40 Year of Memos, Story Telling, Healing and Moving Forward for all Cambodians

Posted by: | Posted on: April 18, 2015
40 years

Courtesy of ABC Australia

This 40 years, it is my first time to recall back my past turbulence and my family. I was born at an architectural still house in the heart of Siem Reap in 1976, one year after the ascending to power of the Khmer Rouge. I am recalled by mother since I was very young on many things that I am having difficulty to remember. I have remembered clearly only my birthday I was frequently asked to recite it in Khmer traditional lunar calendar. My father passed away since I was in the womb. I have never seen the face of my father even though through the photo. Mother told that all family pictures and photos were totally destroyed to avoid catching up as enemy and facing death penalty. My mother passed away when I was 11 years old. The bitter story has later little been told by my survival two older sisters. All my four siblings were killed during the regime. I have no clue tills today that how could I pen about them or figure out about their face accurately?

During the Khmer Rouge period, I have no memory at all except some flashing image occurring within my head on how bad I was crying inside the Buddhist worshiping hall to ask for mom and to scavenge for food to eat. But I remembered the starvation and famine during the presence of Vietnamese solders patrolling surround my house in Phum Dang-het, Srok Chi Kraeng. I think during 1979 to 1980, there was famine throughout the country.

Brief memory recalling by Sophoan Seng

In commemoration of 40 years when the Khmer Rouge came to power to lead a country of extremism and jungle leadership.

This is the 40 years of memos, healing, story telling, and moving forwards. Please, watch this video clip by RFA

Botta, the high commissioner for youth and sports, stands at the end of a row of suited men, arms behind his back, staring defiantly into the camera. Lon Nol, the mystic “Marshal” that led the ill-fated and highly corrupt republic, stands in the middle, leaning on his cane but still towering over the rest.

“Most of them were killed by the Khmer Rouge,” Botta, now 72 and an opposition MP, says.

It has been exactly forty years since the Khmer Rouge marched into Phnom Penh on April 17, 1975.

By The Diplomat


The stories I have heard since I was a young child continue haunt me, and the bits and pieces of the puzzle never quite formed a solid picture of what really happened. Forty years later, the story of my family’s experience was still a mystery to me. While other stories from survivors were clear in my mind, I never heard the entire story from my parents, until now. Perhaps it was my frequent visits home, with cohorts of inquisitive graduate students that prompted me to ask, in detail, the story I had wanted to hear. It was never a question that surfaced in my mind as one that should be asked. As a child of genocide survivors, it was something I feared, something I ignored. Yet, the more students I brought to Cambodia, the more their questions made me realize that the genocide was something that needed to be told. My family’s story was not something to be ignored, but rather something to be acknowledged, both for the survivors themselves and for their children. And so begins the story of one family, who much like the rest of the Khmer people, faced tragedy and immeasurable sorrow, and somehow found a way to survive.

“Story Telling by Dr. Sothy Eng” by Huffington Post


Sophal Ear, SEARAC Board Member, Occidental College Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs, and TED Fellow, tells the compelling story of his family’s escape from Cambodia under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. He recounts his mother’s cunning and determination to save her children in his 2009 TED Talk, “Escaping the Khmer Rouge.” His mother passed away six months later.

“Story Telling by Dr. Sophal Ear” by SEARAC and TEDtalks


On April 17, 1975 — 40 years ago today — life as Ly knew it was shattered when her hometown, the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, fell to the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime of the Communist Party of Kampuchea.

Ly, then 13, was separated from her mother and two of her sisters who, along with virtually the entire population of Phnom Penh — about two million people — were sent on a forced march into the countryside to work.

Ly never saw them again, nor learned what happened to them. But about 20,000 people died from execution, starvation or exhaustion during this exodus at gunpoint, according to war crimes prosecutors; the others were subjected to slave labor in rural camps once they reached their destination, where many met similar fates.

“Story Telling by Ly and her unexpected family reunion” by CNN


“The children’s arrival was not all smooth and happy,” recalls Gaffar Peang-Meth, who became the point man for verifying many of their legal status. Some news media reports suggested that the children were not all orphans and openly questioned why they had been brought to the U.S. Gaffar Peang-Meth responded that there was no authority in Phnom Penh to answer such allegations.

Amid the mounting concern, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) ordered a temporary halt to the babylifts on April 16, just one day before the Khmer Rouge seized Phnom Penh. Then deputy commissioner of the INS, James Green, told the Washington Post that the agency would “launch a full investigation to determine what these children’s backgrounds are and how they got into the United States.”

TIME recalled the halting of adopting orphanages few days before KR seized Phnom Penh by TIME Magazine 


A few hundred people, including monks and elderly regime survivors, gathered early Friday at Choeung Ek, the most notorious of the regime’s “killing fields” on the capital’s outskirts, burning incense and saying Buddhist prayers at a memorial stupa housing the skulls and bones of victims.

Cambodia’s opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, led prayers at the former killing fields.

He reminded Cambodians of the importance of the ongoing trials of surviving Khmer Rouge leaders.

“It is why every year we remind the people in power to support the Khmer Rouge tribunal,” he said.

“To proceed, and not to hinder in any way, the judicial proceedings that is intended to bring justice to the Khmer people.”

“CNRP led by HE Sam Rainsy commemorate and dedicate merits to those victims at Choeung Ek” by ABC Australia


Friday marks 40 years since the Khmer Rouge first marched into Phnom Penh. Over the following 44 months in the region of 2 million people from a population of just over 8 million died – killed, starved or struck down by disease – as Pol Pot’s brutal regime attempted to style Cambodia into a classless, agrarian society.

Cambodia is still struggling to deal with its history, where personal memory is politicised and the spectre of the Khmer Rouge is ever-present but often wilfully ignored. Even the most basic term remains contentious: can a regime be described as genocidal when so much of the killing of Khmers was done by Khmers?

Nhem En, a survivor of sorts from that dark time, is an unwelcome reminder of a knot of dilemmas that Cambodia is only starting to untangle – who to blame; how to forgive; and how to understand a regime that implicated such large swaths of the population in seemingly unfathomable cruelty.

By The Guardian 


Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from Khmer Youth part 16

Posted by: | Posted on: April 15, 2015

This part 16, the author Sophan Seng describes the political leadership pragmatism by reflecting Western meaning and Cambodia political culture affected by Buddhism.

A modern Khmer artPolitical pragmatism means policy, platform, or political actions that are realistic and practical. It stems from combining all factors in order to select the best one.

For Cambodia, political culture of pragmatism should follow the 10 factors taught by the Buddha. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing ; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor ; nor upon what is in a scripture ; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, “The monk is our teacher.” Kalamas, when you yourselves know: “These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,” enter on and abide in them.’ – Kalama Sutta

Leaders must design the future by using past lessons to observe the present movement. Cambodia has already experienced sweet and bitter for all leaders to achieve their future framework.

Cambodia’s Enigma by John Tully

Posted by: | Posted on: April 15, 2015

ប្រាងប្រាសាទខ្មែរនិងរបបវាលពិឃាដ ទឹកទន្លេស័ក្តិសិទ្ធនិងព្រៃឈេីដេីរលុយមិនរួច អតីតកាលដែលពោរពេញទៅដោយភាពមហស្ចារ្យនិងភាពអម៉ាស….ប្រទេសកម្ពុជាគឺដែនដីនៃទឡ្ហីកម្ម។ សហស្សវត្សន៍កន្លងផុតទៅ ទីនេះគឺជាមហាអាណាចក្ររីកចំរេីនខ្ពស់ត្រដែតប្រកបដោយអំណាច ស្ថាបនាទីធ្លាប្រាសាទដ៏ធំស្កឹមស្កៃ។ សព្វថ្ងៃនេះ មួយពាន់ឆ្នាំកន្លងមក ត្រូវបានបំផ្លិចបំផ្លាញដោយជំលោះនិងសង្គ្រាមមហាវិនាសកម្ម ប្រទេសខ្មែរកំពុងតស៑ូក្រាញននៀលដេីម្បីប្រជាធិបតេយ្យ ហេីយស្ថិតក្នុងតំបន់ទាបបំផុតនៃចរន្តសេដ្ឋកិច្ចពិភពលោក។ កម្ពុជានៅជាប្រស្នាសំងាត់គួរអោយចាប់អារម្មណ៍សំរាប់ពិភពខាងក្រៅ។ ជាមួយនឹងទំព័រប្រវត្តិសាស្រ្តគួរអោយរន្ធត់នៃសង្គ្រាម ភាពអត់ឃ្លាន និងអំពេីឈ្លានពានបរទេសដែលបានគំរាមទៅរកមរណៈភាព ភាពបន្តដង្ហេីមរស់របស់កម្ពជាគឺជាសក្ខីភាពរបស់មនុស្សជាតិក្នុងការប្រឹងរស់អោយខាងតែបាន។ ដោយចន ធូលី ៚ បកប្រែដោយសេង សុភ័ណ

John Tully AuthorTemples and killing fields, mighty rivers and impenetrable forests, a past filled with glory and decline…Cambodia is a land of contrasts. A millennium ago it was an empire at the height of its power, building the vast temple complexes of Angkor. Now, a thousand years later, ravaged by conflict and a genocidal civil war, Cambodia finds itself struggling with democracy, and on the lowest end of the global spectrum of economic wealth.

Cambodia remains an intriguing enigma to the outside world. With a depressing record of war, famine and invasion that have all threatened to destroy it, Cambodia’s survival is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

By John Tully (2005) in his book “A Short History of Cambodia: from Empire to Survival”.

Hing Thirith who is government official but selected by the CNRP

Posted by: | Posted on: April 8, 2015

Eventually, those nine members are expected to show their neutrality, high working ethics and capacity to drive new NEC to gain trust from Cambodian people, the political parties, and to push for genuine democratic achievement. Their crusading tasks are not yet criticized as their realism into this nation building has not yet departed. But we are eagerly looking forwards to seeing their performance after the parliament promulgated ratification.

We are surprised to see CNRP has selected diverse candidates for their own quota of four members of new National Election Committee creation. Among those, they are from NGO, from political party activist, from government official, and from women wing.

rong-chhunMr. Rong Chhun is well known for his hard working to protect Cambodia interests in many occasions such as from additional border treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam, his hard working to advocate for decent wage for teachers and garment workers. His advocacy and constructive criticism towards the government officials who have abused their own power has been so outstanding.

kuoy bunroeunMr. Kuoy Bunroeun is known for his leadership as representative in Kampong Cham province and gave up his post to opening way for his president, Sam Rainsy, to pursue his political career after Cambodia court convicted him and banned him from law-maker candidacy as well as voting right because of his triumph to protect Cambodia land border.

Te MonyrothMrs. Te Monyrong is only woman among those nine members picked up by CNRP.

A Hing Thirith Photo


Thus, Mr. Hing Thirith is an officer of the incumbent government with the post as a prosecutor for the supreme court of Cambodia.

In contrast to the CPP that has chosen two former members of past NEC, a law-maker, and a senior officer of the Interior Ministry, the CNRP has diversified its ability to step beyond boundary by choosing members who are from civil society, feminism, and incumbent government official. Pragmatically, this party has likely pursued the policy of inclusiveness, no clinging to assign enmity among Khmer people, and be in pragmatic leadership of nonviolence and culture of dialogue.

For Hing Thirith in particular, he was once removed from the post by his own working ethics to preside over many cases in the court. Radio Free Asia English language reported in 2004 that Hing Thirith ruled over four different cases led to be attempted of removal. Among those cases was a conviction Thirith ruled out over Hun Sen’s nephew Nim Sophea for involvement in a shooting that left at least two people dead.

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Political Paradigm of Pragmatism by Khmer youth part 15

Posted by: | Posted on: April 8, 2015
According to this part, the author Mr. Sophan Seng analysed different leadership theories.
Aristotle-constitutions-2For Aristotle, he keenly grouped three  types of leaders as following:
1. One –> Kingship –> Tyranny
2. Few –> Aristocracy –> Oligarchy
3. Many –> Polity –> Democracy or Mobocracy
Many modern political scientists categorized leaders into 4 distinctive leadership:
1. Authoritarian
2. Paternalistic
3. Democratic
4. Laissez-faire
Hence, all kinds of leadership, eventually they must pursue the following steps:
- Pioneering or goal setting
- Determination or decision-making
- Consulting or delegating
- Participating or engaging with colleagues closely
Please, continue to the next parts…


Posted by: | Posted on: April 7, 2015

មិត្តអ្នកអានជាទីមេត្រី សប្តានេះខ្ញុំមានមកជំរាបជូនមិត្តអ្នកអាន។

១. រឿងទី១គឺច្បាប់បោះឆ្នោតថ្មីចេញហេីយ គណៈកម្មការបោះឆ្នោតទាំង៩នាក់ក៏ចេញហេីយ បេីនៅសល់គឺនៅសល់តែរដ្ឋសភាអនុម័តិ។ ខាងក្រោមគឺជារាយនាមរបស់ពួកគេទាំងអស់។

1. លោកហង្ស ពុទ្ធា Mr.Hang Puthea – agreed by both parties

2. លោកគួយ ប៑ុនរឿន Mr.Kuoy Bunroeun – CNRP

3. លោករ៉ុង ឈុន Mr.Rong Chun – CNRP

4. លោកហុឹង ធីរិទ្ធិ Mr.Hung Thirith – CNRP

5. អ្នកស្រីតែ ម៉ានីរ៉ុង Mrs. Te Manirong – CNRP

6. លោកសុិក ប៑ុនហុក Mr. Sik Bunhok – CPP

7. លោកមាន សទិ Mr. Mean Sati – CPP

8. លោកឌុច សុន Mr. Duch Son – CPP

9. លោកឯម សូផាត Mr. Eam Sophat – CPP

NEC member 2Nec member 1NEC member 3 NEC member 4 NEC member 5 NEC member 6

២. ក្លោងទ្វារអង្គរសង្ក្រាន្តិបានក្លាយជាតួឯកក្នុងការពិភាក្សាគ្នាក្នុងបណ្តាញសង្គម ហ្វេសប៑ុក។ មានពាក្យរិះគន់ដេីម្បីស្ថាបនាជាច្រេីនដល់ការតាក់តែងនិងគូសវាសស្ថាបនាក្លោងទ្វាទាំងនោះ។ មតិភាគច្រេីនរិះគន់ថាទំរង់រចនាសិល្បៈដែលមានអ្នកគូសវាសនោះមានចេតនាបង្កេីតអោយមានភាពវឹកវរដេីម្បីកេងចំណេញផ្នែកនយោបាយ។ ទំរង់សិល្បៈនោះគឺក្រៅពីរូបសំណង់ទាំងមូលដែលមិនឆ្លុះបញ្ចាំងពី ខ្មែរហេីយ ពណ៌ក្រហមនិងលឿងឆ្លុះនោះគឺជាពណ៌ទង់ជាតិរបស់យក្សណាមសុទ្ធសាធ។

អ្នកជំនាញខាងប្រវត្តិសាស្ត្រសិល្បៈរចនាបទខ្មែរបានរិះគន់យ៉ាងចាស់ដៃទៅលេី ការតុបតែងដែលរំលោភបំពានទៅលេីចិត្តវិញ្ញាណរបស់កូនខ្មែរអង្គរទាំងគឃ្លេីននេះ។ ម្យ៉ាងវិញទៀត អង្គរសង្ក្រាន្តិហាក់បីដូចជាធ្វេីផ្ទុយស្រឡះពីការរកឃេីញរបស់ក្រុមអ្នកស្រាវជ្រាវនិងក្រុមអ្នកស្រលាញ់ពិភិតភណ្ឌបុរាណស្ថានដូចជាអង្គរ វត្ត ដែលបានអះអាងថាភ្ញៀវដែលមកទស្សនាប្រាង្គប្រាសាទអង្គរវត្តត្រូវតែមានដែនកំណត់ បេីមិនដូច្នេះទេការប្រេះស្រាំនិងការបាក់បែកថ្ម ក៏ដូចជាភាពអ៑ូអរបំផ្លាញដល់ភាពសក្តិសិទ្ធិរបស់ប្រាសាទនឹងបន្តបំផ្លិចបំផ្លាញកេរតំណែលរបស់មនុស្សជាតិនេះកាន់តែខ្លាំងឡេីង។

angkor sangrkan controversy

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