Cambodia politics

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Posted by: | Posted on: January 24, 2017

Cambodia is at Palliative Care stage and needing MOST

Critical Thinking & Political Analysis:

Experiencing through a lifelong learning and a lifelong antagonising of Cambodia politics has not been placing myself into a vague cliché. Hearing through rhetoric of public leader(s) to professional club(s), you might loss your sight to comprehend what are their “critical thinking”, “political correctness”, and “so-called professionalism” etc. at. With this fundamental doubt, I am easily called “sarcastic”, “ill-minded”, or “taunted” etc. If sometime, someone explicitly used direct word to some individual(s)’s bad behaviour or irresponsibility of their duties, that person could be become the “accuser” to the “accused” by the middleman without having a “proper critical thinking”. Sometime, if one made a general statement in their writing, such general statement could not be free from being labeled as being an “accuser” as such general statement could be made into the identified “accuser” and the “accused” by the member. Sometime, the good intention to advise for a beneficial solution, such advise could be dragged into something else and you could be responded to focus on your club, not my club etc. And sometime, I am very concerned on the disarray of the argument on “majority” and “minority” political mantra.

Plato on TruthUp to today, the pure democracy has not existed in this world. Up to today, the pure communism has not existed in this world. The middle path engagement has been visible everywhere. But those countries that are moving away from this middle path are practically fragile states or failed states respectively. Our well-known ancient political philosophers such as Plato said “you should not honor men more than truth”, or legendary Socrates who accepted to die than giving up his “true word”, or Lord Buddha who advocated for “Dhamma-thepady Democracy or Dhamma Supremacy Democracy” since thousand centuries ago, have lighted up till today. Dhamma Supremacy Democracy literally means “rule of laws democracy”. In practice, Bhikkhu monks used major consensus to make decision-making upon well-adopted Vinaya or rule of laws. At least, there are three levels of “rule of laws” taught by Lord Buddha: the conventional truth or man-made rule of laws (Vinaya or disciplinary discourse), natural truth of rule of laws (Dhamma or natural truth of long discourse”, and ultimate truth or ultimate rule of laws (Abbhidhamma or ultimate truth of metaphysic discourse”. Buddha also addressed the three majority policy such as self supremacy (Atta-thepady), populace supremacy (Loka-thepady), and Dhamma supremacy (Dhamma-thepady) which he concluded that all those supremacy are beneficial by resembling within the line of “rule of laws” or Dhamma, not a single identity.

Look at Cambodia, there seems no core value of “rule of laws” have been embedded. Many civilized nations have evolved their political arguments into monarchy, republican, democrat, or conservative etc. to maximize the interest of their nations. But Cambodia has likely evolved into more self-inflicting political argument than those progressive political embeddedness. While Cambodia has adopted conventional man-made truth (rule of laws) called “Constitution” in 1993, none of the powerful leader has ever dedicated himself to build this truth for this country. As a result, the embeddedness of disarrayed citizenship has been omnipresent displayed. For instance, when two Cambodians are facing road-accident argumentation with each other, the two shall accuse each other to seek “wrong” and “right” rarely upholding principle to depend on nation-state’s rule of laws. And for the powerful leader(s), they will use “rule by laws” to accuse or punish individuals or “inferiors” at their helm to legitimize righteousness like what Khmer saying popularly coined “not kick the ball but the player”. Constitution has been born by the attempt of “critical thinking” but the Constitutional Council, the three branches of government, and the citizens in general, are running out their inner “critical thinking”. To divulge it, I wish to share original writing of “critical thinking” by Peter Facione of Santa Clara University with italic letters below:

Critical Thinking: What it is and why it counts

Peter Facione, Santa Clara University.

Critical thinking is a pervasive and purposeful human phenomenon. It is thinking that has a purpose such as proving a point, interpreting what something means or solving a problem.

Critical thinking is about how you approach problems, questions and issues. The ideal critical thinker can be characterized not merely by her or his cognitive skills but also by how she or he approaches life and living in general. 

Good critical thinkers can also be described in terms of how they approach specific issues, questions or problems. The experts state critical thinking includes:

  • clarity in stating the question or concern
  • orderliness in working with complexity
  • diligence in seeking relevant information
  • reasonableness in selecting and applying criteria
  • care in focusing attention on the concern at hand
  • persistence through difficulties are encountered
  • precision to the degree permitted by the subject and the circumstances

How does a poor critical thinker approach specific problems? 

  • disorganized and overly simplistic
  • spotty about getting the facts
  • apt to apply unreasonable criteria
  • easily distracted
  • ready to give up at the least hint of difficulty
  • intent on a solution that is more detailed than is possible, or
  • being satisfied with an overly generalized and uselessly vague response

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Posted by: | Posted on: December 21, 2015

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 45

This part (45), Mr. Sophan Seng dedicated his analysis towards newly changed in political landscape of Cambodia.
1 TV watchers in CambodiaWhile the cooperation (non-confrontational or culture of dialogue) between Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is transformed into confrontation as usual in over-night political rhetoric, the term of heated up political conflict in Cambodia has been tensely criticized. Heated up because of the changing political attitude between government-led party and opposition party has rarely happened in developed countries (both communist and democratic countries). But Cambodia has experienced exotic political culture. Whenever, there are conflicts between different political parties, Cambodian people are under fear, investors are under threat, and foreign direct investment (FDI) are under uncertainty. This phenomena is indicating that Cambodia has no political institution that belongs to the nation. Cambodia has proven herself as a fragile state of few leadership like what Aristotle pinpointed it “led by few” or “autocrats”.
In conclusion, political maturity through think tank-led leadership is imperative for Cambodia. While the CPP has been hopeless in its reform to bring back popularity among voters, the old approach of confrontation has been visually undertaken; thus the CNRP must work out harder and clearer within their points of “culture of dialogue” through workshops and workshops, conferences and conferences, to build up policy, think tank, and pragmatism etc.

Posted by: | Posted on: August 26, 2015

Political Paradigm of Pragmatism from the Khmer Youth part 33

This part (33), the author Mr. Sophan Seng described the current dilemma of trust and social capital in Cambodia. The survey research released by Asia Foundation found that Cambodian people have little trust on Cambodia government and governance institution. The deficit of trust is clearly caused by following criteria:

11889649_154038554933655_66259387329862781_n1. Decades of past civil war in Cambodia accounting from Lon Nol republic regime, to brutal extremism of Khmer Rouge, to foreign occupation between 1979-1990, and political turbulence in post-UN sponsored election 1993, all have caused dividing and confrontational movements in Cambodia.

  1. Interference towards the Court and Judicial System of Cambodia by PM Hun Sen is critically saddening. His speech publicized through television about accusing the political activists and senator, and his direct ordering to arrest them are seen undermining the due processes of the court. This political behavior has stifled the judicial system in Cambodia to trial cases fairly, independently, and professionally.
The 11 political protesters were jailed by the court.

The 11 political protesters were jailed by the court.

  1. As Cambodia is paced in a post-conflicted stage, the outraging and sensitivity in existing controversies are very common. Hence, political leaders and academia must think twice before making a move with all their grand policy to avoid stagnation. Hun Sen has experienced well in creating public stunts to draw attention and to distract his opponents, but every move have not guaranteed his national interests goal as things could boomerang and bounce back to him unconditionally. Many times of his move shall result in more controversies and dividing.
The two latest protesters are jailed including one in custody.

The two latest protesters are jailed including one in custody.

  1. Prime Minister Hun Sen has been handling border issues through sensitive discrepancies. And the aim to amend the constitution article 2 is seen very unfavorable as Cambodian proverb said ” you couldn’t cut head to fit hat, but you can cut hat to fit head’.

At the end, the author articulated that good leaders must bear full accountability and transparency to benefit the nation. The nation refers to the Cambodian people, the land, and their future. While leader(s) shall be aged, sicked and died, only the nation and the people are continuing to struggle for their survival. Buddha admired those who have seen this truth and carry out the truth to their utmost ability. Eventually body shall be vanished but remained only name and honor, Buddha assured.

Posted by: | Posted on: July 19, 2015

Double Bind: The Politics of Reform in Cambodia by World Politic Review

Double Bind: The Politics of Reform in Cambodia

Silas Everett Thursday, July 16, 2015
Op-Ed: World Politic Review
Independence Monument, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 17, 2015 (photo by Flickr user phalinn licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

Independence Monument, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, June 17, 2015 (photo by Flickr user phalinn licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

Cambodia’s July 2013 national elections were a watershed moment in the country’s recent political history. Amid charges of electoral fraud, long-ruling Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) was declared the winner of the polls by the National Election Committee. Despite the irregularities, the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) still saw its support surge, winning 55 out of the 123 seats in parliament. The result represented an unprecedented loss of 22 seats for the CPP and prevented it from wielding the two-thirds majority necessary to amend Cambodia’s constitution.

Following the announcement of the results, anti-government demonstrations in the capital, Phnom Penh, reached an estimated 100,000 people. Corralled by security forces, barricades and barbed wire, protesters marched peacefully through the city’s large avenues. Their many grievances included state impunity, corruption, deforestation, forced evictions and land grabbing. But the CNRP’s threat to boycott the national assembly and continued claims that the elections were in effect stolen by the CPP served to band together the multitude of complaints into a single narrative with clear demands: new elections, the overhaul of the election committee and Hun Sen’s resignation.

In January 2014, in response to the unrelenting street protests, government security forces cracked down, suppressing the demonstrations, arresting dozens of activists and closing Freedom Park, which had become a rallying point for the opposition. Almost overnight, the protests were subdued. Without a viable endgame on the streets, the CNRP had few real options but to conclude a negotiated settlement with the CPP in July 2014 and to take its seats in the National Assembly.

Since then, the political stand-off has entered a state of limbo. But while the opposition has had mixed success in advancing its reform agenda, the lack of clear progress does not necessarily benefit Hun Sen and the CPP, which could see their support further eroded in the event they do not respond to the gathering popular demand for change.

As local and national elections loom in 2017 and 2018, respectively, Cambodia’s near-term future is uncertain. The CPP has provided few, if any, signs that it intends to make a peaceful transition of power possible, if the elections make one necessary. Indeed, Cambodia’s recent history gives ample reason to believe that a win by the opposition may only lead to larger-scale unrest and violence.

To win at the ballot box, the CPP will need to pull off a tricky combination: erode the opposition’s base of support; push through social and economic reforms—particularly in the areas of education, health and commerce—to win back the electorate; and close the space for dissent.

However, in the short term, these tactics are likely to create other problems for the CPP. Demographic trends suggest that voters’ expectations of the state will continue to intensify. The need for alternative outlets to let off pressure will only increase. Tamping down dissent is likely to be met with blowback, domestically and abroad. Many of the meaningful social and economic reforms will require breaking up or bypassing patronage networks. This would risk undermining loyalty within the CPP in uncertain times when loyalty is most critical.

As a result, Cambodia’s stability in the medium to long term will ultimately rest on the CPP leadership’s ability to prepare state institutions for a peaceful transition of power. In order to do that, Cambodia will also need to diversify its economy, strengthen rule of law and find ways for China to continue to play a constructive role without creating further dependency. Clearly, this will be a tall order to fill.

Rules of Engagement and the “Culture of Dialogue”

Hun Sen, who led Cambodia out of civil conflict and navigated the CPP into a post-communist era, has been at his country’s helm for 30 years. After two decades of increasing success at the ballot box, the 2013 national elections surprised Hun Sen and the CPP, which found itself within almost 300,000 ballots of losing the popular vote to the CNRP. The CPP went from 90 seats in the National Assembly to 68. The CNRP holds the remaining 55 seats.
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