Curators at a Siem Reap province wax museum have removed a statue depicting an Untac-era peacekeeper carousing with a short-skirted female companion after Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed his displeasure with it.
Hun Sen spotted the wax UN peacekeeper during a private visit Sunday to the Cambodian Cultural Village ahead of Monday’s inauguration of the Angkor National Museum, said Pung Kheav Se, general manager of Canadia Bank, which owns the Cultural Village.
“He looked for a long time and then decided,” Pung Kheav Se said Monday.
“He said that we should forget the Untac regime and that we must promote today’s happy living standard of workers, students and teachers,” he said.
Pung Kheav Se said that above all Cambodians remember the indulgence of Untac personnel.
“In ‘92 and ‘93, when Untac came in, there were three ‘B’s,” he said. “The first ‘B’ was the beach. They went to the beach to swim. And the second, the same day they went to the bank to get paid. And at night they went to the bar.”
One of 39 statues that also include scholars, royal family members and celebrities, the silicone peacekeeper and a young woman in a miniskirt drew the biggest crowds when the cultural village first opened in Siem Reap town’s Svay Dangkum commune in August 2003.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said that a museum display of an Untac soldier with his arms around a Cambodian woman was not appropriate.
“It’s a place that must show something of the nation’s culture and activities,” he said.
Chea Vannath, former director of the Center for Social Development, said that Untac was a success.
“They allowed us to have an election and 90 percent went to the polls. That was history,” she said.
“They provided the opportunity for the Khmers to end the conflict,” she added.
Chea Vannath said the ruling CPP may now wish to have a greater share of credit for restoring peace to Cambodia.
Cheam Yeap said the CPP had made Untac’s mission possible.
“Without the Cambodian People’s Party opening the way, no one could come in,” he said. “The Cambodian People’s Party opened that page of history and brought peace to Cambodia.”