Cambodia was broken open by the Cold War, a passive victim of domino theories, the Vietnam conflict and the casual brutality of global strategies. In the wake of the devastation had moved Pol Pot. Calling his work genocide missed the point, it was suicide, the Khmer Rouge had killed their own. Nearly two million dead, a fifth of the population in less than four years, amidst a senseless spiral of utopian ideology, peasant savagery and mind-numbing incompetence. After Pol Pot had been driven away, Cambodia was consumed by a fifteen year civil war funded by American and Russian rivalry. The ending of the Cold War had found Cambodia a shattered brutalised victim of a country, awash with murderers, survivors and refugees; a victim surrounded by a guilt-ridden guilty world.The book is a political novel set in modern Cambodia drawing on its recent history, the legacies of its violent past, and the guilt that threatens to drown its future.
Emily is a shy, socially clumsy English lawyer with a resentful streak, a taste for alcohol and a driving need to find some kind of direction in her life. In Cambodia where an autocratic and brutal government creates a need for human rights lawyers, she hopes to find that direction. She sees a poisoned society awash with corruption, violence and development aid. Corrupt bureaucrats, ex-murderers, traumatised genocide survivors and westernised idealists mix with a stratified western community of aid workers, missionaries and sex-tourists. Continue reading “After Pol Pot: A Modern Historical Novel”
Watching a video clip reported by Radio Free Asia (RFA) stunt me a lot on the new phenomena of Khmer youth participation with the politics. While his lecture ended and opened floor for questions from the student audience, there are questions aiming to attack the lecturer in the meantime the questions were not focused on the topic as well as the persons who asked the questions and gave the comments were not on the platform of classroom setting but emotionally displayed on political involvement. Hence, a Buddhist monks stood up to clarify the skeptics that are attacking on the report of Prof. Dr. Surya Subedi. Dr.Subedi has been appointed as the Special Rapporteur by the United Nations for Cambodia.
Watch this below video clip by RFA
My concerns are following:
1. Reading the report of Prof. Dr. Surya Subedi in both English and Khmer version, the report is really balancing and constructive. The report summarized that Economics Land Concession (ELCs) and other land developments are impacted by poor management and non-transparency of the government. As the result, there are numerous displacements, evictions, community deprivation and devastation of the forests. Those forests are the key sources for community livelihood, environment and national revenue; but those foreign investments have focused on selling timbers more than rubber and plundered the trees without obstruction.
Watch below video clip on the interviewing of Prof. Dr. Surya Subedi about his visit to Cambodia and the recommendation he made for Cambodian government.
According to the comment accused the report of Dr. Surya Subedi as bias and discouraged foreign investment in Cambodia. Of course, this belief is absolutely wrong. Whenever, the human rights situation is improved, the trust will be built for those honest and effective investors or foreign direct investors (FDIs) to Cambodia. Whenever, our rule of laws and regulations are strong, it surely builds trust for all dedicated and good-willed FDIs. Cambodia at the moment, I can say, has been worse as her government has continually dismissed and ignored the recommendation of the UN’s envoy. If the government has learnt to admit the fault and adjust its policy accordingly, the leaders will be admired and the FDIs will be flooded into this land. The land, trees and natural mineral will be properly managed. The people will experience justice. The whole society will be getting genuine progress.
That why I have criticized those students as unprofessional, immature and lacking proper research into the topic. However, I appreciate them all. Negative or positive, they have become a flame igniting inside the Cambodian soil. All Cambodian youths will pay more attention into those causes and effects.
2. By this small cohort of rallying against the report, more Khmer youths have stood up to exercise their power and prowess. As I read the comments and watching video clips on facebook, google groups and youtube; I am really optimistic on Khmer Youth movement to lead change for Cambodia. Cambodian Youth have been labeled as very young, having little knowledge, immature, having little power and incompetent. But the upcoming election on July 28, 2013 and while we are waiting another two months arrival; more and more youths are standing up from their bed, from their game board as well as from their silent space to voice out concern, worries and sensitivity. Youths are the agent of change. Youths are the catalyst for change. Youths are the unstoppable force for change in this country.
Below are the responding back to a group of students who protested against Prof. Dr. Surya Subedi and his report on the human rights situation in Cambodia.
Below is the responding of Chea Chheng, a youth who involved in the protest.
Buddha preached that “Dhamma is the supremacy, Dhamma is the ultimate law; those who practice Dhamma shall prevail wisdom, peace and happiness”. Dhamma means truth, natural laws, or the rule of law. Aristotle pointed out that the law is very important to build a kingdom. Modern political scientist defined a country managed by the rule of law as the nation-state or the state.
According to Aristotle, the development of political leadership has evolved into three distinctive phases: one, few and many. One refers to the ancient empire which was managed by one powerful leader and the leader is called Kingship ក្សត្រាធិរាជ; the leadership style is tyranny or absolute. Few refers to the nation which has been managed by few outstanding leaders and those leaders are within the effect of aristocracy វណ្ណះអភិជន; the leadership style is oligarchy អប្បជនាធិបតេយ្យ. Many refers to modern era of enlightenment which is governed by the people and Aristotle called it “the polity” ទំរង់រដ្ឋាភិបាល; the leadership style is democracy or mobocracy ប្រជាធិបតេយ្យ.
Political observer on the change of political leadership describe the “pragmatic” has produced political result of democracy or it is vaguely called “first world country”; the “ideological” has produced political result of communist or it is vaguely called “second world country”; the “revolutionary” has produced political result of “independence” from colony or foreign occupation or it is vaguely called “third world country”.
However, the evolution to become the state and the definition of the state itself have been broadly debated by the political scientists. They concur that the term “state” itself has been vague, very subjective, unrealistic, unpractical and academically disagreeable. State cannot be useful if it has no neighborhood community, family network and individual participation. Society is the crucial factor of the state or we can argue that without society, state will not be existed. Modern political scientists such as Mitchell Timothy, Evan Peter and Migdal Joel have argued that state and society is inseparable. Hence, between state and society, which come first? What is the concrete bridge to bond these two actors? Again, individual is the state and the law is the link to enable state and society coexist within modern context.