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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Heaven - or a nice big car?

Heaven - or a nice big car?

Heaven - or a nice big car?

S ome people have complained about misinformation in reports about the real situation in Cambodia. Here is a Khmer joke from heaven that may explain why.

Once upon a time last year, the climate in heaven became unusually hot and sultry. Before long, Preah Indra, the king of gods, opened his magical mirror and found that it was because the farmers in Cambodia were praying and asking Preah Indra to help save them from drought and poverty.

Without waiting, Preah Indra sent his special envoy to investigate.

The special envoy immediately got on to a chariot and set off on the journey to earth. (A chariot is the most luxurious means of transport in heaven as opposed to a Toyota LandCruiser or a Mercedes Benz in the human world. Poor gods! They've been using a chariot for hundreds of thousands of years. It may indicate that none of the late human inventors had gone to heaven).

It was already nighttime when Preah Indra's special envoy arrived in Cambodia. (Probably, the time is also 12 hours different in heaven like the US and Cambodia except that one day in heaven equals one year in the human world). Therefore, the special envoy couldn't go to Cambodia's countryside and came to the city instead.

The special envoy dropped in at many brightly illuminated villas and visited many dignitaries who were riding in the latest-model Toyota LandCruisers, Prados, Lexuses, Chevrolets and such.

At each stop, he posed two simple questions to every dignitary: Lok chea nonar? [Who are you?] and Haet avei lok mean yang nih? [Why are you so rich?] (Preah Indra's special envoy can speak many languages, including Khmer)

Surprisingly, the special envoy always heard the same two answers: Kanhom chea neak bomreu reastr [I am the servant of the people]; Kanhom mean yang nih doisar kanhom chlart [I am rich, because I am smart].

Absolutely impressed by what he had found out, Preah Indra's special envoy quickly rode his chariot back to heaven.

The special envoy proudly described what he'd discovered in Cambodia to Preah Indra. He told the king of gods that he was unable to meet the people in the countryside and that he had only been able to meet their servants in the city.

The special envoy warned Preah Indra that he shouldn't be worried about the Khmer people any more. He said the people must be extremely rich, because even their servants were very rich.

"Thveu bon barn leung tharnsuor, thveu barb barn larn chih" [Doing good deed, you go to heaven; doing bad deed, you have cars to ride in], the special envoy said was what many dignitaries had told him.

The special envoy told Preah Indra that the reason why it has become hot and sultry in heaven is probably because of the CFC emissions from the air conditioners in the cars and villas and the smoke from factories. He said these things have destroyed the ozone layers and caused global warming and they have also affected the climate in heaven.

Moeun Chhean Nariddh - Phnom Penh

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