Your issue of May 3-15 has given me the impetus to write a request of the Phnom
Penh Post that I've vacillated on for far too long. You gave all your readers an
artistic rendition of the types of tanks and armored personnel carriers that abound
in the Kingdom, which I appreciate. Now I can cut it out, laminate it, and place
it in my shirt pocket. And next time one of these vehicles moves down Monivong Blvd
I pull it out and tell my wife that's a Pt-76 and it only has one barrel pointed
at you while the Type-69 (Is there a hidden message in that military numbering system?)
has not only one barrel pointed at you but also a front-mounted machine gun as well.
She's got to be impressed and for that I thank you.
Anyway, the point of this letter needs to be addressed. I've been a resident of the
Kingdom for 3 1/2 years and I'm still unable to distinguish between the various branches
of the military and police. In my home country, I can easily identify all the cops,
jar-heads, swabbies, doggies, air-dales and G men (It's the creases in their trousers
that always give them away), but here I'm still in a quandary. I can, however, discern
the guys in plain clothes because "they all look alike". What I suggest,
then, is that you commission your Photographer-at-Will to do a photographic essay
of the RCAF, Funcinpec and CPP men/women outfitted in their different insignias and
shades of blue, beige, green, black and that macho camouflage. Maybe even do a piece
on their headgear which would, however, involve another set and shade of color. By
doing that, we residents of the Kingdom would have a better picture (no pun) intended
of who was really ripping us off at all those checkpoints. God, my wife would really
be impressed then!
- David Hagenson, Phnom Penh.