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Around The Sun: Motordup Madness

...Our security guard was kicking and punching the younger guy, who was crawling on all-fours. The violence was extraordinary. And all this was taking place outside our front door....

But why was the younger guy getting kicked?

Steve Harrison recalls another extraordinary incident from his time in Camboia.

So lets give this guy a name. Sophonda will do. He drove a motordup, the regular motorbike taxi in Phnom Penh.

The first time I met him he was getting the crap kicked out of him by his father. At the time I did not know it was his father. All I saw was our hotel security guard flying off the handle, smashing the helmet of this younger guy then kicking him in the middle of the street. I thought the younger man's head was about to be knocked off.

Our security guard was kicking and punching the younger guy, who was crawling on all-fours. The violence was extraordinary. And all this was taking place outside our front door. I told our porter to call the police. He advised me not to interfere, though he did not explain why I shouldn't do so.

Our security guard then produced a pistol. ""Oh God,'' I thought. "He's going to shoot the kid.''

Instead he chased the younger man to the street corner. There the youngster c rouched behind a car. The guard squatted on the other side of the car, pistol cocked, pointed and read for business.

The wife of one of our employees came along. She had seen some of what was happening. I asked her what I should do. "Nothing,'' was the reply. "That's a dispute between a flather and his son.''

I protested, but she assured me that common sense would prevail.

Next day I found out that the dispute was between a father and his son. The boy was getting drunk, neglecting his work, aand had had two motorcycles stolen from under his nose. But was that suffici8ent cause to have a pistol pointed at his head?

A week later I was sitting on the roof of the hotel, winding down, trying to catch any kind of breeze. A car came up the road, swerving violently from side to side, its engine revving loudly. I moved to the edge of the roof in time to see that car driver attempt to turn right in front of the hotel, only to plough into a number of parked cyclos, then to crash through the window of the store in front of our hotel. The car then reversed into two parked cars.

The owners of the cyclos had all been catching a nap. Two of the cyclos were caught on the car's front bumper and dragged across the street. Some people, including cyclo owners, opened one of the car's doors and got the driver out.

The driver, staggering, pissed as a parrot, was unable to stand up straight. It was the son of our security guard. He had wrecked his father's car, doing an untold amount of damage in doing so.

And I was left with an understanding of why his father had pulled a gun on him.

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