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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 31 December 1993

The Gecko: 31 December 1993

The Gecko hears that PM Ranariddh is going the extra mile to find out what's really

happening around town by making low-key, unannounced visits to some of the city's

more interesting corners.

The PM showed up at the gun market on the road to the airport one day. Most of the

dealers didn't recognize him with women calling out "Uncle, uncle. Check this

pistol out." Ranariddh apparently wasn't too impressed with the weapons he saw.

One dealer told him that if he wanted to have a look at some better guns he should

come back the next day as the shopkeeper could procure some newer models from the

Ministry of Defense.

The U.N., in what appears to be a magnanimous gesture of charity, has decided to

turn over officially to the new government the rights of ownership for all the UNTAC

cars that have been stolen. Not suprisingly, there was no public donation ceremony.

Speaking of stolen cars, three more were nipped from in front of the Cambodian Commercial

bank while their owners were inside. The drivers exited the bank only to have the

bank's fairly calm security guard tell them that a tow truck had showed up and hauled

the vehicles away.

The Gecko hears that Cambodia now has perhaps the highest percentage of generals

of any army in the world with 600 in the army and 200 in the police. One senior government

official commenting on the astronomical figures said that "we can't give the

officers cars or villas so we have to give them something."

A large, festive crowd showed up at the Youth Club recently to celebrate the birthday

of Cambodia's new ambassador to Thailand Roland Eng. To thank his well-wishers the

ambassador took charge of what developed into a mass who-can-throw-who in the pool.

At the end of the night dripping guests included the ministers of finance and trade,

several members of the King's cabinet and a few potential Kings as well. When the

crowd started eyeing the Prime Minister as a potential candidate for an involuntary

dip, Ranariddh deftly squashed all hopes by saying "You can't throw me in the

pool because nobody wants to see the government sink."

The Khmer Rouge responded unofficially to recent remarks by Undersecretary of State

Winston Lord's comments on the possibility of a cut-off of U.S. aid if the KR was

included in the new government. One KR official said "Fifty million. That's

nothing. Michael Jackson makes more than that in one day."

Special kudos to ex-pearl diver (with over 2700 hours logged underwater), former

insurance assessor, retired powder monkey, one-time truck driver, Ozzie hack Mark

Dodd. The Reuters scribe was recently promoted to Bureau Chief, the first time a

"stringer" has ever risen to such distinguished heights in the history

of the British news organization.

A final news flash just in from the U.K. Tim Page is the proud father of a baby boy.




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