"I was just a dumb, deaf and blind man under the KR regime. Additionally, I
was just a victim and a survivor like everyone else."
Khieu Samphan (above),
former president of Democratic Kampuchea, tries to explain away his role in the Khmer
"Police hurt me two times on the head and forced me to thumbprint."
Bourn Samnang, one of two men convicted of the murder of unionist Chea Vichea, pleads
his innocence at a press conference in Phnom Penh.
"If you still continue speaking in language excluding Hun Sen, I will not talk
In an impassioned broadcast on national TV, Prime Minister Hun Sen threatens to break
off negations with opposition parties over the formation of a coalition government.
"Sorry, the number you are dialing is outside the coverage area."
The message heard by mobile phone customers attempting to call between Mobitel's
012 network and other networks. The company denied accusations it was intentionally
blocking calls to attract competitors' customers.
"In the various headquarters in Phnom Penh there are apparently 10,000 souls,
but I challenge anyone to find them on any given day (without plenty of notice)."
David Mead, the former Australian defense attache in Phnom Penh, says absenteeism,
ghost soldiers and triple the necessary number of generals will make reform of Cambodia's
army a difficult task.
"You know what? If this useless appendage of celebrity can be utilized, I don't
really give a toss what people think."
Minnie Driver, answering skeptics asking whether her humanitarian visit to Cambodia
was merely a public relations stunt to boost her career.
"The new generation is like a blank sheet of paper, very white. So if we bring
the message to the young generation, it's a good opportunity to be aware of peace."
Art student Chhay Bunna, a participant in the Peace of Art Project at the Royal University
of Fine Arts Cambodia, which turns decommissioned weapons into unusual sculptural
"I am not asking to be given fish forever, but I do need someone to build the
The Venerable Muny Van Saveth, executive director at Wat Norea Peaceful Children's
Home, uses a fishing metaphor to explain why his nationwide AIDS-awareness campaign
needs financial support.
"People love to throw rocks at the Americans, but in our experience, only one
percent of landmines we find are American, and 99 percent, or even more, are either
Soviet or Chinese."
Richard Boulter, from the US-funded demining organisation Halo Trust, responding
to criticisms of America's decision to continue using landmines.
"I still believe in the Khmer Rouge philosophy, and believe the Khmer Rouge
will one day be successful."
Pol Pot's former bodyguard, Sok Leun, who is assisting the Cambodian Border
Community Development Organisation's efforts to help the rural poor of Pailin.
"How do we release this clenched fist?"
Ung Bunthan, author of a report for the human rights group Lichado, speaking about
the simmering tensions below the surface of Cambodian society.
"Acid is the last resort for women. They are so powerless, they have no other
way to protect themselves. If a woman's husband goes around with other girls, of
course she can throw acid. How else can she get her life back?"
Lek Short, who spent seven years married to a former soldier with a "mean spirit"
and a penchant for rice wine.
"If they insure us for 20 to 30 years, we will be happy."
An unnamed spokesperson for the Women's Network of Unity on the demands of sex workers
who were asked to trial a possible HIV preventative drug, Tenofovir. The research
was funded by Microsoft mogul Bill Gates.
"There could be a revolution by the people ..."
PM Hun Sen, on the end-game effect of Cambodia's social ills.
"Out of about 300 Cambodian newspapers, only ten in the Phnom Penh area are
consistently publishing accurate, balanced, fair articles."
Um Sarin, President of the Cambodian Association for Protection of Journalists.
"During the experiment I got the chance to taste young meat again, but afterwards,
Unrepentant Italian pedophile Alain Filippe Berutti has another seven years in a
Cambodian prison to consider his question. He was found naked with four young boys
in the reeds lining the Tonle Sap river and convicted of debauchery.
"Be careful if you go down this rabbit hole; it is very, very deep my friend."
John Woodrow, warning a reporter about investigating the enigmatic NGO Global-PAC,
which briefly set up shop in Sihanoukville. Global-PAC staff- members admitted an
interest in helping North Korean refugees and were linked to various tales of international
"We confirm that you cannot carry around the sky and the earth, please take
caution, do not use big words against the leader. Be careful of dying."
A text-message death threat sent to Heang Rithy, president of the Cambodian National
Research Organization and an outspoken critic of the government on radio.
"I think we are setting a world record."
Kassie Neou, speaking about the delay in forming a government after the 2004 elections.
"My weight has increased six to seven kilograms since the elections. I am eating
better because the country's economic situation is good compared to the unhealthy
situation we had immediately after the elections last July."
PM Hun Sen, appearing less concerned about the effect of the political stalemate
on the economy than about his waistline.
"There is nothing good about this life - not enough sleep, never enough to eat,
just getting enough to survive the next day. Maybe the junk collector is a forever
Thong Sokhon, on her family's difficult decision to abandon their subsistence-farming
life in Svay Rieng and come to Phnom Penh, where they now collect trash to recycle.
"If we can't arrest [and send to trial] a simple Japanese guy, how can we arrest
the Chinese mafia that traffics a thousand girls to Malaysia?"
An exasperated Pierre Legros, of Afesip, speaks out against the Cambodian legal system
alleged-sex-tourist Kanae Masata is released from custody despite significant evidence
"So let's say the court sentences me and puts me in jail. They can only keep
my body in jail, but my conscience will have served my nation and my people. Frankly
speaking, no one can sentence my conscience."
Former Khmer Rouge senior cadre Nuon Chea, contemplating his fate before the proposed
"Hello stupid AGM ... we will try to destroy your f-ing hotel occupancy ...
we will be the winner at the end of this long issue - you will lost everything when
you allow us to get back to work. Take care and don't come out from the hotel at
Email sent from an address linked to sacked Raffles Hotel worker Seum Visoth to Raffles
General Manager Steffan Gnaegi during a trade union dispute. Visoth vehemently denied
he sent the email.
"This is like a film that they continue to produce."
Sok Samoen insists that murder charges leveled against him and his alleged accomplice
Bourn Samnang were a work of fiction. The Appeals Court did not agree, reversing
a Phnom Penh municipal court decision to drop the charges.
"The main problem with politics in Cambodia is having a Lexus Constitution when
what is really needed is a secondhand Toyota."
Margaret Slocombe, author of The People's Republic of Kampuchea 1979-89; the revolution
after Pol Pot.
"Luok Chuoy (Mr. Help) has connotations with another Khmer word that means love-making
and a woman would find it easier to say to her husband: 'Let's get Mr. Help' as opposed
to 'Hey honey, can you fetch the hygienic bag'."
Giselle Portenier of the BBC World Service Trust on the animated condom character
Luok Chouy, being shown on Cambodian television for safe-sex promotion.
"No one can force Preah Koo to lick people; it's up to her."
Put Mich, owner of Preah Koo, the 'holy cow' that is said to have magical healing
powers. Up to 100 people were visiting her daily with hopes of benefiting from her
"While King Sihanouk has in the past announced his abdication and then subsequently
changed his mind, on this occasion, observers agree that the King is serious and
will finally abdicate as he did back in 1955."
Julio Jeldres, Sihanouk's official biographer, quelling uncertainties surrounding
the King's status on August 12.
"Thirty-six percent of the total population still lives on less than 63 cents
per day, and 50 percent of all children under the age of five are underweight."
Extracts from World Bank 10-year review on Cambodia.
"The situation on the night of July 12 was tense ... Samdech Hun Sen and I had
to solve a problem, and if we made a wrong decision, the Khmer nation would have
become bloody with [violence] more serious than the factional fighting on July 5
[and] 6, 1997."
Funcinpec leader Norodom Ranariddh on the deal brokered with PM Hun Sen to amend
the constitution and placate CPP infighting.
"It is not a complaint. It is a protest because I am so bored with the noise."
Supreme Court Judge Kong Phirun in a letter to the Ministry of Cults and Religions
on the traditional practice of using a gong to rouse monks for early morning prayers.
"The train is not waiting for you ... choo choo."
Funcinpec leader Norodom Ranariddh warning members of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party
that if they do not defect to the other side, they will lose any opportunity of being
in government. Sixty Sam Rainsy Party members defected to the royalist party on August
"The government is committed to dealing with corruption under the adopted Rectangular
Strategy, and we are taking this case very seriously. We must set an example of accountability."
Council of Ministers spokesman Sean Visoth on the investigation into how $2 million
worth of rice disappeared from the U.N. World Food Program.
"Can you trust that all [people with] white skin and all the foreigners in the
world have justice, and the Khmers have no justice?"
PM Hun Sen lashing out at foreign critics of Cambodian justice, regarding Khmer rouge
"I do not understand why the youth are angry. They must be obligated to military
duty to defend their country."
Minister of Defence Tea Banh on the reaction of young people to the possible introduction
of compulsory military service.
"No one questions the outcomes of AIPO because nothing comes of it."
Opposition member Son Chhay criticizes the value of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary
Organization meeting held in Phnom Penh. The meeting cost the coffers $1.2 million.
"Sometimes charity hurts."
Phnom Penh-based writer Antonio Graceffo, on participating in a fund-raising boxing
match in Thailand. The 1.5 million baht raised goes to the Lampang Elephant Conservation
Centre in northern Thailand.
"They applied to be a lawyer, but they do not practice the law while they have
current positions as government officials. In foreign countries, many leaders used
to be lawyers."
Former Cambodian Bar Association President Ky Tech explains the admission of PM Hun
Sen and three of his senior ministers to the Bar, September 15. None of the appointees
have any formal legal training.
"So, it is not necessary for Samdech [Chea Sim] to ask me to approve or sign
any royal decree or law because Norodom Sihanouk has retired and cannot say approved
or not approved."
Former King Norodom Sihanouk declares his abdication in a letter written from Beijing,
where he was receiving medical treatment.
"The Royal House will remain a transparent house ... and for me there will never
be an ivory tower."
King Norodom Sihamoni pledges his honesty and commitment to the Cambodian people
at his coronation.
"Wife? He only feels Buddhist. He loves women as his sisters. He dares not to
make a deep relationship. ... He is a simple man."
Former Queen Monineath on the marital status of her son, the new King Sihamoni.
"By divulging in time this news Your Majesties, I was hoping to contribute to
defusing a bomb that could increase the chaos in Cambodia."
Opposition leader Sam Rainsy in a letter sent to former King Sihanouk in Beijing,
after a tip-off warned him of possible riots on the King's return to Cambodia. Rainsy
subsequently fled the country after government backlash for his letter.
"We are concerned that riots against Thai businesses might occur again if movies
about the ancient times return to television."
Pannasastra University business student Mon Samith on the debate about Thai films
returning to Cambodian television screens. Thai films were pulled from the air following
the anti-Thai riots of January 29, 2003.
"It wasn't a walkout. We could not finalize all issues in the short time available."
U.N. World Food Program representative Thomas Keusters on the discussions with the
government regarding compensation for the Food For Work rice fraud case.
"Buyers in America don't want to know about these problems. The attitude is
'*&?£ the customs chief if you have to, but get the stuff to my store on
A Cambodian factory owner, who wished to remain anonymous, on tackling the red tape
and corruption of the Customs Department.
"It's old wine in a new bottle."
Cambodian Centre for Social Development legal advisor Dr. Lao Mong Hay on the Rectangular
Strategy - the government's solution to the country's economic and social woes.
"If anybody believes that [the CPP] have an internal democracy, I think they're
smoking something they sell down at the central market."
Former International Republican Institute Country Director Ron Abney.
"We believe part of the problem is the ineffective way we donors are providing
Nisha Agrawal, country manager of the World Bank, admits Cambodia's international
aid benefactors need to put their millions of dollars to better use.
"He was not vacationing there, clearly."
Heraldo Munoz, chairman of a U.N. Security Council commitee on terrorism, suggests
suspected terrorist ringleader Hambali may have mixed business with pleasure during
a stay at a guesthouse by Phnom Penh's Boeng Kak lake.
"The only way to kiss a girl around here is to marry her."
Deportee Loy Prim, finding Cambodia's dating scene somewhat restrictive after being
deported from the United States.
"On impunity, the Prime Minister seems to say it doesn't exist, but of course
it does exist, and I don't think you solve any problems by saying it doesn't exist."
U.N. Secretary General Special Representative Peter Leuprecht in response to Prime
Minister Hun Sen's insistence that Cambodia is free of impunity.
"Yes, the illicit drug trafficking and abuse situation is out of control in
United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime Program Officer Graham Shaw on the worrying
results from their 2004 annual report. The number of people using drugs has jumped
from 50,000 to an estimated 500,000 in only one year.
"Many at the top see the arts as something not entirely serious. They can't
see how culture can rebuild our society. If the new casino had been the one to burn
down, I wonder how long it would take to rebuild that?"
Film director Rithy Panh on the lack of funding to rebuild the Tonle Bassac Theatre
after a fire destroyed its performance facilities in 1994.
"I feel very hurt and plan to sue Afesip because they libel us as a butterfly
that finds the food at night."
Chai Hour II hotel employee Tai Chakriya, using a euphemism for a sex worker, denies
Afesip's claim the hotel was operating as a brothel.
"The pigeon, if it is on the temple roof for a long time, it shits on the lord.
You are a lord, I take you to stay at the other place to let you look and check on
the pigeon from the top."
Some philosophical words from PM Hun Sen to former head of the Tax Department Hong
Tha. Hun Sen publicly fired Tha at a seminar on good governance December 14.
"The investigating judge told me that the suspects were innocent, but it is
their bad luck."
Defense lawyer Khov Chantha on the two suspects arrested and tried for the murder
of Chea Vichea.
"The Cambodian Government must find the whole donors' group process hilarious.
Each year they fail to meet their benchmarks and yet donors give them money."
Global Witness campaigner John Buckrell on the $504 million in donor aid offered
for 2005, announced at the Consultative Group meeting on December 6-7, 2004. The
donors warned the government to spend the money wisely or risk losing it in the future.
"Cambodia, like the poet [Robert Frost] cannot travel both roads."
World Bank Country Director Ian Porter equating Cambodia's future management of financial
aid to the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken, which describes the difficult choice
between two forest paths. Porter implores the Cambodian government to take the unfamiliar