September, 2014

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Posted by: | Posted on: September 27, 2014

CNRP and the prospective challenges to maintain overseas Khmers supporters

Weekly Political Analysis:

Power meaningThe drive of political environment of Cambodia has remarkably been influenced by the Khmers overseas supporters. As noted, the influx of Khmer refugees to resettling in third countries during the war between Khmer guerrilla and Vietnamese occupation in between 1979 to 1990, the resistance alliance stationed at the Khmer-Thai border was wholeheartedly backed by the in-place refugees and those Khmers overseas. Although, it was called the guerrilla group, but their combating discipline and sacrificing were recognized as the Vietnamese side must accept this reality. The war of this “sovereignty” triumph was significantly channeled by both financial and moral supports from Khmers overseas. The Khmer diaspora didn’t stop there. The negotiation of Paris Peace Agreement in October 23, 1991 led to the winning election of Funcinpec party was broadly seen the close engagement by the Khmers overseas. But when this party failed to take their leadership to account in rescuing the nation, the party was disappeared with the disapproval and condemnation of the Khmers overseas.

Continuously, the supporting channel was contemplated to more democratic, transparent and accountable party such as Khmer Nation Party evolved to Sam Rainsy Party and modern Cambodia National Rescue Party. While the name of Khmer Nation Party was hijacked, the prominent leader Sam Rainsy named the party as his own legal name aiming to avoid future hijacking. During that period of struggling, the tumultuous shakes by the Cambodian People’s Party was constant and repetitive towards Sam Rainsy Party. Its leader Sam Rainsy become the core figure to be amputated. His last incident was his brave action to uproot the border posts which anchored inside the Cambodian rice field by the Vietnamese authority. But Cambodian government took action over him rather than handling this trespassing issue with the Vietnamese government. He was convicted to put in jail several years while he was in a visit to foreign country. This action was planned to demote him or to intentionally stop him from politician career in Cambodia. During this transitional period, the overseas supporters were seen substantially increased.

Today, I am in a surprise to hear Mr. Meach Sovannara (see this facebook link) who stated himself as the Director of News and Information of the CNRP to explicitly denounce the Cambodia National Rescue Party of North America (CNRP-NA) on what this political body of Khmer diaspora is planning to launch their first convention on October 4th, 2014 at Long Beach. Personally, I think his speech and his approach is very immature. Of course, the genuine unity means inclusive, not exclusive at all. If his word on the central committee (Kanak Akchentray) decided this or decided that on the supporting rally of Khmers overseas from all walks of life and tendency is true, it is a ridiculous political maneuver of this very young CNRP. Why Khmers overseas who have spared their sweat and blood from hard earning penny to support the democratic party in Cambodia especially the CNRP must be directed, regulated, guided, lobbied, decided, or judged by the central committee (Kanak Akchentray) of the party? Those Khmers overseas especially this North America are living very different lifestyle from those in Cambodia. Their standard of living, knowledge of freedom, and democracy are very different. The donation and engagement with the Cambodian democrats are just part of their bonding in birthplace, nationalism, loving-kindness, and helping the Cambodian victims etc. Some might need to become one of the leadership members within the party, but it is very slightest percentage comparing to more than 700,000 Khmers overseas who donated the money and protested against all types of human violation with pure mind to seek justice, to help develop democracy and economic of Cambodia. Or even though, one acquires to be the law-maker candidate with the CNRP, she/he must go through the onsite activism, level of patronage system and bureaucracy, and satisfied amount of financial injection into the party etc. The party seems has no clear-cut policy to bring real candidate for long term effectiveness from Khmers overseas.

Contradictory, the merge between SRP and HRP resulted in maintaining CNRP-NA which has kept its life-span longer than any diasporic political body in North America. Its birth is likely happened since the failure of the Funcipec party. According to this source of information (, the CNRP-NA was fully endorsed and created within the same time frame of the CNRP creation. But it had some working conflict among CNRP-NA executive members (which is considered normal incident in working place), while the responses from the Central Committee has been seen irrelevant. The effort to solve the conflict is acceptable, but the guideline or directives to curb or to dictate them is very irrelevant. The Khmers overseas every where is very independent. Their daily life is seen as the government is asking people to direct or regulate them on what they should do and what they should not do. The government especially the United States of America and Canada have never issued guidelines or directives to dictate their own people. The people are their master. Those political leaders and parties are just the servant of the people. Hence, all the time, conflicts happened, the wise tends to act as the mediator by asking all parties to seek their common ground for solution. Both formal or informal, the conflicts shall be compromised in which both parties can accept those ends.

As a recommendation, it is a good sign for the CNRP-NA to convene its convention in order to strengthen their support base to rightly channel the money and spirit for the success of democratic struggle in Cambodia. The top leaders or representatives of the CNRP must applaud their efforts. CNRP must stop using the Kanak Akchentray to issue letter to Khmers overseas in the way of controlling them. Doing so, it has diffused their feeling like what they heard the Angkar Leu issue order for them during the Pol Pot regime. The effective letters from the Central Committee (Kanak Akchentray) should be the verification of wiring money and the outcomes from using those money to translate their donation spirit correctly; and the letters of appreciation and recognition to their effort, not only money but their participation or their lobbying protest etc.; and the report of progressive works the party leaders have spoken with the public or have promised with the Cambodian people etc.

Posted by: | Posted on: September 14, 2014

Vietnamese veterans celebrated their retreat from Cambodia 25 years ago

D Nguyen Thanh Nhan Drawing of Nguyen Thanh Nhan

Comment: Reading news by BBC on “Vietnam’s forgotten Cambodian war”, I am fascinated by Mr. Nhan whose words are reflecting younger Vietnamese population who see the invading into Cambodia is a waste of manpower and left bad reputation for Vietnam many years to come. Hence, their new paradigm shift is in reverse to the imperialism and Nam Tien policy of top Vietnamese leaders. As this country is still governed by Communist system, the voice of those youth has no space to express or to change such entrenched mentality at all. Mr. Nhan is not alone on his reaction to the invasion over Cambodia, the villagers in central Vietnam whom I visited in 2007 whispered to me that their children were forced to carry guns and trucked them to Cambodia. The parents and relatives were so suffering and painful. As they knew, I am Cambodian, everyone seems in hurry to recall their past suffering. An aged woman recalled about the non-returned son, and another man smiled as his son is still alive and can re-unionize with the family. Nhan is right saying that “American soldiers thought they helped Vietnam. Then their illusion was broken,” Mr Nhan said. “We were the same in Cambodia.” His fearful momentum was that in daytime those Cambodians are friend but they turned to be enemy in the night time. I am going to purchase his book “Away from Home Season – The Story of a Vietnamese Volunteer Veteran in Cambodia” and try to understand his point of view although it has been censored and distorted the original manuscript by the Vietnamese government to fit their political agenda.

However, Mr. Nhan including many Vietnamese see that the choice government chose was not right for them but they are sill voiceless to be heard and the cycle of Kamma of an imperialism mindset under the yoke of communist system has been rolling non-stop although barking sound sometime distracted them a lot. I would like to invite everyone to read this report by BBC written by Kevin Doyle from Phnom Penh

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Posted by: | Posted on: September 13, 2014

Do Not Accept Mediocrity

Mediocrity isn’t being marginal; it’s being stagnant.
Note: After writing something about “The concept of national reconciliation and unity” in Cambodia politics is an excuse for the winner to prolong their power, I got this precise argument from Dr. Gafar Peang-Meth which posted in WalkeTheTalk. I cannot abstain from publishing it here. Thank you very much Dr. Gafar Peang-Met for this wisdom sharing.
Eric Harvey & The Team
Here’s a great leadership lesson for all of us:

Leadership does not suffer mediocrity well. It has no place for those who desire only to tread water and bob in their current circumstances. Leadership is about moving boldly in the direction of one’s dreams and goals — even when those distant shores are not in view or the waters are filled with dangerous creatures. Leaders are never comfortable with the status quo; they are always in search of growth, change and continuous improvement.  To a leader, stagnation is death-by-omission.

But how aggressive are we in addressing mediocrity in our ranks? As leaders, have we grown too comfortable with our own skills and expectations?

Mark Twain stated, “Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.”

Lead Well, Lead Right

Posted by: | Posted on: September 12, 2014

Comment and critics on recently published article on The Diplomat

Mr. Heng Sarith has well articulated on the concept of implementation and durable performance on foreign policy Cambodia has adhered to. His theoretical framework of Asian Century, Post-Conflict Cambodia, and Six-Point Principles for Cambodia to follow to enabling its grand approach of international relations is seen lacking concrete capacity to implement if we are looking at Cambodia domestic politics. First, Cambodia is still straying its choice in between China, US and Vietnam. An approaching unavoidable conflicts for their country interests in between these three countries regardless South China Sea, or Japanese’s island conflict with China, including other alliance strategy schemes, Cambodia must prepare itself well to face off with all these unpredictable phenomenon. Second, the preempted tools such as military and money to retain, neutralize or offend in case of incident happened, as foreign policy expert coined them, Cambodia is falling very short to develop this capacity. Third, it has been more than 30 years now that Cambodia political development is still governed by a single political party, the CPP. This prolonged political power of one party state is not productive to having smooth democratization at all. Without gaining genuine democracy in this country, Cambodia is a pawn of foreign policy, not a paw at all. 

Like I ever said before, the internal strength is a must for Cambodia to sustain its above three pillars strategy. At the moment, I can criticize that, the concept of national reconciliation and unity that CPP and CNRP has already assembled at the assembly, is a grand political trick that Cambodian people have already been alerted. The statement to create the political power of “check and balance” is far away from reach and reality. Why? The military is not yet integrated into realistic neutral national arm-forces. Court and judicial system is not yet neutral or due course in accordance to the law. Public servants are still under armpit of the CPP. The hope to change and improve this embedded political culture rests on Cambodian people in general who can vote for change, civil society, capable CNRP law-makers, and modern CPP pragmatists. I would like to invite everyone to read in details on The Diplomat published on 11 September 2014

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