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One of the greatest political leaders in Cambodia history is King Jayavarman II (802-835). Archaeology scholars agreed that King Jayavarman II was abducted by Java or Sailendra Kingdom (present Indonesia+Malaysia) during their occupation in Cambodia. During that time, the weakness was caused by the dividing of lower Chenla and upper Chenla, and during this conflict, Sailenda King probably attacked, controlled and evacuated all Cambodian monarchy clans to their country. However, when he grew up, King Jayavarman II is believed to sneak into his motherland to lead a struggle to claim back this territory, re-build infrastructure and establish political institution.
While the Kingdom was in crisis, King Jayavarman II was not only challenging with the foreign occupation, Sailendra, but his majesty also faced with many dividing fractions throughout the Kingdom. There were many echelons falsified their kingship or claimed to be supreme leaders in different locations. Seeing this, the young prince whose kingship is inherited from previous dynasties anchored his leadership in Indrapura. George Coedes wrote that Indrapura is present Thbong Khmum of Kompong Cham (or Thbong Khmum province as single party parliament of Cambodia recently ratified it). In that place, there were many clergies and Brahmans recognized his kingship and his leadership crusading for independence and national unity.
King Jayavarman II is considered the first prince who set up journey throughout Cambodia to propagate his leadership of unity and independence (great Chinese leader Mao was also making the longest trip throughout China to call for unification for the complete establishment of communism).
Sdok Kok Thom inscription that provides detail on the leadership of the King Jayavarman II and the lineages of all Khmer Kings during pre-Angkorean and Angkorean period, described that King Jayavarman II, under the scholarship advisory of Sivakaivalya, departed from Indrapura with his family members, army and educators to head towards Tonle Sab Lake, with the intention of advocating for national solidarity, site searching for strategic areas to build capital city and to universally proclaim suzerainty from Java. Then, his majesty stopped by at Bhavapura; he established Hariharalaya, Amarendrapura and Mahendraparvata or Phnom Kulen eventually.
At Phnom Kulen, Rong Chen temple as evidence, the King proclaimed sovereignty independence from Java completely with the installation of independent symbol of Siva Linga named “Devaraja” or “God-King” or “Maharaja” or “Chakravatin” or “Universal Monarch”.
ESTABLISHING EFFECTIVE POLITICAL INSTITUTION
Part of socio-political policy, the King created the effective political institution named “Devaraja”. This style of political leadership was part of the effort to combine between Khmer leadership with the Indian cult of governance. Sivakaivalya who was comprehensive in value, norm, attitude and behavior of Cambodian people invited Indian Brahman named Hiranyadhamma to conduct a ritual according to the sacred of Vinasikha and established the Lord of the Universe or Devaraja. Further to the existing of Khmer leadership, Brahman Hiranyadhamma also taught the King and his political councils the knowledge of the Vinasikha, the Nayottara, the Sammoha, and the Siraccheda.
The creation of this political institution is the masterpiece of paving strong foundation for Cambodia of its uncontested advancement in centuries later. The institution itself doesn’t solely articulate the personal supremacy as many researchers have said about “Devaraja”, of course, the cult is to institutionalize the righteousness or the Dhamma or the rule of law which is the constitution of the nation. As the King Jayavarman II passed away after his reign of 48 years, the principles of this establishment have been implemented by the successor Kings continuously.
The leadership of King Jayavarman II mainly concentrated on agriculture and fishing. His intention to move from Thbong Khmum to Siem Reap is significantly to look for fertile land to grow rice as well as to catch fish from this rich fresh water Tonle Sab Lake.
Many young generations of monarch inherited from King Jayavarman II never gave up this place. Nowadays, the lands surrounding Rolous and Angkor area are still greenery of rice stalk and rich natural resources.
EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE
The study of different levels of leadership from those scriptures had passed from generations to generations. The new coming leaders such as Yasovarman, Suriyavarman VI, Suriyavarman II and Jayavarman VII etc. has followed this knowledge of leadership and developed it respectively.
Installing the sacred Linga on the top of Phnom Kulen was revered by all Khmer leaders and people in late centuries. The waterfall pumped up from the top of this mountain run through different villages and thousand hectares of rice paddy. People used this water to drink and to cure diseases.
It is invaluable for all Cambodian leaders to look back to the past on how those ancient Khmer leaders can build this great empire? Sometime their works started from scratch, sometime their works started from internal division, sometime their works started from foreign invasion etc. Their political leadership is to put national interest first, not their personal family or clan first. King Jayavarman II projected his political leadership for long term survival of Cambodia. Put aside the greatness of Khmer leaders during the Angkor Empire, King Ang Duong initiated his political leadership in the same manner of that King Jayavarman II and his successor such as King Sisowat facilitated diligent leadership to remain Cambodia existence from Siam and Dai Viet until nowadays.
All Cambodian leaders must recite one stanza that “life is sooner perished but nation is eternalized. If one has failed their leadership to protect the interest of the nation, the bad consequence will fall up on them eternally”.
Last 27 December 2014, Cambodian people were astonished to see and hear Prime Minister Hun Sen talked in Vietnamese to the professional audience of Vietnam during his visit in Vietnam by the invitation of Vietnamese leader in Hanoi. This is first time that Cambodian people see their leader used foreign language to communicate with people in country he is visiting. By international protocol, he is unprofessional to speak country-host’s language and the meaning of his speech tended to pay unusual gratitude about the past political crisis Vietnam involved in the post-cold war politics in Cambodia. The fact of the story is still very murky on the legitimate action of Vietnam over Cambodia, that murkiness prohibits a top leader from an independent country to pay direct gratitude to another country, beside of respecting and paying gratitude to their own citizens.
His Vietnamese phonology has actually triggered obscure mixture of feeling of Cambodian people. Vietnam has been seen for historical enmity with Cambodian people through their domination policy named Southward and Westward expansion. The feeling of enmity is also caused by historical encroachments on the Cambodian lands such as Prey Nokor and Kampuchea Krom, the current human rights scheme towards the Khmer Kampuchea Krom or Khmer ethnic population in Southern part, and the close yet skeptical relationship with incumbent Cambodian government whom Vietnam installed to power during its political scheme to attack Khmer Rough in 7 January 1979.
Why International Leviathan?
The international leviathan here driven by the concept of political Leviathan of Thomas Hobbs. Vietnam is considered the Leviathan by Cambodians and many Khmer leaders. Those called Vietnamese leadership in different names such as crocodile, giant or imperialist. During the visit of naturalist Henri Mouhot in Cambodian capital city of Udong during 1859, he mentioned there were many servants from Annamites region whose behavior was different from other mainstream savages. For David Chandler, the records illustrated the Vietnamese imperial(s) looked down on Khmer citizens by stereotyped them as wild, uncivilized and uneducated. During the post-cold war, Vietnam equipped with strong ambition to expand Southward and Westward. It is Vietnamese’s pride to be able to tame Cham leadership and to subjugate this Kingdom eventually. By defeating the French colony at Dien Bien Phu, the pride of nationalism and expansionism embedded strongly in the mindset of their warriors. Although, there were rift and great division between North and South, the aura of marriage between China and Russia to back Vietnam in confronting with the US; Vietnam received sufficient surplus to unify North and South (former Khmer land) and further looked into the West to maintain the legacy of expansionism, the success and the mindset of imperial leadership. Dream of Vietnamese leader, Ho Chi Minh, is to influence over Laos and Cambodia (former member states of Indochina Federation of French) in hope to take over, to control and to build base for the spreading of communism in this Southeast Asian peninsula. And the by-product from this ideology spreading is able to maintain “the legacy of expansionism” at the same time.
“All the palaces and pagodas which you see from here have been built in one year since my return from Siam: in another year all will be finished. Formerly Cambodia was very extensive; but the Annamites have deprived us of many province.”
“Sir, the time has arrived for you to retake them. The French are assailing them on one side; do you attack them on the other.” His Majesty did not reply, but offered me a cigar, and inquired my age.
“I am twenty-three,” he said to me. “I recognize you; you were at Siam with M. de Montigny.”
“No, sir; your Majesty is mistaken. I have only been in Siam a twelvemonth.”
By Henri Mouhot “Travel in Siam, Cambodia, Laos, and Annam”, White Lotus Press, page 149, printed in 2000
The inconvenient state visit: inconvenient host vs inconvenient visitor
Personally, I am so surprised to hear and see his leadership at the international stage especially in Vietnam. His Vietnamese language is not that bad and some facebookers said he can speak Hanoi accent very fluently. Accent of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city is very different from each other. Some friends told me that it is like Thai and Lao accent. If it is true, I think it is very different and very much in the domination of language users. But his showing ability and official visiting is very idiosyncratic as his home country is having problems particularly the problems of people power demonstrating about the vast fraud of national election, to request for the re-election, and to request him to step down from power in order to ensure democracy development. Many assumptions are thought, but these two things are most considerable:
The Challenge of the International Leviathan
Now, the policy of Southward reaching is deems successful but the Westward reaching is deems uncertain. The high respect and expression of esteem on the Vietnamese soldiers who helped wage war in Cambodia especially to change the course of Khmer Rough leadership, absolutely provide incredible value and pride of Vietnamese warriors and people viewers nationwide. The thought of hope from those viewers will give much credits to their incumbent leadership in which many Vietnamese are believed to against them by seeing their communist approach has been deteriorating their life of dignity. And this stage also tells us the failure of the primary attempt to install lasting denomination within this country. The cause of failure arises from both international change of geo-strategy, democracy of poeple-oriented power and demography.
According to sampling of Dr. Lao Mong Hay, Cambodia is factually under the power thirst from China, US (its allies) and Vietnam. It is interesting that previous Vietnam’s policy especially before the Khmer Rouge, it was only Vietnam and US. But after China discomforted with Vietnamese invasion over Cambodia, Vietnam tends to compromise with China in the same time associating with US and Russia. In the regional ASEAN, this new emergent regional body tends to recognize strength of each country more than illegal Indo-China Federation mindset.
However, locally speaking, Vietnam has exercised full leverage within Cambodia land under its installing bureaucrats. Hun Sen leadership and his party is well known for the not-home-made political organization. Without Vietnam, this party cannot last today. There are undeniable evidences indicating Vietnamese leadership has explicitly helped and exploited this party. For instance, the creation of two prime ministers during the UNs-sponsored election in 1993 and the coup detat in 1997 was seen backed by Vietnam; and for the additional supplemental border treaty in 2005 was seen Vietnam exploited their former friend. All these facts have made China and US headache a lot. But it is not safe for Cambodia as well while China and US is likely unsure on their fraternal relationship as well.
What shall Cambodians do next?
Khmer proverb reminds us that “unity is power”, and Khmer Buddhists remember clearly on the teaching that: “no one save us, we are our own savior”. Locally speaking, the election on the July 28, 2013 triggered huge optimism for Cambodia to be saved by its own Cambodian people. By individuals, Cambodian youths are representing 60% of the total population. Those youths are not entrapped by past trauma or political submission, or they are not easily manipulated by mainstream media such as TVs, Radios or print media. They are grown up in the age of mobile phone, iPhone, iPad, Tablet and facebook. Their new findings on those new media provide them sufficient tool to confront with all manipulative agenda. The effort of the UNs in building Cambodia institutions such as Monarchy, Assembly, Judiciary and Executive with the control of arm-force branch, has resulted in hopelessness for Cambodian people. But the effort of the UNs in helping to create national constitution has been helpful in continuing interpretation to end all unconstitutional political behaviors.
Thus, the new occurrance of mushrooming capable youths, NGOs and political party particularly CNRP, provide us a lot space and hope, if this party is not negligent in its principles, to overcome all the International Leviathan(s).
Buddhism and Human Rights is inseparable. There are many times, many places and many events that Lord Buddha preached on non-violence, tolerance and compassion. Human rights declared by the United Nations is the universal rights to all human beings. The UN’s charter considers human rights as the most important pillar comparing to other provisions adopted by this new world body in encountering human problems. But Lord Buddha advocated beyond human dimension by introducing the respect of animal rights and natural rights. The UNs might experience difficulty in handling with animal and natural rights while the literal meaning of rights itself has invoked controversy and implementability.
Buddhism and Human Rights
Many studies and literature found the life of Buddha, his teaching and his Sangha community have collectively worked towards the safeguarding of human rights. Buddha himself was born in the forest, he enlightened in the forest and passed away (Parinibbana) in the forest. When he was a young prince, he saved life of a swan which was shot by his relative named Devadatta. His teaching significantly articulated Sila or precepts or code of conduct to instill self-discipline and avoiding violating or harming on others as the preliminary discourse, or it is Vinaya in the Tipitaka that all members of the Sangha (Bhikkhu, Bhikkhuni, Upasaka and Upaseka) must undertake. And by this undertaking, the members of the Sangha can empower the pathway to practice deeper and more fruitful level of attainment such as Dhamma discourse, Vipassana meditation and Abhidhamma. The Sangha community is the model of human community expressing the respect of human rights by observing different precepts such as Five Precepts, Eight Precepts, Ten Precepts and Four Precepts etc. Among those precepts, Five Precepts are fundamental for all human beings to observe in order to fully defend self well-being and the well-being of others.
- First precept of human rights is to avoid all types of physical abuses such as beating, injuring, killing and destroying lives of others, by undertaking loving-kindness and compassion towards all beings.
- Second precept of human rights is to avoid stealing or commit bribing/corrupting in a society, by undertaking self-restrain of greed and project a life of right livelihood.
- Third precept of human rights is to avoid committing sexual misconduct such as raping and dishonesting one’s own partner, by undertaking self-restrain of sexual craving and be honest or enjoying only the married partner.
- Fourth precept of human rights is to avoid telling lie, using slandering words, idle talk and back-biting talk, by undertaking trustworthy speech, harmonious language and useful words.
- Fifth precept of human rights is to avoid alcoholically addicting or using of addictive drugs, by undertaking mindfulness and mental stillness.
Why December 10?
Human Rights Day was universally declared by the United Nations on December 10th, 1950 to the attention of the people of the world, it is the universal human rights declaration that human beings must be able to achieve. The day is probably part of the reflection of the proxy war as well as the world division during the WW1 and WW2. Otherwise, the corporation of the new world order has been garnered by many scholars and movements around the world. The establishment of the UNs is among those pragmatism and idealism. More than this, the coming of Enlightenment era jumped up from the dark era as it is called the age of human endeavor.
Cambodia and the Human Rights Day
It is the national holiday and it has been present in this country probably since the country was become the permanent member of the United Nations. Cambodia has to abide by many stipulates it has signed including the strengthening the rule of law, democracy, and the respect of human rights.
This year, civil society has fully performed their duty to advocate the respect of human rights at the grassroots level by making five different Dhamma and Sithi Marches from different five directions. The marches have begun on December 1st from remote provinces heading towards Phnom Penh via national road number #1, #3, #4, #5, and #6. The marches are led by Buddhist monks who are reverent by the people and bystanders. The people offer food and financial support in exchanging for merits, Dhamma enlightenment and blessing from the monks. There are many grassroots people were preached on the meaning of human rights, participated with the marches and provided both mental and material support. But there are many temples and places that local authority tried to obstruct the marches and sometime the marches leadership and participants must block the road in handling with the local authority.
The theme of human rights day this year (10 December 2013)
Cambodian civil society has titled “No Justice, No Peace or Solidify to Fight Against Social Injustice” as their main theme this year, the CNRP called for the public attention of: “people rights to elect the capable leader”, while CPP celebrated human rights day on their theme of: “December 2nd is the significant day to liberate Cambodia from the Khmer Rouge or celebrating this day strengthening the respect of human rights”. Note that this year is the remarkable year that CPP celebrated “Human Rights Day”. For the United Nations, this year is the 20th commemoration of the 20 years working for your rights. UN-Secretary general Ban Ki-moon said: ”As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, let us intensify our efforts to fulfill our collective responsibility to promote and protect the rights and dignity of all people everywhere.”
The politics of Human Rights Day
Human rights day this year in Cambodia has become outstanding comparing to previous years. The 10 days preparation of Dhamma marches by the civil society is seen outstandingly. The new strongest emergent Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) shall organize peaceful mass demonstration in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap for the commemoration of this day is seen very much significant. But it has been rare for the Cambodian People Party (CPP) which is the government-led party will also commemorate this day, and this party has used this day for the political advantage by marching December 2 to that of December 10 of the Human Rights Day. December 2nd, according to the CPP, it is the birth of this party in order to finish the terror regime of Pol Pot. But many scholars and observers have remarked this attempt as the hidden agenda of Vietnamese influence over CPP. According to those observers, the December 2nd which is the date of the creation of the CPP, Vietnam solely created this party in order to achieve its goal of playing political hegemony over Cambodia. First Vietnam helped the Khmer Rouge to power. Second Vietnam helped the CPP to topple the Khmer Rouge in reprisal. The people of the Khmer Rouge and the people of the CPP have been coming from the same root per se.
What will you do next?
Buddha preached that: “Silena Sukhatena Yanti, Silena Phokhasomphada, Silena Nipputena Yanti, Tasma Silam, Visodhaye” or literally means “Precepts or human rights shall bring us happiness, shall bring us the wealth, shall bring us to Nibbana; so everyone must undertake the five precept or human rights attentively and heedfully”.
Parenting is one of the important courses that all parents must not miss it.
Buddha said “parents are the primary teachers of all students”. With this regard, how many Cambodian parents are aware they are the primary teachers, they are aware that they must raise their children like teacher and student? Talking about teachers, they must possess teaching pedagogy. Has any school in Cambodia run a program called “parenting pedagogy”? I do hope that all Cambodian parents must be properly trained in “Parenting Ability”.
Parenting starts with its two principles: using discipline and avoiding the use of punishment such as yelling at, scolding, spanking, wiping or beating etc. in raising children. Discipline approaches are started by having parents are playing role model for them, having parents use the method of few warnings first before timing out, having parents praise and encourage them more than blaming or criticizing them, having parents playing with them diligently through “learning by playing”, having parents that listen to children longer and more often than forcing children to listen to them, and having parents engage with them in solving the problems rather than pushing them to handle problems alone etc.
Parenting courses have been endorsed by many civilized countries. In Canada, the government spent a lot money to operate parents-children policy. They open Family and Children Service Offices at every commune and section of the municipality. Schooling cannot happen only at the kindergarten or primary school. Schooling means parents must possess sufficient tool to lead by role model to children and understand how to raise children in a proper way. Schooling means free time at home, children can watch their favorite cartoons on TV channel that encourage children to work in a team, to be bravery, to solve basic problems, to love themselves, friends and neighbors, to nurture birds and nature, to love reading, to conduct physical exercising and be aware in hygiene etc.
When parents are equipped by parenting leadership, children are also equipped by younger generation leadership. The word of Lord Buddha on “Parents are the former or primary teachers” are truly practicing in modern world and all parents must follow the teaching by developing themselves on the pedagogical parenting.
By Sophan Seng
Today marks historical event for Cambodia while the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague of Holand interpreted the verdict of the Preah Vihear issue of June 15, 1962 again as this temple is belong to Cambodia, not Thailand. On this November 11, 2013, the court affirmed its stand again. Cambodian people from all strata including the politicians are happily cheering to this judgement. The most cheering politicians are Prime Minister, adviser(s) to Premier and the spokesperson of the government (listened from RFI and VOA).
For online group debate such as CAN and Campro, the members shared different aspects on the judgement. Reading the original document of the judgement, the court declared the Temple belongs to Cambodia while the document doesn’t elaborate or clarify the contested surrounding area or vicinity of 4.6 km square land parcel. The court termed “promontory” or means “a narrow area of high land that sticks out into the sea” in its written judgement. For Cambodia, the mentioned 4.6 km square is not mentioned in its legal contesting at all. Cambodia has never said or termed such 4.6 km square; Cambodia has seriously referred legal contesting to the Map or the Annex 1 Map, according to Phay Siphan, the spokesperson on Hello VOA today. After the court released its judgement, the editor of ThaiPBS Sermsuk says Thailand has lost 1-2 sq km around temple NOT 4.6 sq km (link).
The interpretation conundrum might rest within a sloppy trail as individual Cambodian and Thai will have their say and their vocal opinion.
However, the adjudication of the court has already been impregnably uncontested. When all parties discussed on those long standing legal and technical aspects in front of the judge(s), the conclusion to this final decision has already covered all those filing documents and arguments. This interpretation is different from the judgement on the June 15, 1962 as the addendum of documents and arguments have already been warrant from all concerned and contested parties. So the judgement in this time adjudicated all legal compositions and ascended into mission-fulfilled legal attainment. The temple, the surrounding, the vicinity or the promontory etc., all belong to Cambodia.