My dear Kacvey,

Imaginatively, in a luxurious antechamber of a hospital in the Lion City, two old pals would meet and chat, discreetly and secretively:

Ngog: Hey old pal, you look terrible!
Nal: My health is playing dirty trick on me.
Ngog: What’s going on then?
Nal: What do you expect: chain-smoking, don’t know what is sport, blood pressure, diabetes, constant pressure on one eye. The whole enchilada of not getting younger anymore.
Ngog: But you play golf, though!
Nal: Golf! If it’s that good, why am I here? In fact, just to impress Westerners that I belong to their league. On the course, I just swing the club, putt and walk from cart to ball, and ball to cart; don’t even need to find or pick up balls.
Ngog: So, then, what did Doc say?
Nal: He locks me up for multiple tests and diagnoses for the hell I don’t know how long it will take.
Ngog: Oh boy, you’re in for a long haul!
Nal: Guess so, if that what it takes.
Ngog: But you can’t get the kitchen unattended while the stove is on?
Nal: I have guys on the watch and my iPad handy to give orders.
Ngog: How much do you trust those guys and how much do you expect your FB orders to be executed while you’re on a hospital bed a thousand kilometers away?
Nal: Look, I took the power through chaos, I might lose it through chaos. Karma. Ying and Yang.
Ngog: You sound contemplative and philosophical.
Nal: You see those tubes, needles, wires all around my body, and I’m tugged in a white blanket, it scares the hell out of anybody.
Ngog: You become uncertain and also seem afraid of something.
Not the same guts and physical strength from younger years anymore.
Ngog: How about your 3M? Is there anyone trustworthy to carry the torch?
Nal: What 3M?
Ngog: Your 3 male progenies.
Nal: Not promising. I want them to carry on my legacy and prepare them for that. But they don’t prepare themselves. Ah, modern kids, born and raised with silver spoons!
Ngog: So, they are out of contention, if I guess it right.
Nal: Sort of. Without me, they will be eaten alive by “White” and “Duck Shooting.”
Ngog: But have you really prepared at least one of them?
Nal: Yes I did, M1, but he screwed himself up with his trip to the US. M2 and M3 are way below par for such high objectives and stakes.
Ngog: Meanwhile, who’s in charge of the kitchen?
Nal: “White” and “Duck Shooting.” Hope that they are not “Lon Nol” re-incarnated.
Ngog: If “Lon Nol” re-appeared, you’re always welcome to Noï. What would your bodyguards be doing then?
Nal: Bodyguards defend me if I’m in the kitchen. When I’m not there anymore, they will sell themselves to the highest bidder or new master. Bodyguards are like mercenaries driven by big money.
Ngog: What about policemen and soldiers? Will they listen to your voice or order from your hospital bed?
Nal: Doubt it. They are government policemen and soldiers; they are not “comrades.” They never fight a single enemy or war. Like in 1974, they will unconditionally welcome any new leader.
Ngog: That’s your “domestic” paradigm. If so, “my comrades” of 1979 who did not return home but stay in your kitchen could be useful to you, couldn’t they?
Nal: They have all been “unmasked” and again, it’s all about whether or not I’m healthy and standing.
Ngog: How about your million fans and supporters from Facebook?
Nal: You’re mixing up social media and reality, because FB doesn’t vote. FB is shadow and hollow; I play it because not only it’s a fad, but also I can see what they feel or write about me.
Ngog: But you’re on it every single day!
Nal: True, but look at the crowd at Freedom Park after July 2013 and the funerals cortege from Wat Chass in Chruoy Chanvar to Takeo on 24 July 2016; I will never be able to mobilize such a massive crowd and sympathizers, no matter what I say or do. It’s FB versus reality, my pal.
Ngog: And you also mean the 3 millions that walked away from you on 4 June 2017, right?
Nal: Absolutely. These are incredible numbers that won’t stop of getting bigger and bigger in the future.
Ngog: Bottom line now is: your health and the 2018 elections, is it not?
Nal: As of now, my health cannot handle the elections. I give it one to two more months to recoup, but Doc might see it differently. I’ve slowed down quite a bit since Davos, but it ain’t getting any better.
Ngog: Without you at the forefront energetically and with gusto, 2018 elections wouldn’t be in the pocket …
Nal: Unless I play dirty like in 2013 again…
Ngog: Provided you could still be walking!
Nal: Are you wishing me something?
Ngog: Just following through on your line of thinking. Can’t still gather how come for 32 years you can’t have a person or a team to take over when your mandate and time are up.
Nal: I’ve always been stuck with the notion of political superiority and immortality. I beat them all the times and never think that time is the enemy of immortality. Man, time is beating me hard, clinically and medically.
Ngog: Never expect to see you in such a fatalistic and depressed state of mind and matter.
Nal: Wish me luck like you did on 9 January 1979.
Ngog: Wish you a quick recovery.
Nal: Recovery, probably; but unlike car or airplane engine that can be overhauled or replaced, human engine is what it is, from birth to dirt.
Ngog: Thanks for the chat. I will share your thoughts with Noï.
Nal: Tell Noï that he had made my 32 years in the kitchen the best time of my life. cảm ơn. Tạm biệt.


– On 27 March 2018, Asia Times writes: Hun Sen willing to risk losing his oldest ally