Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 19 February 1999

The Gecko: 19 February 1999

The Gecko: 19 February 1999

** Cheeky Aussies have had the last laugh. The Australian Centre for English

(ACE) shifted its headquarters recently, moving to spiffy new digs on Street 214.

Before the shift, ACE administrators called for volunteers from their teaching staff

to sign up for specific stuff to take charge of trundling across town. The category

of gear that got the greatest response was "Pot Plants" as the Yanks on

board showed no hesitation to help out.

Much to their chagrin, and obviously not having consulted their Ozinglish dictionaries

first, the gringos' fantasies went up in smoke as they found themselves stuck with

having to re-pot a truckload of "potted plants".

** Record junkies speculate that the Duty Free Shop in downtown Pailin may

be set for a listing in the Guiness Book of World Records. Under the Category "The

Duty Free Shop farthest from an international border, airport, seaport or government

tax collector" Pailin looks set to take the cake.

However, the shop won't be winning any records for turnover. Most visitors from Thailand

are stopping at the casino set smack on the border 20 kms to the west. The open air

betting parlour is drawing heaps of Thais from Trat and other border towns, where

chips are not to be found and the baht is the currency of the realm.

Apparently, gamblers are still a bit nervous to make the trek to the casino in Pailin,

especially with the thought that they might have to drive back to the border with

a bundle of cash in their pockets.

** How high on the government's list of priorities is the need for the Customs

Department to collect a few bucks? With a new Customs Director in place, the form

letters given to shippers and freight forwarders have been changed. Instead of starting

with "Dear Sir" they now read "Your Excellency".

** What's the downside of spending 20 years in the jungle? Being out of touch

with the rest of the planet for starters.

One KR commander who recently defected was given a mobile phone as part of his re-integration

bonus package. He was truly amazed that whenever he tried to make a call there was

a Khmer/English bilingual operator ready and waiting - 24 hours a day - to tell him

"The number you are trying to reach is either out of the service area or the

phone is turned off."

His astonishment was so great that he even berated his own cadre during one line-up,

telling them, with phone in hand as a gentle voice came over the airwaves, "See,

see! You people are nothing. This company has people who speak two languages on standby

around the clock, just waiting to help me out."

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