Petanque Diplomacy was the name of the game at Sar Kheng's house last Saturday
when ministers from both parties, diplomats, journalists and friends gathered together
for a day-long sports fest to see who could best throw lead balls at a small red
ball. Samdech Chea Sim graced the affair, looking like a relaxed golf pro on vacation
in his sneakers, shorts, polo shirt and vraiment chic links cap.
The competition was keen - and grueling. One diplomat, after going down in defeat
in several matches, started complaining about "petanque elbow". A French
embassy team went head-to-head with a German team. After the former lost, one observer
wondered aloud if "the French had to concede territory to the Germans"
as a result.
One of the most vocal concerns at the competition was whether or not the matches
would spark a response by FUNCINPEC. Speculation was rife that the Royalists would
start up either a badminton or darts tournament, and that out-of-shape diplomats
would thus be spending most of their weekends shuttling between athletic round-ups.
At the very least, Sar Kheng, with able advice from his spin doctors, displayed the
face of a regular guy who can hang out with the boys, put politics aside and focus
with laser-like accuracy on the more immediate challenges of petanqueism. Not a bad
recipe for long-term strategic positioning. The press, for its part, would be delighted
to join His Excellency again for a match any time.
** The holder of PO. Box 150 at the Phnom Penh Post Office loves to get mail
but some of the recent missives arriving at his address are causing him to wonder
about the state of the global postal system. One letter he received was sent from
New Jersey, USA to PO Box 150 in Lusaka, Zambia. He took the liberty of opening the
letter and found a check for $1500 from a US church group to support their African
outpost. The honest lad duly returned the check, explaining that Cambodia was different
than Zambia. A second letter arrived from Australia addressed to PO Box 150 in Bandar
Seri Begawan, Brunei. It has since been re-routed.
However, PO Box 150, Phnom Penh is anxious for mail addressed to him, but he's a
bit shy about going public. Prospective pen pals should send any and all correspondence
to: Mr. I. B. Lonely, PO Box 150, PP.
** A reporter went down to Kirirom Park with some NGOers who had four armed
guards with them, but when they tried to go a see a sawmill there they were told
that they didn't have enough troops to do so. Apparently there are a few too many
KR defectors living in the area and proper bridges have yet to be constructed between
them and the local RCAF units. Be advised.