|Written by Sophan Seng|
|Thursday, 28 August 2008|
Your recent news item titled “Good Karma for Sale” triggered my thoughts on the silent behavior of Cambodian people. Though the majority of the Cambodian population is Buddhist, they have only slightly learned Buddhist principles.
Over decades of social upheaval, Cambodian people seem to have fallen into a numb corner. This is a good chance for the Cambodian elite to take advantage of them. In term of economics, the Cambodian people are just enjoying the emergence of new buildings, roads and bridges. In term of politics, Cambodian people are satisfied with peace and social stability. This materialistic hard infrastructure blinds the Cambodian people to the all-important scene behind, the crucial soft infrastructure.
I don’t want to define current Cambodian politics as Abraham Kaplan said: “Politics is the redistribution of bandits.” But I prefer Gergen’s political thought: “A politician is a person who projects, motivates and rationalises the public for personal gain”. World academic scholars have observed and concluded that many so-called authoritarian countries have adapted their strategies to receive the ideas of good governance, decentralisation and transparency, as well as to liberalise their national economics, with the intent of extending their power.
It makes sense for post-conflict Cambodian society to appreciate peace, stability, new roads paved, new schools and temples built, and modern cities urbanized. Generally, Cambodian people including Buddhist monks regard political leaders as the well-born persons who can legitimately own the power and wealth they have. Very often, they will not hesitate to beg them for donation. Very intelligent Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has never hesitated to utter his political rhetoric “culture of sharing”. Of course, this is the right time for political leaders to pursue this rhetoric.
Buddha addressed the way to go about donations in three thoughtful stages in order to plant wisdom into his audience. Firstly, concentrate on the right giver, secondly concentrate on the right receiver, and thirdly concentrate on the right material given. Significantly, the right material has not been given, in the same way as the crucial soft infrastructure has always been hidden.
For the long-term future and sustainable development, Cambodia should pursue the principle of every Cambodian citizen being offered the chance to get rid of this silent behavior, and political leaders should share the wisdom of reducing personal gain for the sake of collective national interests. Though the boat can move directly to the destination by a boat-hooker (leader), but without the competent boat-paddlers (peoples), the boat will inevitably be sunk.
Last night I slept late. I was inspiring by the new discovery in wordpress blog. It is the easy compact software for all bloggers to enjoy. I was not hesitate to take this chance to be creative though I am really drowsy and busy with study.
During blogging, my mind wandered far and near especially thought about Cambodian peoples at Cambodia: How many of them who can access to internet? How many of them who can blog? How many of them who can use PC or MAC? And how many of them who know about the latest technology development of computer? More than 80% of Cambodian peoples are farmer. They are living in destitute, suburb, rural and remote areas. Significantly, major of them cannot access to electricity, clean water, and health care center.
In developed countries as well as some developing countries, internet has become their daily gadget and it is the magic buttons that their wishes can be unbelievably fulfilled. They buy, sell, communicate, entertain, and study just by clicking the buttons on the computer. And internet is the world wide web connectors for them to personalize as well as to globalize themselves. They can reach far away from their tiny room through video, audio, map, pictures, and online chat. Many peoples have delved themselves to trust and worship computer as well as internet as their new religion. Many internet surfers can accumulate wealth and strong social network. Many of them can seek their partner and become cute couple eventually, incredibly.
Look back to Cambodia, the trend is on the track. But it is really a creeping trend. However, many Cambodian young children are very innovative and creative. Though they don’t have sufficient tools to get into computer and internet, but there are mushrooming users. Many blogs are built and online communicate is so popular among them.
The future will be shed in light by our young generation who will not only the players of internet, but we further hope for their new inventing of modern technology. Cambodian young generation will absolutely not different from their ancestors who were very creative and urbanized such as several huge temples were astonishingly constructed entirely Cambodian Empire, those are rapidly attracting millions of people worldwide.
The pride and hope of future Cambodia doesn’t fall upon the past, the glory of Angkor Wat, but the competent younger generation, well-trained children. They are the responsible future architect and catalysts!
Sophan P. Seng