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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 26 September, 1997

The Gecko: 26 September, 1997

Keep your eyes open. Mega country music star Emmylou Harris is coming to town

on Monday. Ms Harris has joined the Ban Landmines bandwagon and will be in the capital

as a guest of Veterans International to help promote the cause.

** What's happening at Pochentong? Passengers on an MAS flight from KL on

Sept 17 were not amused when the pilot announced before landing "We've spoken

to the tower...bit of cloud...maybe rain...but we really can't tell...may take ten

minutes delay to get navigational stuff frequent flyers to Phnom Penh

realize they don't have much navigational equipment... I can see the runway...going

to do a set altitudinal flythrough." The plane circled twice and then landed


** The term "opposition press" has been used so widely and unquestioningly

that its meaning has become lost. We know what it's supposed to mean but which paper

isn't against someone? If you read all slices of the Khmer-language media the question

that comes to mind is: Who is on the "for" side?

We know too well how every faction in or out of town hates "the other side",

"the enemies", "the genocidalists", "them", "the

puppets", "the man", "the Royalists", "the anti-Vietnamese

racist", "the Communists", "the extremists", and, last but

not least, "the traitors" too, which, concerning the latter and given the

political horse trading in the last 50 years, means just about everybody. (Anyone

out there in Srok Khmer with any fulfilled or yet-to-be-filled aspirations for power

or influence who hasn't switched sides once or betrayed "a friend" in the

last half century raise your hand!)

We also know that the language used to excoriate those hated has been vituperative

in the extreme. The last four years: Just a friendly, open Khmer-kind-of-debate on

substantive issues relevant to the future of the nation. Great! Meanwhile, Killings

Fields II ( a la AIDS) is already upon us.

Perhaps this paper is equally guilty? Perhaps the press only lends fuel to a fire

that has burned too long and needs to burn itself out on its own without combustible

paper ready and willing to fan the flames? Perhaps the press, opposition or otherwise,

is irrelevant and there is no hope after all?

Hang on to your hats folks! Bad press or not, in case you haven't figured it out,

there is no light yet at the end of the tunnel.

** What's the definition of Cambodian friendship? Seng Moch would have something

to say on the subject but, sadly, he died last week. May he rest in peace. After

catching a life threatening disease several years ago, the well-known journalist

told one Westerner who was helping him out with medical bills: "All my friends

abandoned me."

** Business at the Heart of Darkness may be down. They got busted last week

for pot and had to pay $1,000. Some cops organized the raid because they weren't

getting enough tea money.



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