Youths and the politics in Cambodia

Youths have been worldwide recognized as the young shoot of the bamboo. Youths are the strongest force in society to shape, change and improve society in which they are residing with. Cambodia at the present has been outstandingly emerging youth bulk in which under age of 25 years old is representing majority of Cambodia’s 14 millions population. Those youths are actively working to sustain their family economy. Their bulks are crowding at the garment factories, migrations to work outside Cambodia, educational institutes and rice paddies.

Unfortunately, Cambodian youths are likely not crowding at the political rally or actively participate with the politics. This shortfall possibly stems from two factors: the freedom of expression in Cambodia has been curtained by the political monopoly of the ruling party and the embedded tradition of youth’s parents on the scary repercussion if one actively participated with the politics.

After googling about Cambodian youths and their participation with the politics, I found these three phenomenon extremely speak something differently from that traditional thought.

1. Watching video clip on “Next Generation Program or កម្មវិធីអ្នកបន្តវេន”, many speakers spoke proudly on the collective effort to tackle lingering issues challenging Cambodia such as life improvement, justice, human rights, equity, democracy and political participation etc. The program is sponsored by USAID, and the last 10th episode was voted by SMS by the audience, the winners are represented by those four selected candidates. Remarkably, Mr. Hing Soksan, a youth from Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) won landslide of the 1105 votes in total.

Next Generation Debate  From this result, I wish to compare it with the release of poll survey conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) on January-February 2013 in which the Ruling Party or Cambodian People Party (CPP) and opposition party or Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) each has their own interpretation on the result of the poll. Note that, in Cambodia we have never had independent poll on the popularity of each rival political party in each national election. For other countries, polls have played important role on the change of vote popularity and it could predict the winner efficiently. Hence, the sampling strategy is in the state of error, and the survey result has likely been skewed by: one-sided or dominant mass media controlled by the ruling party, respondents’past trauma, scary mindset of the people in involving with the political affair, and the level of education etc. Cambodian people have been traumatized by the killing field, foreign occupation, civil war and intractable injustice of the court system in this country. Each Cambodian is hardly disclosing their favor or disfavor towards political parties or political figures.

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