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Man About Town


PROFESSOR'S CIA PROBLEMS
Having family concerns? Rest easy, because none can compare with those besetting Siem Reap’s part time resident, Pakistan-born Professor Mahmood Mall.

Last October, the good professor was in Laudium, an Indian township in central Pretoria, South Africa, launching his latest book.

On October 26, the Laudium Sun Weekly duly reported that the professor believes his sister and brother are actually imposters, with their bodies taken over by CIA agents.

The newspaper said, “Agents may have taken over the bodies of his close family, with the help of fiendish plastic surgeons in the pay of the CIA.”

The professor is a regular visitor to Siem Reap.

His latest book, Science of the Origin of the Universe and its Structure in Time-Space, follows, he says, his ground-breaking series of lectures at the University of Pretoria titled, The Origin of Universe Cosmology, the Solar System and the Creation of the World Federation of Universities.

The professor’s new book is cunningly disguised as a humble series of photocopied pages featuring montages of diagrams, formulas, scrawls and words. It apparently “Explores new planetary fission theory using diagrammatical representations, in combination with various conspiracy theories relating to his true family in Pakistan.”

The professor is in Siem Reap until the end of February, so there’s plenty of time to track him down, acquire a copy or three of his book, or rap about his theories.

EFFLUENT TOURISM

A tourist in Melbourne, Australia, takes in the aroma of treated sewage water.

Could Siem Reap be in line to have another major tourist attraction, in the form of a much-expanded sewage treatment plant?

Oddly enough, while the notion of a sewage plant as a tourist attraction seems somewhat repulsive, Manabout’s hometown of Melbourne, Australia has long had a sewage plant as an attraction and it’s still listed as a major attraction today.

Siem Reap’s 12ha sewage plant, 5km from town, is flowing over and will be enlarged by 20ha, with funds coming from a $10.9 million loan from the Asian Development Bank as well as extra funding from the Korea Eximbank. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

At present, authorities in Siem Reap collect about $1 a month from town households and apparently more from hotels and restaurants. But fees will of course be increased to help pay for the new expansion,  and the big question is who will pay?

Mr Vong Pisith, deputy director of Cambodia's Ministry of Public Works, told The Straits Times late last month that, "The rich will pay more, the poor will pay less.”

Sure. We’ve heard that before.
Mr Vong said, "One challenge is that Cambodians are not used to paying for things, so we have to move carefully, convincing people step by step.”

Then he added, apparently with a smile, “Maybe we should bring tourists here to see this place.”

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