"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cambodia Trip
Day 6 (28/9) - Palace
(Part 2)

Cambodia must be the first place I've been in that doesn't use coins - there's even a 100 Rial note (2.5 American cents). Maybe it's to stop people melting down the coins for metal.

I am not a Southeast Asia person. This is because I am Orientalist and Ethnocentric, and not because it's hot, humid, dirty and there're few of the ancient ruins and great museums I dig.


After the museum we went for lunch.

For some reason, no cafes or restaurants seemed to serve Khmer breakfasts. This put me in mind of Crete, where English breakfasts were much more common than Greek breakfasts. Perhaps people feel conservative early in the morning.


I had no idea what the difference between "Coca Cola" and "Coca Can" was. Meanwhile, someone asked for 7-up and they said they only had Sprite. Gah.

There were lots of kids coming up to us at lunch to sell us pirated Lonely Planets for US$2. Makes you wonder how much profit the company earns.


I had a milkshake which was good in a low class sort of way (kind of like a Ramly burger), since although it was nice and rich, I could taste the artificial off-vanilla flavouring. So I gave it my "bagus!" endorsement. Unfortunately, the cup promotes war. How insensitive, given the country's recent past!


Someone pointed out how the roof looks like the sea, and the treetops like trees on a desert island.


People kun-ing under the soporific effects of the climate (and perhaps the night of conviviality)


All KO-ing. I don't know why Weilong looks so stunned.

Then it started raining.


Kids in the rain. Notice the topless girl encouraging child sex prostitution.


Please, Sir, can I have some more?
Food screwups seemed to be part of local culture and thus something we couldn't interrogate or problematise. The far table of 7 (with all the sleeping people) got only 2 dishes of the 4 the other tables got, so they ended up drinking lots of soup. We ended up giving them some of our food - here we see a mystery hand scraping Fish Amok sauce. Here would be a vaguely appropriate time to note that Cambodian food is all sweet (including the Chinese-style vegetable stir-fries).

By the end of the day, my total of Ang Moh men with Local women had risen to 8 for the whole trip; I went past one room in the hotel and I saw a Cambodian woman inside, and an Ang Moh man going in.

[Someone: *** said her neighbours in phnom penh were two ang moh men who brought cambodian women back every night]


Disturbed at the kids swarming around us, Clement bought US$5 of rat meat satay for them. I told him it was lucky we were leaving or we'd have half the kids in Phnom Penh around our lunch table within the hour. Meanwhile I had a stick of rat meat satay. It was very oily, oozing with oil and with many pieces of fat, and it was sweet like all Khmer food, marinated in some red sweet and sour sauce.

We then went to the Palace, with the Silver Pagoda.


Palace


No ??? sign.
If anyone can figure out what this sign is telling viewers is forbidden in the palace compound, please tell me. Some possibilities I considered but ruled out: women (this is a patriarchal planet after all), white women (they only want white men since they can stimulate the economy through patronising local women), sunglasses, shawls


Various palace buildings





We had an annoying time getting to the Silver Pagoda (famous for having silver tiles), chiefly because it was not labelled as such on the complex map (but as "The Temple of the Emerald Buddha"). Maybe the authorities wanted tourists to wander around the complex, taking in the sites and of course buying drinks from the concessionaires to rehydrate themselves.


Silver Pagoda

Unfortunately, no photos were allowed in the Silver Pagoda. I believe this was to prevent photographic documentation of their dirty little secret: scotch tape was used to stick the tiles together (or had been used for this purpose in the recent past, leaving marks).


Stupas


A King on a horse




Presumably Elephant Place was the square outside


Hagiography of one of their kings: "His Majesty the King Jayavarman VII. 'The King was suffering from the diseases of his subjects more than his because it is the pain of a people which makes the pain of the King, and not his own one.'"
For once the French is shorter than the English, but I think this is because they're more fluent in it and anyway it says less.
[Tim the Great: lit
it's public suffering that causes the suffering of the King and not his own suffering]

Someone said near the palace he'd seen them selling rat-shaped and rat-sized pieces of meat grilling above a charcoal grill. He thought they might be guinea pigs but I pointed out this was not Latin America. Hurr hurr.

Some of us then returned to the hotel because we were old farts and not interested in roaming the market to buy more "Same Same. But Different" (wth - I don't get it) T-shirts.


The doggie kept running into our room

I was a bit hungry before we left for the airport at about 6, so I went out looking for rat meat again.

I didn't find it, but I did find a pushcart stall selling Chinese-style fried dough things:


A mini-youtiao, a fried pao with spring roll filling and egg inside, a three-sided shape with sesame seeds (the inside was a bit like a cornbread muffin) and a fried minced rat meat roll.


ACBC


Baiting the doggie

We then left for the airport.


Cambodian pseudo-tuktuks

At the immigration area there was a sign: "Nothing to pay here". So much for the local culture of corruption, hurr hurr.

While passing through airport security, I was subject to a faintly embarrasing episode. While I was going through the metal detector, it beeped. I didn't know what was up - till I remembered I'd taken some condoms from the restaurant toilet the previous day for kicks and had left them in my pocket. On my removing them, the security person gave me a knowing look (not that there's anything to know). Hurr hurr.


Cunning Linguist playing with the condom packet


This was supposed to be Creme Brulee but under the skin it was like custard.

At the gate after they tore our boarding passes they gave us the long end back rather than the short.


Quotes:

[On a game with weird hand actions] My colleague was asking me: 'Are you a girl? You don't know how to do'

[On anything that doesn't kill you making you stronger] My great grandmother used to say that... 'Why you fall down you make so much noise?'... [When I pointed out that she complained when she fell down, she retorted:] 'Young people fall down good. Old people fall down can die!'

[On being told we'd get our food in 10 minutes after half an hour] Wah, I can smell garlic. [Student 2: That means they're just starting to cook.]

The dualities... Post-colonialist discourse. Multi-levels of normative discourse embedded into- [Student 2: Bullshit]
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