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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - They said it - the quotes of 1995

They said it - the quotes of 1995

"We don't want to create a strange thing but this is only for social order in Phnom Penh," Municipality official Mann Chhoeun on the 'side-saddle' rule for motorcycle passengers, on the grounds it was harder for criminals to shoot guns or toss grenades if riding side-saddle.

"Only if robbers fire a B40 rocket launcher will they fall off a motorcycle," a traffic cop's response to the side-saddle edict.

"In my capacity as a Prime Minister and a commander-in-chief, I will use [military] forces to protect the Constitution," Hun Sen, opposing Constitutional changes to give the King more power.

"I'm not angry, I just want to see what's in the contracts," a National Assembly member on MPs not being allowed to see big logging contracts signed by the government.

"If you undermine this stability, what is the alternative. Burma?" A Phnom Penh ambassador on foreign policy toward Cambodia and the need for stability.

"I'm sorry that he is a Khmer, I'm sorry that he is a member of Parliament, I'm sorry that he is a member of Funcinpec," Norodom Ranariddh on Sam Rainsy, before the latter's ouster from Funcinpec and Parliament.

"It gives me hope that peace will come," Mong Samon, mother of seven, on the Dhammatietra peace march.

"I don't want Cambodian people to suffer like I have," Ry Saveth, who lost a leg from a mine, on taking up work as a deminer.

"When I am directing traffic, motorists look down on me, they shout at me, they hit me and look disgusted at me," Sem Chantoul, one of only two women traffic cops in Phnom Penh.

"What they were killed for, I don't know," prized Khmer Rouge defector Chhouk Rin on the three foreign tourists, later executed, he kidnapped.

"I don't know. We were constantly fighting...they fired at me; I fired at them," Rin again, asked how many people he had killed in 24 years in the Khmer Rouge.

"I had to shoot because they were my enemy. If I didn't shoot them, they would kill me," Rin's son, 18-year-old former Khmer Rouge Chhouk Ra.

"Sometimes I feel why the hell should I come and be involved in that kind of mess," Foreign Minister and former refugee Ung Huot on returning to Cambodia to enter politics.

"I know in my heart of hearts that we have failed Cambodia," former UNCHR officer-in-charge Basil Fernado on the UN.

"You can talk about regulations, procedures, but it's politics too. I can do nothing," Norodom Sirivudh on what he described as Rainsy's 'irregular' removal from Funcinpec.

"To the whole world, this is the proof that this instutition, this government, is losing its legimitacy," Rainsy, on the steps of the National Assembly, after losing his seat.

"The execution of the law in force does not mean in any way the abandonment of the principles of liberal democracy and respect for human rights," National Assembly president Chea Sim on Rainsy's removal.

"I recognize the rights of Mr Sam Rainsy to contest his case to the Constitutional Council," Chea Sim again. Two years after the Constitution was signed, the council has yet to be formed.

"I advise my friend not to try to break the wall. I ask him not to change our consciences, but that technically, politically, we must calm down," Sirivudh on Rainsy.

"My wife. She's not tough, but we have to be fearful of her, respect her," Hun Sen, when asked what was his greatest fear.

"Quick temper," Hun Sen on the trait he most dislikes in himself.

"Do you like my new clothes?" Gavin Scott about his blue prison overalls at the Phnom Penh court.

"Those boys wre lying. Everyone knows they were bloody prostitutes," Scott again, after his rape conviction.

"I'm not an expert in defending homosexuals. Please don't describe me as that," Scott's well-connected lawyer, Heng Vong Bunchhat.

"It may be a sign that victory will come soon," Kong Saren, 70, after one of his knee-length plaits of hair fell off. Saren had vowed never to cut his hair till the Khmer Rouge were beaten.

"Here, if anyone comes, they will lose their honesty because of the money," Koh Kong deptuy governor Pall San on endemic corruption and illegal logging in his province.

"Sooner or later the Government will deport the illegal Vietnamese immigrants after the Nationality Law is passed," Ministry of Information State Secretary Khieu Kanarith.

"... all the functioning of the National Assembly have been illegal..." King's advisor Nhiek Tioulong on the lack of a Constitutional Council.

"Unfortunately the crazy Cambodians have put Cambodia back to zero," Tioulong again.

"They would be chopped to pieces if they were here now," Sen Pon, who lost his house in a fire that destroyed 164 shanties, about the arsonists.

"... they see [aid] programs as Santa Claus coming to town," an aid worker lamenting that some Cambodian authorities see aid as a 'laundry list.'

"We can call it a shopping list..." Mekong River Commission member Khy Taing Lim on Cambodia's 28 proposals to develop or dam the Mekong River.

"I'd like to tell compatriats that between Ranariddh and Hun Sen, we will go along together until the year 2010..." Hun Sen about the coalition government.

"All opponents of the government are allies of Pol Pot..." Hun Sen, speaking his mind.

"I heard the click of the pin being pulled," Kong Oeun, BLDP guard at Son Sann's house about the night that grenades were thrown.

"This is a sacred place to pray, to clear the hearts of sin, to teach themselves gentleness," Kim Mila, a monk at the pagoda targetted in the BLDP bombing.

"Yes, Khmer blood is being spilt again. Why? Why do they do that?... I have to say it is not myself or the party only, but democracy in Cambodia which is in danger," BLDP's Son Sann on the night of violence.

"How cruel Khmers are. I wish not to be born a Khmer again in my next life," grenade victim Kim Seng at Calmette Hospital.

"Now we are entitled to declare that the Khmer Nation Party is officially launched," Sam Rainsy on Nov 9.

"If he wants to create trouble, that's up to him," Interior Minister You Hockry on what would happen if Rainsy does not close down his new political party.

"If you're short of vehicles to go to Phnom Penh, I'll help," Hun Sen, defending the right of Kraingyov villagers, who ransacked a Khmer newspaper office, to hold demonstrations.

"Everyone was waiting for the shooting and there was none. They were so disappointed... this is proof Cambodia is ready for tourism," Ministry of Tourism spokesman Sok Chenda, on the Siem Reap elicpse.

"I think the collapse of the sun will remove the war from Cambodia," monk Sao Vy on the eclipse.

"I wrote down that 'I'm sorry... I will never do it again'," a German tourist - whose profession back home is a policeman - on signing a confession after getting caught stealing a stone from an Angkor temple.

"I wish that in the future if anybody has a plot to assassinate anybody, don't inform me. I don't want to know," So Naro, the journalist who 'broke' the Sirivudh story.

"...the article is understood to be unprofessional and unethical..." Khmer Journalists Association president Pin Samkhon about Naro's article.

"He never gave the impression that this is what he wanted," Princess Christine Alfsen-Norodom about her husband's exile.

"We are not dealing with rational people here," Princess Christine on the action against her husband.

"He was wearing his best English shirts and cufflinks, sitting in this cell with the prison guards on their knees in front of him," Princess Christine on Sirivudh's brief stay at T3 prison.

"Why should I leave? I have done nothing wrong," Norodom Sirivudh, the morning he was put under house arrest, about turning down requests to go into exile the night before.

"He said it wouldn't be a good idea to walk the dog this morning. I looked out and there were 30 soldiers with guns," Sirivudh's Scottish nanny Janet MacDonnell.

"My younger brother Norodom Sirivudh has said against Your Excellency some words completely unjust, unjustified and unpardonable," King Norodom Sihanouk in a letter to Hun Sen.

"I would not fail to persuade [Sirivudh] to leave Cambodia definitively in order to start his life over in France," The King, in the same letter.

"No one would regret if they have to die because if they exist they are nothing but worms that destroy the society," Hun Sen, urging soldiers to crack down on potential assassins and terrorists.

"You are [now] talking about human rights, but when you bombed Cambodia you did not think in what state Khmer lives were," Hun Sen, on US 'interference'.

"Or [do] you want to bring your planes in here again? You lost once already," Hun Sen, in the same speech.

"Forget Sirivudh, forget Rainsy... the price of rice," Norodom Sirivudh earlier in the year, talking about what was important to Khmers.

..the Western brand of democracy and freedom of the press is not applicable to Cambodia,"

Prince Norodom Ranariddh in a eight-page statement responding to government critics.

"I am ready, at any moment and with any conditions, to abdicate to leave the Cambodian throne to a Prince more capable than me to resolve in a suitable manner the problem of the current Cambodian regime," The King, angered by suggestions he had not done enough to protect Norodom Sirivudh.

"Don't be mistaken. Once you knock the heads of Ranariddh, Hun Sen, Chea Sim and Heng Samrin, you cannot ask support from them," Hun Sen.

I said to myself 'I haven't been shot yet'. Then I touched my neck and felt a few holes," Bulgarian Mitko Ivanov, shot three times in a hail of bullets by soldiers outside Hun Sen's house.

"The authorities thought it was strange, but they agreed to tolerate it," Khav Sohka, on the red-tape that had to be cut to allow her to marry Pum Eth in Cambodia's first same sex marriage.



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