Man about town

Man about town

Regular visitor to Siem Reap, Anne Bass, 68, vice president of the board of the Center for Khmer Studies, and America’s richest woman according to The New York Times, lost a court case in Singapore after suing the Shangri-La Hotel for negligence over a lost 6.41-carat diamond ring.

Singapore’s The New Paper reported last Friday that on Thursday, October 27, Justice Judith Prakash released a written judgement that it was not the hotel that was negligent.

On March 3, 2010, Bass filed a lawsuit in the High Court in Singapore against the hotel, claiming that the ring was lost or stolen on its premises on February 6, 2009.

The trial took place in October last year and January this year, and on Thursday Justice Prakash dismissed Bass' claim with costs.

Ms Bass, represented by lawyers Tan Chuan Thye and Eugene Thuraisingam, had been seeking compensation of US$220,000 for the gold ring.

Bass claimed the ring disappeared from her room at the Shangri-La on February 6, 2009.

Bass had produced witnesses who testified that she was in the habit of wearing the ring frequently and that she wore it in Siem Reap before coming to Singapore.

Essentially, the court ruled that there was no convincing evidence that Bass had brought the ring to Singapore, much less back to the hotel on the evening in question after two days in Singapore, which she spent largely out of the hotel.

In the period immediately before flying to Singapore, Bass had been in Siem Reap for a Centre for Khmer Studies board meeting, and for the “world launch” on Sunday January 11, 2009, of her biopic Dancing Across Borders.

This idiosyncratic film was a sanitised chronicling of the transformation of Cambodian street dancer Sokvannara Sar into a rising ballet star on the US and European cultural circuit.

Living in Siem Reap can be a test for man, woman and beast, for frustrations and ironies abound. Only a week or so ago we were sloshing around in knee-deep flood water. But over the weekend many parts of downtown Siem Reap suffered water interruptus, with the domestic water supply being cut off intermittently for several days.

The idea was to grab a shower when you could, and be wary of shampooing in case the supply was cut off mid-shampoo.

Manabout copped a double whammy on Saturday morning. Returning from a sweaty jog along the river, Manabout hit the shower only to discover it was again a case of no water.

And a quick retreat to the air conditioned room was futile, because the electricity was also cut for about two hours. Then, miraculously, both water and power were reinstated. It’s in moments like these that the little barang luxuries of life are appreciated.


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