THE abracadabra, hocus-pocus dominocus dinar plot thickens. A traveller back from
Stung Treng reports that he bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label Old Scotch
Whisky in the market there with a label on the back which reads in English and Arabic:
"Specially produced for import to Iraq."
ïï One of the book hawkers who prowl the waterfront, flogging English-Khmer
dictionaries, rip-off copies of Shawcross's Sideshow and other such gems, recently
proffered for sale the New York Times bestseller Leadership Secrets of Attila The
Hun, by Wess Roberts, PhD.
The book is heavily plugged by a variety of glitterati, including Joe Theismann,
former Washington Redskins quarterback, who writes "Absolutely a classic! Leadership
Secrets should be required reading."
And apparently it was, but it may not have helped. The guy selling the book said
he found it at Prince Rannaridh's Cabinet offices on Street 214 during the looting
after the coup in 1997.
One can only imagine what some reader must have thought when he came across one of
the Attilaisms: "If all Huns were blind, a one-eyed warrior would be king."
ïï Hard times for one of the new ADB-funded fire engines at the airport in
Two brand-spanking new $200,000 plus vehicles were delivered in the last few months,
and then the foreign consultant from Emergency One decided it was time to take one
out for a test run on the runway. He hopped in the cab with the five-man crew and
told the driver to race off down the tarmac towards a pile of burning tyres at 120
The details are sketchy, but apparently the power steering was a bit too sensitive
and a half-filled water tank may have caused a shimmy. The truck started weaving,
there was a bit of a scramble, the consultant grabbed the wheel, but all was for
nought. Two barrel rolls later, one state-of-the-art, foam spewing fire truck was
a near-total wreck.
The good news is that, miraculously, nobody on board was seriously injured. But there
are still a few fire-engine red faces at the airport, especially when they pass the
bunged up truck not so conveniently tucked away under blue tarps off the apron.
ïï This week a UNESCO vehicle with license plate 404 was tooling along Sisowath
Quay when it sideswiped a moto, leaving driver and passenger down and out on the
pavement. The car didn't even bother to stop. Tsk! Tsk!