Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 20 August 1999




The Gecko: 20 August 1999

The Gecko: 20 August 1999

Keep on truckin! There's a new wrinkle in the on-going land dispute between

Vietnam and Cambodia.

While debate still rages on the issue of border

demarcations, anonymous sources have revealed that Cambodians have been

unwittingly donating thousands of tons of precious heartland to their eastern

neighbor for free.

The gifts-in-kind of Khmer land have been made since

time immemorial but thanks to the modern miracle of rapid de-forestation,

topsoil loss is on the rise with Vietnam's Mekong Delta the proud benificiary.

One source said that the delta is now expanding in some areas at a rate of 80

meters per year.

Conspiracy theorists note that with all the logs

smuggled to Vietnam in the last decade this could be part of an acres-wide plot.

However, it is rumored that plans are afoot to remedy the situation.

Talk has been heard of an ingenius, multi-year, sustainable, eco-friendly,

cost-effective, gender-sensitive proposal to bring the soil back.

With

suggested World Bank funding the scheme envisions a convoy of lorries driving to

the delta, identifying the Khmer soil and trucking it home.

**
The woman from Anlong Veng who grudgingly turned over the remains of

murdered Belgian Michel Baran visited Phnom Penh this week. All she wanted, she

said, was to re-coup the $10,000 she spent in her exhaustive efforts to secure

the remains so they could be returned to the family. The Belgian Embassy was not

amused.

** Incoming US Ambassador to Cambodia Kent Wiedemann

ruffled a few journo feathers in Bangkok before his arrival in Phnom Penh. At

the request of the US Embassy in Bangkok reporters who cover Cambodia were

invited to meet with the new ambassador. Several cut short vacations in southern

Thailand and trekked to the City of Angels only to be told at the last minute

the lunch was cancelled as Wiedemann was ill. Fair enough. But wouldn't it have

been okay to join the envoy while he was recuperating beside the pool at the

Regent?

** Parliamentarian Chhou Leang Huot wins the quote of the

week award: "If politicians had bad intentions you would see it

immediately."

** You can't beat the cops. They're too

quick-witted. One guy pulled over for running a red light was told: "Just give

me $2 for a beer and we'll let you go." The driver responded: "But beers are

only a dollar." Came the reply: "Okay. Give me $2 for two

beers."

** Congratulations to Chris Fontaine and Laura Ngo on the

birth of Max, a fiesty lad weighing in at 3.2 kg.

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