Fresh from patriotic Jubilee celebrations, British Reapers gave a warm welcome to their Ambassador to Cambodia last weekend.
Mark Gooding, who took the post last September, made his first engagement outside the capital at an informal mixer with British residents at the FCC in Siem Reap.
“This is my first official visit outside of Phnom Penh and this is the first event of that visit,” he said to the gathered crowd, “So I hope that shows you how important this is to me.”
Accompanied by his partner, Dr Christopher McCormick (who was straight from his talk on Learning a language will change your life for good at TEDxPhnomPenh), Mr Gooding told The Insider, “I’m interested in finding out more about Siem Reap, about the British community here. It’s a very popular tourist destination. Any British tourists who come to Cambodia come here.”
Speaking to the Siem Reap gathering, the ambassador explained the role of the embassy in Phnom Penh which provides consular assistance to citizens from Britain and 62 other countries that don’t have representation in the Kingdom.
Along with British expats on the night, citizens of Ireland, Cyprus, Sweden, Malta, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Sweden were invited to mingle with the ambassador and sample the canapés.
He stressed to The Insider that it was a thrilling opportunity to take on such a role in Cambodia.
“I think it’s a very exciting time to be here, especially with the British community growing," he said. ""There’s more and more British business here. At the same time Cambodia is chair of Asean so there are lots of important meetings here. We’re engaging very heavily with the government on that."
We’re also actively supporting the ECCC and talking to the government about sustainable development issues as well. This country is growing quickly and successfully so I’m enjoying it,” he said.
As for Temple Town, Mr Gooding said he was looking forward to exploring it further.
“I like Siem Reap very much. I did the Angkor Half Marathon last December, so I’ve seen Angkor Wat and it’s obviously an absolutely magnificent site. “What I haven’t seen so much of yet is the town and I’m looking forward to seeing more of that.”
By the response from the punters at the FCC, he made a positive impression on UK Reapers. “Recommend him for Prime Minister,” one said. “He’s very good, I like him.”