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Cambodians Burn Thai Embassy

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Stanley Engel, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. Stanley Engel

    Stanley Engel Registered User

    Khmers raze embassy
    Published on Jan 30, 2003
    Thai-Cambodia relations were on the brink of collapse yesterday with
    Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra threatening to send commandos into
    Phnom Penh to rescue diplomats after the Thai embassy was attacked
    and set ablaze by a rampaging Cambodian mob.
    Flames engulfed much of the embassy in downtown Phnom Penh as anti-
    Thai protestors ran freely around the compound, making bonfires from
    furniture and motorcycles. Cambodian police stood by and watched the
    destruction, witnesses said.
    Thaksin placed the blamed for the situation on an "unnamed Cambodian
    politician" who, he said, was trying to stoke anti-Thai sentiment for
    political gain ahead of an up-coming general election.
    He did not specifically mention Prime Minister Hun Sen but his comments
    appeared to be a thinly veiled reference to the Cambodian strongman.
    Phnom Penh-based news agencies reported that fire engines arrived on
    the scene but made no attempt to extinguish the fire.
    One Cambodian member of staff at the embassy said all 20 vehicles in
    the compound were burnt or destroyed. Thai staff escaped through the
    back door while the Cambodian employees emerged from the front, said
    the employee, who asked not to be identified. There were no injuries
    among the diplomatic staff and all were safe, he said.
    Thai Ambassador to Cambodia Chatchawed Chartsuwan, who spoke
    with The Nation by telephone as he was fleeing by a boat from the
    riverside rear of the embassy compound, blasted the Cambodian police
    for standing idly by as the mob attacked the four-year-old embassy.
    "I had to climb the embassy wall to get away," said Chatchawed, who
    sounded extremely anxious. "We plan to regroup with members of the
    Thai community at the Royal Phnom Penh Hotel," he said.
    But as The Nation went to press last night, it was being reported that a
    huge mob had already stormed the hotel where an unspecified number
    of Thai nationals were taking refuge.
    The violence was apparently the result of remarks attributed to Thai
    soap star Suvanan Kongying, who was quoted in a Cambodian
    newspaper as saying she would never perform in Cambodia unless
    Angkor Wat was returned to its rightful owner - Thailand.
    Hun Sen was reported to have made a comment on the report, but
    according to the Thai ambassador, the Cambodian premier now realises
    that it was a misunderstanding.
    "Prime Minister Hun Sen told me that he now realises that Suvanan did
    not make those remarks. And that the matter would not affect bilateral
    relations because it was an individual case," said Chatchawed.
    Thaksin, meanwhile, demanded a full explanation, suggesting that
    diplomatic ties were at stake.
    "We need a clear explanation from the Cambodian government
    otherwise we can't normalise relations," he said, adding that the
    Cambodian ambassador to Thailand would be summoned today for a
    meeting at the Foreign Ministry. He also hinted that that the Cambodian
    ambassador could be sent back to Cambodia or the Cambodian embassy
    in Bangkok closed.
    He did not say if the closing of the Cambodian embassy meant a
    suspension of diplomatic ties.
    Thaksin said that the Thai ambassador had asked for soldiers to secure
    the embassy compound but the Cambodian authorities only sent police,
    who, he said, then did little to protect the embassy.
    Thaksin said Hun Sen had apologised for the incident during a telephone
    conversation and insisted that he had done his best to bring an end to
    the riot.
    "This is the worst that could happen to any diplomatic ties in the world
    community," said Thaksin.
    Meanwhile, on the streets of Phnom Penh, protesters widened the scope
    of their attacks to target other Thai businesses, including the Cambodian
    telecommunication interests of Thaksin's family.
    In Bangkok, police have been dispatched to the Cambodian embassy to
    provide security in case of revenge attacks.
    The Nation, Agencies
  2. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    The whole world is going nuts. A war starting because of something a soap star said. Bah, phooey, etc.

    Wonder what would happen if I announced that I would not eat Thai food again until they stopped this silliness.
  3. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Totally amazing. Police standing by allowing an embassy to be attacked? I guess it's nothing major in Asia, since the PRC allowed the US embassy to be whacked, though it was nothing like this.

    Still, Cambodia has a lot to answer for.

  4. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    There is a lot of underlying animosity between the two countries. During Pol Pot's reign of terror, the Thais locked down the border and refused refugees and forced many back to what was certain death. Oh to be sure, some got through, but not many. Cambodia is still suffering from the near extermination of their better educated folks, and culturally this has put them on the short bus so to speak.

    Thailand, is actually a pretty racist society. Light skin is deemed the most valuable of the population. The Laotians and the Cambodians are fairly well looked down upon in their more polite society, as are the Kaht (Indian Hindus). The Thais in the north speak a slightly different dialect of Thai which is almost the same as the Laotians speak. It is considered uncouth to speak in the Northern dialect.

    I suspect it wouldn't take much of a snub by a Thai towards the Cambodians inside their own country to set off some fireworks.
  5. Stanley Engel

    Stanley Engel Registered User

    Just a few points:
    1. Thailand did not create Pol Pot or the Cambodian genocide.
    2. Northern Thai ( spoken in Chiang Mai and vicinity) is called Lanna. Issan is spoken in Northeastern Thailand and is essentially the same as Lao. Speakers of Central (standard) Thai do find Lanna to be a source of amusement. It should be noted that the Prime Minister is a northerner.
    3. The poor section of Thailand is the Issan area. Most day laborers and itinerant merchants seem to come from the Northeast.
    4. Insofar as Thai racism goes, Thais admit quite readily that they hate Cambodians and Burmese. Thais do not express hatred for Laotians but the ones I've talked to believe that Lao have hatred and envy for Thais. In my opinion, Thai racism is rather less than that felt by White Americans towards Blacks and Mexicans. The Thai are forthright in expressing their dislikes while Americans and Canadians are more circumspect, more politically correct.
    5. Kaht (or Kahk) is a term of derision for local Indians in Thailand. It can be argued if it's more offensive than Hillbilly, Polack or Newfie. There is also the pejorative Jehk for local Chinese. It should be pointed out that Thailand's last four Prime Ministers are all of Chinese ancestry and would be taken for locals if they walked the streets of Taipei or Shanghai.
  6. Stanley Engel

    Stanley Engel Registered User

    I don't think the whole world is going insane. Cambodia has been that way for a while though and this is just the latest manifestation.

    Insofar as can be determined, the actress never said anything even remotely similar to what was alleged in the Cambodian press. She never made such remarks as herself nor did any character she portrayed make such remarks. The "quotes" are a fabrication of irresponsible media. The alleged source was described as three Khmer patriots who supposedly heard her utterances.

    I've been informed that Cambodian radio announced a rumor that their embassy in Bangkok had been stormed and the staff put to death. This report certainly encouraged the Pnom Penh rioters.

    The Cambodian people have tolerated a rather vicious and totally stupid leadership. Thailand will not invest a single baht in that country now. I doubt that any foreigner will invest any other currency. The Cambodians should prepare themselves for several decades of increased poverty.
  7. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    Absolutely correct. I lived in Chang Mai for nearly 2 years, and whenever I had to travel south, my spoken Thai was a constant source of amusement for many as I spoke the Lanna, it is understandable, but its pronunciation is much closer to Laotian. A few times in the south, my spoken Thai was actually derided with tongue clicking and statements like "Kuhn poot si dum", or you speak the black.
  8. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Wow, you speak Thai? I'm impressed--I've never really hung out in Thailand, but I understand the dialects are as tough as a lot of Chinese dialects.

  9. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    I spoke it fairly well back in the 80's, and I can still get by in restaurants here...though I never learned to read it, as I never developed the knack for sanskrit.

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