The Sword of Damocles Has Dropped

My dear Kacvey,

On this very Wednesday 12 August 2020, history will record a major decision that the European Commission has taken on trade with Cambodia, as per this Press Release, pending the issuance of the full text of the decision.

The Press Release reads:
“Cambodia loses duty-free access to the EU market over human rights concerns

“As of today, 12 August, some of Cambodia’s typical export products such as garments, footwear and travel goods are subject to the European Union’s customs duties. The EU’s decision to partially withdraw Cambodia’s duty-free quota-free access to the EU market is now effective. The preferential treatment enjoyed by Cambodia under “Everything But Arms” (EBA) – the EU’s trade arrangement for Least Developed Countries – is now temporarily lifted due to serious and systematic concerns related to human rights ascertained in the country. The EU enforces this measure while staying open to engage with Cambodia on the necessary reforms.

“Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan said: “We have provided Cambodia with trade opportunities that let the country develop an export-oriented industry and gave jobs to thousands of Cambodians. We stand by their side also now in the difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic. Nonetheless, our continued support does not diminish the urgent need for Cambodia to respect human rights and labour rights. I stand ready to continue our engagement and to restore fully free access to the EU market for products from Cambodia provided we see substantial improvement in that respect.”

“The withdrawal of preferential access to the EU market concerns approximately 20% of Cambodia’s exports to the EU. Cambodia may still export those products to the EU but they will be subject to general tariffs applicable to any other member of the World Trade Organization. The remaining 80% of Cambodia’s exports continue to enjoy preferential (duty-free, quota-free) access to the EU market.

“The Commission, together with the European External Action Service (EEAS), will continue its enhanced engagement with Cambodia. The EU will keep on monitoring the situation in the country, with a particular focus on current restrictions in the areas of freedom of expression and civil and political rights, as well as land disputes and labour rights in the context of the ongoing reforms.

“The EU is aware of the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Cambodia’s economy and employment and stands ready to support the country in its fight against the coronavirus crisis and towards economic recovery. This, however, does not waive the urgent need to ensure respect for human rights and labour rights in Cambodia.

“Since February 2020, when the EU’s decision on partial withdrawal was taken, the Cambodian Government could at any time have taken the necessary steps to fulfill the conditions allowing the European Union to fully restore EBA preferential access to the EU market. This remains the case.

“The Cambodian authorities should take action to restore political freedoms in the country, to re-establish the necessary conditions for a credible, democratic opposition and to initiate a process of national reconciliation through genuine and inclusive dialogue. The Commission and the EEAS have outlined the necessary actions to the Cambodian authorities on numerous occasions, as well as in the Commission’s Delegated Regulation. Actions include the reinstatement of the political rights of opposition members and the repeal or revision of laws, such as the Law on Political Parties and the Law on Non-Governmental Organisations. If the government of Cambodia shows significant progress, particularly on civil and political rights, the Commission may review its decision and reinstate tariff preferences under the “Everything But Arms” arrangement, in line with the provisions of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

“Background

“The “Everything But Arms” (EBA) arrangement is part of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP). The GSP allows vulnerable developing countries to benefit from lower duties or duty-free exports to the EU, and hence stimulate their economic growth. It is a one-way arrangement: it does not require reciprocity vis-a-vis EU exports. Through the EBA arrangement, the EU grants duty-free and quota-free access to its market for all products – except arms and ammunition – from Least Developed Countries (as defined by the United Nations). Under the GSP Regulation, tariff preferences may be suspended in the case of “serious and systematic violation of principles” laid down in the international human rights and labour rights conventions listed in an annex to the GSP Regulation.

“Based on serious concerns about the deterioration of political, human, land and labour rights in Cambodia, in February 2019, the Commission opened a procedure for a withdrawal of the EBA preferences granted to Cambodia. On 12 November 2019, the Commission submitted to Cambodia a report demonstrating serious and systematic violations of key principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) linked to political participation, freedom of expression and freedom of association in Cambodia. At the same time, despite remaining serious concerns, the report underlined tangible progress in solving land disputes in the sugar sector and with respect to labour rights. Following a period for comments, on 12 February 2020, the Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation on a temporary and partial withdrawal of tariff preferences granted to Cambodia under the EBA. The Regulation entered into force on 25 April 2020 and takes effect as of 12 August 2020.”

The Sword of Damocles has finally dropped on the weak strongman universally known as the former Khmer Rouge that becomes the most corrupt autocrat the world has ever known.

To paraphrase Andrei A. Gromyko, we will soon know how the weak strongman would “end up under a Sword of Damocles on a tightrope over the abyss.”

Old Roguery

My dear Kacvey,

You may wish to share this view with your students by of course respecting social distancing during the Wuhan virus pandemic, officially known as Covid-19.

It is about a particular character trait, among many others, written by Lin Yutang 林语堂 in his book “My Country and My People – 吾国与吾民”

Lin Yutang identified “old roguery – 老猾俏皮” as that particular character trait. Here are some extracts of what he wrote:

“… An old rogue is a man who has seen a lot of life, and who is materialistic, nonchalant, and skeptical of progress. At its best, this old roguery gives us mellowness and good temper, which in old men make many girls prefer them for husbands. For if life is worth anything, it is that it teaches a lesson of kindliness. The Chinese people have arrived at this point of view, not by having found any religious sanction for it, but from a profound observation and a knowledge of the vicissitudes of life. Typical of this extremely shrewd philosophy is the following famous dialogue of two poet-monks of the Tang Dynasty: “Once Hanshan asked Shihteh: “If one slanders me, sneers at me, despises me, injures me, hates me, and deceives me, what should I do?” Shihteh replied: “Only bear with him, yield to him, let him, avoid him, endure him, respect him, and ignore him. And after a few years, you just look at him.
寒山曾问拾得:”世间谤我,欺我,辱我,笑我,轻我,贱我,厌我,骗我, 如何处治乎?拾得云: “只是忍他,让他,由他,避他,耐他,不要理他,再待几年,你且看他。”

Lin Yutang continued:

“… At its worst, this old roguery, which is the highest product of Chinese intelligence, works against idealism and action. It shatters all desire for reform., laughs at the futility of of human effort. and renders the Chinese people incapable of idealism and action. It has a strange way of reducing all human activities to the level of the alimentary canal and other simple biological needs. Mencius 孟子 was a great rogue when he declared the chief desires of mankind to be food and women, or alimentation and reproduction. The late President Li Yunhong 黎云洪 was also a great rogue when he pronounced the healthily accepted dictum of Chinese political philosophy and formula for solving all Chinese party differences by saying “When there is rice, let everybody share it – 有饭大家吃.” President Li was a grim realist without knowing it , and he spoke wiser than he knew when he was thus giving an economic interpretation of current Chinese history…

Li Yutang went on:
… This nonchalant and materialistic attitude is based on the very shrewd view of life to which only old people and old nations can attain. It would be futile for young men under thirty to understand it , as it is futile for young nations of the West to try to appreciate it. Perhaps it was no mere accident that “Laozi, 老子” the very name of the author of Dao De Jing 道德经, the Bible of Taoism, means “the old boy.”

“… Taoism, in theory and practice … is a philosophy which counteracts the positivism of Confucius, and serves as a safety-valve for the imperfections of a Confucian society. For the Confucian outlook on life is positive, while the Taoistic outlook is negative, and out of the alchemy of these two strange elements emerges the immortal thing we called the Chinese character.

Hence all Chinese are Confucianists when successful, and Taoists when they are failures. The Confucianist in us builds and strives, while the Taoist in us watches and smiles. Therefore when a Chinese scholar is in office he moralizes, and when he is out of office he versifies, and usually it is good Taoist poetry. That explains why almost all Chinese scholars write poetry, and why in almost all collected works of Chinese writers, poetry occupies the better and greater half.

“… The Chinese are by nature greater Taoists than they are by culture Confucianists. As a people, we are great enough to draw up an imperial code, based on the conception of essential justice, but we are also great enough to distrust lawyers and law courts. Ninety-five per cent of legal troubles are settled out of court. We are great enough to make elaborate rules on ceremony, but we are also great enough to treat them as part of the great joke of life, which explains the great feasting and merry-making at Chinese funerals. We are great enough to denounce vice, but we are also great enough not to be surprised or disturbed by it. We are great enough to start successive waves of revolutions, but we are also great enough to compromise and to go back to the previous patterns of government. We are great enough to elaborate a perfect system of official impeachment and civil service and traffic regulations and library reading-rooms rules, but we are also great enough to break to break all systems, to ignore them, circumvent them, play with them, and become superior to them. We do not teach our young in the colleges a course of political political science, showing how a government is supposed to be run, but we teach them by daily example how our municipal, provincial and central governments are actually run. We have no use of impracticable idealism, as we have no patience for doctrinaire theology. We do not teach our young to become like the sons of God, but we teach them to behave like sane, normal human beings. That is why I believe that the Chinese are essentially humanists and Christianity must fail in China, or it must be altered beyond recognition before it can be accepted. The only part of Christian teachings which will be truly accepted by the Chinese people is Christ’s injunction to be “harmless as doves – 慈和如鸽” but “wise as serpents – 极敏如蛇.” For these two virtues, dove-like gentleness and serpent-like wisdom, are attributes of the old rogue.

In one word, we recognize the necessity of human effort but we also admit the futility of it. This general attitude of mind has a tendency to develop passive defense tactics. “Great things can be reduced into small things, and small things can be reduced to nothing – 大事化小事,小事化无事.” On this general principle, all Chinese disputes are patched up, all Chinese schemes are readjusted, and all reform programs are discounted until there are peace and rice for everybody. “One bid is not as as good as one pass – 多一事不如省一事,” so runs another of our proverbs, which means the same thing as “Let well enough alone – 勿生事,” and “Let sleeping dogs lie – 莫惹睡狗.”

This letter will be updated when and if other info are revealed in the book.

The Creation of Flowers?

My dear Kacvey,

Your students and you have certainly read about mythological tales how God created animals, but all of you have never heard or read about how God created flowers. Yes, FLOWERS, that beautiful and colorful thing that adorn planet earth!

Well, in Chapter: “Weimar in Early Spring” from his literary masterpiece: “An Empty Room”, Mu Xin let his imagination go way beyond the beyond.

Mu Xin wrote: “I imagine a mythology of flowers, flowers created during a grand competition among the gods. One god invented the lily, another god the tulip. Here appeared peonies and there water lilies …”

Kacvey, your students and you will not be disappointed with Mu Xin’s imagination when you reach the end of “Weimar in Early Spring” chapter!

“On the Uniformity of All Things”

My dear Kacvey,

Let us retreat for a moment to a quiet corner and reflect on what Zhuangzi 庄子 had said in his “On the Uniformity of All Things 齐物论

This is how the story goes:

Long, long ago, King Yao asked his minister Shun , “I’d like to attack the three tribes of Zong , Kuai and Xu’ao 胥敖. But whenever I come to court, I feel ill at ease about them. What do you think about it?”
Shun answered: Three states lie in the remote regions over grown with weeds and bushes. Why should you feel ill at ease about them? Once upon a time, when ten suns shone in the sky, everything under Heaven was bathed in the sunshine. And how your virtue out-shined those suns!

Nie Que 啮缺 asked Wang Ni 王倪, “Do you know, Sir, whether all things make judgments in the same way?”
Wang answered, “How can I know?”
Nie asked again, “Do you know, Sir, what you do not know?”
Wang answered, “How can I know?”
Nie said, “Then, is it that nothing can be known about anything?”
Wang said, “How can I know? Still, let me try to explain. How do you know that what I say I know is not what I do not know? How do you know that what I say I do not know is not what I know? Now I’d like to ask you a few questions. If a man sleeping in the damp is liable to get a back ache or half-paralysis, will the same thing happen to an eel? If a man sitting in a tree is liable to tremble with fear, will the same thing happen to an ape? Of the man, the eel and the ape who knows their proper place to live in? Men eat meat; deer feed on grass; centipedes are fond of snake; owls like rats. Of the man, the deer, the centipede and the owl, who knows the right taste? An ape mates with a gibbon; a buck seeks after a doe; an eel plays with a fish. At the sight of Maoqiang 毛嬙 and Xishi 西施, beauties admired by men, the fish will dive into the deep water, the birds will soar high in the sky, and the deer will take to their heels. Of the man, the fish, the bird and the deer, who knows the real beauty? As I see it, the principles of righteousness and humaneness, the standards of right and wrong, all these things are so complicated that I can hardly tell which is which.
Nie Que said, “If you cannot tell benefit from harm, can’t the perfect man tell benefit from harm?”
Wang Ni said, “The perfect man is divine. Even though the great swamp were set on fire, he would not feel the heat; even though the rivers were frozen, he would not feel the cold; even though the thunder hit the mountain and the whirlwind shook the sea, he would not feel the shock. Such a man can ride the clouds and mists, mount the sun and the moon, and travel beyond the four seas. How can a man unaffected by life bother about benefit and harm?

Ququezi 瞿鹊子 asked Changwuzi, “I have heard from Confucius that the sage is not involved in worldly affairs. He does not try to seek after benefits or avoid harms; he does not take delight in seeking after or blindly clinging to Dao . He says something by saying nothing; he does not say anything by saying something. By so doing he can travel beyond the dust of the world. Confucius 孔子 thought that these words were ambiguous, but I think this is how the wondrous Dao works. What do you about it?”
Changwuzi 长梧子 said, “Even the Yellow Emperor 皇帝 would have been puzzled by those words; how could Confucius understand them? And you, too, are jumping to conclusions – you see an egg and expect the cock to crow before it is hatched; you see a crossbow pellet and expect to roast the owl before it is shot down. I’ll give you some random remarks for you to listen at random.
“Why don’t you lean against the sun and the moon and embrace the universe? In this way, you will merge yourself in everything in the world so that you can ignore the confusion of distinction and treat the inferiors as supporters. The rank and file hustle and bustle while the sage seems to be stupid and ignorant , blending ten thousand years into one uniformity. He looks upon everything in the same way and accept them all.
“How do I know that love of life is not a delusion? How do I know that one who fears death is not like a waif who does not want to go back home? Lady Li 丽姬 was the daughter of a border guard of Ai . When she was first taken captive and brought to the state of Jin , she wept till her robe was drenched with tears. But when she was brought to the palace, slept with the prince on his comfortable bed, and ate delicious meal on his table, she began to regret her tears. How do I know that the dead do not regret that they ever long for life?
“A man may dream of a great feast but weep at daybreak; a man may dream of weeping but go hunting at daybreak. When he dreams he does not know that he is dreaming. In his dream, he may even try to interpret the dream; but when he awakes, he knows that he has been dreaming. Only after he is totally awakened does he realize that all was a grand dream. All the while, the fool thinks that he himself is awake, seemingly aware of everything; who is the lord, who is the shepherd, how stupid! Confucius and you are both dreaming, and I too am dreaming when I say that you are dreaming. These words to be a paradox, but after ten thousand generations there might appear a sage who knows how to explain them – it will seem as if we met within the day.
“Suppose that you and I argue over something . If you win and I lose, are you indeed right, and am I indeed wrong? If I win and you lose, am I indeed right and are you indeed wrong? Is one of us right and the other wrong? Are both of us right or both of us wrong? If neither you nor I can know, other people will be even more in the dark. Whom shall I ask to decide for us? Shall I ask someone who agrees with you to decide? If he already agrees with you, how can he decide it? Shall I ask some one who agrees with me to decide? If he already agrees with, how can he decide it? Shall I ask someone who disagrees with both of us to decide? If he already disagrees with both of us, how can he decide it? Shall I ask some who agrees with both of us to decide? If he already agrees with both of us , how can he decide it? If neither you nor I can know, who else shall we wait for?
“The different voices in an argument are in opposition to each other. To smooth out the opposition is to conform to the natural division of things as it is till the very end. What if meant by conforming to the natural division of things? My answer would be that “right” may be not “right” and “so” may be not “so”. If “right’ is really right, then “right ” is so different from “not right” that there is no need for argument; if “so” is really so, then “so” is so different from “not so” that there is again no need for argument. Forget about the time, forget about the distinctions, and you will be able to travel in the realm of the infinite. Therefore the sage lives in the realm of the infinite.”

The penumbra asked the shadow, “A little while ago you were moving when the man walked, and now you are standing still when the man stops; a little while ago you were sitting when the man sat, and now you are standing up when the man rises. How is it that you lack independent actions?”
The shadow answered, “Don’t I have to depend on the man to be what I am? Doesn’t the man have to depend on something else in turn to be what he is? Do I have to depend on the snake’s scale, or the cicada’s wings? How can I know why I do this? How can I know why I don’t do that?

I, by the name of Zhuang Zhou 庄周, once dreamed that I was a butterfly, a butterfly fluttering happily here and there. I was so pleased that I forgot that I was Zhuang Zhou. When I suddenly woke up, I was astonished to find that I was as a matter of fact Zhuang Zhou. Did Zhuang Zhou dream of the butterfly or did the butterfly dream of Zhuang Zhou? Between Zhou and the butterfly there must be some distinctions. This is called “the transformation of things.

Kacvey, do have a nice dream of colorful and beautiful butterflies!

According to “History Today”: The Angkor Empire’s National Health Service

My dear Kacvey,

On 14 May 2020, History Today published an article titled “The Angkor Empire’s National Health Service” under the signature of Joanna Wolfarth, a cultural historian, lecturer and writer.

The article mentioned two major quotes, both attributed to King Jayavarman VII, and translated from the historical inscriptions sculpted in various temples in the Bayon complex; they are so powerful in meaning that your students should reflect upon for their intellectual development and perspective:

1. “He suffered the illnesses of his subjects more than his own; because it is the pain of the public that is the pain of kings rather than their own pain.

2. “Filled with a deep sympathy for the good of the world, the king swore this oath: ‘All beings who are plunged in the ocean of existence, may I draw out by virtue of this good work. And may the kings of Cambodia who come after me, attached to goodness … attain with their wives, dignitaries and friends the place of deliverance where there is no more illness.

The power of history is so heavy that it breaks the bones and skull of the present.

The Year of the Rat

My dear Kacvey,

As we are saying good bye to the Year of the Pig, the Year of the Rat is knocking at the door. What would the Pig have had written in the handover parchment: achievements and still outstanding matters?

You can argue upfront why burdening the mythological and symbolic Pig with the troubles that MEN created? Well, if this is your thinking, why did people refer to angels and goddesses Pig on Chaul Chnam Kor, and now angels and goddesses Rat on Chaul Chnam Jhoot?

Well, whatever we argue, the truth is, after these 3 days, NOBODY will talk or think about angels and goddesses Rat anymore … until next April 2021 when the subject of angels and goddesses Cow will come up again.

Be it as it may, how in good human conscience can we formulate or mutually wish each other a “Happy Chaul Chnam” when all of us are living in a state of stay-in-place, confinement, lock-down, WFH, ghost towns, closed frontiers, airports and harbors, closed schools, universities and libraries, closed shops and stores, empty stadiums and sports arena, closed museums, movie houses, theaters and TV studios etc…, as consequences of the pandemic of a virus that originated in Wuhan?

How can we even think about a “Joyful Chaul Chnam” when millions women and men are infected with that virus, epicenters sprouted in every continent, death overflow hospitals and morgues, relatives and friends can’t even attend funerals of their loved ones?

How can we possibly do the “Roam Vong” when millions are out of jobs, factories are closed, sellers sitting behind their merchandises without buyers, parents have to social-distance with their children, grand-parents with their grand-children etc …?

How can we gaily beat the traditional drum (tèass skôr) when pagodas, churches, temples and mosques are no longer places of worship where worshipers can pray without being afraid of contamination?

How can you and your students enjoy the game of “ang kougn” or “bôss chhoung,” when the weak strongman imposed the state of emergency with pretense to fight against the invisible Wuhan virus whereas its ex-KR autocratic regime is at the end of the rope? It has no plan not only on how to fight the virus but also on how to address the current social-economic crisis and the post-lockdown period. Its coffer is empty although it continues to promise financial relief to garment workers.

When the whole world fights the Wuhan virus with more doctors, nurses and medical equipment, strengthening of health and hygiene methods and facilities, doubling or even quadrupling budgets for medicine and pharmaceutical researches, formulating stimulus and relief economic plan to help the population, the weak strongman of Cambodia, fearing its own imminent collapse, doubles down on oppression and dictatorship to hide its inability to steer the ship out of the Wuhan virus storm aftermath. Bankruptcy is written on the wall, and history has repeated again and again that autocracy, no matter how long and strong it is  and given that no domestic force can topple it, will always end up in implosion or suicide.

On the day known as the 1st day of the Khmer New Year, we wish you and your students the happy coziness within the respective stay-in-place quarters, the continuing patience and courage to challenge the boredom, and the determination to stay safe and healthy and to look forward to the deconfinement when life will resume its normalcy. On va s’en sortir sans sortir!

“Body beyond the Body”

My dear Kacvey,

Here is a teeny piece of food for thought and online (ZOOM or otherwise!) discussions with your students in this period of lockdown, confinement, stay-at-home and social distancing due to the consequences of the Wuhan virus pandemic.

This is the tidbit: The way the Wuhan virus has spread pandemicly reminds of anecdotes buried in the “Journey to the West” (西游记), one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature. One of the character in that novel, is Sun Wukong (孙悟空), also known as the Monkey King (Please do not confuse with Hanuman of the Ramayana!)

The novel told of how Monkey King wrecked havoc heaven palace or temple by using a supernatural method of self-reproduction called “Body beyond the Body” (身外身法) by plucking a hair or handful of hairs from its own body and throwing them into its mouth; it chewed them to tiny pieces then spat them into the air by shouting “Change!”. Suddenly those pieces of hair changed at once into either imitation monkey or multiple little monkeys encircling the enemy combatants on all sides or do whatever Monkey King ordered them to do.

You can argue that this is a weird, eerie or creepy way of seeing thing, but please bear in mind that this Wuhan virus or corona virus or Covid-19, or whatever you like to call it, is so new to our humanity and its knowledge, scientific or otherwise.

But the way the virus has been spreading pandemicly seems to look like [Repeat: seems to look like] the way Monkey King used its divine power to reproduce its imitation(s) … supernaturally, and as the tales go!

When “rats leave a sinking ship”

My dear Kacvey,

Here is a short extract from William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” (Act 1, Scene II) where Prospero spoke to his daughter, Miranda, who asked why Alonso did not destroy her father. Prospero responded:
Well demanded, wench:
My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not,
So dear the love my people bore me, nor set
A mark so bloody on the business, but
With colours fairer painted their foul ends.
In few, they hurried us aboard a bark,
Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepared
A rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg’d,
Nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very rats
Instinctively had quit it: there they hoist us,
To cry to the sea that roar’d to us, to sigh
To the winds whose pity, sighing back again,
Did us but loving wrong.

You are absolutely right if you sighed “What the heck is this and what does Prosepro have anything to do with us?”

Well, pull out The Tempest from the shelf, and read it! Meantime, have you noticed this phrase: “the very rats instinctively had quit it“? This phrase seems to be source of the commonly used expression: “Rats leave a sinking ship.”

In the Chinese language, an idiom goes: “树倒猢狲散” (shu dao hu sun san) which literally means: “When the tree topples the monkeys scatter.”

With the above exposed ingredients, here is the plat de resistance to be prepared and served. In the very current political situation in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk that is living under the sunless and extremely dark cloud of the virus from Wuhan with daily increasing number of people tested positive, the confinement of citizens to heir home, the every-now-and-then electricity black out and shortage of water, the closing of many garment plants and the subsequent massive workers layoff, the closing of borders with neighboring countries, import-export and tourism at standstill either in Kg Som, Pochentong or Siem Reap, future trade with the European Union consequencing the autocratic politics of the weak strongman, the bogus and senseless trial of the opposition No. 1, the intestinal feud within the corrupt people party, the lack of transparency in governance, the hardening of the police apparatus… The entire leadership of the country has disappeared from the public scene with the exception of officials from the ministry of health that updates on the numbers of people infected without telling what they are actually doing in the face the pandemic. The apparent vacuum or nothingness in leadership looks like a headless chicken running around before collapsing.

The question of the moment is: What would be Cambodia if it happened that the weak strongman is no longer able to steer his ship out of this never-known-before hurricane, and the ship sinks? After 35 years of post-KR rule by an ex-KR, the sugarcane (ampeuv) that the weak strongman used to suck to get the juice to oppress the Khmer people and to corrupt the system to enrich himself and members and sycophants of his tribe has no more juice to rely on. Sugarcane dregs (kaag ampeuv) are now dry and good only for their return to nature. On top of all that, the weak strongman dual allegiance to both the Inner River and the Northern Capital is falling victim of his own game: the weak strongman first vassalized itself in 1977 to the Inner River for the return to power on 7 January 1979, and re-vassalized itself anew to the Northern Capital around 2010, to become like Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters”. And now, both masters have their own problem of Covid 19, and when masters have problems, the valet is neither in their agenda nor their concern. Period.

The weak strongman has been ruling with all the sugarcane juice from the two masters. When the juice stops flowing to his cup, how could he sustain himself and his corrupt autocracy? And what if the corona virus is located in the neighborhood of Takhmao?

Whether it’s “Rats leave a sinking ship” or “When the tree topples the monkeys scatter”, it figuratively means that an opportunist always abandons an unfavorable cause, or when a person falls from power, his hangers-on disperse, or when a leader loses power, his/her followers become disorganized.

Kacvey, it’s now your turn to find out: if the ship sinks, who are the rats that will leave ship? Or if the tree falls, where will the monkeys scatter to?

Please report soonest. Thanks.

“No People, Invisible, Silent”

My dear Kacvey,

Just wish you and your students a lot of mental courage and clarity during the fight against the current trying time caused by the corona virus that originated in Wuhan (武汉病毒) in December 2019. The virus is now scientifically labeled as Corona Virus Disease-19 (Covid-19) (冠状病毒疾病2019) and the pandemic has spread almost throughout the world, with numerous countries and cities being either on lock down or confinement or shelter-in-place. Furthermore, Covid-19 cannot be written with Chinese characters, as the language is pictographic; there are no Chinese characters to write the equivalent of the 5 letters of the alphabet “C-O-V-I-D”. The Chinese can pronounce “Covid-19” but use “冠状病毒疾病2019” (guān zhuàng bìng dú jí bìng) in writing.

While politicians, scientists, and historians are working to find cause of the disease and solutions to cure the affected or contaminated people and society, we all feel that this looks like humanity is fighting a “no people, invisible, silent” war (无人无形无声的战). We must also ponder on one fundamental question that will certainly be raised generations after generations and throughout future history: Why the Wuhan virus succeeds to break the back of the entire world without a war “with soldiers, visible and noisy?”

Wash your hands.
Avoid crowds.
Social distancing, and
Pull out the books from the shelves while the music is on!
Double or triple contacts with family and friends,
And be ready for the CHANGE that will ineluctably occur in Cambodia, a CHANGE that will be revolutionized by the unexpected and unintended convergence of many international and national consequences from Covid-19.

The weak strongman is getting weaker by the day, his 2 foreign backers to whom he alienated the entire Cambodia run out of safety floats to be thrown to him. He should know, being a chess player.

Be well and take good care of yourself.

Intestinal Color Revolution?

My dear Kacvey,

The article published by cambonomist.com could not be hidden from your students’ mind and intellect, nor ignored. As a saying goes: “Where there is smoke, there is fire”, and if the statement is made in plain public eyes and ears without fear of retribution, the author of the statement must be privy to “something”, he who is nothing less than the first deputy prime minister and the minister of interior affairs.

Thank you, cambonomist.com for your reporting.

For our library, this is the article in Khmer: សម្តេច ស ខេង៖ ពេល​ខ្លះ បដិវត្តន៍​ពណ៌​កើត​ចេញ​ពី​ផ្ទៃក្នុង​យើង

“សម្តេច​ឧបនាយករដ្ឋមន្ត្រី ស ខេង បាន​មាន​ប្រសាសន៍​នៅ​ថ្ងៃ​ពុធ ទី១១ ខែមីនា នេះ​ថា បដិវត្តន៍​ពណ៌ វា​អាច​កើត​ចេញ​ពី​ផ្ទៃក្នុង​របស់​គណបក្ស​កាន់​អំណាច​ដោយ​មិន​ដឹង​ខ្លួន ឬ​ដោយ​អចេតនា តាមរយៈ​ការ​មិន​យក​ចិត្ត​ទុក​ដាក់​នូវ​សំណូមពរ​និង​កង្វល់​របស់​ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ ហើយ​បង្កើត​ឡើង​នូវ​ភាព​អសកម្ម​នានា​នៅ​តាម​មូលដ្ឋាន​ ហើយ​ប៉ះពាល់​ដល់​សិទ្ធិ​និង​ផល​ប្រយោជន៍​របស់​ប្រជា​ពលរដ្ឋ។

ថ្លែង​ក្នុង​ពិធី​អបអរសាទរ​ទិវា​អន្តរជាតិ​នារី សម្តេច ស ខេង បាន​ថ្លែង​ដូច្នេះ​ថា ”ចំណុច​នេះ ខ្ញុំ​ធ្លាប់​បាន​បញ្ជាក់​ច្រើន​ហើយ ថា​ បដិវត្តន៍​ពណ៌ វា​មាន​អ្នក​ដែល​ប៉ុនប៉ង​ដើម្បី​នឹង​ធ្វើ​ការងារ​នេះ ហើយ​ក៏​បាន​ជួប​ប្រទះ​​រួច​មក​ហើយ ក្រោយ​​បោះឆ្នោត​ឆ្នាំ​២០១៣ ប៉ុន្តែ ជួន​ពេល​ខ្លះ បដិវត្តន៍​ពណ៌​នេះ​ វា​កើត​ចេញ​ពី​ផ្ទៃ​ក្នុង​យើង ជួរ​យើង ដោយ​មិន​ដឹង​ខ្លួន ឬ​ដោយ​អចេតនា​តាមរយៈ​ការ​មិន​យក​ចិត្តទុកដាក់ អើ​ពើ នូវ​សំណូម​ពរ សំណើ និង​កង្វល់​របស់​ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ ហើយ​បង្កើត​ឡើង​នូវ​ភាព​អសកម្ម​នានា នៅតាម​មូលដ្ឋាន ហើយ​ប៉ះពាល់​ដល់​សិទ្ធិ​និង​ផល​ប្រយោជន៍​របស់​ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ។”

សម្ដេច​ឧបនាយករដ្ឋមន្ត្រី បាន​បន្ត​ដូច្នេះ​ថា “នោះ​ក៏​ជា​មូលហេតុ​នៃ​ការ​កកើត​នៃ​ចលនា​បដិវត្តន៍​ពណ៌​នោះ​ដែរ ដូច្នេះ​ការ​ដែល​យើង​យក​ចិត្ត​ទុកដាក់​ដើម្បី​ដោះស្រាយ​បញ្ហា​នានា​ទាក់ទងនឹង​សិទ្ធិ​ផល​ប្រយោជន៍​របស់​ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋ គឺ​ជា​កត្តា​គន្លឹះ​ដ៏​សំខាន់​មួយ​ក្នុង​ការ​រារាំង​ បង្ការ ទប់ស្កាត់ នូវ​ចលនា​បដិវត្តន៍​ពណ៌​នោះ​ឯង។”

នៅក្នុង​ពិធី​នោះ​ដែរ សម្តេច ស ខេង ក៏​បាន​អំពាវនាវ​ដល់​អាជ្ញាធរ​ត្រូវ​គ្រប់គ្រង​ដោះស្រាយ​ជម្លោះ និង​ការទាមទារ​តវ៉ា​នានា ដោយ​សន្តិ​វិធី ឈរ​លើ​គោលការណ៍​ច្បាប់ និង​ត្រូវ​ជៀសវាង​ដាច់​ខាត​នូវ​អំពើ​ហិង្សា​គ្រប់​រូបភាព៕

As the Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin, once, said: “It is impossible to predict the time and progress of revolution. It is governed by its own more or less mysterious laws.”

Meanwhile, an article signed by Luke Hunt and published by UCA News under the title: “Coronavirus an excuse for Cambodia’s poverty plight” should not be disregarded either; it looks like an inventory of disastrous failures that the weak strongman has recently encountered, and if such failings and missteps occurred in another country, be it socialist, communist or liberal democracy, that type of weak strongman must have already been ushered out of the door of power, by vote or by force.

He who thinks that he owns the country is he who has blind ambition and greed and is is ignorant of the natural fact that he doesn’t own the heart and mind of the people who are not his sycophants or kangaroos. Everything on earth has a time limit.