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.
The IRI collected sampling randomly and dispatched its workers to interview verbally with the target population. The question on “Is Cambodia generally heading in the right direction or the wrong direction?” is indicating as the intimidating questionnaire for the interviewee to disclose their opinion to the public. They are scared of their freedom would be used by the interviewer(s) or worker(s) as it possibly could become reprisal for their life, family and daily activities. The result shows that 81% responded as the country is heading the right direction or 1578 respondents, and 21% or 413 respondents said the country is heading in the wrong direction.
In conclusion, the way of polling can be taken in different approaches. The survey of more than 2000 respondents randomly selected and the SMS on the political debate of youths from both the CPP and CNRP are also considering a polling. With this matter, the sending SMS helped the respondents to be worry free contradicting to the direct contact which give them strong belief on bad consequences. The outcome produced differently and yes this comparison is also in the stage of skewing as well.
2. The Cambodian youths of their virtual life throughout Cambodia have expressed their political opinion very different from youths who are having and using their accounts on facebook. Last time, I observed on the youth bulk actively engaged in political debate in facebook in responding to the group of students protested the presence of Prof. Dr. Surya Subedi, the special envoy and rapporteur of the UNs in Cambodia and my article was posted on ki-media outlet which I read the comments very interestingly.
These three observations illustrate optimistic on Cambodian youths who are the young blood, successors and the young lineage of their ancestors, the builders of Angkor Watt the Great, will never succumb or surrender to political threat, injustice, ill treatment, long life learning, hard working, relentless exploring for change, and struggling for justice etc.