Some diplomats are getting nervous. As the election campaign unfolds there is a nagging
question lingering in the back of several envoys' minds: "What if Ranariddh
wins again? Then what do we do?"
** RCAF is still trying to secure an entry in the Guiness Book of World Records for
the most people ever carried on a helicopter. During last month's trip to Anlong
Veng for the Khmer Rouge re-integration ceremony, various diplomats and journalists
were ferried up to the former hardline KR base in an Mi-26, the world's largest whirlybird.
When departure time came, one ambassador took a quick count and estimated that 240
soldiers, guests and an assorted gaggle of rural commuters were packed like sardines
into the craft. "Wrong" said an RCAF general proudly, there were more than
** Pundits are both perplexed and worried. The Americans are having a "drastically
reduced" official July 4 celebration this year while the French are all geared
up for a monster bash on the 14th.
To the consternation of dyed-in-the wool, star spangled banner-waving hot dog lovers,
the Yanks are only inviting 100 for brief drinklettes at the Royal. The local Gringo
community is not impressed.
For those lucky enough to be buddy-buddy with the French, sights are set for the
embassy compound at 1pm on Bastille Day. However, with such an early start time,
fears are circulating that many guests may be sloshed by mid-afternoon and ready
for a plunge in the pool.
** Reports from Svay Rieng indicate an inordinate amount of alcohol consumption.
It appears the use of palm wine has resulted in a spate of drunken villagers stumbling
hither and yon, falling off bicycles, or weaving along dirt tracks barely in control
of motocarts. Speculation is rampant that the recent phenomenon may result in a higher
turnout for Toan Chay's party which itself is sporting a palm tree on its logo.
** When the British Deputy Foreign Minister was in town there was much discussion
with RCAF military intelligence about the Chris Howes case. The Brits, having done
their homework, urged the government to arrest the key Khmer Rouge suspects involved
in Howes' death. RCAF intel is said to have responded: "Oh, those guys? They
are all in Thailand now. You know we can't arrest people there."
** Media wizard Mike Fowler is said to be heading back to Cambodia from Cairo for
a two-month sojourn, but his welcome may be less than warm in some quarters. "He
can't come in here until he returns all the glasses he nicked," insists FCC
boss Anthony Alderson.