Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hayden and the longest limo in town



Hayden and the longest limo in town

Hayden and the longest limo in town

P HNOM Penh rolled out the red carpet, and dozens of banners and flags and a

small army of cheering fans, to lay on the ritziest of welcomes for Australian

Governor-General Bill Hayden last week.

From the moment Hayden and

entourage arrived at Pochentong Airport on April 27, he was feted in a manner

not seen since the King's long-awaited return to Cambodia.

Met by King

Norodom Sihanouk, First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh and a host of

other dignitaries, Hayden was escorted past an elaborate, well-drilled Royal

Cambodian Armed Forces honor guard.

He was led down a trail of red carpet

to the largest stretch limousine - jet black, with a Beverley Hills designer

number plate - ever seen in Phnom Penh. Hundreds turned out to greet him.

University students lining the streets along Pochentong Road - others had

earlier been trucked to the airport at 2pm, to await his 5pm arrival - were

joined by curious onlookers.

The route from the airport to the Cambodiana

Hotel, where Hayden stayed, was adorned with Cambodian and Australian flags.

Banners proclaimed "Long Live Australia", "Long Live Cambodia" and "Long Live

Solidarity and Friendship" between the two.

That evening, Hayden attended

a Royal Banquet in his honor with King Sihanouk and Prince Ranariddh.

The

following morning, he traveled with the King and Prince - in a 30-car motorcade

with 14 police motorcycle outriders around the limousine alone - to the National

Museum for one of the highlights of his visit.

A ceremony marking the end

of an Australian-funded, three-year renovation project at the museum was held

before a large assembly of Royal and government dignitaries.

In the

afternoon, Hayden met National Assembly officials including Chairman Chea Sim,

before meeting with both Prime Ministers, who hosted a dinner for him that

evening.

The following day was spent visiting two NGO children's centers,

the Silver Pagoda, and, in an unexpected move, several markets. He bought

silverware at the Russian Market and jewelry for his wife at the New

Market.

"It wouldn't have been much cheaper if we had sold them to

Khmers," said one woman who charged him $250 for a platinum bracelet and a pair

of earrings inlaid with precious stones.

"We sold them to him on the

understanding he was a guest of the Royal Government," she said, adding she

would have charged $280-$300 if she had wanted to make a profit.

Market

sellers said they were given a few tips by Hayden's Khmer escorts, who visited

them shortly before his arrival. "They told us we should sell real gems, not the

counterfeit ones."

Later that day, Hayden hosted a reception for Phnom

Penh's Australian community at the Cambodiana before watching an artistic

performance hosted by King Sihanouk and Prince Ranariddh. He left Cambodia the

following morning.

Hayden - who has a long relationship with Cambodia

dating back to his time as Foreign Minister in the 1980s - stayed away from

political topics during his time.

"There's a long way to go...but there's

more promise, there's more reason to be optimistic than pessimistic," he said in

a speech.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Lost in translation: ‘Starvation’ in capital’s designated red zones

    “DACH bay” is a Khmer slang meaning a “loss of income”, that could also be literally translated to «deprived of rice”, which alludes to starvation. However, civil society organisation (CSO) officials have independently confirmed the government’s prior assertions that there are no cases of