Not just clowning around

Patch Adams often speaks about the love involved in his ministrations to the sick and the dying, but away from his patients’ bedsides, he is not shy about expressing his anger on a host of issues-especially the government of US President George W Bush.

The well-known American clown, who is also a medical doctor and the founder of a holistic medical center, was in Cambodia for a weeklong visit sponsored by the NGO One Clown Italy.

Adams gained fame when actor Robin Williams starred in the 1998 feature film “Patch Adams” based the physician’s unusual life. He claims to be the first person to do clowning in hospitals, and he does not believe in receiving payment for giving medical care.

“My work is peace and justice and care for all people everywhere,” he said during a recent interview.

A tall, imposing figure with a scraggly mustache and a half head of hair dyed bright blue, Adams punctuated his explanations of his unconventional philosophies about medicine and life with blunt criticism directed at everything from capitalism to the media.

A self-described communist, Adams’ most frequent anger was reserved for the US president and his administration, which he described as a fascist regime.

“Our country is the number one terrorist organization in the world today,” Adams told an audience at the French Cultural Center.

As for his fellow Americans, Adams dismissed them as whiners who are on too many prescription drugs, and had praise for Cambodians, whom he described as mellow, despite their history of genocide.

“Unlike in the US, they have a readiness to spontaneously enjoy,” he said.

Another target of Adams’ anger was the media, especially CNN, which Adams said turned down his repeated offers to speak a message of love for television viewers after what he said was a message of war aired by the network after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on the US.

“It is a crime against humanity what the media chooses to be interested in,” he said.

Adams denied that his message of love, and his frequent mention of angels, has anything to do with religion-”I’ve never had a religious thought in my life”-and he had sharp words for missionaries, some of whom he has encountered in Cambodia, who help people on the condition that they convert.

Adams urged his audience at the FCC to think about their “love strategy” in a world that is focused on money and power, a problem that he said he blames mostly on men.

“A man does not care by nature,” he said. “I think women should run the world.”

Adams said he started clowning as a child when he realized that he could get away with things during school because he was a good student. Since then, Adams said that he has clowned every day for 42 years.

“You get addicted to people laughing. You want to make laughing,” he said.


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