January, 2012

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Posted by: | Posted on: January 30, 2012

Near Cambodia’s Temple Ruins, a Devotion to Learning

Tear seems drop down unconsciously while I was reading this article. My life has come through what those individuals in the interview are breaking-through. The belief in higher education and persistent struggle for it is really honorable. Each time, when I looked at the great ruins and sandstone structures, it reminds me of education and ingenuity of Khmer ancestors to master on those architectures. Somdech Song Pang-Khat preached that if you look at the stones of Angkor Wat and other temples, you must communicate with the stones!
Published: January 24, 2012

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA — Millions of tourists come here every year to visit the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, an influx that has helped transform what once resembled a small, laid-back village into a thriving and cosmopolitan town with thumping nightlife and more than 10,000 hotel rooms.

Adam Ferguson for The International Herald Tribune

Students at Build Bright University in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

But the explosion of the tourism industry here has also done something less predictable. Siem Reap, which had no universities a decade ago, is now Cambodia’s second-largest hub for higher education, after the capital, Phnom Penh.

The sons and daughters of impoverished rice farmers flock here to work as tour guides, receptionists, bartenders and waitresses. When their shifts are over, they study finance, English and accounting.

“I never imagined that I could go to university,” said Hem Sophoan, a 31-year-old tour guide who is now studying for his second master’s degree. “There’s been so much change and opportunities for young people.”

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Posted by: | Posted on: January 26, 2012

Cambodia needs to see real change

Thank you very much Dr. Peang-Met for raising up this very important controversial debate. In Cambodia as people have been embedded by non-independent mass media including the unalienable traumatic past of war and genocide, the group of stability and stomach need, has been conveyed by majority. However, Buddhists who have learned and experienced deep understanding of the teachings see that the highest goal of Buddhism is “liberty”, not “the four necessities”. In practice, Nama (liberty) and Rupa (four necessities) must be equal and in balance.
In Vipassana meditation, practitioners cannot get into the Dhamma stream if one cannot balance Nama and Rupa. Socially and politically observing, Cambodia is not in the stage of any thing identical to these three stages.  Scandals of non-independent judicial system, economic development through poor evictions, non-independent mass media, rampant corruption from tops to bottoms, political autocracy, favoritism and cronyism etc. have been lingering on the murky stage…do we see Cambodia is in the pathway of engineering in development and stability, engineering in creating liberty, or engineering in balancing of both social commodities?
Jan. 25, 2012Cambodia needs to see real change

A. Gaffar Peang-Meth

Many readers emailed me following my series of articles on replacing Cambodia’s dictatorship with a democratic form of government. As many emails contained similar concerns, I have grouped those with similar themes and will use this column to deal with two.

I agree with readers who argued that what Cambodia needs — “first and foremost,” as a respected Khmer reader and author put it — is for the people to have “a filled stomach and stability.”
My “teachings” in this column mirror the substance of the “Introduction to Government and Politics” manual I wrote during my tenure at the University of Guam — that most of the world’s nation-states aspire to some common goals by giving government the task of providing for independence (free from outside control), stability (order and security) and economic and social well-being for all citizens. Cambodians should aspire to nothing less.
The fundamental philosophical conflicts between Western and Eastern civilizations — the West believes in the individual and his/her basic rights and freedom first; the East believes in the community and its security-stability first — have evolved.
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Posted by: | Posted on: January 20, 2012

Help sign petition for the freedom and justice for those victims of forced eviction in Cambodia

I think those 30 peaceful protestors have sneaked from the detaining centre for freedom already, but reading this petition and the involvement of Amnesty International in Cambodia affair is a sign that Cambodian victims at Borei Keila, Boeung Kak Lake and many other places throughout the country who are suffered by land grabs and forcible evictions, are not alone.

Join Amnesty International to Sign Petition to the Governor of Phnom Penh to release those 30 peaceful protestors for the rights of housing.

Dear Governor;

Objective: Free forced evictions protesters

I am very concerned at the arrest of 30 peaceful protesters on 11 January, including 24 women and six children, who are now detained at Prey Speu Social Affairs Centre, and call for their immediate release.

I acknowledge the government’s statement that these protesters are not detained; however, protesters report that they are unable to leave, have not been given access to local civil society organisations and are being requested to agree to resettlement documents before release. In my view this constitutes detention and I reiterate the need for their immediate release.

I urge you to conduct a full and independent investigation into the forced eviction of some 300 families living at Borei Keila, Phnom Penh on 3 January, including into why the eviction took place, and the apparent excessive use of force by security forces.

The eight villagers detained on 3 January must be released pending further investigations. The members of the security forces found to be responsible for excessive use of force on this day to be suspended and prosecuted.

Those forcibly evicted must be provided with adequate compensation and suitable alternative accommodation that meets international standards for adequate housing. You are obliged to prevent forced evictions and respect and protect the right to adequate housing, in accordance with international treaties to which Cambodia is a state party.

Posted by: | Posted on: January 19, 2012

The political battles continue over the anniversary of January 7

The game of the Khmer Rouge is a zero-sum game for Cambodians and their nation. 33 years have already passed; the Khmer Rouge regime will never come back again as the world is fast moving forwards.

It is a priceless lesson to learn in order to move forward and not dwell in the tragedy of the past, only to learn from it, as it was arranged to be the two crickets fighting against each other.

Click here to read the whole Lift Issue of 104 dated January 11, 2012

Seven January arrived and split
again the political parties
of Cambodia. While the Cambodian
People’s Party (CPP) wouldn’t
hesitate to call January 7 the day of
liberation from the brutal Khmer
Rouge, the opposition Sam Rainsy
Party (SRP) claimed it as the day
Vietnam invaded the Kingdom.
The CPP has never been reluctant
to emphasise the brutality of the
Khmer Rouge regime, painting the
Vietnamese troops as the life-savers
of the Cambodian people. For the
SRP, however, the arrival of the Vietnamese
troops in Cambodia marked
an invasion, as Vietnam violated
both international and domestic
law by crossing the border into the

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