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US manners and youth club

Dear editor,

I read with great regret of the American Embassy's plan to

relocate to the site of the International Youth Club.

By doing this they

will take away from us one of the few recreational facilities in this city.

True, it is now in a slightly dilapidated condition compared with its former

elegance, when as Le Circle Sportif it was the focus of expatriate life, but it

would hardly take much to revamp the structure and make it a going concern once


The compound and its surroundings, which include Wat Phnom, are one

of the showpieces of Phnom Penh. This area deserves rehabilitation and

protection to develop the park-like atmosphere that could be developed there to

be enjoyed by all.

What can we expect when the US Embassy moves in? They

say that they are leaving their present site because of the need to boost their

security. Thus it doesn't take much imagination to envisage the fortress-like

structure that they will erect to defend their interests. High razor-wire-topped

walls, barrier gates and armed security guards toting metal detectors will

guarantee certain wreckage of any park-like atmosphere that could be developed

there to be enjoyed by all.

I can understand the Americans' need for

security. The French obviously felt the same when they built their imposing

stronghold. However, at least they had the good manners to place it down the far

end of Monivong Boulevard, where it is doing nobody any harm.

I regard

America as a country very concerned about the rights of the individual. It's a

pity that they couldn't follow the example of the French and show similar

consideration by leaving the International

- Youth Club to the public. James Baxter by email



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