26 July 2008



Friday, 25 July 2008
Op-Ed by Chanda Chhay

There are many ways to deal with a thug. But, there is only one proper way to deal with a misbehaving, neighboring nation. That is to stand firm and be fair with it, and, if necessary, deprive it of what it wanted most.

It is as clear as daylight that the 4.6 square kilometer of so-called disputed land around the Khmer Temple of Preah Vihear was not what Thailand wanted. What it really wanted is a guaranteed access to Prasat Preah Vihear—the main attraction and an economic lifeline for the arid Si Saket province of Thailand. Without Preah Vihear, the surrounding areas would be just like any other part of the Dangrek Mountain ranges—rocks and trees.

The flagrant incursion of Thai armed forces onto the sacred ground of Preah Vihear has been going on long enough. The Thai government should know better by now that it could only defy words of condemnation or warning, but it could not defy international norms and laws. By the same token, the Cambodian government should know that the muddled head Thai leaders wanted to turn every legal and internationally-recognized document pertaining to the sovereignty of Cambodia upside down and subject Cambodia to the whim of their myopic thoughts.

So, what is Cambodia to do in order to deal with the situation? One very simple and effective solution to this problem is to publicly announce to the international community and to Thailand, in particular, that the access to Preah Vihear from Thailand is no longer open due to the difficulty in preventing illegal trespassing and thefts to the temple’s artifacts, which is now a World Heritage site. As proprietor of the temple, Cambodia has an obligation and a right to safeguard it. If Thailand, as a good neighbor, wanted to offer assistance and collaboration in protecting this World Heritage site, it MUST recognize and respect the treaties of 1904 and 1907 regarding the common border of Cambodia and Thailand. Period!

Preah Vihear is not a political football to be kicked around and see who will win or lose. It has suffered neglect and abuses by humans long enough. It is now time for us to restore and preserve it for posterity. This current crisis is perhaps the best opportunity for us to look beyond the tourist dollars and to give Preah Vihear what it deserves most: Restoration and research on the site, so that humankind could have a better understanding of its history and functionality.

Chanda Chhay
Washington, DC (USA)

25 July 2008

Letter to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand

There are so many good writings lately on the internet about our Khmer built Temple Preah Vihear. I am collecting these writings. We all should keep writing ! I know the Thai newspapers, The Nation and The Bangkok Post kept printing so much bias news and editorials. Us Khmer should write more not only to counter the bias, but also to expose truths that the Thais hate to hear.

Here's the letter to Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand a.k.a "The King That Never Smile" . The letter was forwarded to my mailbox this morning. Although it's not my kind of language in writing, but I agree the content is very good coming from our irate compatriot.

Thai King Bhubmibol wearing old fashion English hat. He is trying to copy the English royal. In my opionion, the hat is too big for his royal head.

Phnom Penh

23 July 2008

Preah Vihear of Cambodia

Nationalism is Good; Blind Nationalism is Bad

Opinion-Editorial by Chanda Chhay

This is a very good article I found from KI-Media. Click on the picture will link to the source. Thank you Chanda Chhay. I hope reading more of your writing.

Ignorance of history is a sad fact. But, twisting history to satisfy a political goal is a foolish act. With utmost due respect to Thai people in general, it is unbelievable and outright disgusting to see and hear Thai politicians and political activists barking all kind of nonsense concerning the Khmer Temple of Preah Vihear.

Without listing every detail of who is accusing whom of violating whose national sovereignty, the entire conflict over a parcel of land near Preah Vihear Temple could be summed up as a case of a grown man trying to steal a candy from a kid and accusing the kid of stealing the candy from him. What is so repulsive about this affair is that the whole world knew that the candy is rightfully belonged to the innocent kid.

It is unfortunate and truly sad to see some Thai politicians and leaders behaving like thugs. The whole country should seriously re-examine itself whether it is worth it to lose its honor and integrity within the international community over a desperately hopeless campaign to grab a piece of land which should belong to the sacred ground of Preah Vihear. In this information age, people are much better informed than anyone could have guessed. Along with information, the factual truth will always come out regardless of the efforts to twist or hide it.

Based on the often neglected historical facts, the majority of Thai and Cambodian people have many things in common, culturally. For example, the Thai language, as we know it, is a derivative of the Khmer, the Mon, and the Sanskrit languages. The royal court etiquettes, which are the grace of the Thai nation, are a replica of the Cambodian tradition. These are some of the factual realities. Whether we like them or not, they are here to stay with us for as long as we care to learn the truth. As for those Thais, who continue to fabricate facts with fictions, this myopic action will lead to nothing but humiliation. The fiasco of Thai’s objection over the Preah Vihear’s registration as World Heritage site should serve as a good lesson for moving beyond irrational nationalism.

When King Rama Kamhaeng, and some of his successors, adapted and modified the Khmer language and customs to bestow upon his subjects, the idea of seeing the descendants of his beloved subjects behaving like ingrates toward their cultural benefactor was probably beyond his wildest imagination. Unfortunately, animal behaviors in human beings always prevail when rational thinking is being replaced by blind ambition.

The images of a Thai woman lying in the middle of the road to block a convoy of Thai trouble-makers and a man whose face was cover in blood after an altercation with the trouble-makers spoke volumes of how the local people think: People on both sides of the borders want to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors. Any government or politician that fails to see this simple truth is a disgrace to the nation.

Prasat Preah Vihear and the Buddhist temple in its premise are, first and foremost, the sanctuary of the gods. Second, they are the cultural sanctuary of humankind. For armed soldiers to trample on these sacred sites is not only an affront to humankind but also a disgrace and a despicable act on the part of the instigator.

Chanda Chhay
Washington, DC (USA)

16 July 2008

Updates from Phnom Penh Cambodia

Journalist and son were shot dead:
The reason I haven't been coming to internet as frequently is because I've got a chance to part-time joining the writing force for major newspaper here in Phnom Penh. I'm mainly covering the election story. My director kept emphasised all articles I write, must be non-bias-- which is kind of hard for me to follow because I'm a very opinionated kind of person.

Body of the slain victims, Khim Sambo and his son Khath Sarin Pheata. Click on the picture to read more.

Sorry, I can't reveal the place I work for. I'm afraid some assassin would shoot me dead IN MY BACK while I'm riding my moto on our Phnom Penh street. This has happened to Khim Sambo, the journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer News (Khmer Conscience Newspaper) . Khim Sambo, 47, and his son Khath Sarin Pheata, 21, were shot dead, in assassination style while they were riding their moto scooter. Khim was shot from behind. Multiple bullets went through from his back and killed him instantly. To shoot people from the back, make this hired assassin a coward what the Khmer word called កំសាក "Komsak". To the master who hired the assassin is truly the worst kind of killer. He's 10 times more coward than this killer. Silencing the truth by killing, no matter how much money and power this master has, I hope the conscience will haunt him for the rest of his miserable life.

Preah Vihear:

I still can't understand what's up with the Thais. What the Thai claims the "overlapsed" of 4.6KM, is actually Cambodia's land. There's no "joint communiqe". Sorry. Us Khmers want to manage our property by ourselves. Hello ? Don't you Thai get it ? The world members have voted UNANIMOUSLY to have our Preah Vihear on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. All 21 members voted for it -- not even one was against the listing. This ought to send Thailand a clear message that the world recognises Preah Vihear and land surrounding belong to Cambodia. Always have and forever will be.

Satire As Satire Can be:
OK, I admit I keep myself up with news from all over the world. One most notable news is from America where the magazine The New Yorker has a cartoon drawing of their presidential candidate Mr. Barak Obamah and his wife Michelle Obama on the magazine cover page. The cartoonist portrayed Mr. Obama and his wife as Islamic terrorists residing in the American capitol "The Whitehouse" -- assuming the role Mr. Obama as the president of the United States. As you can see from the picture, Mrs. Obamah is carrying the terrorist weapon of choice, the AK47 automatic assault weapon and Mr. Obama with a Muslim sandals and headdress. Behind their backs, the American flag was tossed and burned onto the fireplace. I wish I could find a copy of this issue in our Phnom Penh bookseller here, so I could learn from the writings. Clearly as I can think, there's no defamation. This is purely satire and satire at best.

សួស្តី ស្រុកខ្មែរ ! Hello Cambodia ? Mr. Hor Namhong, David Meas the atorney and Mr. Hun Sen, I would like to repeat political satire (cartoon) is freely express in every modern part of the world.

Gloating Over Preah Vihear Events:
In more than a week time, on 27 July 2008, we're having the national election. Our government ruling party CPP of PM Hun Sen is taking the credit of Preah Vihear UNESCO listing. I think it's great to have our temple officially listed. But still, PM Hun Sen shouldn't taking the advantage to poplicise for votes. I saw on TV broadcasting kept on praising the CPP. I'm just tired of it. Lately, I saw the of picture posters of PM HUN Sen at our Phnom Penh central stadium on the Preah Vihear rallying event.

This is wrong for PM HUN SEN and his CPP party to hijack at the rally for his political gain for the 27 July up comming election. No matter what parties you're belong to, Preah Vihear and land surrounding is our Khmer national assets. I am sure any opposition party, beside CPP party, would just have done the same, if not better than the CPP party, to protect our Cambodia national heritage. Sorry PM Hun Sen. Your CPP party is still corrupt, sir, you haven't convinced me that I should vote for you. And sir, your time is running out.

ខ្ញុំបាទ ធំ វណ្ណះ
ពីរាជធានី​ ​ភ្នំពេញ
From Phnom Penh
Thom Vanak