Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 15 August, 1997

The Gecko: 15 August, 1997

The Gecko: 15 August, 1997

If you talk to native sons and daughters around town and raise the question of

next year's elections it is not uncommon to get a blank, perplexed look when you

ask the key question: "Who would you vote for?"

If you suggest that any proper ballot should have a box with "None of the above"

next to it, eyes start to shine, hands go up and heads start nodding with little

doubt. Amazing!

One still young, yet frustrated Khmer soul says that the Kingdom's dilemma is due

to the fact that Cambodia is the only country in the world with a river that flows

two ways.

"It's confusing. You need to look at nature to understand it," he said.

"Do you understand Cartesian logic? Studying it you learn 'One plus one equals

two'. But here because one plus one equals one, we are still here," he says

waving at the Tonle Sap. "And you are back to where you started."

Referring to the new equation in town: "Everybody will take time to watch. It's

like an exam: if he passes, its okay. He could be another Suharto. Maybe better than

Suharto because he doesn't have his problems. But when you are willing to be a good

boy it's not the same as someone behaving. But if you just behave your character

will come back. And then when you get old you may get worse. Just look at Pol Pot."

** Nate Thayer's Pol Pot scoop has drawn the dregs of the journalism profession

out of the closet. Not surprising that. We know they are lurking out there in the

shadows, generally out of reach.

When word of the photos got out, Nate's phone started ringing off the hook. Several

hundred a day. One woman called the Review in Bangkok and said "I'm Nate's girlfriend,

but I don't have his number. Can you put me through?" The Review secretary,

reflecting years of wisdom well-cultivated, responded, "If you were his girlfriend,

you would have his number," and then politely hung up.

One woman called his dad in DC and said: "Please tell Nate I will sleep with

him at any time." Amb. Thayer wasn't amused.

Another clown called the Review and said "I'm a relative and have some bad news

about his mother. I must talk to Nate."

** A reporter on the Thai border was interviewing a Thai official about the

plight of the Cambodian refugees. He said, "They should all go back tomorrow.

There's no fighting in Cambodia," which was followed by the sound of an explosion.

"No, no that's not shelling," followed by another 'Boom'. "No, no,

no, they will all go back tomorrow," followed by another boom. "No, no,

no, I think it's mine clearing by Hun Sen's forces."

** The number of people in town who are ticked off with CNN is legion. "The

World's News Leader" has taken flak for offenses almost too long to keep track


On the top of the list is why the events of July 5-6 were compared to the devastation

of Hiroshima by a nuclear bomb during WWII?

Fed up viewers also want to know why Battambang was pronounced "Battamburg",

why US Amb. Quinn was referred to as the "U.N. Ambassador", why Prince

Ranariddh's name is pronounced "Rana-reed" as if he were a cousin of Donna

Reed, and why Hun Sen's name was spelled "Hun Seng"?