THE recently-released US State Department report on human rights for Cambodia
had some not so surprising statements about the how the Khmer Rouge view the
subject. The report says that "The Khmer Rouge does not allow freedom of speech
or press in zones they control... freedom of assembly and association do not
exist... the Khmer Rouge does not permit any investigation of human rights
violations... (and) no legal system is known to exist in Khmer Rouge zones." But
because this is not really considered "news", its unlikely that anyone will
write about it.
Show-up-at-work day on Feb 7 had one major visible
effect. Lots of waiters, drivers, guards and sundry other office workers were
seen about town in their neatly-pressed police uniforms. Hmmm?
of police, some of the regulars who man the city's street corners have picked up
a few useful phrases in English. One cop on the corner of Monivong and Kampuchea
Krom pulled over a motorist last week and after explaining that it was now
against the law to make a left hand turn, pointed his finger in a "you-me"
fashion and said "payoff".
If you're out there in the bush somewhere, run
into a bit of trouble and need to be medivaced by plane out of the country, be
prepared to pay a hefty surcharge for the lift. A plane headed out of Pochentong
to pick up an American woman who had a heart attack in the provinces was delayed
by Civil Aviation until "substantial fees" were paid up front. It was what you
might call a Heart a-TAX. No doubt the levies go towards improving the nation's
health care system.
RAC is slowly getting its feet on the ground. A local
freight forwarder called them up and asked for the rates to Singapore only to
get an "I don't know" in response. There has been one visible response, though.
Remember the supermarket, refrigerated delivery truck with those cute piglets on
the side, oinking their way happily to market. Well, since the firm caters for
RAC and pork is not allowed on the planes, the painted piggies had to go
Who says Kiwis are different? Just about anyone who attended the
Waitangi Day celebrations last Monday, especially after seeing Fred Longman
bounce in circles about the floor of Deja Vu sitting in a chair and barking out
some strange kind of guttural incantations. The mystery has yet to be
Lilli Saxer bid farewell to Phnom Penh after three years in
the saddle. She will be sorely missed by all her friends but - take heart -
she's only headed to Rangoon to set up her own shop and promises a warm welcome
to anyone who passes her way.
The word on the streets is that US
Ambassador Charles Twining will be rotated out from Phnom Penh sometime this
year, and that his replacement will be Kenneth Quinn.