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Posted by: | Posted on: December 21, 2014

The Cambodia Politics of Nostalgia: From Indochina to AEC 2015

In the meantime, the challenges Cambodia is facing for Asian integration is its slow increase of population including skill labors and strengthening the rule of laws within the country.

  1. The eyes-catching danger for Cambodia right now is the influx of population flowing from Vietnam. While the population of this country is hiked up to 90 millions, Cambodia is likely existing only 14 millions. The westward travelers of Vietnamese population is encouraged by both geographic frontier that blocks by China vast sea at the East, and their Vietnamese existing networks in Cambodia established since 1979 during more than 20,000 Vietnamese armed soldier trespassed into this country and anchored the power base in this land for more than 10 years.
  2.  Cambodian opposition party, CNRP, must promptly initiate the very jargon present Immigration Laws by introducing new up-to-date Immigration Laws and Laws on Nationality Naturalization and Names Change that other countries have effectively used it. Current Immigration Laws and Laws on Nationality Naturalization don’t respond to reality of Cambodia and to the policy of Asian Integration including its upcoming AEC at all. Some few recommendations, the Immigration Laws and its Control must be under Special Force of National Authority Level, not under the Ministry of Interior as practicing at the Present. While nationality application and name change (?) are under the Royal Decree, the Citizenship Identification Issuance must be under National Authority Level, not under provincial governor as presently practicing etc.
  3. The Immigration Authority must enforce the Laws and Implement them effectively and equally. As evidence, Cambodia must accept the reality that those remaining Vietnamese populations, at least since 1979, are in large number and omnipresently living throughout Cambodia. Those citizens have not yet been well integrated and naturalized. Of course, those citizens have created their living community in Cambodia before the birth of current Immigration Laws and Its Enforcement. This is odd. And this is imperative to create and effectivate National Level Policy to handle with those populations.

The most reliable way to anticipate the future is by comprehending the past and understanding the present

After indulging into the prolific description of Henry Mouhot for his book “Travels in Siam, Cambodia, Lao and Annam” during his visiting of these countries between 1859-1861 as a nature researcher and explorer (botanic naturalist); I am keen to glancing back to Angkorean period, the Indochina Federation of France, and the Vietnam’s War or the War that can change France Indochina into Vietnamese Indochina. After that, I am keen to looking at the present for different available scenarios to bring back the Spirit of Angkorean the Great for the Future Cambodia.

Recalling the Past of Greatness

Indochina King Norodom 1865

King Norodom 1865 Courtesy of: Keo Chanbo

Not need to describe much on the glory of Khmer empire between 8th century to 14th century as those gigantic monuments such as Angkor Wat, Bayon, Preah Vihear, Banteary Srey, Banteay Chmar, and groups of Sambo Prey Kok etc. are still discerning truth for all of us. Henry Mouhot visited Angkor Wat and he was stunned that Angkor Wat was built by Rome or Greece, and it is a world’s famous architect of Michelangilo in this plunged state. Of course, many believed and stated that Henry Mouhot is a botanic researcher (naturalist and explorer), but I am convinced that he is the France’s spy who recorded all treasures, natural resources, and geographic map for France to plan its colonization on this region. He is not different from Chou Ta Kuan who visited Angkor during the 14th century as a Chinese Ambassador but his detailed descriptions were sent directly to Mongol Emperor for conquering attempt on this region while China was a Mongol’s vassal state.

France firstly learnt about Cambodia and the Angkor from a Portuguese  Christian monk, António da Madalena , who visited Cambodia during the the 1586. The motivation behind France to arriving Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao, could be variable but I am believed, France was inspired by the Greatness of Angkor Wat depicted by Henry Mouhot, and the Official Invitation by the Khmer King Ang Duong. Many scholars wrote that France favoured Vietnam more than Cambodia and Lao as Vietnamese were so welcoming to the arrival of France including their subservient attitude, diligent, industrious, and more populated than Cambodia and Lao. But my argument is that France took their accessibility as a key decision-making by creating head-quarter in Vietnam as during that time only through China’s Sea that France can embark and transfer manpower and goods. France’s base in Vietnam is important to go through Cambodia and Lao, to Thailand, and to counter England in Burma.

Indochina Money 1 Riel Indochina Money 1 riel 1 Indochina Money 1 Riel 2 Indochina Money 1 Riel 3 Indochina Money 1 Riel 4 Indochina Money 1 Sen Indochina Money 2 Riel Indochina Money 5 Riels Indochina Money 5 Sen Indochina Money 10 Riels Indochina Money 10 Sen Indochina Money 20 Riels 1 Indochina Money 20 Sen Indochina Money 100 Riels

France created Indochina currency by using Vietnamese (Chinese pictographs), Laotians and Khmer scripts within all money bank-notes (see above bank-notes photos: courtesy of Keo Chanbo). France employed Vietnamese to work more than Cambodians and Laotians. France built schools and universities in Vietnam, not in Cambodia and Lao.

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Posted by: | Posted on: September 28, 2013

Cambodia in the next five years

Dear Mr. Kea and Campo’s Esteemed Members;

Dear All,

It would be interesting to get your visions or opinions on “Cambodia in the next five years.” Kea

Answering to your question is a big burden for Cambodian politicians. If you have chance to ask those 123 members of assembly on this same question, how diverse and interesting it is? I think we should have an independent body to impose on those politicians to answer key questions for their mandate regarding their ability and commitment for this prestigious job. They should not be just swearing in by mimicking speech of a group anchor. They must show genuine interest in the job, their mission and vision statement, and their actual task time frame to achieve during these 5 years term.  
 
For me, I do agree with Munin and Kimchoeun; and further to that the trend in Cambodia now is absolutely spectacular. The Cambodian people impregnably are able to control their own destiny. I am very optimistic on that. Pragmatically speaking, the past sorrow and suffering have translated into struggle for freedom, justice, equity, rights and brights. Their struggle has based on nonviolence, visionary leadership, compassion, intellectual and cognitive. This new phenomena will drive hard towards those politicians to bend themselves 180 degrees in order to adapt, adjust and adhere. If they don’t bend, they will be surely tipped over.
 
From observing current exposing of political landscape, the leadership between CPP and CNRP illustrates something following:
 
– The idea of public forum conducting monthly in both local and national level addressed by Hun Sen on the first day of new cabinet inauguration in order to listen to the needs and complaints of the people, is a sign to respond to this new trend. Hence, this new written policy and lecturing have happened just after the frequent successful public mass demonstrations and rallies conducted by the CNRP. I think CPP has bent itself but it is considered very late as well as lacking trust from the Cambodian people. While the reform is on the written policy, the CPP has experienced tremendous pressure from the Cambodian people in building trust and participating from the Cambodian people.
 
– The inquiry of CNRP to take over the presidency of National Assembly is a smooth response to the need of the Cambodian people. As the Assembly is the community center for Cambodian citizens to send their representatives to work for their demands, the possible chairing over the Assembly will not only to endorse check and balance in this country, the CNRP has exercised Servant Leadership and bend itself 180 degrees.
 
– Among other reforms, the Assembly reform is in need to answer the new trend of the Cambodian people. Any party who can take initiative on this reform, that party will gain more support from the Cambodian people. Those reforms include trustful, free and fair National Election Committee (NEC), changing the procedure of selecting representative from current party-based criteria to be individual meritocratic based criteria, increase more assembly seats to respond to new change of demography, allow Cambodian foreign workers and oversea Cambodians to vote in each national election, and ensure that the three key institutions such as Assembly, Judiciary and Executive allow the participation and leverage of the opposition to play their role for Check and Balance. Note that the selection of assembly candidate in Cambodia now has based on party practiced by both CNRP and CPP. This practice has not only deprived the work effectiveness of the nation, it has also damaged the party as whole. The change procedure should copy from other democratic countries by conducting election within the party first to select the competent candidate to stand for competition.   
 
Peace,
Sophoan 
Posted by: | Posted on: September 21, 2013

The King Should Send Only Royal Letter for 23 September 2013

Dear Cambodian Compatriots;

I don’t wish to see any discontentment from Cambodian people towards our King at all. If the King cannot follow the footstep of his Father, King Norodom Sihanouk during the political deadlock in 2003 who publicly declared that he will not attend the first meeting of the assembly if the two rivals cannot settle down the conflict, OUR PRESENT KING SHOULD ONLY SEND THE ROYAL LETTER TO THE ASSEMBLY THROUGH HIS PERSONAL SECRETARY TO READ FOR THEM. The King has been warrant by the laws to choose his own choice and decision-making for the sake of Monarchy and Unity.

The latest development of political deadlock in Cambodia has become tense and the King has been seen as the target from people’s eyes and international communities. Tomorrow of September 23th, 2013 will mark an important historical day for King Norodom Sihamuni since his enthronement in October 29, 2005. If the King cannot avoid and he must present at the National Assembly to lead the first parliamentary convention tomorrow (September 23th, 2013), it shall be known as the second most controversial day for the King since his enthronement. The first most controversial day is not something unpopular to the Cambodian people because it was very obsessive as many critics and opposition members were jailed; the Prime Minister, the assembly members and the King worked under pressure to complete the border treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam which is called “Supplemental Border Treaty between Kingdom of Cambodia and Republic of Vietnam”. After the Assembly ruled majorly by the Cambodian People’s Party approved the treaty by showing hands on November 11th, 2005, the King ratified it eventually to legalize the treaty.

Tomorrow shall recall the King’s leadership on bonding the Cambodian people. As the nature of two conflicts happened by the protest from the opposition party while the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) has increased its popularity and major votes among the Cambodian people substantially, the approval act of the King would be seen increasing implausible and discontentment among Cambodian people.

As a Cambodian citizen, I have wholeheartedly supported the Monarchy existence in Cambodia. This institution is not only essential by its embedded splendid history, the national motto and constitution, my feeling of belonging and my sense of pride on the Great Kingdom of this country, has intuitively absorbed into my mind, heart and responsibility. I don’t wish to see any discontentment from Cambodian people towards our King at all. If the King cannot follow the footstep of his Father, King Norodom Sihanouk during the political deadlock in 2003 who publicly declared that he will not attend the first meeting of the assembly if the two rivals cannot settle down the conflict, OUR PRESENT KING SHOULD ONLY SEND THE ROYAL LETTER TO THE ASSEMBLY THROUGH HIS PERSONAL SECRETARY TO READ FOR THEM. The King has been warrant by the laws to choose his own choice and decision-making for the sake of Monarchy and Unity.

Doing so, the King will possibly retain full respect from Cambodian people.

Peace,

Sophoan

Posted by: | Posted on: June 23, 2013

NEC in Cambodia is incapable

NECReading the report of Cambodian Daily today on the irregularities of voter listing by NEC is another serious issue constraining the building of democracy in Cambodia. The random sampling of 4,900 registered eligible names of the research found that 10.8 percent or more than 500 registered voters could not find their names on the voter list. This percentage is terribly higher than national election of 2008 which was 7.7 percent.

The report also said “The accuracy of the 9.6 million-strong voter list came under fire in March and those concerns were reiterated with the release of the final version on Friday of an independent audit report, which found a number of serious errors, namely that more than 1 in 10 peo­ple who are registered for July’s election appear not to exist, and that 9 percent of past voters have been taken off local voting lists unfairly.

With this figure, I am speechless!

It is absolutely the responsibility of the National Election Committee. If we find out that this number is true, it means NEC is incompetent and we must dissolve the current body in order to pave way for a capable body to run the election in Cambodia. However, the report on March was also illustrating the incapability of the NEC on this same issue, and this same issue has been lingering for many elections in Cambodia. Now, it is time to condemn NEC that this is a criminal act of stealing the heart, honesty and integrity of the Cambodian people.

Innocent Cambodians should not be tolerant by the incompetent act of Cambodian National Election Committee. Cambodian people must stand up and speak out loud!

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Posted by: | Posted on: June 15, 2013

ប្រសិទ្ធិភាពជាមេដឹកនាំ ឬ បណ្តុះភាពជាមេដឹកនាំនៅកម្ពុជា

បានឃើញបទសំភាសន៍រវាងលោកសាយ សាវុធ និងទូរទស្សន៍ប៉ុស្តិ៏CNC ធ្វើអោយខ្ញុំនឹកដល់ កង្វះខាតរបស់កម្ពុជាចំពោះកម្មវិធីអភិវឌ្ឍន៍ប្រសិទ្ធិភាពជាមេដឹកនាំ។ អ្វីដែលខ្ញុំបានសង្កេត ឃើញកន្លងមក សាលារៀននិងកម្មវិធីបង្រៀនមិនបានផ្តោតទៅលើការអភិវឌ្ឍន៍កូនសិស្ស អោយក្លាយទៅជាមេដឹកនាំនាពេលអនាគតឡើយ។ លោក-អ្នកគ្រូខ្វះខាតចំណេះដឹងក្នុងការ ធ្វើខ្លួនឯងជាគំរូនៃភាពជាអ្នកដឹកនាំដល់កូនសិស្ស ហើយចំណេះដឹងផ្នែកទ្រឹស្តីក៏ដូចជាវិធី សាស្រ្តបង្រៀន គឺមានលក្ខណះមិនអំណោយផលឡើយដល់ការអភិវឌ្ឍន៍ខ្លួនឯងរបស់សិស្ស ដើម្បីបានជាជន្ទល់ជាតិនាពេលអនាគតឡើយ។

បទសំភាសន៍ពិតជាផ្តល់អត្ថន័យសំខាន់ទៅលើសង្គមគ្រួសារដែលជាថ្នាលដំបូងគេបណ្តុះ គ្រាប់ពូជប្រសិទ្ធិភាពជាមេដឹកនាំ។ តាមសុភាសិតខ្មែរ ឳពុក-ម្តាយ គឺជាគ្រូទី១ លោកគ្រូ-អ្នក គ្រូគឺជាគ្រូទី២ ហើយមិត្តភក្តិគឺជាគ្រូទី៣។ តែសព្វថ្ងៃអ្វីៗគឺប្តូរផ្លាស់អស់ហើយ។ ឳពុក-ម្តាយ អាចនៅជាគ្រូទី១ តែសារពត៌មានតាមរយះទូរស័ព្ទ វិទ្យុ ទូរទស្សន៍ អិនតើនិត និងនិន្នាការ សម្ភារៈនិយមជាដើមអាចជាគ្រូទី២ ហើយសាលារៀនអាចជាគ្រូជាទី៣ ឬក៏អាចគ្មានន័យ ក៏ថាបាន។

ដោយសរុប ក្រសួងអប់រំត្រូវតែបញ្ជ្រាបប្រសិទ្ធិភាពជាមេដឹកនាំជាមេរៀនសំខាន់មួយទៅក្នុង កម្មវិធីជាតិ សារពត៌មានត្រូវតែបណ្តុះគំនិតប្រសិទ្ធិភាពជាមេដឹកនាំអោយបានគ្រប់វិនាទី ស្ថាប័នឯករាជ្រដែលផ្តល់គុណភាពអប់រំផ្នែកការអភិវឌ្ឍន៍ប្រសិទ្ធិភាពឬបណ្តុះភាពជាមេដឹកនាំត្រូវតែបង្កើតដើម្បីគុណភាពទីផ្សាធនធានមនុស្សសំរាប់អ្នកដែលចង់ចូលប្រលូកទៅក្នុងទីផ្សា ផ្សេងៗមានដូចជានយោបាយ សេដ្ឋកិច្ច សង្គម អប់រំ សង្គមស៊ីវិល សហគ្រាសធុនតូច-កណ្តាល-ធំ ភាពជាឳពុក-ម្តាយគំរូ គរុកោសល្យគ្រូ គរុកោសល្យមេភូមិ-មេឃុំ-ចៅសង្កាត់- មេស្រុក-ចៅហ្វាយខេត្ត-មន្រ្តីគ្រប់ក្រសួង-សមាជិកសភា-រដ្ឋមន្រ្តី-នាយករដ្ឋមន្រ្តី និង មេដឹកនាំសហគមន៍មានព្រះសង្ឃជាដើម។

សូមតាមដានបទសម្ភាសន៍ខាងក្រោម។

 


Posted by: | Posted on: June 4, 2013

CAMBODIA: Building leadership for young Khmers

An article by Dr. Gaffar Peang-Meth published by the Asian Human Rights Commission

CAMBODIA: Building leadership for young Khmers
This article combines my keynote address and two lectures on political socialization and culture at the Cambodian Leadership Conference on May 18 in Tacoma, Washington, on the theme of Building Leadership for our Young Generation, organized by Khmer women’s organizations in Washington State, spearheaded by the Cambodian Women Networking Association’s Ms. Sinuon Hem.
I valued this time to share my thoughts on building leadership, korsang reu bangkoeurn chomness nae noam, in the company of a diverse audience of Cambodians and others, including the State lieutenant governor, the mayor of Tacoma, and distinguished legislators and officials from state and local government. The discussion was lively and thought-provoking.
Building leadership is a daunting task in a society muffled by hundreds of years of traditions and social norms derived in part from having lived entirely under authoritarian, even dictatorial, governments. In such an environment, building a leadership corps that will not fall into old patterns requires changes in values, kun’sambat, attitudes, ek’riyabot, and culture,voabthor. These are daunting changes many today acknowledge as necessary. But stepping outside a series of long-held traditions and patterns of behavior is not easy. Many talk about change, but few walk the talk.

A general framework

Political scientists, such as I, describe a framework of perceptions (kar yul kar deung), influenced by opinions (yobol), interests (phol proyaowch), values (kun’smabt), and beliefs(chumneur), which mold our attitudes (ek’riyabot). These attitudes lead to a tendency toward action (sak’kampheab), or to passivity (ak’kampheab). As those factors predominate in a population, a culture emerges.
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