It's unusual enough to have a single item about Cambodia in the Australian media, and yesterday there were two.
First, an allegation that one of Prime Minister Hun's nephews is linked to drug trafficking and money laundering (the man in question has issued a denial). And, secondly, the announcement that our newly appointed Foreign Minister, Senator Carr, has been touring the Angkor temples, where he announced that Australia would make a welcome donation of $1 million to assist Cambodian authorities in dealing with what is now a massive tourist influx of upwards of 20,000 daily visitors to the archaeological complex.
Whatever his considerable political skills, Hun Sen does not seem to be blessed by his relatives, particularly his nephews, who have been regularly in the news for behaviour ranging from assault to involuntary manslaughter. At a gathering of the Hun Sen clan in 2009 he warned his nephews and other relatives about their behaviour.
And then there is Senator Carr's visit to the Angkor temple complex, which DFAT tells readers in a press release is a '700 year old temple complex.' Now, it may be a case of shooting in fish in a barrel to draw attention to the error here, but at a time when there is concern to be 'Asia literate' (I much prefer the Asialink terminology of 'Asia capable'), DFAT can't even get its dates right.
Conventional dating for the Angkor complex begins in 802 of the Common era and ends some time after 1431. The temple Senator Carr visited, Ta Prohm (pictured), dates from 1186. The most famous of all the temples, Angkor Wat, dates from the first half of the eleventh century. By the time DFAT chooses to date the complex, Angkor was in decline and almost all of the temples we see today had been built. Someone in the RG Casey Building needs to do their maths.
Photo by Flickr user Peter Nijenhuis.