Sorry, but the Gecko is dead wrong about the existence of Khmer Rouge money [Phnom
Penh Post, Aug 28 edition]. In 1981 I saw the stuff for sale in souvenir shops just
up the street from the Hotel Majestic in Ho Chi Minh City. The KR money was in five
or six denominations and I remember that it stood artistically apart from the other
currencies. Each denomination depicted scenes of the KR at war. One image stands
out in my mind most clearly: a group of KR women, complete with Chinese caps and
Maoist hair styles, crouching in a trench and firing their bazookas at an invisible
enemy over the horizon. The KR money was obviously unused and in mint condition.
I found out some months later that the KR money had been printed during 1975 in a
place that was at the time called Yugoslavia. It was only when the money was being
shipped to Cambodia and had already reached Vietnam that the KR decided to cancel
their order. Based on my own admittedly chaotic reading of Cambodian history, I reckon
that the KR made this decision shortly after they arranged the disappearance of their
most popular politician at the time, Hou Youn. Since Hou Youn was never put on trial,
there is no public record of what his capital offense was. It is well known, however,
that he was an outspoken advocate for allowing the existence of money, markets, and
private trade in revolutionary Cambodia.
If you have any questions about what I present here as fact and conjecture, there
are two members of the SNC who could most definitely give to you the true facts with
regard to the mysterious disappearances of Hou Youn and KR money.
Khieu Samphan and Son Sen both studied in Paris with Hou Youn and collaborated closely
with him during all his years within KR organizations. Let these two men tell you
best what happened and then the facts will speak for themselves. After all, why bother
with so-called experts when you can get the story straight from the horse's mouth.
- Wayne Cartwright
(Editors Respond: The Gecko has been duly admonished for his oversight on the
question of Khmer Rouge currency and will keep his eye open for any currently in