Ever since Hun Mana, the daughter of Prime Minister Hun Sen, delivered a 3.2 kg daughter Friday, some chain-smoking journalists have been eagerly awaiting news from the central government.
Would the chain-smoking grandfather—known to puff away on 555s at press conferences—finally put away his ashtrays and take up jogging?
The prime minister announced a secret deal some months back: If Hun Mana made him a grandfather, he would quit smoking. Monday, the crafty dealmaker revealed that he never said exactly what he would quit smoking.
“I will stop smoking 555s, but still keep smoking tobacco,” he explained, holding up a pack of locally made Ara, drawing chuckles from an audience at the Hotel Le Royal. But he added, “I don’t know how my daughter will react.”
Some chain-smoking journalists were relieved. “I only said I would quit smoking, if the prime minister gave up tobacco,” said one.
It’s understandable why Hun Sen might not want to drop tobacco once and for all. In December 1997, Hun Sen also pledged to quit smoking. “I have only six or seven months to go because I have signed an agreement with my daughter,” he said at the time. “If she passes her bachelor’s degree in the USA, I will give up smoking.”
But he added then, “Now I will try to protest with my daughter. When I give up smoking, I do not know what will happen. I think that I will be sick in bed, but I will ask my daughter to prolong the time.”