Friday, 11 March 2011 15:01 Peter Olszewski
CELEBRATED Siem Reap personage Dr Eugene Tragus, aka Doc Gene, is fighting a battle against pancreatic cancer that has spread to his liver.
The 76-year-old doc, a Texan hole-in-the-heart surgery pioneer renowned for his mischievous beatnik bent, has had a long, dynamic history with the Angkor Hospital for Children.
He signed on in 2001 as director of the emergency medicine department after coming to Cambodia in the wake of his wife’s death from cancer. Since 2004, he has been a surgical consultant at the hospital.
He remarried six years ago to nurse Sokunthea Lem, who last year completed her training as a doctor, much to Doc Gene’s pride.
Dr Thea is now tending the doc, who this week flew to Bangkok for radiotherapy treatment that at the very least will alleviate some of his suffering.
While Doc Gene himself told Man About at the Royal Angkor International Hospital on Sunday that there is “no hope”, nobody is writing the doc off just yet. All concerned hope that his Texan grit will somehow see him through.
To add to his wife’s distress, she and Eugene were evicted last month from the doc’s rented home of 10 years.
Grim reaper strikes
TO ADD to Temple Town’s grim news, 55-year-old David Chase, a director of Siem Reap’s AboutAsia Schools, died in New York of a heart attack over the weekend.
He had battled two bouts of cancer and seemed to have won, but his heart gave out suddenly.
He retired from the real estate business in 2004 after his first bout of cancer.
He came to Siem Reap and teamed up with AboutAsia’s Andy Booth to build Prey Chrouk Secondary School in 2007. His role as director of AboutAsia Schools led to him starting a small but growing scholarship fund at Krober Riel Secondary School which continues up to this day.
A wake for David Chase will be held at the Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa this evening, beginning at 5pm.
Guiney book reading
POPULAR local NGO Anjali House is following up from last year’s successful London evening with UK author Sue Guiney by replicating the experience with a reading in Siem Reap tomorrow night at the Butterflies Garden from 7pm.
Sue Guiney will read selected passages from her new novel, Clash of Innocence, which is set in Cambodia in the year 2006.
Sue will also be introducing work produced during creative writing workshops with the children of Anjali House.
Readings will be accompanied by projections and photos of Cambodia taken from the Anjali Photo Workshops.
Complimentary drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served on the night courtesy of Butterflies Garden and Celliers D’Asie.
Guiney flies in fresh from Bangkok where, last Friday, she gave a reading at the Nielsen Hays library.
For further details contact Sam Flint, Anjali House, on 092 561 732.
All you can Skal
THE Siem Reap chapter of Skal International, a club for travel industry people, is conducting a charity draw and auction next Friday evening at Heritage Suite Hotels. Raffle tickets are now in circulation for the draw, and a swag of “luxury prizes” has been rounded up for the auction, including a two-night stay at the boutique Rachamankha Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
A “substantial percentage” of the proceedings will go to the Salai Bai Hotel Training School, and part of the funds will go toward a push to promote Cambodia as the host of the Skal International Asian Area Congress in 2013.
The Heritage will host an open bar evening next Friday from 7-9pm. An admittance cost of $10 covers peanuts and popcorn, and all the beer, wine and/or soft drinks that can be consumed in the two-hour period.
Heritage GM Magnus Olovson will be the auctioneer and this in itself should be entertaining.
Raffle tickets cost $5 each can be obtained from Bina Hanley by calling 092 219 647, or Jam Nsouli on 081 366 781.
Irish singer arrives
RENOWNED Irish singer Mary Black will be in Siem Reap for a ceremony and fundraising evening at Hôtel de la Paix on Thursday March 24, when she will hand over funds raised at a gala performance held in Singapore.
Monday’s performance at the Embassy of Ireland’s official residence in Singapore was the result of the combined efforts of Hôtel de la Paix, Ispahan Outreach, D3 Concerts, and the Embassy of Ireland.
Funds raised will aid Siem Reap’s Green Gecko children’s centre.
Hopefully more funds will be raised when Mary Black attends the Hôtel de la Paix ceremony later this month.
The evening will also include an auction of items donated by leading artists in Cambodia, and art by the Green Gecko children themselves.
The big question, of course, is will Black sing in public while she is in Siem Reap.