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Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 82
This part (82), Mr. Sophan described the non-stopped “rebellious behaviour” of Cambodian people to against those mischief behaviour, corrupt, and dictator leaders. The struggles of Cambodian people to call for both domestic social justice cultivation and foreigner occupation have emerged since the colonial era.
Historically, Cambodian people stood up to protest against Kings, Colonist, and Leaders, especially all occasions of occurring social injustices. Recalling the umbrella war led by Bhikkhu monks, the Somlot uprising, 1998 and 2013 protest against election fraud, to mention a few, all are anatomy of courageous and rebellious Cambodian people. Thus, the assumption French colonial looked down on Cambodian people as weak, submissive, peaceful, and fearful citizens, have been vehemently wrong.
Just during the power span of Prime Minister Hun Sen, several protests have risen up and each protest has been visible in its gradual strength and solidified. The last largest protest in 2013 is a sign for Prime Minister Hun Sen to consider lowering down his leadership style of authoritarianism.
But the style has seems unchanged and sometime more severe into building up people enemy. Arresting political activists and civil society staffs to put in jail is not a good exit way to reduce people rebel. Non-stopped humiliating on grassroots peaceful demonstrators such as the land rights activists and human rights activists through allowing third hands personnel to beat, to bleed and to harass those demonstrators with shielding them from legal conviction, or act as state-sponsorship violence, shall create more outrage sentiment towards from the Cambodian people towards Prime Minister Hun Sen. The clear injustice judiciary system shall also encourage people to unite for their forever struggling cause.
Reading view of French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault urged Cambodia to pursue governance that respects the rule of law, multiparty democracy and human rights as well as paper produced by Lok Sivhuoch and Joakim, and Phnom Penh Post, Paris Peace Agreement has been used to advance rule by law or rule by man, not rule of law, at all.
- Government-led party CPP has not framed PPA as its core policy to produce great legacy for its effort in nation-state building at all. Sometime, the party valued it, but sometime not, and sometime take it half by leaving other half to limbo. Today, MOFAIC has taken great initiative to commemorate the day of this 25 years anniversary while the implementation especially from PM’s Cabinet is widely in contrast.
- Minister Prak Sokhon stressed that PPA has already been inscribed within the Constitution. With this argument, I believe, government is testing the ingenuity of the agreement rather than opening heart to expand the spirit of PPA. This matter, I am wondering why the party is regressing PPA?
- PPA’s goal is to bring about sustainable development, in which it is in contrast to PM’s view as well as view of head of government’s HRC, to maintain Cambodia in a pace of peace so that this country can build human rights. I think this argument is absolutely regressing PPA’s spirit and politicians are lying to themselves in front of well-informed citizens.
- Not to mention many loopholes to uphold PPA, the National Election Body which is a key factor to guarantee democracy and will of the people, the NEC that was created since 1998 and afterward, has been absolutely viewed as unprofessional, exclusive and controlled by the government-led party. Thus, I am concerned on CPP’s policy to exclude diaspora Cambodians by banning them from joining the elections. This effort is contradictory to the 1993 election monitored by UNTAC which allowed voters registration and voting participation of diasporic Cambodians.
This link is very extensive articulation on Paris Peace Agreement that readers should learn something new.
Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 81
This part (81), broadcasted on Sunday and Monday of October 9-10, 2016, Mr. Sophan described the two important events: the official visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the pausing of going back to parliament of CNRP law-makers.
According to observers, China’s foreign policy is depending on non-interference package and tight relationship shall happen in between state and state primarily. Thus, the core issue on people favourite and disfavourit towards their leader(s), has also taken into consideration for China’s leadership. Best friendship that China has viewed on Cambodia is through lens of supporting China’s core policy such as one-China state policy by disregarding Taiwan, bilateral solution regarding schemes on Sprately islands, and natural resources investment in Cambodia. Thus, China shall not pay much attention the attempt of Vietnam’s influence to maintain its status quo towards its clientele, CPP and Hun Sen leadership.
CNRP decided to postpone the parliamentary meeting is taking into understanding of vital threat by Hun Sen’s leadership that cannot protect the law-makers. Hun Sen’s attempt to intimidate CNRP’s law-makers through direct physical abusing and indirect messaging is to test the people power of Cambodia especially the half of total Cambodian population who voted for the CNRP. More than this, the postpone shall impact bad image on Hun Sen’s attempt to ensure his strong power base while Xi Jinping is coming to shake his hand.
Overall, China’s leadership with Cambodia is to maintain its traditional tie between the two country established during the King Norodom Sihanouk rather than between China and Hun Sen as well as his CPP party.
Comments: According to news outlets and Cambodian netizens, the official visit of President Xi Jinping during this 13 October 2016 has triggered different opinions and reactions. According to Pseng Pseng by Ung B.A blogs titling “Hun Sen serves two masters well“, disclosing sensitive troops mobilizing of Vietnamese government into Cambodia soil at least during two critical events: during the clash between Cambodia and Thailand, and the election result in 2013 possibly leading to the loss of power of Hun Sen. If the news of this direct receiving from inner circle is relevant, it is also not unusual for intelligence from both USA and China, but the international relations means too much on how they can absorb interests for their nations, not the movements inside that nation, and they has always closed eyes not to see someone is raping Cambodia or enjoying with the raping moment indisputably. For Cambodia as a victim by such brutal raping, only dictatorship leader(s) and self-interest passionate individual(s), could ignore or neglect this raping action. During Xi’s visit, researchers and analysts have predicted its momentum by China’s firm policy to gain support from Cambodia’s stance on 1. China’s one state policy, 2. China’s approach to bilateral solution on Spratley dispute, and 3. lucrative natural resources investments in Cambodia. Xi shall observe from his own eyes on Cambodia’s genuine attitude towards China and power base of Hun Sen leadership. For this visit, CNRP must play its vital role to adjudicate and articulate its leadership and disclosing long term policy so that this party can negotiate and draw support from Xi Jinping. Pragmatically, Xi’s visit this time is to ascertain that his view on Cambodian people’s mindset has already shied away from his former patron or not?
China and Cambodia: Good Neighbors and Trusted Friends
President of the People’s Republic of China
At the invitation of King Norodom Sihamoni, I will pay a state visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia. This will be my first visit to Cambodia as the President of China, a visit I look forward to with great anticipation.
Cambodia, an important link on the ancient Maritime Silk Road, is renowned for its rich history and the unique Khmer culture. The Angkor Wat, with its magnificent architecture and stunning bas-reliefs, stands as a true tribute to the talent of the Cambodian people and shines in the annals of human civilization. Entering the 21st century, Cambodia has made much progress in development and delivered a better life to its people. It is heading towards a promising future.
China and Cambodia are geographically and culturally close to each other, and our friendly exchanges trace back to more than a millennium ago. Through the ancient Maritime Silk Road, Chinese porcelain and lacquer wares were brought to Cambodia, and Cambodian spices and yellow wax stones were sent to China. The bas-reliefs of the Bayon Temple vividly depict the scenes of Chinese merchants trading with the locals in Cambodia. During China’s Southern and Northern Dynasties in the fifth and sixth centuries, Sanghapãla, Mandrasena and Subhūti, three eminent Cambodian monks, came to disseminate Buddhism in China. In China’s Yuan Dynasty, Zhou Daguan, a Chinese envoy, visited Cambodia. He later wrote The Customs of Cambodia, giving a vivid account of the local customs in Angkor and the friendly interactions between Chinese and Cambodians. Zheng He, the famous navigator of China’s Ming Dynasty, made numerous stopovers in Cambodia on his voyages. He described Cambodia as a land with warm climate and fertile fields where the locals boiled seawater to make salt and had colorful customs. The Sam Po Kong Temple in the suburb of Kampong Cham that honors Zheng He, still has many visitors today, testifying to the time-honored friendship between the Chinese and Cambodians.
A Cambodian proverb likens trust to the growth of a tree. The traditional China-Cambodia friendship, tested by times and changing international landscape, has grown strong like a luxuriant tree thanks to efforts made by past leaders of both countries. In 1958, China and Cambodia established diplomatic ties, opening a new chapter in their bilateral relations. Over the past 58 years, successive leaders of both countries have maintained close interactions and developed a close bond of friendship. King Father Sihanouk once fondly said that China-Cambodia friendship is like a flower that never withers and will always blossom under the bright sky. His words aptly depict China-Cambodia friendship.
Entering the new era, China-Cambodia friendship has continued to flourish, beaming with new vitality. Our two countries enjoy deep political mutual trust and win-win economic cooperation. We have
carried out fruitful cooperation in various areas, and maintained close consultation and coordination in international and regional affairs, setting an example of how two countries should treat each other as equals and cooperate with all sincerity.
In 2010, China and Cambodia established comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, ushering their ties into a new era. We share similar development philosophy, and we agree to enhance complementarity between China’s “Belt and Road” initiative and Cambodia’s “Rectangular Strategy”. Two-way trade and investment have maintained strong growth in recent years. China has been Cambodia’s biggest trading partner and source of investment for three years. The year of 2015 saw our two-way trade topping US$4.4 billion.
Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 80
This part (80), Mr. Sophan is recalling the importance of Bon Pchum Ben during this festival sessional period. As a reminding, Cambodian Buddhists who are offering foods to Bhikkhu monks aiming to dedicate merits to those passed away ancestors, should reflect on themselves on how they are living with those blessing such as “may they be happy, and end of suffering”. By such self-reflection, the Cambodian people will see their own livelihood and uncontested sufferings in present society.
Pragmatically, we could not endorse happiness to those deads if we have not accumulated happiness in the present livelihood.
Also, the offering of food signifies wealth and material, while the offering of knowledge (Dhamma) shall yield more fruitful results to all Cambodian people.
- Bhikkhu monks should preach in short and interact more (answering the questions and doubts) with audience in details and long.
- Dhamma attendants especially those seniors must play role model by listing to deepen knowledge and increase wisdom rather than such shallow believing in gaining merits from listening.
- All Bhikkhu monk preachers should pass training of “preaching courses” at the minimum.
- The dedication of merits to the death is important paralleling with the living.
- The most meritorious deeds are the respect of human rights and freedom of expression in society.
Op-Ed: The Phnom Penh Post
The CPP loyalist’s guide to success
Seang Kosal was “sleeping” on the job, Interior Minister Sar Kheng thundered in April last year after a crime wave involving robberies, stabbings and shootings swept through Sihanoukville.
A little over nine months after his appointment as police chief of the coastal province, Kosal was ousted, “transferred to the ministry”, and appointed as deputy director of the tourism police department.
His fate is far from unique.
Government insiders and observers alike say that the Cambodian People’s Party, which built and maintains an iron grip on the state apparatus, has its own system for dealing with mistakes, be they real, perceived or political.
Public officials are rarely formally disciplined or fired, sometimes despite serious allegations of misconduct, incompetence or corruption.
Those who displease their superiors publicly, or who fall out of favour privately, instead find themselves transferred to bureaucratic backwaters where, out of the limelight, they stay loyal and wait for redemption.
“The party always allows people to make mistakes, but the leadership, they take the opportunity to see how you respond,” said one long-time observer.
“They move you to an inactive post, and you learn how to watch and wait . . . as long as you don’t go to another party, go out and talk badly, or take revenge, you can be sure that at the right time, with the right envelopes to the right people, you will come back.”
Efforts by the Post to track down Kosal in recent weeks and establish the responsibilities of his new job, or whether he still held the job, proved difficult. His boss, head of the tourism police Som Siyan, said the former police chief was still employed as a deputy and “responsible for several provinces”.
Reached by phone yesterday, Kosal, however, said he was “retired” and hung up.
Kicking the wind, reading the newspaper
Two expressions are used to describe an official on the outs, a Ministry of Defence official recently told the Post. A person relegated to the blacklist is said to be “kicking the wind”, or “kicking the air” – both which mean unemployed – or he is said to be “reading the newspaper”.
“Working at the ministry [for them] is just like going to read the newspaper,” the source, who requested anonymity, explained. “You go to work but don’t do any work.”
Ministries have long been haunted by “ghost workers” – bureaucrats on the books but not at their desks. Within his department, the source estimated that just 20 percent of employees could be considered “active workers”.
He said that to rise in the Ministry of Defence, loyalty to the commander must be absolute. Visible shows of support and, in particular, raising funds for the boss to contribute to the party are the best way to secure a promotion.
Those who don’t show loyalty or who upset their superior are “blacklisted” – excluded from tasks and unable to rise.
Professional stagnation is not necessarily a bad thing, though, and can be particularly suitable for those with businesses or jobs on the side, he saidBut for those who have a genuine desire to work honestly, any spirit of public service is quickly crushed.
“There are only two options: be loyal to your commander and be promoted, or don’t and get frustrated,” he said. “A person who is hardworking and honest, the system changes them.”
Behind closed doors, said a consultant who works with the government and who has extensive knowledge of the party, three factors regulate an official’s conduct: their ability to do their job, contributions to the party and the influence of their patron. The latter he called “the most important”.
“You might not contribute a lot to the party, but you really make your boss rich,” the consultant said. “When you put these together, you can see why some incompetent people keep their jobs and others are kicked out easily.”
A Justice Ministry official told the Post simply being suspected of making a mistake – perhaps of supporting the opposition party – might see you ostracised, though not necessarily transferred.
“Sometimes they transfer you from one position to another, but sometimes he or she will be isolated from their area of responsibility,” said the anonymous official.
“They will be pushed out, and someone will replace them. They still have the position, but someone else does it for them. And then eventually he’s outside. It’s sort of like mental torture.”
Sebastian Strangio, author of Hun Sen’s Cambodia, says exiling officials to “patronage Siberia” is a way for the CPP to balance its obligations as a state and its stability as a party. It provides “effective discipline” but keeps officials “in the fold”, leaving the underlying patronage system intact.
“The entire party-state apparatus is made up of a complex mesh of personal dependencies, which gives Cambodian politics something of the quality of a game of Snakes and Ladders,” Strangio said.
“People can rise on a whim and fall on a suspicion. How far an individual falls is of course dependent on an ever-shifting equation of power among and between the top brass. No individual is ever entirely safe.”
Such was the lesson learned by Ty Sokhun when he was ousted as Forestry Administration director-general in 2010 amid criticism from Hun Sen for failing to stop illegal logging.
“Consider this a life lesson to try to work harder,” the premier at the time told the official, who has since been promoted to a secretary of state and yesterday hung up on a reporter.
Unsurprisingly, no mention was made of the 2007 Global Witness report that implicated the FA and members of Hun Sen’s family in a timber smuggling racket and accused Sokhun and then-minister for Agriculture Chan Sarun of selling more than 500 jobs within the body.
Sokhun’s fall, recalled veteran Cambodia-based environmental activist Marcus Hardtke, also bore a striking resemblance to Sarun’s own ousting from chief of the FA more than decade before, after which he climbed back up to become minister.