I arrived at 4:47 pm at the InterCon hotel where the signing ceremony took place. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was a huge preparation. Cambodian police were ubiquitous that moment, seeming to be everywhere. Yeah, it was prepared for somebody important. But oh, hell, I witnessed a vile treatment toward Cambodian citizens. It is very common practice that the roads have to be cleared before the convoy of Cambodia’s PM or of some important officials goes past them.
I tried to forget such a disgusting thing done by those thugs. Oh, let me click on a button of NOT SWEARING. I just walked straight to the hotel and was frisked down by the security guards. I said to myself that I had to remember this was the official day that someone “important” in the country came and gave a speech. When I entered, I was just like a cat on a hot brick. I didn’t know at all where to go or what to do. I didn’t see many guests but aid guards. Upstairs, downstairs was full of body guards. One embarrassing experience at that time I remembered was trying to break into a room the PM, the deputy PM, some Cambodia senior officials and the Vietnamese deputy PM along with their important officials. I was very frustrated, only to know that I had to wait. The aid guards of course didn’t let me in, shouted at me, but luckily I was patient enough as I was professionally doing my job. I was totally confused that the press were inside, while they were in fact downstairs! I tried to sms and call a journalist I knew. It didn’t work. I waited boringly until our PM left the room in front of my face. He had a calm look, that was great. But the woman who was his secretary looked very tough, like a man but not very pleasant. Sorry to say so, but she scared many journalists shitless. You can notice, everywhere there’s Cambodia’s PM, there’s her.
Taking some breath during waiting, I talked to a few body guards. Some of them were very nice of course, just like everybody else who’s making a living out of protecting someone. They don’t care who that someone is, as long as that someone has money and can shoulder their financial responsibilities. In Cambodia where there’s so much poverty, if you help a person who’s almost dying from hunger, they think they own your their life and will always feel grateful for you. The story goes the same everywhere, there are nice people and some other people who tend to abuse power knowingly or unknowingly. I was hesitant to go downstairs; many body guards were looking up at me (wondering what I was doing up there alone).
“What should I be doing now?” I asked myself constantly, reminding myself of an unpleasant thing: the job I was there for.
I swallowed my fear and went downstairs, trying to get into the ballroom. Devastated about being not allowed to enter the ballroom, I waited for nearly 20 mns. Then, I saw no guard at one of the two gates, so I slipped in visibly. It looked so packed of people inside… the press from Cambodia and Vietnam, the government from both countries and me… the atmosphere bored me…worried that I would get a story done as I didn’t get to record the speeches done at the start. My bad. It’s my first day I performed like a fool. Everyone I knew there was blaming me silently.. I could see through their eyes, sounding that I am a bad reporter, a stupid one as well. Yes, I am stupid… but my heart is red, not black.