It was a couple of years ago in Phnom Penh when I was going to have lunch with my former boss – the Minister of Fish and his two highly respectable, fragrant and upper middle class teenage daughters (whiter than the driven snow and …


A few months back, Britney Spears got a visit from child protection authorities in California for driving her car a few blocks with her baby seated in her lap instead of in a fortress-like car seat. I thought about that one Sunday evening when …


From the BBC’s website

“Ta Mok, one of the main leaders of Cambodia”s brutal Khmer Rouge regime, has died in the capital Phnom Penh.

Nicknamed “The Butcher”, he was the regime”s military commander and linked to many atrocities of the 1970s.

About 1.7 million people …


About eighteen kilometres from Kompong Som, the highway from Phnom Penh splits, and the left fork takes you to the airport and, beyond, to the beaches of Ream National Park.

This narrow, winding road takes you past jungle covered hills, mouldering shacks, and stark …

Heaven above, Heaven below.
All that is over, under shall show.
Happy who the riddle reads.

Introduction by the Author

I hope that you find this piece of writing both informative and entertaining. If you are now in the employ of a word factory, perhaps there will be some useful anecdotes or suggestions you can use at work.

If you are thinking of become a vendor of verbs and nouns, read carefully ? there are many useful ideas on these pages.

If you are amongst the wiser of the two formerly mentioned groups , my greatest reward would be to know that you?ve enjoyed a smile or two from these pages.

Introduction by the Editor

I first met TVON, early in the morning, a couple of years ago in a foully overheated Phnom Penh teachers? room, reaking of unwashed armpits and prohok, where my task in life was to spend six hours a day tutoring the unctuous sons and daughters of Cambodia?s emerging bourgeoisie. Whilst preparing for yet another gruelling session down the sweaty brain mine, I felt a rustling of my hair denoting a slight commotion behind me, and so instinctively turned around to see TVON sliding less than gracefully from a computer chair to the floor. He accomplished this feat with all the dignity a bon vivant can muster at 7am in the tropics, and I instinctively knew that this was somebody who, somewhere down the line, I could do business with. During my time in Asia I?d already met enough bedwetting, angry, impotent, unpleasant unhappy souls to last a lifetime, but just who was this dandyish, elegantly wasted genius?

TVON has spent twenty years teaching in Asia and is something of a paradox, being an individual of both serious intellect and even more seriously sketchy, nay riotous behaviour. Who could be better qualified to write a series of teaching articles for www.khmer440.com?

Just an English Teacher – Prologue by the Author

I cannot understand why the word ?prologue? is spelled this way.

It seems to me that ?Pre? would be a more accurate frontal attachment. In addition, I find letters ?ue? at the end of the word offer nothing to its pronunciation – they might as well be silent. They serve as neither a morpheme, nor are they an inflection. They offer no effect to its meaning.

Although I haven?t yet done so yet, I plan to take this matter up with the Department of Linguistic Redundancies Department.

Tvon?s Prelog


Everyone has mnemonic milestones ? probably not many in our lifetime ? but certainly some. Mnemonic milestones are our eternally perfect recollections of specific events that have occurred at various times throughout our lives.

Usually these memories are types of disasters, catastrophes, acts of love or war, or any of our profound life-experiences that have managed to find the part of our memory that is Teflon-coated such that every detail sticks with you ? forever. Astonishingly, you can recall the date, the time, exactly what happened, where it happened and precisely where you were when it happened. And how it affected you and those around you.


Unexpected phone calls from potential female Khmer suitors (of the Persil white variety, rather than the grey around the gills type or, heaven forbid, the black as the devil’s arse sort) can be a cryptic experience.

They can often go like this:

Potential Khmer …


This is a true story about the recent misadventures of Sok-Sok, a scrawny off license dog, now ‘scrawny off license dog’ is not an officially recognised Crufts breed, but it is one that will be instantly recognisable to anyone in Cambodia.

Sok-Sok hangs out all …


Imagine the year is 2036. George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard, the current leaders of the USA, the UK and Australia are being persecuted by the UN for the War on Terrorism that occurred in Afghanistan and Iraq and the alleged atrocities that …

The Walkman saga continues… but first an update on the down-home ferry. It”s no longer operating from the southern location at the foot of Street 144. There are now two regular sized ferry boats operating from the foot of Street 106. The service, as a result, is more frequent but there is no longer an pption of boating across after about 8.30PM.

Quite a while ago I caught a fragment of an obscure movie. I have no idea what its name is – which nonetheless, evidently, made a lasting impression. It was about a young fellow who spent his whole life confined to one block in New York City. I didn?t see the part which explained his aberrant behavior, but it clearly must have been a traumatic early life experience.

The fascinating part is how he could manage to provide for his needs in such a confined space. New York, of course, is very dense. One long block, sometimes more than 200 meters, can have hundreds of stores fronting on it and thousands of people living in its apartment houses. Still he probably had to ask favors of friends for those things which he couldn?t access on his own. I”m just guessing; as I said, I only saw a little part of it and it could have been decades ago.

Little did I know when I was watching that movie way back then that I would someday be able to relate it to my own life. In my case, my block is how far I”m comfortable walking. Of course, I can leave whenever I want and use wheels whenever it suits me, but still, I do feel somewhat constrained. When people tell me about an attraction over by the lake, I say, gee, that”s really far, I don”t get around those parts very often. Martini”s? Once every couple of

Regardless, I really don”t feel like I”m missing very much. For me the beauty of living in Phnom Penh is that I actually can take care of almost all of my needs by walking. There are far more bars within an easy walk than I could ever get around to frequenting. Restaurants, markets, bus stations, just about everything I need is at shoe leather distance.


Let’s get this out of the way right now. I’ve had a professional interest in bargirls for some time. Some would say too much of an interest and for too long.

I can’t help it. I find bargirls fascinating. It’s not because I?m obsessed …