Author Archives: Philip Coggan


Charlie Chaplin’s Cambodia

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Charlie and Paulette were big news, the reporters descended, and Charlie entertained them “with much courtesy and charm” in the hotel bar (presumably the Elephant Bar). Phnom Penh, he said, was charming, the palaces and pagodas delightful, the Cambodian houses picturesque. He felt he had to question whether French Colonial villas (the ones the Europeans lived in) were perhaps a little suburban and uncomfortable, but the wide boulevards, built over newly-reclaimed canals, were the equal of those in Paris. Asked if he might consider making a movie in Cambodia, he didn’t rule it out, but also didn’t see it happening in the immediate future. He would, however, undertake to publicise Indochina as a tourist destination on his return home. Continue reading

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Singlets, Sok Bun, Sam Rainsy and the case of the missing PhD: 2015 – a year in review

Martin and Nick

As 2015 draws to a close, it is a good moment to take a step back and look at some of the highlights – and lowlights – of the last twelve months on Khmer440, and beyond. It’s been a helluva…

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Plagiarism, phonyism and buffoonery at the Khmer Times: Part 2 – The fake letters to the editor

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The Khmer Times fabricated these letters in an apparent campaign to manipulate public opinion, by deceiving its readers about what other members of the community were really saying about Cambodia’s most important political issues of the day. This scheme demonstrated a blatant disregard for journalistic ethics, which are based on telling readers the truth about what is happening around them, rather than trying to hoodwink them. The fact that Mr. Mohan actually thought his clumsy campaign of deceit would work is a profound insult to the intelligence of the Khmer Times’ readers. Continue reading

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Plagiarism, Phonyism and Buffoonery at the Khmer Times: Part 1 – The Editorial Columns

KhmerTimes 3 days ago

Mr. Mohan took an easier but even more deceitful path. He repeatedly stole knock off content from Malaysian newspapers about things happening there, figuring that no one in Cambodia was looking. Then he wrapped this counterfeit content up for his Khmer Times readers by occasionally changing a few of the names, and sold it to them as genuine content and commentary concerning the CPP, CNRP, and political events in Cambodia. Continue reading

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King Norodom’s Head – a book review

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I want to make one thing perfectly clear: under no circumstances will I mention Cholon Duck. Never. I know why you’re reading this, and I’m not going to give you the satisfaction. You’ll get not a word about Cholon Duck…

Posted in Book review, cambodia culture, history, Khmer Rouge, khmer superstition, Phnom Penh, Reviews | Tagged , , , , ,

The Mekong Mutilator, part deux

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Me and Strange Dave got bored one day in Battambang, bought a telescopic rod and some tackle, a bag of mealworms as bait and got permission to fish in a small pond where huge fish could be seen basking on the surface. After hours of chain smoking and drinking warm cans we had nada, not even a nibble, when along came the Khmer crocodile lady and scooped up a respectably dinner sized specimen with her hands. With her fucking hands! Continue reading

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The Muslim Cham in Cambodia

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Would the Cham become more assertive or even more extremist if their population were larger? It is perhaps a moot point when discussing a minority group representing just over 1% of the national population, a demographic reality not likely to change anytime soon. For the moment, Cambodia looks like a beacon of religious tolerance and freedom, the nation’s xenophobia and exophthalmic rage aimed more in the direction of the local Vietnamese community. Continue reading

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The Executioners

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Here is the big question: how and why did a Buddhist nation produce one of the 20th century’s worst genocides, and one which is marked by so many horrific instances of cruelty and savage violence? A whole chapter in my…

Posted in Analysis, cambodia culture, Commentary, Khmer Rouge, khmer superstition, politics | Tagged , , , ,

To live and die in South East Asia

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Death and taxes are the only things certain in life so they reckon. Well death anyway: some people never pay taxes. Where you choose to live invariably impacts on where you’re likely to die and, in some cases, how. Some…

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Convicted UK paedophile Paul Prestidge arrested in Phnom Penh

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A convicted British paedophile has been arrested at his home in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district after UK authorities asked their Cambodian counterparts to keep on eye on his activities. Paul Prestidge, 35, from Plymouth in the UK, was convicted…

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