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Cambodia: ‘Telepathic’ Car Symbolises Auto Industry

The gold-coloured convertible turns heads on impoverished Cambodia’s roads — not least because of creator Nhean Phaloek’s outlandish claim that it can be operated telepathically.

“I just snap my fingers and the car’s door will open. Or I just think of opening the car’s door, and the door opens immediately,” says the 51-year-old as he proudly shows off the homemade car, named the Angkor 333-2010.

Onlookers gasp as he demonstrates the trick, and with the fibre-glass vehicle having cost him $5,000 and 19 months of labour he is in no mood to reveal the remote control system behind it.

But as with a handful of other Cambodians who make their own curious cars, he dreams the two-seater will help foster an automobile industry in the country, still poor after decades of conflict.

“I am very excited and proud of this car because many people admire me and keep asking me about how I can make it,” he says, adding that it reaches speeds of up to 100 kilometres (62 miles) 
per hour. Kong Pharith, a 48-year-old former maths and physics teacher who has also produced his own car, says an auto industry is about to blossom in Cambodia.

“Our works will be part of a motivating force for the next generation to access new inventions and show the world that Cambodia has an ability to do what you think we cannot,” he says.

The inventor, who first came to national attention in 2005 for building a solar-powered bicycle, thinks he has now hit on a truly unique product with his orange, jeep-like vehicle with solar panels on its roof. Kong Pharith says it took him four months to design and put the final polish on his “tribrid” car which operates on solar energy, electricity and gasoline, hitting speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour with its 2,000 watt motor.

“I’m really happy about my achievement but not very satisfied with it yet,” he says, adding that Cambodia’s lack of modern technology and materials are a minor obstacle to efficient manufacturing. The dream of building cars in Cambodia may not be far-fetched. Officials have announced plans for South Korean automaker Hyundai to open a plant in southwestern Cambodia, assembling some 3,000 vehicles per year.

Cambodia did actually assemble cars in a factory during the 1960s, before the country was caught in the maelstrom of the Vietnam War.

The Angkor 333-2010 is the third he has built, and his first to talk. When Phaloek slams the door a voice out of the dashboard moans: “Why do you close me too strongly?”

“Dozens of local and foreign guests have come and seen my car,” Nhean Phaloek says with a smile. “One British man told me that it is the Cambodian James Bond car.”
Cambodia: ‘Telepathic’ Car Symbolises Auto Industry Cambodia: ‘Telepathic’ Car Symbolises Auto Industry Reviewed by Redaksi on 12:37 AM Rating: 5

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