An Insider Writes…..September 29, 2005
Tobias Slingshott, woollen headed sycophant to the offspring of Cambodia’s top knobs, writes his second exclusive column for Khmer440.
I really enjoy the weekends because that is when I get to go out with my friends. My friends all have very big cars so they drive very fast. I suggested we should go and save some more ‘banana sellers.’ It was such fun to see all the poor people fall over and then make sad noises. My friend laughed and said that they used to do that a lot but have had to stop because bad newspapers like the Cambodia Dubiously write nasty stories about them. Besides, my friend said, someone has to sell bananas.
So we arrived at a club and we met a whole group of new people. I was told that they were all very rich too. There was also a barang there. At first I thought he might be Mr TOS but then he introduced himself as Mr Soapbox. He told me his other names were Terribly Opinionated. Terribly Opinionated Soapbox, what a peculiar name.
The barang was a bit obsequious and spoke about his friends even more than I did. I found this amazing because I just can’t help talking about my friends. People see me and say, ‘There goes Toby, he talks about his rich friends all the time, what a crushing bore he is!’ I know they are joking of course! The barang wanted to hear about my work at Angkor Wat. Many of his friends think “microlite plane idea” is fantastic (I didn”t tell them that the planes have been crashing which is okay as all the pilots are unskilled rice farmers who my boss says are “expendable”!) They also think we could force the tourists to ride specially trained ‘endangered’ monkeys around the temples or even hovercrafts made of mud and glue. There are so many ideas floating around that will enable us to make more money out of the silly tourists who come to look at rocks. The barang wants to be part of these ideas but his friends just prefer for him to pick up bills and worship them! Its so great!
I spent a lot of time talking to my new friends about their lives. I asked one friend what his job is. He laughed and said he didn’t have to have a job because his father was very rich! He got given money all the time and had to spend it so other people could see. He liked to spend lots of money buying spring rolls and soup with gold in it. I asked him what his father did. He said he was very important. I asked him how much his salary was and he told me that he earned about $1,000 a month. I thought this man must have been very clever because he has four large cars and his salary was not that big. My friend chuckled and said he was very good at finding money from people and had good business associates. I think the stock market in Cambodia must be very good!
Then we talked about a new thing that everyone is doing these days. It is called ‘land grabbing’ and it so wonderful. Apparently you go to an area of Cambodia where poor people are. You then talk sweetly to them and buy their land for a bag of rice or some beer. If the people refuse to leave their land you can shoot them.
The great thing is that there are no problems with the courts because they like rich people. My friend said the best people to do this to are the strange people in the far-off Provinces. Apparently they don’t speak Cambodian and like to worship smells and things. They will sell their land for practically nothing, they really like shiny things. One friend bought 100,000 hectares of land near Vietnam from some “ethnic” people for a bag of marbles and twelve ball bearings. How clever! After a while the land becomes more expensive and my friends can buy more cars!
This morning I met a man who was wearing a pastel beret. He said he worked for a big organization called Useless Nitwits (UN) and he drove in a new Land Cruiser. He looked rich so I told him about the wonderful ‘land grabbing’ opportunity. This man got very angry and said this was a big problem and was affecting a lot of poor people in Cambodia. I was a little concerned so I called my friend and asked him what he thought about this.
My friend laughed and said the man was probably a friend of Sad Rampy or perhaps just poor. He also said that Useless Nitwits were always criticizing Cambodia but that didn’t matter because Cambodia now has a big country looking after it. This country, he said, was really wonderful as they helped Cambodia between 1975-1979. That was when everyone else ignored Cambodia. Only this big country helped Cambodia and now they are helping us again. Apparently they are going to damn someone called ‘the Mekong’ which will mean that Cambodia won’t have to depend on fish anymore. Obviously Mr Mekong owns fish. We won’t need fish because we won’t have any! This will be good because the poor people won’t be able to make their ‘prahok’ which makes everyone smell so much. This big country is also helping us try to rid of any annoying trees or wildlife too. I am so happy that we have these great countries looking after us.
I hope you have enjoyed my latest story! I LOVE CAMBODIA, and especially the rich people!