THE word from Foggy Bottom is that during the upcoming visit of UN Secretary of
State Madeline Albright, America's most senior diplomat will talk tough and straight,
unlike previous State Department envoys who have been accused of being too user friendly.
While couched in diplomatic language, Albright is expected to tell it like it is
on the FBI investigation, problems with narcotics trafficking and the unsettled question
of expected elections.
Major General Sok Pheap of DNUM-bodia, who is the new Deputy Commander of the
5th Military Region, is getting into the swing of thing since his joining civil society.
He has new snappy business cards, listing his Samart as well as two Thai mobile phone
numbers, which are blood red in color. Just a small coincidence.
The palms opens its upstairs bar on June 20th. Drinks and snacks will be free from
6pm to 9pm. A jazz band will entertain guests. After 9, the party will continue with
Tiger draft at a buck a pop.
Should a general memorandum go out to the entire population in Thailand explaining
the some things in Cambodia have changed in the last decade such as the name of the
country? A recently released poster explaining cellular phone services from the Bangkok-based
company Total Access Communication shows a map of the region with the country we
all know as the Kingdom of Cambodia listed as "Democratic Kampuchea". Hello!
Earth of Thailand, come in please!
Will golf be the key to national reconciliation in Cambodia? Now that all 18 holes
at the new course are finished, links fever is spreading like wild fire among senior
government officials, especially since many of them have been given honorary membership.
Samdech Chea Sim is giving it his best shot and is now a frequent visitor to the
driving range at the Royal Phnom Penh Hotel. He's got a bit of hook in his swing
which is why all the practice. Minister of Tourism Veng Sereyvuth is now the proud
owner of a natty new pair golf shoes and clubs. His drives are straight but he is
trying to develop more distance. General Pol Saroeun is alleged to have a form which
could make him the Tiger Woods of the local golf scene. Minister of Defense Tea Banh
has also been taking aim.
When all these Excellencies get out on the course will they become fair-way buddies?
Some months back this column reported that Martin Flitman was taking messages on
his beeper from anyone seeking romantic advice. Martin has now moved further up the
technology chain and has just acquired a mobile phone, after not having had one for
nine years. He can be reached at 120-802-822. His services are still available for
those in need of a soothing word, sage advice, horoscopes, a bit of palm reading
or general counseling.
There is some serious grumbling in the trenches at UNDP. Front line grunts within
the bureaucracy say that the agency's tsar, Paul Mathews, not only gets the daily
copy of the International Herald Tribune first, which they can understand, but that
he then passes it thru the ranks with the crossword puzzle completed - usually with
every last clue filled in. Embittered staff even speculate that he surreptitiously
uses a crossword dictionary. For shame!
Come on Paul. Be a pal. Xerox the puzzle first and pass it on for the word junkies
down the line.
Sources say Malaysian Foreign Minister Badawi and ASEAN Secretary-general Ajit
Singh, who cam to tow on June 9,asked to meet with both PMs at the same time. Prime
Minister Ranariddlh is alleged to have said "No way." The joint meeting
Sources in Bangkok say that Sam Rainsy sent one of his people to the US Embassy there
with a letter for the FBI rep Thomas Nicoletti, who headed up the grenade investigation
here in Cambodia. The delivery guy met someone else who received the letter, but
Rainsy's man said he must deliver it in person. The Embassy says no. The snafu results
in the Marines being called in to kick the KNP envoy off the premises - without giving
him back the letter. Rainsy is allegedly confused about how the US government works.
Members of a Thai gambling club are said to have visited the Kingdom this week and
checked out the Floating Casino while in town. They apparently cashed out with $4
million in profit and may be back for a second visit in the near future. Who says
investing in Cambodia can't be profitable?