko was getting suspicious. Back to Bell Atlantic and the question was

posed slowly and with much restraint: "I'm trying to get the number for the


The operator, obviously overwhelmed, replied: "No. I'm sorry. I haven't."

Perhaps STATE had gone underground, but then a ray of hope. "Oh yes, here it



STATE's Press Office was finally reached but a very polite woman said "We don't

have anything on that. We only give information on the Secretary's schedule on the

day before." She said a Mr. David Denny would check into and get back to the


So far, no word. Mr. Denny must be still checking.

Cambodian shop signs and menus provide many a chuckle to foreigners but it seems

even being brought up as a native English speaker is no guarantee of knowing how

to use it.

"It was like being in a foreign country." (English soccer player Ian Rush

on the difficulties of playing football and living in Italy)

"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body." (Winston


"If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again."

( English soccer coach Terry Venables)

Dennis Pennis: "Have you ever thought of writing your autobiography?" Chris

Eubank: "On what?"

"One of the reasons Arnie (Arnold Palmer) is playing so well is that, before

each tee-shot, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them. Oh my God! What have

I just said?" (US TV commentator John Huntridge)..



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