Nothing Happened At the War Tribunal Today, If You Were Wondering

I did not attend the War Tribunal today due to both a pounding headache and a vague feeling that nothing interesting was going to happen – my usual tuk-tuk carpoolers agreed.

As it turns out, history vindicates me: according to the War Tribunal Monitor, “reluctant witness” Long Norin begged off for the day for health issues.

To the ire of the press, spectators, and lawyers in attendance, Nuon Chea did not take his place – although he was present in the courtroom.

Norin’s use of the Khmer “ah” or “the contemptible” has spawned a bit of a debate. Tell me, Khmer speakers: can “ah” be used in a friendly way? I agree with Nate Thayer’s take that context is key here – using “ah” in a party biography is much different than using it on a football pitch – but is “ah” something buddies would use with one another? That was Norin’s argument, anyway.

Monday is a Khmer holiday – Cambodia has MANY HOLIDAYS – so I’ll be back at the court Tuesday.



One thought on “Nothing Happened At the War Tribunal Today, If You Were Wondering

  1. Alison

    I’ve had a similar dilemma with “ah.” I was taught using “Ah” was insulting and warned never to use it. But I frequently hear Khmer people using it with each other and it seems friendly. My best understanding is that it is like the n-word or b#$%^ in English: ok if you use it with yourself or your friends it’s OK. But not OK if someone uses it against you. There was a debate recently about the appropriateness of the word Yuon to refer to Vietnamese as well:

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