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Posted by: | Posted on: August 5, 2015

RCAF role is to protect the Cambodian people

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

RCAF Deputy Commander in Chief Chea Dara speaks at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh last week during a forum on cooperation between the national military and private businesses. Hong Menea

RCAF role is to protect the Cambodian people

Mon, 3 August 2015

In all democratic nations, military expenditures, which include current and capital expenditures for the armed forces, derive from the national budget for the central government.

Such budget is approved by parliament for the national institution in charge of defending the nation’s territory and sovereignty – the Ministry of Defence.

In all democratic nations, the national armed forces serve the people.

The full allegiance of the armed forces goes to the nation, not to a group, a political, party nor a person.

The men and women who serve the armed forces of a democratic nation are well equipped, fit, paid and trained for military operations.

Their well being and the well being of their family members during the time of service and their pensions for retirement or disability and medical care should be the responsibility of the government in honour of their service to the nation.

That honour is also bestowed upon the service men and women by the people.

The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) is the only army to defend the Kingdom of Cambodia with His Majesty the King as its Supreme Commander according to Article 23 of the Constitution.

For these reasons, it is not acceptable for the Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Cambodia to solicit private donations from companies to support the armed forces’ increased salaries, food and military supplies.

It is truly alarming to hear the Minister of Defence announce at a workshop recently held at the Council of Ministers that past private donations were spent on purchases of arms.

It should also be noted that at the same meeting, the deputy commander of RCAF, four-star General Chea Dara claimed that “ the army belongs to the Cambodian People’s Party”.

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Posted by: | Posted on: April 19, 2015

Comment from MP Mu Sochua and the following healing processes

After publishing the article “40 years of memoir, story telling, healing, and moving forward for all Cambodians“, we wish to share the comment from MP Mu Sochua and the comment from the author, Mr. Soph0an Seng as following:

Dear Soph0an,
A Lotus Flower You have my deepest appreciation and respect for your invaluable compilations and your own articles of all the painful memories relived and told by those who can not forget and forgive. I read them all with the vivid images of my own parents and blind grand-mother among the millions who believed in the lies of the Khmer Rouge and left the city as they were told. I did not live with the Khmer Rouge regime but as a Khmer woman, the suffering of not saying goodbye to my beloved parents and to my grand-mother with whom I shared my adolescent years have been with me for the past 40 years. 
When my husband and I returned to Phnom Penh with our two toddlers in 1989, we saw uncovered mass graves everywhere. The bones were almost fresh. Our daughters learned the painful truth of genocide. Now all these mass graves are covered up and the bones have desappeared except in some places such as in Cheung Ek, the genocide museum or at Ou Doung. 
I think the mass graves and the bones should have been kept untouched. I think that the uncovered mass graves could have been a way for our people to learn the truth, in particular our youths. A comprehensive and engaging reconciliation process parrallel with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal would be more significant, a healing process, teaching us to reject violence. Unfortunately, the violence is still part of us. Every day men, women, teenagers and even children committ the most hineous act of violence such as gang killings with samurai swords, decapitating in cases of domestic violence and rape. That is not healing. 
It is for this reason that i think we should embark with Lauk Prathean Sam Rainsy and Mr. Hun Sen in this new culture of dialogue. They are willing to put aside their personal differences and even to hold themselves respondible to the nation should their political and personal commitment fail. It is the moment our people and our beloved nation have waited for all these 40 years. 
All we are saying is give peace a chance.
This begins with each and everyone of us.
Mu Sochua, MP

Sent from my iPad

Dear Neak Bong MP Sochua;

Master Degree in POLS, May 2008I am greatly complimented by partnering healing processes through telling my story and hearing your story: I do believe in “story telling” to accumulate fresh first hand information and to heal Khmer’s mental illness and PTSD. 
First, the “Culture of Dialogue” is an opened door to access to friendship, understanding each other, and collaborating with one another. There are some theorists have theorized that to stop Khmer painful past or to break the silence of Khmer inner suffering, is to stop repeating the old haunting stories or bury them deeply under the ground. But I have disagreed with this “burying” theory because in general Cambodian victims have learnt to Forgive, but they could not Forget and experience difficulty in moving Forwards. The “Culture of Dialogue” adopted by HE Sam Rainsy with an embrace supported by his counterpart PM Hun Sen, is a new modernized and pragmatic tool to remedy Cambodian suffering and to instill long term development of Cambodia.
Without verbalizing and having honest communication, culture of dialogue would not exist; in the meantime, without “story telling” or “revealing” the bitter past, the healing processes would not be achieved.
Second, my tears dropped down unconsciously while reading and hearing those painful stories. I am fully affected by social conscience of those Cambodian brothers and sisters in which no one is free of this tumultuous past. It has helped me to develop a step of self-effort and compassion towards them all as well as the ability to discover more on Cambodian suffering and to help them all at my utmost capacity.
This personal embodiment of mine has encouraged me to think of many Cambodian younger children to develop positively for the responsibility of their future as they have heard more “story telling” from their parents, schools, and siblings etc. But it might be not always like that like what you said it has also produced negativity and irresponsibility among youths who visibly have committed hideous act of violence in society if Cambodia has no proper policy to handle with it or culture of dialogue doesn’t take place in this land.
With my humblest respect and sincerity,
Sophoan Seng


Posted by: | Posted on: August 6, 2014

Personal life and Cambodia politics through story telling

Mu Sochua Reading The Advisor Cambodia today on “Mu Sochua: Protesting with poise”, it has triggered sadness, empathy, leadership and realization. Passing through the upheaval political landscape of Cambodia, the story telling of Mu Sochua has shaped new perspectives for Cambodians. The war and national division during these decades have absolutely embedded within all Cambodian memory regardless of farmers, labors, officials and politicians. Her story has encouraged all youths to continue their struggle for social change, justice and freedom.

All words and phrases mentioned in the interview, are thought-provoking. From her breastfeeding childhood to the latest injustice Prey Sor jailing, has simultaneously mixed the feeling of sadness and enjoyment. Life is like that, sometime we cried because of separation and pain, but sometime we cried because we are over-joyful. Sometime life is shaped by our own action (Kamma), but sometime life is shaped by circumstance or environment. However, the impact on life and its future shape wholly depends on our own inner strength and willpower. This reflects invaluable LEADERSHIP style we all should renew!

I would like invite all of you to read this outstanding life’s story telling:

Posted by: | Posted on: July 28, 2014

The Twilight of Social Fabric of Cambodian Society

Social fabric of Cambodian society is one of the rewarding studies on how to establish “strong institution of Cambodia”. According to a dictionary, social fabric means “The demographics of an area that consists of wealth, A Social fabric ethnic composition, level of education, rate of employment and regional values that are combined to create this social fabric.” But according to generalized concept, social fabric is the primary foundation of society bonding or society cohesiveness. Primary foundation of Cambodia doesn’t refer to the past foundation, but the present cultivating phenomena of this state crafting. Many puzzling questions have evolved within Khmer mentality that who are responsible for the cracking, demolishing, revitalizing and reinventing of this society?

The reality that all Khmers must realize

Since the post-cold war, Cambodia at least has been traumatized by three social failures: the swift change from monarchy to republican during the Lon Nol regime which was trembled by the conflict between democratic bloc of USA and communist bloc of China, the Khmer Rouge regime of absolute violence power between 1975 to 1979, and the Cambodia socialist regime under Vietnamese occupation between 1979 to 1989. The syndromes of this traumatic reality are the visible dividing between supporters of monarchy and republican, the violence-embedded behavior of the Khmer Rouge and post-Khmer Rouge, and the nondetachable anti-Vietnamese sentiment. The reality of this divided social pattern is displaying in our daily sight of at least one Cambodian has carried one of these syndromes or two or all three together indistinguishably.

Institutionalizing political norm

A Neilson Mandela CambodiaOne of the important resources to build a strong institution is to look at how effective communication between the state and society can respond to its realism, pragmatism, practicality and procedural-legal responsiveness. New sight of political culture of Cambodia at the present is the emergence of two-parties state and the political will of the top leaders of both CNRP and CPP. The agreement to settle down the confrontation on the street to paving way for the debate in the parliament through the reforming of National Election Committees (NEC), re-regulating the internal rules of the assembly which major voice can respect lesser voice, and lesser voice and respect major voice, and the resuming check and balance of democratic power, are all responsive.

As the ninth member of the NEC has been chosen, Dr. Pung Chiv Kek of LICADHO’s founder, the next step of NEC reform is on public blinking eyes. But Cambodian people are still reluctant to predict good outcome from this move especially their doubts fall upon Hun Sen who is well-known for his great ability of tactician to advance his political career through means of undemocratic past. Like recent handcuffing and jailing of 7 MPs-elect of CNRP without fair trial, Hun Sen can utilize all his existing means to defeat, defame, or demolish his rivals. But this time, through the recent waking-up call of anti-Hun Sen voting and demonstrations, he has possibly surrendered himself by putting aside his past great techniques to embrace new way of competing through fair ballots and public participation. Sam Rainsy has also said that Hun Sen has embraced his new leadership style. Hence, the Cambodian people are still not quickly believing on this swift change. Hun Sen said before about his tactic of allowing balloon to be inflated to its apogee as he can deflate it to the eternal nonexistence.

However, it seems arguable that his leadership has been changed by the new realization of young leaders or pragmatist clout from both CPP and CNRP. Those has silently demanded leadership change to embrace principles rather than stick on 3 kingdoms of Chinese legendary movie.

Other thing is the non-cornering approach of the opposition leader. At the first party’s convention on July 27, 2014, top leader Sam Rainsy stated clearly on his non-supporting on the culture of “ant and fish tradition” by “embracing genuine national reconciliation of non-violence, non-revenge, and pursuing full heuristic political will to solve the problems of the nation”.

If the 7 points agreement shall be implemented without changing or obstructing, the hope for strong institutionalizing of Cambodia politics will pave a strong primary foundation to tackle all three mentioned social syndromes and it will become the comprehensive method of building social fabric of Cambodian society.

The Buddha’s teaching of non-violence, compassion and  wisdom

A Lotus FlowerCambodian Buddhists are representing 95% of the total population in which there are about 4000 temples residential of more than 60,000 Buddhist monks. Through this density of moral population plus the strong cultural and traditional belief, the Buddhism has played important role to invent new social fabric of Cambodian society. We can say nothing in this world can hide itself from the “truth”, the “moon” and the “sun” or it is the “wisdom”, the “compassion” , and the “non-violence”.

CNRP has apparently embraced this policy and it is one ultimate answer to bring back the Cambodian value is of the “Non-Violence”. Top leader Sam Rainsy, Kem Sokha and well-known women wing Mu Sochua have claimed this same value “non-violence”. Mu Sochua has always carried “lotus flower” as symbol of compassion, non-violence and wisdom. Since her daily routine to free the freedom park to the latest event of her release from Prey Sor prison, lotus flower has become her attire for public attention.

The non-violence mean can defeat the culture of violence and division, the compassion mean can renege the politicians from fear of revenge when they are out of power, and the wisdom mean can produce large capital for sustainable democratic development. These three strategic means can surely spell out dividing, violence and Vietnamese ethnic sentiment in order to pave a new social fabric of Cambodian society.

Cambodian political leadership is a home made one

Once, a journalist asked me what democratic country that Cambodia should copy to develop its democracy? I respond that none. Cambodia can create their own democracy through the blending of universal value of democracy, Cambodian culture and Buddhism. With this argument, democracy itself has a lot of flaws. But Cambodia democracy will ensure that all Cambodian people can enjoy both physical and mental well-being. Many democratic countries advanced their politics and economic to the edge of materialistic achievement while the people are still shortcoming mental strength.

After reconciling all the three suffering syndromes, the new social fabric of Cambodian society should be enriched by both physical and mental well-being.

By Sophoan Seng