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Kambuj Kamboj Cambodge
|Motto: "You like Tintin, yes?"|
|Anthem: "Digdig Kah Boom" (The Explosive Bounty of Our Soil)|
|Largest city||Phenomenal Pen|
|Official language(s)||Khmer, French, |
|Government||Pretend monarchy, Criminal oligarchy|
|National Hero(es)||Tintin, Sam Raimi, |
|If that's what you call it|
|Currency||The Twat (CBT). One Twat is worth about $US5. (OK, I give you better price.)|
|Religion||Buddhist, though you wouldn't guess it|
|Major exports||Dynamite fishing, sex tourism, bile bears, pickled landmines, Tintin T-shirts|
|Major imports||Tourists, Tintin, landmines|
Le Royaume de ce qui est à Reste du Cambodge (The Kingdom of What's Left of Cambodia) is a country in Southeast Asia with a population of about 20,000. Cambodians are usually referred to as "Cambodian", "Khmer", "Kampuchean" or "You poor bastard."
The Cambodian population, which stood at nearly 200 million in the 1960s, was reduced to its current level by American carpet bombing during the Vietnam War and the resulting rise of the agrarian communist nutbags of the Khmer Rouge, who executed almost everyone who had survived by decapitating them with farming implements.
The country has rarely been out of the headlines in recent years, having been made famous in the 1980s by the famous Dead Kennedys songs Holiday in Cambodia and Too Drunk to Fuck, and then put back on the map in the 1990s when British archaeologist Lara Croft discovered the kick-ass temple of Angkor Wat.
The discovery of Angkor Wat renewed worldwide interest in a largely forgotten period of ancient Cambodian history, when the country's Khmer Dynasty rulers totally pwned at Age of Empires, knocking over the rest of Indochina, along with Siam and Burma. And probably parts of China, for all we know.
From 1863 to 1953 Cambodia was a French "protectorate", a term that applies only very loosely and which still causes much hilarity among Cambodians. One good thing that came out of the French period was that Cambodians today make damn good baguettes.
EconomyThe Cambodian empire today is a shadow of its former self. The economy is based largely on rice farming, sex tourism, bile bears, begging and Tintin T-shirts (though the intrepid Belgian homosexual boy reporter never actually set foot in the country as Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took over two days before he was due to visit for a holiday).
The country's largest natural resource is landmines, which are dug up for scrap metal and for the explosives, which are used in dynamite fishing in the Mekong and other mighty rivers (fish from the Mekong are renowned for being rich in vitamin O, which is sometimes called "Agent Orange").
Cambodia borders Thailand to the west and north and Laos to the northeast. In the 1980s Cambodian trade envoys lobbied for admission to GTOEC (the Golden Triangle of Opium Exporting Countries) alongside Thailand, Laos and Burma, but their overtures were rebuffed, ostensibly because Cambodia's admission would have required a renaming of the organisation to the Golden Quadrangle, which sounds silly. That, however, didn't stop them admitting Afghanistan and Colombia without bothering to change the name. To this day, Cambodians protest against the snub by moving to Thailand to look for a job.
The sex-tourism industry is Cambodia's second-greatest source of hard currency after landmine excavation. Many Westerners are attracted to the country because of the favourable fluid-exchange rate. Full sex with a woman or child rarely costs more than $US5, and usually comes with a complimentary snack of fertilised duck eggs. More than 60 per cent of Cambodia's sex tourists are creepy old British pop stars.
The country is hoping that the tourism industry will get a boost from the publicity surrounding the decision of Lara Croft and her husband, Brad Pitt, this year to seal off the country for the birth of their first child, Jak Daxter Duke Nuke-'em Croft-Pitt.
Cambodia usually has a king, who no one takes very seriously as he's always running away to China to avoid coups. The country is really run by superannuated Khmer Rouge genocide artists. They spend most of their time in parliament voting against bills introduced by opposition leader and Evil Dead director Sam "Rainsy" Raimi that would put them on trial.
In January 2003, there were riots in Phnom Penh prompted by rumored comments about Angkor Wat by a Thai actress. Cambodian riot leaders said they didn't care what she said about their country as long as she took her clothes off while she was saying it.
People and CultureOne of the highlights of the highlights of the Cambodian cultural calendar is the Akwa Poon Tang Nut, or "Water Load Festival", which is held each year for the week that the Mekong flows backwards. Cambodians line the banks of the river to harpoon the animal carcasses and bales of marijuana that float back up the Mekong from Vietnam. Then they have a barbecue and get stoned off their tits.
Another festival that is a favourite among tourists is the annual Dancing Bile Bears Parade, in which Asian sun bears that have had their teeth snapped out with pliers and are being farmed for their bile are forced to dance down the main street of the capital, Phnom Penh. The bears still have their bile catheters hanging out, so revellers are able to give the tubes a suck and sample the warm, nutritious, aphrodisiac bile fresh from the bear's liver or pancreas or whatever.
Tourists also delight in spontaneous street theatre in which Cambodians playing the part of Khmer Rouge sympathisers pretend to beat the educated, the bourgeoisie, ethnic Vietnamese and people who wear glasses to death with folding chairs (pictured left). And vice versa.
Cambodia also has a couple of passable breweries.