27 September 2007

Don't call me a xenophobe .

My previous entry on អនិកជន Anikachun -- What do I think about foreigners/ Khmer returnees ? received some interesting responses. Most notably the lengthy comment posted from Battambangnative has awaken me to reread KC’s final response to my email. Thank you, Battambangnative for your comment!

Regarding free speech, KC wrote “…I also believe that it is good as long as these free expressions do not incite hatred and violence”. He also went on to mention the term " xenophobic" and "racist". This perked my interest to write this blog entry.

After I read Battambangnative comment, I started to think that KC’s response is ambiguous. KC truly did try to send me some message. So now I thought If I write something about the ruling CPP Prime Minister Hun Sen govenment corruption, I ‘m inciting instability and violence. If I write about Vietnamese (Yuon), I’m xenophobic and inciting racist and hatred. This is like when I say the truth, but the truth is not to your liking, then you are accusing me of xenophobic, racist, inciting hatred and violence. Now I’m confused. What can or can’t I say anymore? Enough. I am not xenophobic nor racist. On with the truth how I feel toward the Vietnamese.

As far as the Vietnamese goes, which we always called them ‘Yuon’ really does have the intention to take Cambodia as theirs. (If any foreigner tells you not to use the word ‘Yuon’ because it is racist and derogatory, don’t believe them. We have the word ‘Yuon’ in our Khmer dictionary and it defines that it is not a derogatory term at all).

Back In 1979 just before I was born, Vietnam invaded Cambodia and annexed the country as theirs. I read Cambodia was called “Rath Kampuchea ” or State Cambodia. This implied that Cambodia was not a country but a state, which belonged to Vietnam . This was and is a scary thought. Thanks to the UN world community pressured Yuons to get out of Cambodia in accordance to Paris Peace Accords signed in October 1991.

Vietnam always wants to swallow up Cambodia . They successfully took the lower Cambodia Kampuchea Krom already. Recently I saw Wanna, Khmer blogger posted the a picture billbord that he took in Vietnam. The picture has a fatherly- like Communist leader Ho Chi Minh lifts up a child for cuddling to his mustachio face. On the background there’s the contour of the Vietnamese map covering Cambodia – Laos and the whole southeast Asia. The dreadful Communist red star designates the Hanoi as the capital. Beneath the picture, the slogan read “Let's rebuild our country neater, bigger.

Bigger? Bigger to where ? I know for sure if Vietnam try expanding ‘bigger’ to north of its border into China, the host will surely give the Viets a warm response-- in kind, that is.

A click on the Picture will lead to source at http://blog.icambo.com.

These sorts of belligerent displays and slogan are proof that Vietnam is truly an expansionist nation. They wiped out the indigenous populations in kingdom of Champa and went on to eliminate Kampuchea Krom (Lower Cambodia). We Cambodians and the world should be very aware of Vietnamese.

Please respect our Cambodia sovereign nation. I want my country. I want my Khmer language. I want my culture & tradition. A big NO to Viets in Cambodia. Now please don’t call me a racist xenophobe.

22 September 2007

អនិកជន Anikachun -- What do I think about foreigners/ Khmer returnees ?

I received an email from KC*, who’s currently living in our Cambodia. I choose to post this because the sender asked what's my feeling toward the Khmer returnees who have come back to live in Srok Khmer. This is the very question I wanted to write on the blog entry.

*KC. To protect the privacy, I changed the sender’s name to 'KC' and edited specific country where sender's from to just ‘Europe’.

Here are the sender's mails and my response.

>KC <*****@*******.com> wrote:
> Dear Vanak,
My name is KC, I'm from Europe. I came across your blog by chance and was surprised by your frankness in expressing your thoughts and views. I haven't been visiting many blogs, so I don't know whether you are an exception or rather the rule. However, I think it's great to hear young Khmers expressing freely their clear views on whatever topic they choose.

You talk a lot about politics. As a foreigner living in your country for a little while now, I was wondering whether you are not worried about threats from other people who don't share your political view? I think it is sad that this question is being asked - it shouldn't be a problem at all - but this is unfortunately the reality of Cambodia, that people sometimes have to be careful of what they say. Maybe I'm wrong?

I actually wanted to ask you your view on another subject: Cambodian returnees (Cambodian people who have fled Cambodia during the war to another country such as Australia, France, the US, ... and who now come back to live in Cambodia again).

I have met a few of such "returnees" and my impression is that they are not treated like real Cambodians by local Cambodian people here, and sometimes discriminated against. Sometimes, some of these returnees don't properly speak Khmer (because they have lived for most of their lives abroad), and sometimes they come back to Cambodia as a relatively rich person. Do you think this creates jealously? As a young, local Khmer, what is your opinion on these people? Do you think they can be the future of Cambodia, bringing back know-how and education into your country? Or not? Why do you think they are not always been treated like real Cambodians by local people?

Thanks for your time, Vanak, and keep up your blog!

> Best regards,

Jumreap Soor KC,

Thank you for visiting my blog. I am much honoured for your compliment of my writings. I like to write and I try to find the time to write. I write mostly what I feel about. Yes I sometime fear what I write too. My friends have warned me not to write any thing bad about our leaders, the ex-king or the government. I feel this would be wrong. To express what we feel aobut is very fundamental for all of us. Sensible leaders/government should listen to voices of the people rather than to silence them.

Another reason I like to write is I want to practice my English. I learned a lot from reading materials in English. I lerned vocabularies and the writing styles from the readings.

You aksed me how my feeling is like toward "Khmer returnees". For all these Khmer returnees whether they are temporary visiting or permanently coming back to live in Cambodia, we called them "Anikachun" អនិកជន . The term itself already has a negative connotation already. Anikachun literally translated as "a person who has no permanent resident". Anikachun must be a Khmer returnee . You are European, we wouldn't call you anikachun. You're just the foreigner.

My feeling toward anikachun wouldn't fairly represent the mass feelings of the general population here at all. I personally do envying them. They're so rich. They spend their dollars so freely. Most Anikachuns are very nice. Thier morals are straight forward and trust worthy. They accustomed to the good leadership, good governance, with true democracy and rules of law (i.e. EU, US, Australia...etc), that's why I think they seems to have higher morals or ethic than us. Yes, I envying them but also I respect them.

I think Anikachuns and foreigners alike have more of positive influences rather than negative ones on us Khmers. I must say few foreigners are bad. They come to Cambodia to gratify their sexual deviances and exploit underage Khmer women and children. Perhaps few of them. To these individuals if they're found guilty of the sexual offense I would be among the first to support the law to castrate them then toss them in jail for life. Please pardon my strong feeling.

Overall I wouldn't discriminate against Anikachuns or foreigners at all. They came back to the country because they feel attached to it. They love Cambodia that's why they came back to live or visit. They have money. They spent. They create economy for us. They create jobs for us. They teach us. The least us Khmer could do is to learn the good things from these Anikachuns and foreigners.

KC, I hope I answered some of your questions. Thank you again.


>KC <*****@*******.com> wrote:
> Jumreap Soor Vanak,

Thank you very much Vanak, for your long reply and for sharing your views with me.

I totally agree with you that it is a fundamental right to be able to express freely what you think is right or wrong. (I also believe that it is good as long as these free expressions do not incite hatred and violence. For example, in some countries in Europe, it is forbidden by law to express racist views. So although I support very much free expression, I also understand that there are some limits to some expressions if they lead to violence, racism, xenophobia etc.)

It's also interesting for me to hear your perspective on the Khmer returnees living in your country, so thank you again for this.

I wish you good luck with your blog, and hope that you will continue creating positive debates about many aspects of Cambodia. I think more debate is needed and more room needs to be created for new, fresh ideas.

Have a good week!


16 September 2007

The Familiar Sign Dominating Villages Across Cambodia

The bright colourful sign was erected in my village district. It's the ruling party Cambodian People Party (CPP). The party signs are all over on the streets of Phnom Penh too. I saw a lot of them along the Sisowath Quay and on the Russian Blvd. A friend of mine is so tired of this sign. One time he and I came across to the sign and he exclaimed: "Merl ! boros jomkout bey nak ! -- មើល​​ ! បុរស​​ ចំកួត បី នាក់ -- Look ! these three stooges* " I then told him to be respectful even if we don't share their policies of leading our country.

This is a big publicity or propaganda for the CPP. I don't see other party signs at all. I think this is not a fair representation. The CPP controls the laws -- maybe the law allow them to post their own party signs, but when other opposition parties asked for their signs to be put up, permission is needed. Usually permission is not granted; therefore the opposition party signs will be torn down.

Furthermore, the CPP does everything to benefit its own party and pleases Yuon Hanoi. I heard from an elder of my village. He said that many times when any Khmer nationalist asked for permission to have a radio station, the ruling CPP denied by stating the reasons there's no more radio frequencies left. But instead they granted the permission to the Vietnamese immigrant/Vietnamese embassy to operate the Vietnamese language radio station in our Srok Khmer. By pleasing Yuon Hanoi, CPP leaders are indeed stooges*.

- Vanak-

*Stooge -- [informal] Someone who always does what someone else wants them to.
-- Longman Advanced American Dictionary(c) 2000.

10 September 2007

Cambodia Stock Exchange

Recent news is the South Korea will help setting up Cambodia Stock Exchange by 2009. What kind of established companies will be listed in the Cambodia Stock Exchange ? In 2 year time I certainly shall wait and see.

Meanwhile enjoy this satire cartoon from Sacrava Toon. I could'nt help laughing out loud (LOL) all the companies names listed in our stock exchange.

In Hong Kong it has the HANG SANG index. In Cambodia HUN XENG index ? How appropriate !!

05 September 2007

Cambodian Vehicle License Plates

I just strolled along on the street here at Phnom Penh the other day, I noticed there were so many civilian vehicles with different license plates were driving and parking all over the markets and in front of restaurant. I'm not complaining on the cars that have Phnom Penh or Kg Cham or Kg Speu...plates.

The cars I'm talking about are CIVILIAN cars such as Lexus, Landcruiser, Mercedes, Camry...etc. Their license plates are related to government such as :

ខេមរះភូមិន្ធ Royal Cambodian Arm Forces(RCAF) , រដ្ធ STATE, រាជការ Government, នគរបាល Police, រដ្ធសភា​ Senate, រាជវាំង Royal Palace។

These people are corrupt they register their vehicles as such to avoid paying higher tax. I know a family who has his regular pickup truck registered as the រាជការ Government license plate .