Man About Town: 8 Feb 2013

Man About Town: 8 Feb 2013


As the temperature soars, the streets of Siem Reap are gradually thinning of tourists. And while we all love and cherish our hopefully cashed-up international visitors, there are some elements of the tourist trade we can do without.

This season, one of the curses of the tourist trade has been the ridiculous numbers of large buses that pack the downtown district of an evening. It wasn’t t unusual to see a cavalcade of ten to 12 large buses on a row streaming down Sivutha Boulevard to drip passengers off at favoured restaurants during the height of the season.

Another curse has been the hordes of (censored) Cheap Charlie backpackers, now designated in PC speak as ‘independent travelers,’ descending on the already crowded cafes which provide free wi-fi, to order a measly coffee or indeed even a glass of water, plug their computers into the electricity outlets and sit for hours pretending to be socially aware while totally unaware that they’re a nuisance preventing potentially paying customers from getting a seat to enjoy a meal.

These sharing and caring Facebook fiends and Twitter-twits sit glued to their computers for hours, presumably jotting off meaningful bon mots and acute insights about the country they are sitting in, while seemingly oblivious of their immediate surroundings.


The Angkor Film Festival held at Sofitel over the weekend was a great success, but there was one over-rising complaint from some punters – the bar closed at 8.30pm.  Perhaps the reasoning was that people should have been engrossed and engaged in the movies?

Lots of curiosity about why El Camino Restaurant has been closed for more than a week. Even more curiosity regarding the whereabouts of the part-owner cum manager who, according to prevailing wisdom has left the country, some even alleging he has fled the country.

The normally genial founder of ConCert, Michael Horton, launched into the New Year with fire in his belly, delivering a serve to pedophile-busting group, APLE.

In October last year Horton organised a meeting to explore APLE’s funding crisis and was not  happy with the result.

Last month he fired off this missive: “Along with many others, I was somewhat disappointed with the presentation that was given. Despite many of us in the audience asking repeated questions to get a clear idea of the scale of the problem and some ideas about how we could contribute, the presenter seemed unable to grasp what was needed and left us all somewhat bewildered.  In the end, the presentation resulted in people struggling to know the scale of the problem, even to the point of being unsure as to whether there was a crisis or not.

“The frustrating thing for me was that I knew that one of APLE’s main donors had reduced their support by an amount that put the Siem Reap office in jeopardy and it seemed from the presentation that, at best, there had been some one off donations that had staved off the immediate crisis. Why the presenter couldn’t make that clear remains a mystery.”


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