Thai Princess Helicopters to Ratanakkiri, Inspects Bathroom

Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirin­dhorn flew from Phnom Penh to Ratanakkiri province and back again on Monday, alighting for a lakeside lunch and the open­ing of a health center on the first day of her three-day visit to the country.

Following an hourlong meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen at his of­fice building, Princess Sirind­horn­ flew by helicopter to the pop­ular Yeak Lom Lake in Ban­lung City, where a luxurious outhouse had been constructed at her request—and at an estimated cost of more than $40,000.

Thai princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn walks in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen following a meeting at the prime minister's office building in Phnom Penh on Monday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Thai princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn walks in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen following a meeting at the prime minister’s office building in Phnom Penh on Monday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

The princess, however, did not make use of the bathroom during her brief sojourn.

“She did not use the toilet…but she went to see the bathroom,” said deputy provincial governor Nhem Sam Oeun. “When she went back to Phnom Penh, they re­moved the modern toilet.”

The bathroom, which was built over the course of 19 days by a team of Thai laborers hired by the Bangkok-based Siam Cement Group (SCG), made international head­lines over the weekend. In an interview on Friday, author An­drew MacGregor Marshall de­scribed the structure as “an insult to the Cambodian people.”

Absent its toilet, Mr. Sam Oeun said, the 8-square-meter building would be put to other use by the Yeak Lom community.

While in Ratanakkiri, the prin­cess presided over a ribbon-cutting cer­emony for a public health cen­ter in O’Chum district that had been donated by the Thai roy­al fam­ily, according to district governor Pak Son.

“Now, the people who live near the health center can enjoy easy ac­cess to health services,” he said.

The center was constructed last year at a cost of more than $260,000 and would be staffed by six “nurses and other health care professionals,” said Ung Rat­tana, di­rector of the provincial health department.

Kao Kim Huorn, a minister at­tached to the prime minister, said that over the next two days, Prin­cess Sirindhorn would pay visits to pro­jects related to her area of interest: technology. He said she would attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the Kompong Speu Institute of Technology—also donated by the Thai royal family—today and tour the Kompong Chheuteal Technology Institute in Kompong Thom province on Wednesday.

Mr. Kim Huorn said that during his meeting with the princess on Monday morning, Mr. Hun Sen thanked the princess for her contributions to health and education in Cambodia.

“Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen thanked her for helping in the education and health sectors, especially related to technology institutes,” he said.

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