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Hun Sen - the Godfather

Hun Sen - the Godfather

Kraingyov, Kandal - The main hall of the "Hun Sen health care center" is

cramped with mothers queuing up to take their kids to the busy nurses inside.

They are just as anxious to see what lies in a metal cradle by the door, a sight

apparently never before seen in the commune - triplets. So unusual, in fact, that

Second Prime Minister and commune sponsor Hun Sen and his wife decided to "adopt"

them - at least as their godparents - when they visited Kraingyov last week.

Mother Suon Sokha, 31, was delighted.

"He asked to adopt my children," she said of Hun Sen. "I'm happy because

he helps to lessen my hard life."

Hun Sen gave her 410,000 riel ($165) toward looking after the three baby girls.

Sokha has given the babies names that Hun Sen would undoubtedly be proud of. They

bear their father's name, Ban, which means "obtain" in Khmer, so she has

dubbed them Ban Chamroeun ("obtain progress"), Ban Sambat ("obtain

wealth") and Ban Sambo or "obtain abundance."

"I love these names. They mean happiness and prosperity forever. We are poor,"

Sokha explained.

She and her farmer husband Ban Ngoy have five other children and, after the surprise

of having triplets, she is determined that their family has got big enough.

"Eight is enough - stop!" she laughs when asked if she would like more

children.

Sokha has received a constant stream of visitors - from the Prime Minister to peasants

- to look at the babies. One woman, peering in through a window, exclaimed: "Since

I was born, I have never seen anyone give birth to triplets."

Sitting in her bed, which bears the sign "Gift of Samdech Hun Sen and Lok Chumteav"

(his wife), Sokha is thankful for a helping hand from Hun Sen. "If it were not

for his assistance, there wouldn't be any progress - no clinic here. At least, I

don't have to pay for medicine now. I wish he could stay longer with us."

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