Remembering keeping_it_riel – an obituary

Posted on by gavinmac


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peter hogan

 

Peter was the first real friend I ever made in Cambodia. I’m sure that those of you who only knew Peter’s internet persona probably think he was just a petty, temperamental bastard online. He was much more than that. He was also a petty, temperamental bastard in real life — but in a strangely charming and likable way.

Sometime around 2005, I started posting a lot on Khmer440, but I deliberately avoided meeting anyone from the website, because back then I thought that meeting dudes through the internet was totally gay. The only poster I was interested in meeting was the website’s admin, “keeping_it_riel.” He seemed witty and intelligent, and he had a gift for making up hilarious new terms to lightheartedly insult other posters. Also, he had started moving some of my forum posts to the Khmer440 front page, which sort of made me feel like a real writer. Peter/KiR was passionate about Khmer440’s front page content, and he always believed that those articles, not the discussion forums, were the “essence” of Khmer440.

Peter and I exchanged phone numbers, and then we exchanged texts for a few nights before I built up the nerve to meet him in person. For some reason, he proposed meeting at “Soho 2” bar, which was a weird upstairs bar located on the ass end of the Street 51 strip. The bar’s only redeeming quality was that the staff wore sexy white nurse’s uniforms.

I walked up the grungy staircase to Soho 2 and saw Peter sitting at the bar. He was the only customer in there, of course, because stairs are like Kryptonite to Street 51 sexpats. Peter smiled and introduced himself. He then told me that we had to leave immediately, because he had a bad history with the barmaid standing three feet away.

This would be a recurring theme of my future meetings with Peter. He would sometimes veto whatever bar I proposed meeting at, because he hated the owner, or because he was afraid of running into an expat there with whom he was squabbling. We’d often end up getting together at crappy “out of the way” bars with no other customers, like Nightlife or Barbados.

I remember that in 2006 he excitedly urged me to meet him at a new bar on St. 136, which he claimed was a well decorated and classy bar, with attractive, but “low key” hostesses. The name of that bar? Bogey and Bacall! Shortly after our outing there, Peter took a dislike to one of the bar’s co-owners, David Fletcher. He started digging up dirt on Fletcher’s past, and then exposed him on Khmer440 as a UK sex offender.

That was Peter. One day he might be praising you and your bar, the next day he’d be launching an aggressive online campaign to ruin your life. You never knew what might trigger that; Fletch probably served him a warm beer or something.

To be friends with Peter meant that, from time to time, he would stop talking to you for some incredibly silly reason. Staying on his good side took constant diplomacy. He was so easily offended that it bordered on comical.

If you walked into a crowded bar, and you didn’t see him and say hello, he might take that as a snub and stop speaking to you for months. Few can forget the infamous incident when someone dared open up Garage Bar for half a night over the Khmer New Year break without calling Peter. I think he boycotted Garage for a year over that one.

I once arranged a dinner with about six other Khmer440 posters, but I didn’t invite Peter, because he was seriously feuding with half of them at the time. When Peter later heard about the dinner, he sent me a one word private message, which read, “Cunt.”

Nonetheless, I always made the effort to get back in Peter’s good graces, because he was funny and interesting, and well, shit, I knew I didn’t want to be on his bad side. Involving Peter in group outings was a perilous proposition, so we usually met for a meal or drinks one-on-one. I always enjoyed the time we spent together. He was insightful about Cambodia, and he had a wickedly funny sense of humor and an unparalleled way with words.

Peter could speak knowledgeably about anything: music, football, politics, you name it. But truth be told, when we got together, we mostly gossiped about expats and Khmer440 posters. If you are a Khmer440 poster reading this, then Peter and I undoubtedly gossiped over a meal or beers about what a total fuck up you are. We talked about your substance abuse, the jobs you were fired from, and the bargirls we couldn’t believe you were dating.

I’m not a great conversationalist, and the first few times I saw Peter, whenever there was a lull in the conversation, I would simply say “What’s the deal with [insert username of Khmer440 poster here]?” Peter would giggle and tell me that poster’s most scandalous personal secrets, and we would both crack up laughing. We were very mature like that.

In recent years, Peter had mellowed. He married a lovely wife, he drank less, and he usually preferred getting lunch or dinner together rather than going to bars. Our topics of conversation even changed a bit. He’d always start by asking “How’s your love life?” I’d always respond, “Not good.” Then we’d talk about his master’s degree course, or how happy he was to be married, or about the house he and his wife were buying. But with those formalities out of the way, we would invariably revert to talking shit about expats and Khmer440 posters. We probably brought out the worst in each other that way.

Peter was a man of principles, even if his principles were sometimes misguided. When he was selling Khmer440, he said that he had a much higher bid from a rich young Khmer guy, but he wanted to sell the site to an expat so that Khmer440 would retain its expat flavor. He also had a short list of prospective expat buyers to whom he would never sell the site, probably because he thought they were “cock trumpets.”

Peter and I had our last lunch a month ago at the new Buffalo Sister location near Russian Market. It was a long lunch; the place was absolutely packed with white chicks, and it took ages to get our sandwiches. It was an enjoyable lunch though, they always were with Peter, and I wish I remembered more of what we talked about.

I do remember sharing our final laugh together, as we left Buffalo Sister and started walking down the street. Peter pointed across the road at a yellow, Thai-style tuk tuk. He told me that the large, bearded Westerner driving the tuk tuk was StroppyChops from the rival CEO forum. We both laughed about how fucking ridiculous he looks in that thing.

Peter and I said our goodbyes, and I hopped in a (totally different) tuk tuk to go back to Daun Penh. That was the last time I saw him.

Peter will be missed by his loving wife, his many friends, and maybe even by some of his “twatflannel” enemies. He was a colorful and hilarious fixture in the local expat scene for more than twelve years, and Phnom Penh and Khmer440 won’t be the same without him. May he rest in peace.

 

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37 Responses to Remembering keeping_it_riel – an obituary

  1. violet says:

    Very fitting, to have your obituary for KiR as a front page article on Khmer440.

    My thoughts are with all of you who now have a gaping hole where he used to be. He’s still there of course. You’ll likely forever be imagining him popping in some scathing witticism while conversing with others or reading something on the forums.

    I’m one of those twatflannel enemies of his… the fat, white, angry, crazy, bint, however I fully appreciate the uniqueness of KiR and completely agree with those who have commented that it would be far worse to be a person who dies unnoticed. I also very much understand his complexities. Give me complex any day.

    Rest in peace Peter Hogan. At least you didn’t go out with some dreadful photos in the local papers and shared over the internet.

    My thoughts go to his wife, whom he obviously appreciated and loved, and whom obviously loved and appreciated him.

    I hope his cats are ok.

    • Ned Kelly says:

      Yeah, that occurred to me about the cats as well. If I was in Cambodia right now I’d have tried to go and see whether his wife wanted to keep them or if she’d rather I find homes for them. Mostly because I gave him two of them, a pair of kittens that were siblings, and he originally was only going to take one but agreed with me that it’d be better not to split them up. I suppose I can look into it in January when I’m back, but by then the immediate need may be gone (or they may be gone.)

  2. Logos says:

    A perfect recap of who Peter was. Well done.

  3. pedro says:

    Thanks Gavin, pretty much sums everything up. Peter was always, as you say, passionate about the front page articles and we would meet up every month or so to discuss ideas and get paid (say what you want about him, as a publisher, he always took care of his writers.

    The first time we met up, we had arranged to do so in Garage. Me and him sat next to each other for about an hour waiting for each other to arrive. It took a few beers before we realised, like a very awkward gay blind date.

    One of my own biggest fear of death in Cambodia has never been the physical act, but the inevitable mocking it would receive on the pages, so with that in mind, I would like to raise a glass to the memory to a man who paid me to write vacuous nonsense and pay me for it.

    Cheers twatflannel!

  4. Heinrich Von Manover says:

    Haven’t checked out the forum in years and today when I do…..
    It has come as quite a shock. Peter seemed almost immortal. All I can offer his departed spirit are the lyrics to a song that I pray come drifting along the currents of the astral world.

    Precious words drift away from their meaning
    And the sun melts the chill from our lives
    Helping us all to remember what we came here for
    This is love, this is la la la-la love
    This is love, this is la la la-la love

    Little things that will change you forever
    May appear from way out of the blue
    Making fools of evrybody who don’t understand
    This is love, this is la la la-la love
    This is love, this is la la la-la love

    This is love, this is love
    This is love, this is la la la-la love

    Since our problems have been our own creation
    They also can be overcome
    When we use the power provided free to everyone
    This is love, this is la la la-la love
    This is love, this is la la la-la love

    This is love, this is la la la-la love
    This is love, this is la la la-la love
    Oh, this is love, this is la la la-la love
    This is love, this is la la la-la love

    R.I.P. (for a while) and see ya later in the gift shop.

    Heiny

  5. Ken svay says:

    Thanks Gav, pretty well summed up. I also avoided other 440 types for my first year or so but I remember leaving a couple of interesting books for Pete at the jungle bar. One of them was by the Pommie guy who walked from the coast of Vietnam to Angkor wat in the mid fifties!
    He was a conundrum no doubt and I will miss him and his foibles. I think, like me he could be summed up as eccentric.Too few of us around.

  6. human says:

    Not enough of you eccentrics about, Ken? True.

  7. Ned Kelly says:

    I would usually go and see Peter when he owed me money, for writing. But I’d usually try and stay for several rounds at whatever bar it was that he was meeting me at, because he was an interesting guy and one of the few people around who actually knew more (and sometimes more outrageous) gossip than I did. The writing he paid me for varied wildly in quality; a few things that you could build a book around and then a lot of me running my mouth because I needed some money. But he was always cool about it, and he paid writers better than some major online publications do at this point.

    I remember the Khmer New Year’s party episode. I was at the “party” in question because I lived above Garage at the time. I can’t recall there being more than five to seven people there, if that. Had he shown up, he would have been let in. Had he called someone about it, he’d have been invited. It was such a crazy tempest in a teapot. His boycott was nearly a year I think, at least 8 or 9 months or something like that.

    When Conneticuter and I posted our infamous “fake fight” thread that apparently he fell for along with many others, he banned me from posting for 30 days. And then when the ban ended, he suggested I start writing for the front page on a paid basis, and he blamed the banning on his having been slightly deranged from a bought with typhoid. I suppose that’s possible. I wonder if he later blamed his having hired me on the typhoid as well? That’d be too perfect.

    I hadn’t seen him since he sold the site. I believe I had accused him of some misconduct along those lines, but that wasn’t entirely sincere. I retract any and all such comments I may have made regarding that issue. He tried to do the right thing (most of the time.) Probably more often than I do, anyways.

    Peter is the 4th person I knew fairly well who has died in 2014. It’s getting to be a bit much. 2014 blows. Let’s wrap it up guys, wake me when 2015 is here. I’m stuck in Minneapolis until January anyways, I won’t miss much. Somebody just make sure I’m up at least a day before my flight back to Cambodia.

    ~ RIP Peter H. ~

    — Ned Kelly

  8. Tim LaRocco says:

    I can also speak to the support he gave me as a writer for the front page; any controversial topic whether it be politics or schools, he would always defend me on the forums and in private messages. And he paid on-time and well (as the current admin does too, I might add).

    I know he was a controversial figure but that’s what endeared him.

    RIP Peter.

  9. Peter Bolster says:

    When one goes around in life making enemies as Peter Hogan did, the end of life is usually sooner and more painful than one should have. As one on the receiving end of his vile mood swings, he won’t be missed.

  10. NeedNot says:

    The saying “Don’t kick a man when he’s down” can’t be applied to those who knew Peter Hogan, but to some different points of view, the man left behind a legacy of “brutal racist view” towards anything Cambodians. In his very short life, he wore a proud label as “White Devil”. What is ironic was that he had a Cambodian wife while he hated everything Cambodian.

  11. Dave Spart says:

    So farewell, k-i-r/alias Peter Hogan,
    petty tyrant and witch-hunter extraordinaire

    “… an aggressive campaign to ruin your life…”
    yet your victims have life in them yet
    and you don’t
    not now

    E. J. Thribb

  12. Paul Pot says:

    The dude had character and presence. He loved Cambodia and cared about the down trodden. OK – he was off-beam and hard to understand, given to vindictive rages sometimes by all accounts.

    Better to quote Emerson, “To be great is to be misunderstood.”

    • NeedNot says:

      To say “He loved Cambodia and cared about the downtrodden” is a misrepresentation of the truth of truth. There is never a piece of evidence that he left behind to support what you just said. When he was alive he wrote this: “I’ll wear the ‘White Devil’ badge with pride and have adjusted my rank accordingly.” The Bible teaches people that the Devil is the most crafty deceiver of all the beasts. In the context of American natives, the term “white devil” means “an oppressor, a thief, The Man, who takes advantage of a minority.” In the Cantonese context, the term “white devil/white ghost” is also used to describe a non-Chinese Westerner. “Devil” also means a very wicked, cruel, mischievously clever/self-willed person. He was what he was and he was the greatest deceiver of them all. There is no need to sugarcoat and make it acceptable for what he truly was not.

  13. Charlie says:

    Only met the guy 3 or 4 times, but he seemed pleasant (the third time he got a bit arsey I called him Darren by mistake, but it lasted not 5 minutes) Reading the comments on his passing, I cant say I knew him, or even that we were friends, but whenever our paths crossed we stopped for a natter and he did love to drop a gem or two of gossip regarding a K440 forum member. I will say I liked him, he was complex in way that made me wonder what he was really thinking. Rest In Peace fella. I’ll bring another bottle of single malt and leave it at one of the usual suspects in January.

  14. jqp says:

    Nicely done.

    Thank you.

  15. Jamie says:

    Prize wanker.

  16. khmerhit says:

    Im sorry I never met him in person. Expat Cambodia is going to be duller w/o him. Im sure even his enemies would agree.

  17. Eddie says:

    The consensus seems to be “Love him or hate him, you had to acknowledge him!” as if that is something in and of itself of which to be proud. You could say the same thing about Abraham Lincoln or Idi Amin or some insane, naked woman screaming and shitting on your doorstep every night. May God rest his tortured soul, but he craved attention and went about getting it in almost always the worst sort of ways. His life in Cambodia is mostly a cautionary tale, one to take note of only in order to avoid the lonely and friendless state he put himself in over the past several years.

  18. Cody says:

    He’s definitely Jewish. You can tell a Jewish person by their eyes. I’m sure that David Fletcher guy isn’t disappointed to hear about this. Anyways, this guy will be forgotten. New, more prominent people, will rise up and take his place as misunderstood semi famous expats in the Kingdom of Wonder. I have big plans for Cambodia. Next August is when I’ll finally arrive to start my new life there. I can’t wait. I’m pretty sure I’ll end up making quite a significant mark on the place. All you people are gonna know who I am someday. I’ll be bigger than Peter Hogan. Some of you will love me and some of you will hate me but all of you will know who I am.

    • Falcon Randwick says:

      Pretty sure your smegma-slurping shit-spittle comments have ensured everyone will already know who you are: A cock trumpet of the lowest order.

      Stay home, Cambodia doesn’t need you and certainly won’t want you…

  19. tim1539 says:

    Khmer 440 posters, particularly Gavinmac seem to be experts at analyzing Cambodian culture, and criticizing what they don’t like about it. What I don’t hear from Gavinmac (Yes this a direct challenge to Gav.M!}. What do you think Cambodian Expat culture should be? I have a sneaking suspicion that the culture that you prescribe for Cambodia is a society that only ISIS or Adolph Hitler would embrace or love! Let’s hear it Gav, what type of culture would you like to see in Cambodia? Please avoid words like Don’t, Shouldn’t, and Cannot. What CAN Western men actually do in Cambodia other than hate, criticize, and hurt their fellow expats!!! I am human, R.I.P. Peter.

  20. Rachel Matters says:

    RIP to any person who passes suddenly.

    But I can’t write something that isn’t true and praise the guy like some of the forked tongue posters on Khmer440 – who seem to be coming out in droves to support Peter Hogan but off this forum, I hear the same people cursing the guy .

    I think the guy was an arrogant, obnoxious and self centred creep, who was quick to criticise anything anyone did, especially if it was something that put them above others or was in conflict with Hogan’s personal opinion. He had no respect for privacy of an individual, especially in death, which was evident ins one of his disgusting posts about people who had passed away. He had no respect for an individuals reputation, often writing terrible material that was based on nothing but Hogan’s opinion, caring little if his rants and blogs damaged a persons honour or hurt their family.

    Lets be honest, he won’t be missed by anyone. Good riddance I say to a man who achieved nothing but hurting people. Karma is very real!

    • wpadmin says:

      Do you see the irony of attacking KiR for lacking respect when someone died, when you’re doing exactly the same thing here Rachel?

      • Rachel Matters says:

        No wpadmin – I don’t – because I often told him that he was an arrogant asshole when he was alive. Peter Hogan was never a great admirer of mine nor my husbands.

        • pete says:

          I can’t begin to imagine why. And woah, you got a husband. Poor guy.

        • wpadmin says:

          Pete and I didn’t agree on many things, but I sense he was right about you. I recall you starting a spurious thread of 440 recently, suggesting that you were being stalked by the owner of another Cambodian expat blog site, even going so far as to name him. You seem a bit obsessed with the subject.

          • Rachel Matters says:

            Nothing obsessive about my comments wpadmin. Like many others, I am sick of bloggers like yourself, Peter Hogan and Robert Jamieson from Penhpal who continue to write negative & false material about others with no regard for their personal reputation or respect for their family wellbeing. Peter Hogan was full of bravado and courage when he was writing material about people from behind his computer but an absolute weasel of a person when confronted. On 3 occasions I have seen him bumbling his way out of confrontation and running with his tail between his legs when a person who he had criticised has confronted him. On one occasion it was a female who gave him a dressing down for his comments about her husband – all Peter did was try to worm his way out and apologise. So please allow me some slack when commenting that Hogan was a fool and definitely not a man that deserves the obituary that has been written about him.

            Perhaps you might want to start 2015 off with some credibility and make a rule that all posters on your site, including yourself, have to post with their real name. I know many good people who would join your site.

            Regards

            Rachel

          • wpadmin says:

            If you can find an instance where the current owners of 440 ‘like myself’ have written “negative and false material about others with no regard for their personal reputation” I would be very interested to see it Rachel. I suspect you will find nothing. And the current owners of Khmer440 are not responsible for the actions of the previous owner.

            I disagree with your comment that he doesn’t deserve the obituary written about him. He totally deserved it. It was in no way a whitewash eulogy. It was, instead, a balanced and fair personal memory written by a friend who knew – and wrote about – his character, warts and all.

            On your final point, if you can find any forum in the world that forces people to post using their real name, I’d be surprised. Even the vacuous Cambodian Parents Network gives some degree of anonymity as leaving NGOrs try to sell their empty jam jars for 50 cents each or start yet another thread asking for information about buying secondhand breastmilk pumps.

            Of course if posters want to use their own name on any forum, including Khmer440, they are totally free to do so.

  21. KarmaIsGood says:

    May I dance on Peter Hogan’s grave? He’d probably try to dance on mine. Was he cremated? May I desecrate his remains? He never wanted to be liked anyways. Let us burn the evil witch! I will leave all his money to his family, leave them along, but he has desecrated far too many people to go to hell in peace. Hehehe, may the next a-hole get his next! Karma is great!!

  22. con undrum says:

    was he even a real live human- or just a sock puppet to drive traffic?

    sock puppets don’t get death certificates.

    has scobie bought CEO in secret and shut it down?

    red pill or blue?
    stay tuned for more revelations as they unfold.

  23. LaudJohn says:

    Yes he was real.
    He ran the most popular forum/website in/on Cambodia.
    He lived in Cambodia as an expat for more than a decade.

    Yet there were less than a dozen expats at his funeral.

  24. Gabi Yetter says:

    I am so shocked and upset to read this post. My husband and I left Cambodia about a year ago and I often wrote for Khmer440, doing mostly restaurant reviews. I’d heard someone else had taken over but had no idea that Peter had passed away. I met him often, spent many a coffee morning with him and remember him fondly as a quirky, warm and gentle man.

    I just happened to log onto Khmer440 today while passing time at Brown’s and am truly saddened to read this very upsetting news.

  25. arthur evans says:

    Peter Hogan ran my loony article about the Angkor geoglyph. Just heard about his passing. Did not know about his personality disorders until I read Gavinmac’s tribute. Aside from the fact that I knew some old style Mirror Group editors who could eat beer glass I believe I may have a reasonable theory to explain Hogan’s temperament.

    The Hogans are all dangerous to know. I mean physically as well. There once was a retrobates’ bar on the wharf at Manly in Sydney called The Boardwalk. Clay Hogan, actor Paul Hogan’s son incidentally, was the bartender. A tosser really. But significantly he had a knack for injuring all his customers. In fact, there was one week there when all his customers had either broken limbs, third degree scalds, and think one had been blinded in one eye by one of his bartending stunts. Surely all this is a family trait?

  26. "The Horse" says:

    I haven’t seen Peter for ten years; we got in contact a couple of years ago but I failed to follow it up. I knew he was at turns friends and bitter with people but this is really sad and bizarre. He really had some personal issues that needed addressing. This is exactly the opposite of how I’d like to be remembered.

    Wow.. how not to live..

    Well, bye then, mate.

  27. Victor yen says:

    I WISH GAVINMAC WOULD DIED AS WELL … SO THAT NO ONE WOULD WRITE STUPID FAKE SHITTY ARTICLE ABOUT CAMBDIA ANYMORE ….

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