Reporters on the Job
• MISSING PAGES: While reporting about Cambodia's schools coming to grips with recent history (this page), Simon Montlake spent many hours trying to get to the bottom of the case of the missing chapter. "My interpreter showed me a copy of the government's new history textbook - but it hadn't been officially released yet. I went and bought a copy, too, for a $1 at a bookstore outside a school. My interpreter insisted the missing chapter was part of the government's plan to bury the brutal past," says Simon.
The Cambodian education ministry told Simon that it's still working on revisions to the book, and hasn't published it yet. He also spoke to Chhut Sereyrum, who was on the committee that drafted the 2001 textbook. Mr. Chhut was puzzled. The table of contents lists the chapter, but it's missing from the book."Could the printer have forgotten to insert such a key chapter? Maybe the bookstore is selling discarded versions. It could be a conspiracy or it could be incompetence," says Simon. "I couldn't get to the bottom of it."
• AUSTRALIA PREPARES: Reporter Janaki Kremmer had heard so many jokes about the Australian terrorist preparation kit (page 7), she was eager to get hers in the mail. "It was a bit disappointing. The refrigerator magnet was made of cardboard," says Janaki. "It says, 'Let's look out for Australia,' lists three emergency hotlines, and leaves blanks for 15 other important phone numbers, such as the local hospital, school, vet, etc."
Speaking to locals in Berrima, where Janaki is staying at a summer house, she found many people were returning their terror kits to the post office unopened. But Janaki has heard that some antiwar protesters are returning their kits directly to Prime Minister John Howard - by throwing them over the wall around his house in Sydney.
David Clark Scott