Samdech Dekchor Told a Story about Two Buddhist Elders Who Were Friends – Thursday, 4.2.2010

Posted on 4 February 2010. Filed under: Week 650 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 650

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian Prime Minister, Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen, told a story as a reminder for greedy persons. He told this story while presiding over the graduation ceremony of 1,266 master degree, bachelor degree, or associate degree graduates of the Vanda Institute in the morning of 3 February 2010 at the National Institute of Education [associate degrees are for people who do not have a high school certificates; they cannot earn a bachelor degree, unless they first spend one year to earn an associate degree].

“Samdech Hun Sen told a story about two Buddhist elders who were friends. One was a good person and the other was a bad person who did only evil things. When they died, the good Buddhist elder was born as Indra [the head of angels] and another became a leper. One day, Indra saw his friend, the former evil Buddhist elder, begging. He decided to help him by using his magic powers to make him again a normal person, as requested by his Buddhist elder friend. After he became a normal person, he got angry with a commune chief, for whom he worked, and he asked Indra to make him a commune chief. Then, he got angry with the district governor, and he asked Indra to make him a district governor… until he became a king. One day, Indra invited his friend to visit him at his place. There, he saw that Indra’s place was beautiful, and Indra had many beautiful girls serving him. The former Buddhist elder, who was now already a king, asked Indra to share half of his place with him. Seeing that his friend was greedy, Indra decided to make him again a leper what he had previously been.

“Samdech Hun Sen considered the idea of this story as a symbol of the endless desires of human beings, but he linked it also to those who become officials through the help of their partisans, but not through testing their own ability, and this is a problem about which also the Royal Government must be careful. He added that officials who are endlessly greedy will be demoted to return to their previous positions, or they will even be imprisoned.

“Samdech Hun Sen considered this graduation ceremony as a success of higher education institutions, such as they exist both as state and as private institutions. Such institutions can measure the capacity and the quality of the students’ knowledge and of the institutional education, based on the large number of students who graduated and get jobs in society. This can be considered a success in education, especially for those graduates who can create their own jobs; moreover, they have the ability to create jobs also for other citizens.

“The director of the Vanda Institute, Mr. Heng Vanda, said that besides the graduates here, 8,122 students are earning accounting and audit degrees. By now, there have been 3,845 students who have graduated [from his institute]. He added that by 2010, the institute has already constructed five buildings with 5 stories and 79 rooms on a piece of land of 3,000 square meters, and they plan to build a 7-story building with 77 rooms on another piece of land of 1,200 square meters next to the old main building.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5117, 4.2.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 4 February 2010

Areyathor, Vol.16, #1430, 4-5.2.2010

  • The Phnom Penh Municipality Starts Collecting Land and House Taxes in 2010, though the Ownership of some Land Is Contested or the Land is Left Unused

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #404, 4.2.2010

  • Officials Said that Income from Tourism in 2009 Amounted US$1,560 Million [it declined by 1% compared to 2008]
  • The European Union Gives Euro 2 Million More for Cambodian Food Security [by 2010, the total fund is Euro 5.3 Million, approx. US$7.4 million]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2168, 4.2.2010

  • A Former American Teacher Was Sentenced to Serve Six Months in Prison and then Willa Be Expelled from Cambodia [for debauchery with three underage girls – Phnom Penh]
  • Obama Maintains a Firm Position to Meet with the Dalai Lama though China Warned against such a Meeting

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6875, 4.2.2010

  • Bird Flu [H5N1] Is Spreading and Killed Tens of Thousands of Ducks in Koh Andaet District [in Takeo]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #104, 4.2.2010

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen Warned that Nobody Should Nominate Relatives and Partisans as Officials
  • 250,000 Children [between the ages of 12 and 17] Are Suffering from Labor Exploitation [in agricultural and industrial sectors, and in other sectors; according to an estimate by the Ministry of Interior]
  • Red-Shirt Demonstrators [supporters of ousted and fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra] Began to Demonstrate against the Thai Government.

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5117, 4.2.2010

  • While Parents Were Busy Helping to Take a Woman to Hospital, Their Three Children Drowned and Died [Pursat]
  • Samdech Dekchor Told a Story about Two Buddhist Elders Who Were Friends

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.18, #1869, 4.2.2010

  • Hun Sen Warned that if Siam Dares to Invade, Cambodia Will Fight Back

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Outlook into 2009 – Sunday, 11.1.2009

Posted on 12 January 2009. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 594 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


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The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 594

Observing a wide range of discussions about the future, there are two fields which get most prominent attention: the economy – and the state of law.

As the Cambodian economy – internationally – depends much on the export of garment products and on international tourism, and on a construction boom, we did mirror related reports:

The garment industry was a sure bet in the past – in every of the previous years, this sector grew by 15% to 20%. But this was not an assurance for the future. The situation is bad, but not too bad, some observers say:

In Cambodia 73 factories were closed in 2008, making nearly 25,000 workers unemployed. But 64 new factories opened, absorbing 10,000 new workers. – The export of garments to international markets dropped by 2%, while before, it was expected that it would drop by between 5% and 7%. Therefore the global financial crisis affected this sector very little.

Others are more careful to express their hope: While at present the future looks really to dark, things may change:

Presently received orders will be finished by February and March 2009, and there are no buying orders for May and June 2009.

But buyers from the United States of America probably wait until the new president takes his position in mid January, then they will continue buying.

Investments in the construction industry are also facing big problems:

All construction projects of high rise buildings to develop the city to become a modern city are mostly based on foreign investment in Cambodia. Therefore large scale investments, like those by Korean investors planning constructions for the city, are delayed.

The labor unions say that 30% of the construction workers are laid off, and various projects are suspended; and it is forecast that in 2009 the decline will continue.

And tourism?

The Minister of Tourism recognized that the global financial crisis and the confrontation with Thailand in the Preah Vihear region slows the number of tourists to Cambodia down, but Cambodia will make all efforts to guarantee the safety of tourists, and to promote the further growth of tourism.

The loss of everyday jobs and income for the families is a consequence resulting from the decline in the number of tourists to Cambodia since July 2008.

Such reductions in the economic possibilities are also reflected in the cautious employment policy of the government for new graduates, in spite of the fact that their number is increasing year by year:

The Cambodian government decided to reduce the recruitment of new civil servants from 9,000 to 8,000 to work at different ministries and departments in 2009.

To reduce employment alone will not be sufficient. We will watch out for reports about other determined decisions how to contain and to save expenses.

The plan to spend US$10 million on public lighting in Phnom Penh is surprising in this context. Even if it is intended to do this with a foreign loan, it is not only a liability to be paid back; after the investment is done, a lot of electricity will have to be paid for. Public taxpayer money will have to be spent regularly for the electricity, and this money will go to the producers of electricity; more and more private companies will profit from this.

Of course there is the hope for big oil money in the futue. And the international community has pledged around one billion dollars of aid for 2009.

The scholarly wisdom from the field of Economics and of Business Administration has not prevented a global economic meltdown of a size never before experienced. Now there are many efforts under discussion, what kind of political will and political action is needed to control the economic problems so that they do not get totally out of control. The myth about the “self-regulatory powers of the market” led into global crisis; new bold legislation and new government interventions are now being called for internationally.

There is new movement also in Cambodia in the field of the role of law.

The new year started with an almost unexpected news from the past: after five years of doubts and mistrust in police and in court actions, related to the 2004 murder of the labor leader Chea Vichea, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were released on bail, because, as the Supreme Court judge Dith Munty explained, there is a lack of clarity: the case needs further investigation, as there were gaps in the procedures, and there is insufficient evidence.

There will have to be a lot of explanation to be done, why previous investigations were not done correctly, and how it was possible that gaps in the procedures – which had been pointed out by many, including by the former King – could not be rectified without keeping two persons in prison for five years.

Now the police waits already one whole week for the green light from the court to start the new investigation. It is probably the correct procedure now to wait for the court again. When there is a lack of clarity, new investigations are to be made, according to the law, independently from any outside influence, also independent from the executive branch of the government, according to the Constitution of the country.

Article 51 of the Constituton says:
“The Cambodian people are the masters of their own country. All power belongs to the people. The people exercise these powers through the National Assembly, The Senate, the Royal Government and the Judiciary. The legislative, executive, and judicial powers shall be separate.”

But it is at least surprising that the effort by three persons, accredited by the Bar Association of Cambodia to act at the courts in Cambodia, met with difficulties when hey tried to file a law suit. They want to initiate a clarification by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court about allegations of irregularities at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. They had not been able, in spite of their efforts over several months, to receive certain pieces of information – as we had mirrored on Friday, 9.1.2009, in detail from the Khmer press.

What is even more surprising – not based on any legal expertize, but just on common sense – is that the appeal to a court of law to bring clarity, is not welcome, but is met by an expression of regret. The national judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia criticized this appeal to a court with the argument, that they had entered into service at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal on the basis of a Royal Decree, signed by the King.

This case brings a basic problem of perception to the public, whether this society will live up to its constitution, where an independent judiciary is to find out what is right and what is wrong, or whether positions of rank will have precedence. Do the national judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia not trust that the courts can fulfill their duty?

The fact, that a person had an illustrious career to which he was properly appointed, is no reason not to clarify by the courts and on the basis of the law in a transparent way, whether a person has acted properly or not. When Heng Pov, who was, over the course of time, undersecretary of state, and assistant to the Minister of the Interior, and then police commissioner of the city of Phnom Penh – who had had all the proper appointments – was put to the test by the courts, he failed and is now in prison.

Whoever is innocent, should be happy to have this finally confirmed by a normal, public court. Why not?

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