The Conflict of Generation in Cambodia and the Mindset of Policy Maker

Posted by: | Posted on: November 28, 2014

In Cambodia, those post-baby boomers are known for their conceptualization on the Politics of the United Nations, Human Rights, Democracy, Free and Fair Election, and Freedom. They have lived through time of political reconciliation, non-violence, culture of dialogue, democratic elections, economic liberalization, social injustice, social gap, minimum wage and jobs seeking, and contesting leadership of two party state of Cambodia. They were not divided by monarchy and anti-monarchy, political violence of systematic atrocity and revenge, but experienced the Vietnamese military presence in Cambodia. They are not xenophobic, paranoiac, or irrational in general. They are more into conflict resolution than conflict revolution.

They were born out of fear and PTSD syndromes. Their attitudes are likely rebellious and pertaining sophisticated public expressing. They like to take risk and adventuring in life cultivation. They have not been reluctant to seek new world or new unknown territories such as traveling to abroad for jobs or to urban areas for new decent career opportunities. Those have become family chief, not the parents or elder siblings as ever been before. They are used to with smart phone and internet media. Like those post-baby boomers, but slightly different, those silent generations of Cambodia are more rebellious than post-baby boomers and engaging deeper into the world of mystery, fantasy, and unpredictability. Their political approaches are sharp and vital. Their worldview is justice, equality and freedom.

Last time, I described the shock of political culture of Cambodia and the

Courtesy and Copyright by Sophoan Seng

Courtesy and Copyright by Sophoan Seng

prospect to gaining new social fabric of this society through the new approaches of opposition party CNRP; today I am keen to explore some argument that can boost the right decision-making for the policy maker in organizing political party.

What has shocked political culture of Cambodia? – The three dichotomous generations through experiencing three distinctive political patterns in Cambodia such as generation of anti-monarchy (1970-1975), generations of violence (1975-1979), and generation of foreign occupation who accumulated extreme sentiment over Vietnamese hegemony (1979-1990). At least, individual Cambodian has possessed one of these syndromes, two, or all of them. The dividing Cambodian society has been illustrated by this political shock.

What is the conflict of generation in Cambodia? – According to the research of demographic change in Cambodia, at present, there are at least 70% of Cambodian population are aged under 38 years old. This youth bulk figure has impregnably indicated the domination of youth or younger generation. This generation is counted into post-baby boomers and silent generation. They are called post-baby boomers because they were born out of affection of the three syndromes-problematic generations. They are called the silent generation because their belief, behavior and future vision are out of traditional norms, unpredictable, and mysterious. While most of their spending time is with the internet and facebook, they have overwhelmingly expressed with their peers in a very secretive way.

This post-baby boomer and silent generation are the agent of change in Cambodia. They have been driven by their new search of media freedom, job displacement ie. from their remote villages to urban industrial conglomeration sites and foreign countries, their PTSD and social ill free, their ability to  read, to access to new media tools, and to comprehend bilinguals, and their absorbed mentality of democratic value etc.

What are the new approaches for political party to be prioritized? – Cambodia is among other countries in this world that democracy could not be expected from inside competition, or inside conflict, or inside the government-led party to develop democracy. Many countries have been seen of change from communist or dictatorship to democracy by their internal fierce conflict within the government-led party, or the fighting for supremacy among those powerful comrades, bourgeoisie, elites and tycoons. For instance, many European countries evolved to democracy by the internal conflicts, industrial revolutions and the authority of intellectual leadership, many countries in Asia promptly changed to democracy through internal fighting and the fierce conflict among those powerful comrades, elites and tycoons or mass protests, but some of them are within incremental democratization processes through the demanding of younger generation. Cambodia is visibly fallen within this last category.

The politics of pragmatism (នយោបាយប្រាកដនិយម) of Cambodia has boldly emerged. With prudent levels of leadership skill, Sam Rainsy who is the president of the CNRP has communicated with those post-baby boomers and silent generation through creating his facebook page during he was forced to live in France as a political-imposed exile. The government-led party CPP has nominated many younger generations into key posts and law-maker leadership such as Say Samal who is the minister of environment, Hun Many who is considered the current youngest law-maker, and generation-connector Hang Chuon Naron who is the minister of sport and education etc. For civil society, we can see Chak Sopheap who is the executive leader of Centre for Human Rights, and Preap Kol who is the CEO of Transparency Cambodia etc.

What are the characteristics of those post-baby boomers and silent generation? – According to Generation Chart collected by Isacosta’s Site, those who were born after the WWII are called baby-boomers and those were born after the 1995 as Generation Z or New Silent Generation. But I personally called those who were born during the year of 1975 and after in Cambodia as the “the Post-Baby Boomers” and those who were born during and after the year of 1993 to present as “Silent Generation”.

In Cambodia, those post-baby boomers are known for their conceptualization on the Politics of the United Nations, Human Rights, Democracy, Free and Fair Election, and Freedom. They have lived through time of political reconciliation, non-violence, culture of dialogue, democratic elections, economic liberalization, social injustice, social gap, minimum wage and jobs seeking, and contesting leadership of two party state of Cambodia. They were not divided by monarchy and anti-monarchy, political violence of systematic atrocity and revenge, but experienced the Vietnamese military presence in Cambodia. They are not xenophobic, paranoiac, or irrational in general. They are more into conflict resolution than conflict revolution.

They were born out of fear and PTSD syndromes. Their attitudes are likely rebellious and pertaining sophisticated public expressing. They like to take risk and adventuring in life cultivation. They have not been reluctant to seek new world or new unknown territories such as traveling to abroad for jobs or to urban areas for new decent career opportunities. Those have become family chief, not the parents or elder siblings as ever been before. They are used to with smart phone and internet media. Like those post-baby boomers, but slightly different, those silent generations of Cambodia are more rebellious than post-baby boomers and engaging deeper into the world of mystery, fantasy, and unpredictability. Their political approaches are sharp and vital. Their worldview is justice, equality and freedom.

By Sophoan Seng