musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

The King on the Moon

I was in my bookshop last night, updating the Daily Arrival list on our website, when I got a phone call from Chamrong, a friend in Cambodia. The connection was poor, so I had to ask him to repeat what he was telling me. Something about the moon.

“Go outside and look at the moon,” Rong urged me. “I think the moon in Bangkok is the same as Cambodia. You should go look.”

“What is happening with the moon?” I asked. “Is there an eclipse or something?”

“Look at the moon,” he repeated. “You can see the face of King Sihanouk!”

“Huh? On the moon?”

“Yes!” Rong exclaimed. “You can see his face! It’s King Sihanouk!”

So, with phone in hand, I wandered outside and looked up. All I could see were the damn Skytrain tracks, some large buildings and lots of wires. I turned in a different direction and more of the same, plus a massage sign and a few billboards. No sign of any moon.


“I can’t see the moon right now,” I told Rong. “There are too many tall buildings on my street. I’ll have to look later when I go home.”

“Yes, look later. You will see King Sihanouk’s face.”


Well, on my walk home, I finally did catch a glimpse of the moon. My eyesight isn’t so good, even wearing glasses, but I certainly couldn’t make out any image resembling the recently departed King Sihanouk of Cambodia. Hell, if you use your imagination and look at the moon, it could be anybody or anything.


“Look, there’s Gordon Lightfoot!’

“No, it’s Isaac Hayes.”

“Actually, that looks more like Richard Nixon.”

“You’re crazy, it’s Betty’s buttocks.”

I wasn’t about to tell my Cambodian friend he was nuts. No doubt this Sihanouk on the moon thing is some rumor that’s running rampant in Cambodia, as happens so many times over there. If they want to believe that their beloved former King is smiling down at them from the moon, go ahead and let them. Just don’t let it rain again tonight.

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