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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 31 July 1998

The Gecko: 31 July 1998

One observer noted that in the five minute radio spots allowed by the NEC, three

(timed) minutes were taken up by the Khmer greetings of politesse: Lok, Lok Serei,

Eich Odom, etc, etc, etc.

The rest of the time was spent in detailing the non-differences in party platforms.

** Some new party songs have been assigned:

Dharma Cracy Party: "Oh Lord, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"

CPP: "I did It My Way"

Funcinpec: "I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane"

Reastyr Niyum Party: "Only the Lonely"

Sam Rainsy Party: "I Can't Get No Satisfaction"

NDI/IRI: "Who's Sorry Now"

The Impending Coalition: "She's Thinking Singles, I'm Drinking Doubles"

Ta Mok: "We'll Be Wearing Black Pajamas When We Come"

** Someone has finally figured out what JIOG really stands for: "Just Ignore

Opposition Griping"

** The 1000-plus opposition supporters who showed up outside the Royal Phnom Penh

Hotel for the press conference on July 30 were a bit confused. When Rainsy came out

of the hotel they started chanting "Funcinpec, Funcinpec!" Once they caught

sight of the man himself, they switched to "Sam Rainsy, Sam Rainsy!"

** The alleged grenade attack on a counting station in Siem Reap has been figured

out. A recent Khmer Rouge defector from Anlong Veng had come down to vote but was

stymied by the crowds. So, hankering for a feed, he went off and rigged a grenade

in a tree. Boom! Eighteen dead birds for lunch.

** One Italian observer tricked himself when he tried to demonstrate a Western version

of national reconciliation. Sent out to Kampong Speu with a Dutch counterpart, the

two apparently didn't get along. The Italian guy gets a bright idea: why not slip

the Dutchman a mickey and take him out of the equation? On election day at lunch

a tranquilizer gets slipped into the Dutchman's can of Sprite. The guy passes out

but after three hours the Italian guy gets nervous and calls home base which orders

a medivac. By the time the rescue squad shows up the Dutchman is back on his groggy

feet, but the Khmer translator who witnessed the charade decided to blow the whistle.

** A boat full of raucous birthday revelers got stranded on a sand bar up river from

Kampong Cham. After the boat captain turned away two hefty tow boats (the tow cost

of $50 was too high), police units had to come rescue the group. Lucky that, because

a battalion of international electoral observers were on the boat!

** Sighted on the European Union bulletin board at the Cambodiana: "Teams for

Kratie - Don't Forget the Life Jackets".

** An EU observer celebrating at the Cambodiana after elections: "This Ranariddh/Rainsy

statement is an insult to us."

** How to explain the early surge for the opposition? One CPP member figured it out:

"Because our people voted first and their ballots were at the bottom of the


** One Funcinpec candidate knows about intimidation. In a rural village while trying

to put up a party sign, the politician was told by the village chief: "You want

your sign or do you want your life?" The sign didn't go up.

** There's a new twist up Pailin way. Some people have been arrested for being "unreconstructed

Khmer Rouge".

** Some National Election Committee Khmer staff who couldn't vote were a bit embarassed.

A quick trip into the storeroom and a dip in the ink pot solved that.

** The photogs missed the best picture. The guy with the elephant at Wat Phnom lumbered

to a polling station on his pachyderm, tethered the beast, voted and then rode back

to work.

** One observer who has followed elections all over the world for the last 10 years:

"It's too quiet, it's all too perfect, which makes me very suspicious."

** Was it reverse intimidation? One pundit suggested: "Maybe they voted for

CPP because they were told their vote was secret and they thought they were being

encouraged to vote for the opposition."

** Is there a message here? At the Ung Huot Primary School counting center, the outgoing

First Prime Minister got six votes.

** The Ozzie pianist at Le Royal has just about had it. Things started going sour

when a moto driver put a gun to his head. Crying "Don't shoot! I'm only a piano

player." didn't help. He got robbed anyway.

Tuesday night at the Elephant Bar had a gaggle of diplomats celebrating the elections.

The master of the ivories said they "were high on the election results"

when Chaiyo Benny Widyono requested the song "Feelings".

Benny took the microphone and started to belt out the tune but the Aussie played

"Send in the Clowns", humming the lyrics "Isn't it rich, aren't we

a pair, what are we doing here up in mid-air" under his breath.

** Former US Congressman Stephen Solarz gets the quote of the week: "History

may well record that what happened here was a miracle on the Mekong."



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