Golf, Cambodia, and the ‘very cornerstone of morality’

Golf, Cambodia, and the ‘very cornerstone of morality’

From my mailbox:

Dear Nate,

I have read your missives on Cambodia on Face Book and elsewhere with great interest. You are truly prolific and I walk in your shadow. I hardly ever reply to Face Book. I hardly get the time.

Due to our mutual deep friendship with XXX I am writing, after all this time, to let you know that I have an article appearing in the Los Angeles Times travel section this Sunday about golf in Cambodia, the substance of which I feel you might disapprove of.


Ex Khmer Rouge military officer and current Cambodian dictator and former peasant rice farmer Prime Minister Hun Sen playing golf

All I can say is that it has changed dramatically since I was there twenty years ago. I understand that there are still large problems, least of which is not corruption (sic). But they are trying. I think now that Cambodia is bursting at the seams with all kinds of opportunity, it is fragile but very promising.

So I went in May and played golf at some great courses. I met the people, visited the temples and enjoyed the experience, in spite of some of the memories that still haunt me.

I had lunch with Keng Vannsak in Paris in 1993 at his home in Montmorency. My French was very rusty but he managed to convey to me in no uncertain terms how things had spiraled out of control under the Pol Pot regime.

So Nate, I hope you may not judge me too harshly.

I love golf and I strongly believe that wherever golf thrives, so does character, humility, and the very cornerstone of morality – concern for other people.

We are strangers to one another but I sincerely wish you health, happiness and success in all that you do.

Kindest regards,


Cambodian dictator Hun Sen (L) playing golf with his buddy former Thai dictator Thaksin Shinawatra (R) while the latter was living in exile in Cambodia on the run from criminal charges after being ousted in a military coup d’etat in Thailand

My reply:

Thanks XXXXX,

For the kind words and thoughtful message.

In no way do I harbor any disapproval for your apparently excellent trip to play golf in Cambodia, or do I, at first blush, disagree with your take on golf’s role contributing to the health of people or society in general.

Honestly, I have never considered that golf might be a solution to the world’s many travails.

I have put it on my to-do list for consideration which I will give the proper and deserved consideration to after I am able to address some pressing issues I am grappling with at the moment such as putting food in my refrigerator and ensuring my pal, my dog Lamont, has a secure supply of cookies in the bunker we have prepared to wait out WW3 which the leader of the Free World appears to giving a wink and nod to sparking.

I can think of uncountable things that are a far more negative use of one’s time than playing golf: killing innocent people, pillaging and looting valuables that belong to the nation, State, and the common good for personal gain; an unhealthy fondness for domesticated cats; and other related nefarious behavior of third world despots and first-world felines, to name a few that pop immediately to mind.

Actually, my step brother has made a professional career–and a damn good living and a good chunk of change–on the PGA tour. He has worn pink polo shirts and hit a little white ball over manicured green lawns maintained mainly by black and brown people for a living for 30 years. As far as I know, he has done no one significant harm while enjoying himself (and, apparently, entertaining people like yourself) doing so.

To boot, he has provided for his family, paid his fair share of taxes, offered harmless diversionary entertainment for middle age white people like yourself, and generally contributed, arguably, to the greater common good of society.

I mean no snark in the above at all.

The rapid rise of the popularity of golf in Cambodia can only be positive.

Cambodian dictator Hun Sen perfecting his golf skills while taking a well deserved break from oppressing the citizens of his country

I say this because golf, I am confident, diverts the insanely wealthy corrupt criminals and former peasant rice farmers who seized power as loyalist cadre of one of the centuries most adept mass murderers, Pol Pot, who are for sure the only ones who can afford the green fees and golf allows them to mingle with one another during their downtime from their primary focus of keeping their jack boots on the neck of the perennially oppressed other 99% of the population who, not coincidentally, have never heard of golf.

Perhaps these heathen war criminals, who derived their ill-gotten loot acquired via the most crude ripping off of state assets and oppression of the commoners, will now be distracted from causing further pain and suffering to the masses which is how they zoomed up to a social position to fraternize with your ilk and first ever heard of golf.


Plus, I do enjoy seeing photographs of these War Criminals all kitted up in outfits that make them look like third world versions of Bozo the Clown, of which the fact they remain entirely clueless of that truth offers me even greater amusement.

If those who have a piece of the pie of power can spend more time partaking in improving their golf swing, they might well spend less time focusing their energy on their day job–ruining the lives of the overwhelming majority of their countrymen.

So I say “God Bless golf in Cambodia!”

To golf and morality! Hip hip hooray! And to Golf and morality together, for a better Cambodia, I say two thumbs up!

Really.  I mean it.

I don’t have a better answer, myself.

I hope you remain well,


Leave a Reply