Culture of Dialogue

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Posted by: | Posted on: October 22, 2015

Cambodia – Fractured politics and a culture of monologue

The genesis of the culture of dialogue was the close-run 2013 general election when Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) came within a few hundred thousand votes (in an electorate of nearly 10 million) of losing the popular ballot to Rainsy’s CNRP.

With a youthful population tired of the cronyism, poor services and lack of opportunities available to them under a CPP government – and unreceptive to the ruling party’s mantra that it brought peace to Cambodia by defeating the Khmer Rouge – the trend was towards change.

The opposition is banking on that continuing and, with two-thirds of the population under 35, is confident of its chances in 2018. The CPP is understandably fearful, and has begun improving education (whose budget in 2016 will, at nearly $500 million, be double its 2013 level) while at the same time, perhaps ominously, shoring up the amount allocated to defense and the police (up nearly two-thirds over the same period to a combined $650 million).

Cambodia – Fractured politics and a culture of monologue

Op-Ed: DW

Over a year after Cambodia’s two main parties agreed on a “culture of dialogue,” the deal looks to have unraveled, with the PM warning only his re-election would keep the nation from civil war. Robert Carmichael reports.

Kambodscha Sam Rainsy und Premier Minister Hun Sen geben sich die Hand 22. Juli 2014

The July 2014 agreement between Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy was born of a close-run general election the previous year and a subsequent deadlocked, and at times bloody, political process that saw the opposition refuse to take the 55 seats they had won until allegations about electoral fraud were addressed.

But eventually, after months of opposition-led protests and increasingly violent suppression by the authorities, the two sides came to an arrangement. Under its terms, Hun Sen and Rainsy agreed to discuss key issues, while party worthies would resolve lesser disputes.

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Posted by: | Posted on: June 9, 2015

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 23

This part is broadcasted by CMN Radio on June 7-8, 2015 that Mr. Sophan Seng continued to analyse the “Culture of Dialogue” in accordance to Khmer context.

Leadership chartWhile Cambodia has witnessed some degree of peace but social justice is questionable, the Khmer proverb keeps saying “during the war, the nation needs bravery men; but during the peace, the nation needs educated men”. This context has applied well for Cambodian people, Cambodian youths, and especially those politicians to depart their journey with “knowledge and wisdom” more than “bravery activism”.

With the new investment in using education and wise men to handle with social ills and injustice, the culture of dialogue is very essential to be part of the political means.

To high up to another level, the opposition CNRP is proposed to upgrade itself from activism towards alternative government party by building more capable members within the party as well as to create a shadow government or choose expertise to be ready for government leadership. This party should seek incredible persons who are expertise in Public Servants, Foreign Policy and Diplomacy, Governance System, Economic, Social, Trade, Agriculture, Defense, Tourism, Media, and Education etc.

In the meantime, the Cambodian People’s Party must conduct indept reforms with good political will to bring about social good to the nation. At least, this party must change their view that all those public servants are national manpower, not the party manpower at all. The CPP must stop politicizing those public servants for their political gains, in contrast, the government must implement the civil codes of conduct properly in order to deserve full responsible public servants.

Posted by: | Posted on: May 17, 2015

វប្បធម៌សន្ទនាដោយសម្តេចសង្ឃដាឡៃឡាមម៉ា

dalai-lama-peaceful-absence-conflicts-solving-differencesIn human societies there will always be differences of views and interests. But the reality today is that we are all interdependent and have to co-exist on this small planet. Therefore, the only sensible and intelligent way of resolving differences and clashes of interests, whether between individuals or nations, is through dialogue. The promotion of a culture of dialogue and non-violence for the future of mankind is thus an important task of the international community.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama
in a speech to the “Forum 2000″ Conference,
Prague, Czech Republic, 4 September 1997

ក្នុងសង្គមមនុស្សរមែងមានគំនិតយោបល់និងផលប្រយោជន៏ខុសគ្នា។ តែធាតុពិត សព្វថ្ងៃគឺយេីងទាំងអស់គ្នាអាស្រ័យគ្នាទៅវិញទៅមកនិងរស់នៅរួមគ្នាជាសហវិជ្ជមាននៅលេីផែនពស្តុធានេះ។ យ៉ាងនេះក៏ដោយ វិធីដ៏ឆ្លាតវាងវ័យនិងបង្ហាញ ផលជាក់ស្តែងក្នុងការដោះស្រាយភាពខុសគ្នានិងទំនាស់ខាងផលប្រយោជន៍ ទាំងរវាងបុគ្គលម្នាក់ៗឬរវាងជាតិ គឺតាមរយះការសន្ទនា។ ការលេីកតំកេីងវប្បធម៌សន្ទនានិងអហឹង្សាសំរាប់អនាគតនៃមនុស្សជាតិគឺជាកិច្ចការសំខាន់មួយសំរាប់ សហគមអន្តរជាតិ។ – ដោយសម្តេចសង្ឃដាលឡៃឡាម៉ា

Posted by: | Posted on: May 10, 2015

Culture of Dialogue vs Culture of MAD Politics

However, the two poles have come up with this new trend to maximize interests for Cambodian people but it doesn’t translate that each party has no hidden agenda to gain their own advantages.

For the CNRP, their advantages are to instill new paradigm of political pragmatism of democracy and sustainable development, but for the CPP is possibly to gear up split between the soft-liners and hard-liners among those CNRP’s supporters. The overwhelming supporters of the CNRP or those of more than half of the Cambodian population is a tasteful piece of cake but right now someone is trying to cut this one piece into several pieces or at least two pieces before the swallow into their throat.

On the other hand, Sam Rainsy has been regarded as the hero of the nation as he has always stood up to protest the hegemony and borderline trespassing of Vietnamese over Cambodia territory land, so his new approach to Culture of Dialogue has likely encouraged CPP’s politburo to do something to reduce his heroism and nationalism at the moment.

Lately, the development of “culture of dialogue” of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has outreached to seven points of detente. Previously, each party issued guidance letter to their activists and grassroots levels. But this detente code of conduct for the two parties “Culture of Dialogue” might not be the last, or the beginning.

The Culture of Dialogue

Culture of Dialogue 8As previously written, “Culture of Dialogue” is not new in the context of daily use for common communication. Humankind has communicated with each other at least since the birth of human social establishment. But when this term has developed and evolved itself into more professional level, the Culture of Dialogue ideally means a norm or guidance of a shared exploration towards greater understanding, connection and possibility.

The dialogue consists of formal and informal. The following is considered formal dialogue of democracy:

  • public talk about social issues
    • in communities (in homes, temples, cafes, schools),
    • in the media (through journalism and some art, entertainment and advertising) and
    • in academia (where experts generate knowledge and debate ideas via researches)
  • governmental deliberations about social issues
    • in legislatures
    • in executive bureaucracies and
    • in the judicial system
  • Proxy discussion about social issues is the extent of political myth to develop democracy.
    • in art and fiction (including novels, TV, movies, drama, etc.)
    • in expressive forums (talk shows, letters to the editor, broadcast town meetings) in which ordinary people speak their minds on public issues and
    • in facilitated dialogue among “representatives” of stakeholders or the general public, such as the citizen consensus councils used in Denmark, Canada and elsewhere.
  • Political Debate is popularly practiced in democratic countries such as the United States, UK, Canada and elsewhere. In Canada, the debates among key political party leaders are included in federal, provincial and municipal (see this link as example of provincial election or local government for this 2015). In the UK, this 2015 national election has run through hot debate among those key political party leaders (see this link as for your example).

The Culture of MAD Politics

Culture of Dialogue 9MAD is derived from “Mutually assured destruction, or mutual assured destruction” which has been likely extensively used by the military policy during the cold war and post-cold war. It has been theorized that a full-scale use of high-yielded weapons of mass destruction by two or more opposing rivals that would cause complete annihilation of both ie. the attacker and the defender, for instance, see pre-emptive nuclear strike and second strike.

In Cambodian context, this is in high alert of Lon Nol republican politics, Khmer Rouge revolutionary regime, and Vietnam socialist occupation over Cambodia.

The Seven Codes of Conduct for their Detente

According to the letter issuance signed by Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy, the seven codes are following:

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Posted by: | Posted on: April 25, 2015

Culture of Dialogue in Cambodian Context

In human societies there will always be differences of views and interests. But the reality today is that we are all interdependent and have to co-exist on this small planet. Therefore, the only sensible and intelligent way of resolving differences and clashes of interests, whether between individuals or nations, is through dialogue. The promotion of a culture of dialogue and non-violence for the future of mankind is thus an important task of the international community.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama
in a speech to the “Forum 2000” Conference,
Prague, Czech Republic, 4 September 1997

During this few weeks, the term “Culture of Dialogue” has been publicly conceptualized and verbalized. The two prominent leaders of Cambodia ie. Prime Minister Hun Sen of government leadership, and HE Sam Rainsy of main opposition CNRP leadership, have transformed the coinage of this term into tangible implementation. This term is rare in Cambodia politics to be heard and convinced by the Khmer politicians. Sometime, we have heard about it but not at the intention of implanting it concretely or making it a grand policy by the Cambodian leaders.

Looking back

Culture of Dialogue 2“Culture of Dialogue” is not new in the context of daily use for common communication. Humankind has communicated with each other at least since the birth of human social establishment. But when this term has developed and evolved itself into more professional level, the Culture of Dialogue ideally means a norm or guidance of a shared exploration towards greater understanding, connection and possibility.

Considering the dilemma of embedded human conflicts, which Aristotle formalized human beings are “social animals”, the World War I and World War II is the testament of this conflict nature, but Enlightenment theory such as Buddha and Voltaire before Christian era and during the 16th century, had paved foundation for the world’s leaders to halting confrontational nature by using diplomatic means of dialogue to completely end the war and to shake hand for shared responsibility and collective development.

For Cambodia, we have developed this dialogue during the post-colonial Culture of Dialogue 4politics. Sangkum Reastre Niyum led by King Norodom Sihanouk was merely a domestic “dialogue” while his foreign policy as a non-aligned country is considered a dialogue approach. But that non-alignment policy was staying on a ridge in between two tigers: USA and China. The slippery ridge finally knocked Cambodia down to the bottom line of catastrophe during 1970 to 1990. During the effort to bring about national reconciliation and peace mediated by the United Nations, the Paris Peace Agreement was crafted, that was all achieved by “Culture of Dialogue”. But this culture has considerably faded away after that.

Culture of Dialogue 3After the 2013 election, the embodiment of this culture promoted by HE Sam Rainsy and positively responded by Prime Minister Hun Sen has seen as the cornerstone for democratization and sustainable development in Cambodia if the two leaders shall always respect their speech and action, with no tricks in it and coercion to exploit this great grant policy.

What should be done in general context

According to co-intelligence.org, there are sorts of dialogue dictated following:

  • interpersonal dialogue in all relationships
  • group dialogue as the norm in all groups and organizations
  • intergroup dialogue among groups and organizations
  • issue-oriented dialogue among stakeholders (in the case of conflicts and decision-making)
  • community dialogue among citizens exploring and co-creating their shared future
  • regular dialogue programs woven into coherent activities that have recognized roles in the community, organization or culture
  • systemic dialogue which is the result of all of these and the context. It consists of a widespread expectation among people
    • that dialogue will happen whenever there is need to settle disputes, make decisions or learn and grow together;
    • that there are many forms of dialogue useful for various purposes which most people have a working knowledge of and access to expertise in; and
    • that dialogue is a normal and desirable part of life — in relationships, groups, organizations, communities and culture.

    When dialogue is systemic in a culture, it has been institutionalized: it shapes every institution from marriage to bureaucracy, from education to health care, from politics to business. Everyone in the culture is trying to explore, to connect with each other, to make things possible, and to learn and grow together.

  • living dialogue involves a dialogic approach to aliveness wherever it exists — in people, in nature, in all situations. In this sense, it can be practiced as a spiritual discipline. It can become a characterstic quality of a life, a group, an entire culture.

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