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Posted by: | Posted on: June 10, 2018

Malaysia’s Election and Impacts on Democracy and Geopolitics in Southeast Asia

Op-Ed: The CEROC

Two things to be considerate on the recent election in Malaysia: the overseas Malaysians voters and the national institution.

Malaysian Election Commission is appointed by the King of Malaysia to conduct nationwide election. This election of May 9, 2018, 14 millions were registered to vote and 82% voter turnout. There are 7,979 Malaysian voters overseas according to the EC. Malaysia has allowed overseas citizens to vote since 2012 except in Singapore, southern Thailand, Kalimantan and Brunei. In Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, and Singapore, have allowed overseas citizens to democratically vote during national elections.

Malaysia is Constitutional Monarchy like Cambodia. The King is the Head of State who exercises power through the provision of constitution to ensure rights and freedoms, commander-in-chief of the national arm-force, and chief of magistracy to ensure judiciary system is capable and competent.

លទ្ធផលនៃការបោះឆ្នោតនៅប្រទេសម៉ាឡេស៊ីកាលពីថ្ងៃទី៩ ខែឧសភាកន្លងទៅនេះ បានធ្វើឲ្យមានការភ្ញាក់ផ្អើលច្រើន ដោយសម្ព័ន្ធភាពនៃគណបក្សប្រឆាំងបានយកឈ្នះគណបក្សកាន់អំណាចជាលើកដំបូងក្នុងរយៈពេលជាង៦០ឆ្នាំ។ ការណ៍នេះមានឡើងស្របពេលដែលនិន្នាការនៃលទ្ធិប្រជាធិបតេយ្យបានថយចុះនៅបណ្តាប្រទេសផ្សេងទៀតនៅក្នុងតំបន់អាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍។ អ្នកតាមដានការបោះឆ្នោតពីររូបគឺលោក យឿង សុធារ៉ា អ្នកជំនាញខាងកិច្ចការបោះឆ្នោត និងលោក សេង សុភ័ណ នាយកប្រតិបត្តិនៃប្រធានគណៈកម្មាធិការដើម្បីសិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតរបស់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរនៅក្រៅប្រទេស (CEROC) ថ្លែងថា ប្រទេសកម្ពុជានិងប្រទេសអាស៊ីអាគ្នេយ៍ផ្សេងៗអាចរៀនសូត្របានច្រើនអំពីដំណើរការបោះឆ្នោតឯករាជ្យនៅប្រទេសម៉ាឡេស៊ី សិទ្ធិបោះឆ្នោតនៅក្រៅប្រទេសរបស់ពលរដ្ឋម៉ាឡេស៊ី ការផ្ទេរអំណាចដោយសន្តិភាពទៅកាន់រដ្ឋាភិបាលថ្មី និងការធ្វើតុល្យភាពនយោបាយការបរទេសក្នុងទំនាក់ទំនងជាមួយប្រទេសចិន។ (សឹង សុផាត, Hello VOA, វ៉ាស៊ីនតោន, ៧ មិថុនា ២០១៨)

Posted by: | Posted on: May 7, 2018

Dedicating 27 articles today before Phnom Penh Post is absorbed away from its professionalism

 Op-Ed: The Phnom Penh Post

Phnom Penh Post Articles

Freedom and the challenges of teen pregnancy in Canada

Email from Canada,

FREEDOM is the lifeblood of human enterprise.  Free-market countries have higher standards of living, social development and productivity levels.  Some, though, contend that freedom is a double-edged sword.

Greater independence from parents and guardians can lead to the creation of a more open, more progressive society in which young people are free to engage their talents and amass practical knowledge.

But some say too much freedom can lead to undisciplined and incompetent adolescents.

In Canada, adolescents enjoy a wide array of freedoms, sexual, romantic and otherwise.  But high teen pregnancy and divorce rates have some policymakers worried.

Still, statistics show that national teen pregnancy rates have been declining.  A study from 1996 to 2006 showed a drop of 37 per cent, compared with a 25 per cent decline in the neighbouring US.

This doesn’t necessarily mean  teenagers are less sexually active.  In fact, a study found about 50      per cent of teens aged 16 and 17 engage in sexual activity.

These findings confirm what has become only too visible in daily life: teens holding hands, hugging, kissing and generally revelling in young love, all in public.

The teen-pregnancy study includes statistics on births, abortions and miscarriages.  The Canadian government views all three outcomes as having a negative impact on society.

If newborns survive the delivery process, teens are often unprepared to act as parents.  And miscarriages and abortions can result in various diseases and complications that can stall the mother’s education and development.

Teen pregnancy affects individuals, families and entire communities, placing a social and economic burden on the whole of society.

According to the study, the welcome decline in teen pregnancy can be attributed to an increase in awareness about sexual health and protection among teenage girls, as well as increasingly easy access to clinics and family planning counsellors.  Young women are using their freedom to make safer decis-ions, entering the adult world of sex and romance armed with more information and more confidence.

The story may be different in Cambodia.  Canada is fairly open to adolescent sexual activity and independent decision-making, but the issue is rarely talked about in Cambodia, where cultural conservatism and embedded tradition keep teenage sexuality under wraps.

For this reason, teen pregnancy rates are higher and show little sign of declining.  Until the Kingdom begins some sort of dialogue on teenage sexuality, young women in Cambodia will continue to have their education interrupted and their freedom curtailed.

About Sophoan Seng
I am the single son of a farming family from Siem Reap. I spent more than 10 years as a Buddhist monk. I graduated with a master’s degree in political science from the University of Hawaii and am a PhD candidate at the same university.

My interests are social-capital research, the empowerment of young people for social change, and grassroots participation to developing democracy. I am a freelance and president of the Khmer Youth Association of Alberta. I can be reached at sophan@hawaii.edu

******

Rich Oil-Sands of Alberta, Canada

Emails from Canada: Sophoan Seng

Alberta is well known as a leading exporter of natural resources like timber and oil in Canada. Large foreign companies from the US have invested billions of dollars extracting oil and gas in this territory to make up for the shortage of oil for energy in their country. Oil deposits which are called “oil sands” are very distinctive from what is found in those oil rich countries such as Iran or Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, and the monitoring and regulations of this lucrative industry has never been neglected.

The official website of the Alberta government describes Alberta’s oil sands as the backbone of the Canadian and the global economy, adding it is a great buried energy treasure which has continuously supplied stable and reliable energy to the world. Oil sands are a naturally composed mixture of sand, clay or other minerals, including water and bitumen, which is a heavy and extremely thick, sticky oil that must be treated before it can be processed by refineries to produce usable fuels such as regular gasoline and diesel. Oil sands can be found in many locations around the globe, but the Athabasca deposit in Alberta is the largest and most developed and it has utilised the most advanced technology to produce oil.

Canada’s Facts and Statistics Department has ranked Alberta’s oil sands second after Saudi Arabia in terms of proven global crude oil reserves. In 2009, the total proven oil reserves were 171.3 billion barrels, or about 13 percent of the total global oil reserves, which is about 1,354 billion barrels. The net income in the fiscal year of 2009 for the Alberta government was more than US$3 billion in royalties from oil sands projects, which was lower than 2008 at $20.7 billion. But they project it to skyrocket and revenue to hit $15 billion in the next few years. Ultimately, about 99 percent of Alberta’s oil comes from oil sands.

Responsible corporations and the government’s clear goal and commitment have transformed Alberta oil sands into a blessing, not a curse. All approvals, licences, dispositions, permits and registrations relating to oil sands are required by Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), Alberta Environment and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development bodies. This enables the comprehensive task of handling oil sands investments.

However, in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, University of Alberta scientist David Schindler told the public that the high levels of toxic pollutants in the Athabasca River were caused by oil sand mining. Schindler and his team of researchers found that oil sands development projects were contaminating the Athabasca River watershed area. The scientists found that seven “significant pollutants” were at levels that exceeded government guidelines for the protection of aquatic life. This new finding contradicted the government’s previous argument, which had always claimed that the naturally occurring bitumen had low levels of pollution.

After publishing in 2009 the first peer-reviewed paper from Schindler and his team, an ongoing political debate started, the story grabbed the public’s attention and a group of experts was given the job of finding the best solution for this rich oil sands industry. From public and private debates to ones in parliament and political institutions, a solution must be found to ensure the sustainable development of this non-renewable natural resource.

*******

Jobs and Employment in Canada

Letters from abroad

There is a popular saying that “to live is to work”, and while life is not all about work, the saying seems to hold true in Canada, Cambodia and around the world. Most people cannot live without a job, but the approach from the governments in various countries to the problem of unemployment differs greatly. It might be interesting for you to hear about the ways in which Canada’s government and private sector have intervened in order to help more citizens get jobs and keep the ones they have.

First, there is a growing number of job search agencies who help both new and experienced workers find jobs suitable to their educational background and experiences. Enrolled students learn about networking strategies, curriculum vitae, cover letters and interviewing skills. These agencies also partner with private groups and the government to launch job fairs, which exist in Cambodia on a smaller scale, in order to bring together employers and employees. In fact, I was employed as a result of my participation in a job fair.

Second, the government helps unemployed citizens by providing them with short-term support through both skills training and living expenses. Many unemployed workers are directly subsidized to allow them to maintain a level of strength and professionalism while they search for a new job. The money that funds this program, called the Employment Insurance (EI) program, was deducted from workers’ salary if they worked before.

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: May 2, 2018

Facebook ‘likely’ to face order to hand over information on Hun Sen

Op-Ed: The Phnom Penh Post

Former deputy opposition leader Mu Sochua said the decision shows “justice always prevails”, and claimed Hun Sen spent thousands of dollars a day on likes.

“How many schools and hospitals can be built” with that money, she asked in a message.

Facebook ‘likely’ to face order to hand over information on Hun Sen

Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy pose for a selfie together during a rare political truce in 2015. Supplied

Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy pose for a selfie together during a rare political truce in 2015. Supplied

A California court intends to order Facebook to disclose information on the origins of Hun Sen’s Facebook “likes” to opposition figure Sam Rainsy, following a San Francisco court hearing on Monday in a case with potential global implications for the social media giant, which is facing allegations that its platform aids authoritarian regimes.

“I’m likely going to give Mr Sam the ability to get some information from Facebook,” Judge Sallie Kim told the courtroom, according to American news outlet Bloomberg.

Rainsy first filed the request for information in February, claiming Hun Sen has “systematically misused” Facebook by buying likes and using the platform to make death threats. He contends that the information will aid his legal defence in Cambodia, where he has been convicted of defamation for accusing the premier of buying Facebook likes. In a statement after the original filing, Rainsy also called on the courts and Facebook to “shed light” on the government’s “manipulation of technology”.

Rainsy requested an array of information, leading Facebook to reject the request in March, characterising it as an overly broad “fishing expedition”.

While Judge Kim agreed that Rainsy’s initial request was too broad, she said she will order Facebook to turn over information that directly relates to his politically tinged convictions.

Facebook has come under fire recently for allegedly allowing authoritarian regimes to use it as a tool to violate human rights. While death threats are banned on the platform, no action was taken when Hun Sen posted a video in February warning that he would attack opposition members with rocket launchers, as Rainsy has pointed out.

Meanwhile, more than a dozen Cambodians have been arrested for posting videos or statements critical of the government.

While the social media behemoth balked at Rainsy’s request, it has often voluntarily supplied information to various governments.

A spokesperson for Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rainsy has lived abroad since 2015 to avoid a slew of charges and convictions.

The Post first revealed that a surprising number of the premier’s Facebook fans seemed to be located abroad, with many coming from countries known to harbour so-called click farms, like India and the Philippines.

A hacker recently leaked a screenshot of a purported email from Duong Dara, a member of Hun Sen’s social media team, quoting the cost of buying Facebook likes to the premier.

On Tuesday, Dara said he was “sick and tired” of hearing about Rainsy’s petition for information.

“It is between Sam Rainsy and Facebook,” he said, adding that Rainsy can do “whatever he wants”.

Dara appeared to dismiss the importance of a potential order from the judge to hand over the evidence.

“Cambodia has its own laws,” he said, calling Hun Sen a “great leader” and adding that the premier is focusing on more important matters like economic development and “protecting Cambodia from war”.

On Tuesday, Rainsy referred questions to his legal team, which did not respond to requests for comment. Former deputy opposition leader Mu Sochua said the decision shows “justice always prevails”, and claimed Hun Sen spent thousands of dollars a day on likes.

“How many schools and hospitals can be built” with that money, she asked in a message.

Posted by: | Posted on: April 30, 2018

វិភាគសេដ្ឋកិច្ចពីវិនិយោគចិននៅសកម្ពុជា / Chinese investments in Cambodia

Op-Ed: Phnom Penh Post

៣០ មេសា ២០១៨ / 30 April 2018

វិភាគសេដ្ឋកិច្ចពីវិនិយោគចិន នៅសកម្ពុជា / Chinese investments in Cambodia (*)

គេថាវិនិយោគចិន នៅប្រទេសកម្ពុជា ឈរលើកិច្ចសន្យា « ឈ្នះ ឈ្នះ » តែមានភាគីមួយទៀត ដែលទទួលការបង់ខាត គឺប្រជារាស្ត្រខ្មែរ

ថ្មីៗនេះ លោកនាយករដ្ឋមន្ត្រី ហ៊ុន សែន បានលើកតម្កើងវិនិយោគចិន នៅប្រទេសកម្ពុជា ថាមានប្រយោជន៍ធំធេងណាស់ សម្រាប់ស្រុកយើង។ តែខ្ញុំសូមធ្វើការកត់សម្គាល់ដូចតទៅ។

The entrance to Kratie University flanked with Chinese and Cambodian flags in a photo posted on Facebook last week.

The entrance to Kratie University flanked with Chinese and Cambodian flags in a photo posted on Facebook last week.

បញ្ហាចម្បង ទាក់ទងវិនិយោគចិន នៅប្រទេសកម្ពុជា គឺការខ្វះតម្លាភាព ដែលនាំមកនូវអំពើពុករលួយ ទាំងខាងភាគីវិនិយោគិនចិន ទាំងខាងភាគីមន្ត្រីជាន់ខ្ពស់រដ្ឋាភិបាល។ គេថាវិនិយោគទាំងនេះ ឈរលើកិច្ចសន្យា « ឈ្នះ ឈ្នះ » សម្រាប់ភាគីទាំងពីរ តែមានភាគីមួយទៀត ដែលទទួលការបង់ខាត គឺប្រជារាស្ត្រខ្មែរ ដែលមិនមានសិទ្ធិសម្តែងមតិ។

សព្វដង វិនិយោគពីបរទេស តែងតែផ្តល់ការងារឲ្យប្រជាពលរដ្ឋក្នុងស្រុក តែចំពោះវិនិយោគចិន នៅប្រទេសកម្ពុជាវិញ គ្មានផ្តល់ការងារអ្វី ឲ្យប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរទេ ពីព្រោះវិនិយោគិនចិន គេនាំពលកររបស់គេ មកពីប្រទេសចិន ហើយប្រាក់ខែបើកឲ្យពលករបរទេសទាំងនោះ ត្រូវផ្ទេរទៅប្រទេសចិនវិញ។

សព្វដងទៀត មានការផ្ទេរបច្ចេកវិទ្យា ពីប្រទេសជឿនលឿន មកប្រទេសអន់ថយ តាមរយៈវិនិយោគ ពីប្រទេសមួយទៅប្រទេសមួយ តែចំពោះវិនិយោគចិន នៅកម្ពុជា គឺគ្មានការផ្ទេរបច្ចេកវិទ្យាអ្វីមកស្រុកយើងទេ ពីព្រោះពួកចិន គេធ្វើអ្វីៗទាំងអស់តែខ្លួនគេ ហើយគេនឹងវិលត្រឡប់ទៅស្រុកគេវិញ ក្រោយពីបញ្ចប់ការដ្ឋានរបស់គេនៅស្រុកយើង។

ពេលដែលពលករទាំងអស់ ត្រូវបាននាំមកពីប្រទេសចិន ពលករខ្មែរ មិនមានឱកាសទទួលបានការបណ្តុះបណ្តាលវិជ្ជាជីវៈអ្វីទេ ហើយស្រុកយើងក៏គ្មានឱកាសអភិវឌ្ឍធនធានមនុស្សរបស់យើងឡើយ។ លោក ហ៊ុន សែន លើកឡើងថា វិនិយោគិនចិន ត្រូវតែនាំពលកររបស់គេ ពីស្រុកចិនមកប្រទេសកម្ពុជា ពីព្រោះស្រុកយើងខ្វះធនធានមនុស្ស ហើយមិនអាចរកពលករមានជំនាញវិជ្ជាជីវៈបានទេ។ ការលើកឡើងរបស់លោក ហ៊ុន សែន បែបនេះ មានន័យថាគាត់ចង់ឲ្យប្រទេសកម្ពុជា នៅតែអន់ថយជាងគេជានិច្ចកាល ដោយស្ថិតក្នុងភាពល្ងង់ខ្លៅ ភាពក្រីក្រ និងភាពរំពឹងលើគេជានិច្ចកាល។

យើងកត់សម្គាល់ថែមទៀតថា ប្រទេសចិន ផ្តល់ជំនួយឲ្យយើងដៃម្ខាង តែដៃម្ខាងទៀតគេប្រមូលពីយើងវិញយ៉ាងសន្ធឹកសន្ធាប់ តាមរយៈសម្បទានដីធ្លី សម្បទានព្រៃឈើ និងសម្បទានរ៉ែ និងតាមរយៈកិច្ចសន្យាចំណេញកប់ក្តោង ដោយគ្មានហានិភ័យអ្វី ដោយសារមានការធានា មិនឲ្យបង់ខាត ពីរដ្ឋាភិបាលកម្ពុជា ដូចជាក្នុងវិស័យវារីអគ្គិសនី ជាដើម។

ចំពោះទេសចរណ៍ មកពីប្រទេសចិនវិញ ក៏គេមិនត្រូវការពលករ និងអាជីវករខ្មែរដែរ ពីព្រោះក្រុមហ៊ុនចិន ជាអ្នកចាត់ចែងអ្វីៗទាំងអស់ សម្រាប់ទេសចរណ៍ចិន ដែលមកទស្សនាប្រទេសកម្ពុជា។ ដូច្នេះ ប្រជារាស្ត្រខ្មែរ មិនចំណេញអ្វីពីទេសចរណ៍ចិនទេ ដែលមកស្រុកយើងភ្លូកទឹកភ្លូកដី តែប្រទេសកម្ពុជាទទួលការបង់ខាត ផ្នែកបរិស្ថាន និងសង្គម ដោយសារទេសចរណ៍បែបនេះ។

លោក ហ៊ុន សែន គាត់ត្រូវការការគាំទ្រពីប្រទេសចិន ដើម្បីជួយការពាររបបផ្តាច់ការ និងពុករលួយរបស់គាត់ ពីព្រោះប្រទេសចិន មិនគិតពីប្រជាធិបតេយ្យ សិទ្ធិមនុស្ស និងអភិបាលកិច្ចល្អទេ នៅស្រុកណាដែលគេមកវិនិយោគ។ តែចំពោះលោក ហ៊ុន សែន គាត់បង្ហាញពីកង្វះខាត ក្នុងការយល់ដឹងក្នុងវិស័យសេដ្ឋកិច្ច ហើយគាត់ក៏មិនអើពើ ពីផលប្រយោជន៍ប្រទេសកម្ពុជាឡើយ។

សម រង្ស៊ី
ប្រធានចលនាសង្គ្រោះជាតិ

(*) The Phnom Penh Post, 30 April 2018

Chinese investments in Cambodia are win-win-lose, and guess who’s the loser

By Sam Rainsy

Editor,

Following The Post’s article titled Hun Sen comes to China’s defence, praises investment and development aid (April 26), I would like to make the following remarks.

The main problem with Chinese investments is their complete lack of transparency, which favours corruption among both Chinese investors and Cambodian government officials. These investments generally consist of “win-win-lose” arrangements, with the Cambodian people being the silent loser.

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: April 8, 2018

Kono urges Hun Sen to hold fair election

Japan has spent huge money for Cambodia since 1991 to help build democracy and national institution of this country. Now, it is critical time that Japan will never give up in paralleling their efforts with the West and America to renew such endeavours. Now, time is for HS to pick a dark road or a bright road. (Quote from a facebook page)

Kono urges Hun Sen to hold fair election

Op-Ed: NHK World Asia of Japan

cambodia japan Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono has urged Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to ensure that the upcoming general election will be free and fair.

Kono and Hun Sen met on Sunday in Phnom Penh.

International observers have expressed concern about the fairness of the election scheduled for July. The Cambodian government forced the largest opposition party to disband last year.

Kono said the election should properly reflect the will of the people. He quoted Hun Sen as saying that it will be free and fair.

Later on Sunday, Kono and Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn signed a document that says Japan will provide up to roughly 90 million dollars in yen-denominated loans to help build electric power facilities in Phnom Penh.

Kono told reporters that Japan is a longtime friend of Cambodia and doesn’t want to see the Southeast Asian country facing criticism.

He said Japan will keep monitoring the situation.

Posted by: | Posted on: April 7, 2018

THE DUMPLING SHOP OWNER AT THE CENTER OF AN AUTHORITARIAN CRACKDOWN

THE DUMPLING SHOP OWNER AT THE CENTER OF AN AUTHORITARIAN CRACKDOWN

BY JUSTIN HIGGINBOTTOM

The experiment in democracy that is modern Cambodia seems to have hit a bump in the road. Actually, if Cambodian democracy were a car, it would be in a rice-field ditch and the villagers (and international observers) smelling smoke. Twenty-five years after the United Nations Transitional Authority ended its stewardship of the country, and despite having a new constitution, years of relatively free elections and billions of dollars in foreign aid, residents are effectively living under single-party rule. The question on people’s minds is what comes next — a tow truck or an explosion.

One interested observer is Sin Rozeth. The 34-year-old former commune chief and once rising political star was given the same choice as other members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party: defect to another party (preferably the ruling Cambodian People’s Party) or get out of politics. Rozeth chose the latter — she opened a dumpling restaurant in her old stomping grounds after the CNRP was forcibly dissolved in November — while looking for a way forward in the face of Cambodia’s increasingly totalitarian environment.

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Sin Rozeth is among those stars of 2007 elect-commune councils who have been speaking the language of bottom line people of Cambodia. They are working as the underdogs to reflect and reduce the autocrats and their children of family elites. Like Rozeth, other young politicians such as Chin Sok Ngeng (Siem Reap) Mao Phally (Kampong Chhnang) Siek Chamnab (Siem Reap), just mention a few, they are the future leader, the catalyst of change, and the agent of change, for Cambodia.

Sin Rozeth is among those stars of 2007 elect-commune councils who have been speaking the language of bottom line people of Cambodia. They are working as the underdogs to reflect and reduce the autocrats and the children of family elites. Like Rozeth, other young politicians such as Chin Sok Ngeng (Siem Reap),
Mao Phally (Kampong Chhnang),
Siek Chamnab (Siem Reap), just mention a few, they are the future leader, the catalyst of change, and the agent of change, for Cambodia.

Rozeth opened a restaurant to support her mother, and to make up for the loss of her meager public salary. But her accusers say it’s a front for illegal political activities. “If this restaurant is used as a place to gather fire, it is really dangerous for Rozeth and it should not be tolerated,” Chheang Vun, a ruling party lawmaker, posted on Facebook. In response to claims that she’s harboring “rebels,” Rozeth hung a banner outside: “Rozeth’s shop welcomes all guests, but not rebels.” The tongue-in-cheek gesture earned her a reprimand by the city governor, who warned that using such language could damage the kingdom’s reputation. Rozeth says she feels threatened by the ongoing harassment, and a group of former CNRP members sent letters to several international bodies, including the United Nations Human Rights Committee, seeking help in pressuring the government to stop the “bullying.”

In the short term, at least, one-party rule will continue in Cambodia, says Sophal Ear, professor of diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College. And mounting new opposition will be difficult. ”It’s like razing an old grove forest,” he explains. “You’re not going to get 100-year-old trees. You’ll have young trees, and they’ll be easy to bulldoze if they get too strong.” National elections are scheduled for this summer, and it’s unclear whether CNRP’s former supporters will turn toward another party or abstain from voting, says Sinthay Neb, director of the Advocacy and Policy Institute in Phnom Penh. Whatever happens, he believes the best way forward is for both sides to meet and work together — however unlikely.

For now, Rozeth refuses to give up: “As long as one still has breath, there is still hope for democracy.” She stays busy traveling to villages to perform charity work (this too, she says, is closely monitored). And she helps people who come to her shop, even if it’s only for a good meal.

Before I leave the noodle shop — which has filled with the evening crowd — I take a few photographs of the owner. Other patrons notice and pull out their phones. Seems they all want a selfie with the politician turned restaurateur now under fire.

Continue to read this whole article at OZY…