A right royal mess

Thailand’s king and its crisis

A right royal mess

Dec 4th 2008 | BANGKOK
From The Economist print edition

Thailand’s interminable political conflict has much to do with the taboo subject of its monarchy. That is why the taboo must be broken

EPA

EVEN the most revered of kings, worshipped by his people as a demigod, is not immortal. Thais were reminded of this last month when six days of ornate cremation ceremonies, with gilded carriages and armies of extras in traditional costumes, were held for Princess Galyani, the elder sister of their beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej (pictured above). There was talk in Bangkok of the princess’s funeral being a “dress rehearsal” for the end of Bhumibol’s reign, 62 years long so far. Making one of few public appearances this year, shortly before his 81st birthday on December 5th, the king did indeed look his age.

The funeral only briefly calmed a political conflict that has raged for three years between supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra, the prime minister ousted by royalist generals in the 2006 coup, and an opposition movement backed by much of Bangkok’s traditional elite, apparently including Queen Sirikit. But the day after the ceremonies ended a grenade exploded among anti-Thaksin protesters, killing one. The anti-government protesters, the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who had been occupying Government House since August, then seized Bangkok’s main airports, causing chaos. The siege was lifted only eight days later, after a court dissolved the main parties in the pro-Thaksin coalition government.

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Cambodia-China Relationship and Its Enlightenment

Looking back to the history, Cambodia-China has longest tied relationship with each other. It is in both historical and contemporary co-operation. The name of Funan, an ancient Cambodian capital city, was literally coined by Chinese trader, and many other names of Khmer Kings during Funan period were entirely Chinese vernacular. The most significant notion is the Chinese Ambassador Chau Takuan who visited Cambodia Empire of Angkor. He inscribed the situation there vivaciously. His thesis becomes important historical manuscript for students and researchers to understand the culture of Khmer Empire in that time prior to its declination and seizing by the Siam eventually.

Recently, many Chinese top officers came to Cambodia with the same intention is to strengthen the relationship and boost the economic co-operation between two countries. There are several reflections to this tie and its future trend.

After the cold war, the tie with China was promoted in both economic development and political bloc rivalry. China provided aids to build Cambodia infrastructure and other industrial development tools. During Songkum Reastr Niyum led by King Norodom Sihanouk, there were concrete legacies of China’s support left in many fields. But when the aura of American war spread out in the region, China became the leading supporter to the Khmer Rouge to rally against America. American imperialistic war and China’s hard line resistance to the influence of America in the region resulted intractable conflicts and catastrophe in Cambodia. China and America were very keen proportion of peace and war in Cambodia in that time.

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Stigma on Judicial Reform in Cambodia

I appreciate the appealing for thorough investigation of the UN representatives to the death of Heng Touch (PPP: UN representatives call for investigation into prison death). This case is considerably not the first one of impunity happened in Cambodia. The legal frailty has strongly rooted in Cambodia and it has gradually become the “culture of impunity”.

Since 1993, administrative and judicial reform is one of the priorities of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) to achieve its “National Programme to Rehabilitate and Develop Cambodia”. After the UNTAC-sponsored election, the UNs and other international stakeholders have utilized both carrot and stick tactic to speed up the reforms in Cambodia. In one hand, they urged the RGC to accelerate reforms with soft and hard pressure, while in another hand they still keep providing funds to develop various projects run by the government. But we can see only the good writing law has become the result of their effort while the implementation and legal enforcement are still slack. Ronald Bruce in his article “The Political Economy of the Royal Government of Cambodia” emphasised that the political culture of Cambodia strongly embedded in the political leadership of “the familism, cupidity, narrow horizons and reluctance to absorb or tolerate opposing point of views”. With the administrative system of “the clans and clients”, Ronald articulated his example said that the architect of the nation’s economic reformist Sam Rainsy was once ousted from position because of his hard line resistance to this culture. Judicial reform, among other national reforms have frequently undercut by the continuity of malfeasance, corruption, and violence, Ronald observed.
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Successful NGO should be replicated

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7spLHsRIF9Q

FEDA Cambodia – Ksach Poy

December 3, 2008
A. Gaffar Peang-Meth
Pacific Daily News
(Guam)

Once, Cambodia was a powerful empire that ruled areas of today’s Laos to the north, the former South Vietnam to the east, Thailand to the west and a portion of Malaysia to the south.

Imperial expansionism, wars, disease, mismanagement of state power and the economy, and internal discord, have reduced Cambodia to its present size of 69,898 square miles, of which 90 percent is rural and poor. Thirty-five percent of the country’s 14 million people, earn less than 50 cents a day; some scavenge city dumps and live on rat meat.

Several miles southeast of Battambang city, on the Sangker River, lies a village called Ksach Poy. During the reign of the Khmer Rouge, villagers there revolted and the village became a killing field.

In 1979, after Vietnamese troops knocked Pol Pot out of power and sent his gangs fleeing to the Thai border, 16-year-old Soth Plai Ngarm, from a Khmer Rouge forced labor unit, walked through Ksach Poy, where his mother and relatives lived. He saw “dead bodies and corpses everywhere.” He shed tears and moved toward the Thai border. As Ngarm later speaks, he had “almost no hope” in humanity.

In the 1980s, destiny drew a path for Ngarm and me to meet.
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