One Month To Go

(continued from Two Months To Go)

The two swallows met again on the roof of Albert Sarrault Museum to chat. Both seem anxious and nervous.
Phkaï Mphéy: How did you hold it up with the trip to Inner River?
Chheu Smaa: Not great but OK. They were not as warm as before.
Phkaï Mphéy: No surprise. NXP is the 7th while you’re the same since ever; the other one is not that “sTrong” either.
Chheu Smaa: Not fun anymore. 1977 in the jungle was better than last week’s stiffness in the state buldings of the capital.
Phkaï Mphéy: Did you get their full support for 9 November issue?
Chheu Smaa: Not really. They implied that it’s my business; I’ve to handle it alone.
Phkaï Mphéy: Bad news, then?
Chheu Smaa: Not an encouragement.
Phkaï Mphéy: That’s why you started swinging like a mad man as soon as you got off the plane or as we talked last time about your « plan ».
Chheu Smaa: I don’t have many alternatives. Neither Duck nor White can assure that their men are all in the game.
Phkaï Mphéy: Your game?
Chheu Smaa: Yes, my game plan.
Phkaï Mphéy: Didn’t I warn you, did I?
Chheu Smaa: Yeah, that’s why I now have to use tough war language.
Phkaï Mphéy: Do you think that your words now have more salt than before?
Chheu Smaa: I know they don’t, that’s why I’m doubling down with the arrests.
Phkaï Mphéy: How are the judges are going to handle those cases without evidence?
Chheu Smaa: Look, arrest them first “chap veer sen” and will see after 9/11.
Phkaï Mphéy: That’s a dead game plan! Don’t put a nook around your neck!
Chheu Smaa: I’ve been very patient since 2013, and there it is: my patience has been burnt out.
Phkaï Mphéy: So, you think that bringing out big guns against EWA is the only answer to your solo stratagem!
Chheu Smaa: Who or what is EWA?
Phkaï Mphéy: “Everybody Without Arms”
Chheu Smaa: Look, Pol Pot did it, and nobody can tell me I can’t do it. Who rules the ECCC?
Phkaï Mphéy: Yes, so far nobody yet, but how certain are you that soldiers or policemen will press the triggers?
Chheu Smaa: Get to check it again with the intelligence son.
Phkaï Mphéy: You know what: you have not thought through yet. You let your emotion run your fear of defeat and your thirst for blind vengeance.
Chheu Smaa: I have thought through, and that’s what I’m going to do.
Phkaï Mphéy: One simple question: What if you can’t catch him but he is inside the country?
Chheu Smaa: He can’t enter the country without being detected.
Phkaï Mphéy: How did Yingluck flee Thailand?
Chheu Smaa: He can’t hide as I have eyes everywhere.
Phkaï Mphéy: Are you sure what your “eyes” could truly see or they would only see what you want them to see? If so, what have they seen?
Chheu Smaa: Nothing critical yet.
Phkaï Mphéy: You still haven’t t thought through and your “eyes” need serious amounts of eye-drops. What if thousands of EWA spontaneously and simultaneously showed up like mushrooms throughout the country and marched towards one specific destination?
Chheu Smaa: That’s a different equation. What is your own plan?
Phkaï Mphéy: My kids will skip classes and will fly to join them. My wife and few relatives will do shopping in neighboring capitals. I’ll be near Poipet with multiple-entry visa to Espace Schengen, and the stars on my shoulders will be at Psar Thméy pawn shop. I have enough for the family to hang around in Espace Schengen for a few Years and waiting to see how the future of the country will turn to be.
Chheu Smaa: You’re deserting me.
Phkaï Mphéy: Not deserting you, but you isolate yourself from your true people that have been with you through thick and thin, and you seem to be totally lost in your own new universe with unprincipled sycophants.
Chheu Smaa: I don’t have my universe.
Phkaï Mphéy: Because nobody dare talk to you the way I do. You own them. Outside of your universe, it’s EWA that owes you nothing.
Chheu Smaa: Time for physical therapy and I will send you a signal for our next chat.

One flew back to its nest in Old Man Khmao, the other to join the swarm of conscientious swallows near the bank of Tonlé Buon Mouk.

Three Songs, One Of Which Is Khmer

My dear Kacvey,

Your students might already and surely heard or known about these 3 anti-oppression songs; they were all written by young and contemporary composers to express their thirst for true democracy and freedom that they want to liberate from the yoke of autocracy, military or otherwise.

Smart phones with headsets are good devices for your students to listen again to these songs at their time and leisure, regardless whether they are banned by the authorities. The songs are from three different countries but the music can travel beyond the controlled borders the same way the idea and value of democracy and freedom do.

Let play the music of freedom and democracy through the links below:

The Guardian
‘Gun at your throat’: viral rap song tests freedom of speech in Thailand
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/30/gun-at-your-throat-viral-rap-song-tests-freedom-of-speech-in-thailand

Voice of America
In Cambodia, Politics Push Musicians Into Self-Censorship
https://www.voanews.com/east-asia-pacific/cambodia-politics-push-musicians-self-censorship

The Guardian
‘Glory to Hong Kong’: pro-democracy anthem embraced by protesters
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/12/glory-to-hong-kong-pro-democracy-anthem-embraced-by-protesters

“愿荣光归香港”

何以  土这地  泪再流
何以  令众人  亦憤恨
昂首  拒默沈  吶喊声  响透
盼自由   归于  这里

何以  这恐惧  抹不走
何以 为信念 从没退后
何解  血在流  但迈进声 响透
建自由  光辉  香港

在晚星  坠落 彷徨午夜
迷雾里  最远处吹来  号角声
捍自由  来齐集这里  来全力抗对
勇气  智慧  也永不灭

黎明来到  要光复  这香港
同行儿女  为正义  時代革命
祈求  民主与自由  万世都不朽
我愿荣光归香港

We pledge: No more tears on this land.
In wrath, doubts dispelled, we make our stand.
Arise! ye who will not be slaves again;
For Hong Kong, may freedom reign!

Though deep is the dread that lies ahead,
Yet still, with our faith, on we tread.
Let blood rage afield! Our voice grows ever more:
For Hong Kong, may glory reign!

Stars may fade, as darkness fills the air;
Through the mist, a solitary trumpet flares:
Now to arms! For freedom we fight! With all might we strike!
With valor and wisdom both, we stride!

Break now the dawn, liberate our Hong Kong,
In common breath: “Revolution of our time!”
May people reign, proud and free, now and ever more;
Glory be to thee, Hong Kong!

As Plato, once, said: “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

Two Months To Go

My dear Kacvey,

In Old Man Khmao Town, two swallows sitting on an electrical cable over the Old Péth Chkuort building, were chatting quietly while the monsoon rain was threatening from Paris:
Chheu Smaa: Are you ready for the 9 November reception?
Phkaï Mphéy: Yes, I am.
Chheu Smaa: And your guys?
Phkaï Mphéy: Can’t ascertain for sure.
Chheu Smaa: What do you mean?
Phkaï Mphéy: Two things not clear to them: 1) What are they going to do with thousands and thousands of people in motion? and 2) how are they going to be split between the parade at the Monument of Independence and the reception?
Chheu Smaa: What are Duck-and-White’s plans?
Phkaï Mphéy: None. Same. None of them know what to do. They talk and threaten like you do on FB.
Chheu Smaa: Don’t they understand my mind and decision?
Phkaï Mphéy: That, they do. But there is an ocean between understanding and setting up execution plan.
Chheu Smaa: And the borders?
Phkaï Mphéy: They are on full alert and manned as usual.
Chheu Smaa: Thailand,Laos, Vietnam, sea coasts?
Phkaï Mphéy: All official checkpoints are fully equipped, but there are more than 500 miles of frontiers and we can’t post one soldier or policeman on every yard?
Chheu Smaa: And the airports?
Phkaï Mphéy: Airports? Why do you think he’ll fly in like a fly attracted by the bonfire?
Chheu Smaa: He doesn’t have the guerrilla disposition like I did with Pol Pot or the Vietnamese.
Phkaï Mphéy: Your past disposition is not the same as your present one. And no sign of full cooperation has been received from the 3 neighbors.
Chheu Smaa: You mean all 3?
Phkaï Mphéy: Yes, all 3.
Chheu Smaa: Why?
Phkaï Mphéy: Inner River is silent like midnight winter at South Pole. Have you received anything that you don’t want to share or be implemented?
Chheu Smaa: That’s why Silver is in Laos.
Phkaï Mphéy: Is Silver in the game, or is he like White or Duck? Could he answer the key questions about the reception?
Chheu Smaa: What key questions?
Phkaï Mphéy: 1) What if you can’t catch him? 2) If you caught him, what will you do the next hour?
Chheu Smaa: I’ll catch him and lock him up in the same cell as oppo No. 1 in Thbum Khmaung?
Phkaï Mphéy: OK, for question No. 2, but what would you do with him the next day or month? Don’t repeat the error you made with oppo No.1. How about my question No. 1?
Chheu Smaa: He has to come in, because otherwise he’ll loose all credibility with his people?
Phkaï Mphéy: His credibility with his people is not your problem for the moment. It’s his problem and he’ll own it. The question to you still is: if he’s in and you can’t catch him, what will be your order for us to execute?
Chheu Smaa: Now my question to you is: if he’s in, why can’t you catch him?
Phkaï Mphéy: We don’t know his whereabouts. Have you heard about Schindler’s List?
Chheu Smaa: My son, the Intelligence man, should know?
Phkaï Mphéy: That kid, your presumed dauphin, if only he knows where his underwear or shoes are?
Chheu Smaa: Easy on him, he’s learning.
Phkaï Mphéy: Bad teacher doesn’t make good teaching to unwilling kid!
Chheu Smaa: The circle doesn’t seem to close.
Phkaï Mphéy: No. You already made the first mistake by arresting oppo No.1, and now trying to arrest oppo No.2?
Chheu Smaa: I have to double down, otherwise I’ll lose face.
Phkaï Mphéy: Losing face should not be in such a big political and national equation.
Chheu Smaa: I can’t turn back the clock. I’ll make the clock going forward for me.
Phkaï Mphéy: You’re playing Mugabe’s game.
Chheu Smaa: What choice do I have, with hundred and hundred millions $ under my bed and the deal I’ve made with Northern Capital.
Phkaï Mphéy: I can’t address that. You threw the dice, and the number came out to haunt you.
Chheu Smaa: You’re not helpful.
Phkaï Mphéy: The idea and strategies are yours. I execute it. Unclear strategies create high risks in execution, because it will involve people lives.
Chheu Smaa: You talk differently now.
Phkaï Mphéy: Since 1975, we run a lot around on how to dominate, but the domination has turned out to be different from the original idea.
Chheu Smaa: What do you mean?
Phkaï Mphéy: Come on, “what do you mean?” Tonlé Sap, Bokor, casinos, dams, Kg Som, Dara Sakor, Ream, Hostile Takeover … that what I mean!
Chheu Smaa: You have a piece of it to, haven’t you?
Phkaï Mphéy: Yes I do, but nowadays and around my dinner table, the discussions are very tough with my kids who don’t know anybody beside you as the leader, whereas they perfectly know that the world is moving around with different ideas and people all the time. They might show up at the reception and they have already dared me to arrest or shoot them.
Chheu Smaa: You look soft!
Phkaï Mphéy: Age changes people. You still don’t answer my question No.1.
Chheu Smaa: I will be at the spot where he’ll be found and direct the operations myself.
Phkaï Mphéy: That’s not the answer. If we know where he will be, we’ll do it for you. And stay where you are to nurse your shoulder pain. Until I get the answer, I can’t justify the order to the troops to arrest him. Only exactly 2 months left to set up the stratagems.
Chheu Smaa: True, the pain in the shoulder affects my overall mobility that conditions my relationship with my surroundings. If you were me, what would be your answer to your own question No. 1.
Phkaï Mphéy: Pledge incompetence because if I were you I would have let the 2018 elections go on normally. And “Que será, será!” I would have listened to people’s voice and heartbeats and respect their ballots.
Chheu Smaa: You didn’t say that to me at that time.
Phkaï Mphéy: I did, but my suggestion was drowned by those closer and closest to you.
Chheu Smaa: You should have insisted.
Phkaï Mphéy: Very difficult to penetrate the many rings of brutal bulldogs.
Chheu Smaa: You still don’t answer my hypothetical question?
Phkaï Mphéy: OK, if you insisted: Be honest with yourself and go and tell the party directly that you have had enough with politics, you don’t have the physical ability to lead anymore, you resign from your position as party leader and LET THE PARTY DECIDE ON HOW TO PROCEED on your replacement. Take the next plane either to Northern Capital for medical treatment like Sihanouk did or to Singapore like Mugabe did.
Chheu Smaa: Won’t be that easy.
Phkaï Mphéy: What makes you thing that this whole stuff is easy to handle?
Chheu Smaa: The party won’t be able to decide.
Phkaï Mphéy: Why?
Chheu Smaa: There is no dominant person and there could be too many “suitors?”
Phkaï Mphéy: You never wanted White or the senator to be your replacement, in case… Instead you play around with the idea of junior. Unintended compounded problems! If you resigned, the party will find a solution the next hour. Same if you dropped dead.
Chheu Smaa: Give me one more good reason why I should resign?
Phkaï Mphéy: Ready: You will avoid or suffer the consequences of all the voluntary troubles you have created with oppo, the Vietnamese and the Chinese. The mess that you have created will be handled one way or another by your party or successor. Remember the thread David Cameron-Theresa May-Boris Johnson in the Conservative Party of UK politics on Brexit: Theresa May inherited David Cameron’s mess, Boris Johnson inherited Theresa May’s mess, and who knows who will inherit Boris Johnson’s mess?!The good thing is that Cameron and May enjoy their vacations while Boris Johnson is now having a s… of a time.
Chheu Smaa: It makes sense, bu I can’t do that.
Phkaï Mphéy: Why?
Chheu Smaa: History will wipe me out of its book.
Phkaï Mphéy: You’ve have made your history since your youth, but future history of the country will be the consequences of your own history. Why would you care about history?
Chheu Smaa: My family will live in shame.
Phkaï Mphéy: Have you talked to Pol Pot’s children?
Chheu Smaa: Do you really think that he will be in the country on 9 November?
Phkaï Mphéy: My opinion is worth nothing. It’s your perspective that I need to know.
Chheu Smaa: Would the soldiers or policemen drop their guns and shackles like Lon Nol troops did upon our arrival in Phnom Penh in April 1975 or like Pol Pot’s troops did upon our arrival in Phnom Penh in January 1979? That’s history.
Phkaï Mphéy: Either history repeats itself or rather like Mr. Kem Ley’s funerals procession in July 2017. My kids were in that procession too.
Chheu Smaa: Thanks for the chat. Time to take medicine and write few lines on FB to keep my fans in “like”.
Phkaï Mphéy: You don’t look good, do you?
Chheu Smaa: The shoulder pain’s episode.
Phkaï Mphéy: Do you know what are you doing or will be doing?
Chheu Smaa: Can’t say in few words, and can’t see through the 4 walls of my lair.
Phkaï Mphéy: Are you scared of tomorrow?
Chheu Smaa: Uncertainty feeds scare and anxiety. Can’t get rid of them. No more joy or fun like in the past.
Phkaï Mphéy: I’ll be waiting for the 9 November plan, if you come up with any.

Both swallows parted after leaving few droppings on the roof of the Old Péth Chkuort building.

*****
A few days later, the two swallows met again on a branch of a longan tree (doeum méan) in the fortress orchard.
Chheu Smaa: Did you get my plan?
Phkaï Mphéy: Yes, I did and I already shared with the commanders.
Chheu Smaa: What’s their mood or reaction?
Phkaï Mphéy: Cold. Expressionless. Stoic. Almost indifferent. And none of the ah-nhok has shown up.
Chheu Smaa: Why?
Phkaï Mphéy: Ah-Nhoks must be busy sending their people to go shopping abroad. Others didn’t talk or ask questions. They took the paper and left. By the way, who drew that plan?
Chheu Smaa: The quartet and the think-tankers, with my approval.
Phkaï Mphéy: Well, from my point of view, it’s not a plan, it’s a war paper like in Samloth. One, you can’t neglect the “unarmed people” factor, and two we are not trained to fight civil march.
Chheu Smaa: I hear you, but do as it’s planned. You are not convinced, aren’t you?
Phkaï Mphéy: Not only unconvinced but also not understand what do you actually have in mind and what will you do afterwards.
Chheu Smaa: We continue to design some models based on response from Asean.
Phkaï Mphéy: You’re mad to have sent that letter to Asean! Whose stupid idea is that?
Chheu Smaa: Silver drafted the letter.
Phkaï Mphéy: And you approved it without sounding it out first with their ambassadors?
Chheu Smaa: Yes and No.
Phkaï Mphéy: Well, Silver knows s… about diplomacy and international politics. Have you slept well?
Chheu Smaa: Not really. Rarely closed my eye for more than 2 hours. To fight for power when young was different from fighting to keep power now. Once, there was only one objective. Now, too many considerations.
Phkaï Mphéy: Your hands are trembling.
Chheu Smaa: A little bit. Pain in the shoulder.
Phkaï Mphéy: I’ll report later.

Then they flew off into different direction of the sky.

9/11/2019 is Written 11/9/2019 in U.S. Calendar Format

My dear Kacvey,

So, the world is now aware that on 9 November 2019, a big event would take place in Srè Khmok as announced by VOA and RFI on 16 August 2019:
– លោក ​សម រង្ស៊ី កំណត់​យក​ថ្ងៃ​ឯករាជ្យ​ជាតិ​ ៩ វិច្ឆិកា ​ត្រឡប់​ទៅ​កម្ពុជា​វិញ
https://khmer.voanews.com/a/sam-rainsy-set-a-date-to-return-to-cambodia/5044869.html
– ​លោកសមរង្ស៊ី​នឹង​ធ្វើ​មាតុ​ភូមិ​និវត្តន៍​នៅ​ថ្ងៃ​ទី០៩​វិច្ឆិកា​ខណៈ​អាជ្ញាធរ​កម្ពុជា​ប្រកាស​ត្រៀម​ចាប់​ខ្លួន​ http://km.rfi.fr/cambodia/sam-rainsy-is-coming-back-soon-16-08-2019

The exiled will return to Cambodia on 9 November 2019. So, have stated the press statements from his party, unequivocally, precise and direct.

The return of the prodigal son!

When politicians speak, either one believes them or doesn’t. Also, some politicians keep their promise, some don’t. It’s the politics of the politicians. When promises are kept and honored, the constituents would later reward them handsomely, but if they are not kept, the constituents would feel that they are cheated. Constituents can be cheated once, twice but not thrice. Political suicide doesn’t need to jump off the cliff to the abyss.

You may recall that, during the past 4 years, letters with titles “On the 62nd Anniversary of Independence of Cambodia“, 63rd, 64th and 65th were sent to you. So, according to the above news pieces, unless “force majeure” or “act of God” [could a philosopher ask: Why would God interfere with mortals’ businesses!?] would interfere, the exiled would return to Srè Khmok on the day that coincides with the official day when Srè Khmok had successfully wrestled and obtained its independence from France. There is nothing wrong to choose that date, strategically speaking, but to associate the date and its national and historical connotation with the return is a risky business if the return turned out to be a “delayed-or-postponed return”. A shorter order, sometimes is better than a tall one when so many parameters are factored in the unknown equation. Incidentally, the Bonn Om Touk or Water Festival would traditionally commence the following morning, 10 November, if the water level on the Tonlé Sap is not affected by the drought. With millions of people are on holidays and in festive mood, you may wonder what the full moon will bring to Cambodia after 34 years under the corrupt yoke of an ex-KR.

Oh, Kacvey, have you noticed that the English version of the press statement, unlike the Khmer language version, did not mention anything related to the independence?

As a matter of political curiosity, your students might ask why telling the whole world about such a particularly precise date of return? How about leaving that question to reporters or journalists to extract the worms out of his nose, bearing in mind that the strategists or planners who surrounded him know what they were doing. For our part,  a poem by James W. Foley: “Drop a Pebble in the Water” could be metaphorically referred to:
“Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.


Drop a pebble in the water: in a minute you forget,
But there’s little waves a-flowing, and there’s ripples circling yet,
And those little waves a-flowing to a great big wave have grown;
You’ve disturbed a mighty river just by dropping in a stone.”

Las Vegas bookies, what are the odds?

Enough taking about the return, how about the “welcoming party”?

It has now been many months that the weak strongman’s war apparatus has been put on alert or war path at every inch on the country land borders or seashores, every port, kampong or airport, every train or bus stations, every embassy or consulate, every river, lake pond, mountain and forest, every នំបញ្ចុក stand that exists on the planet, every bar, karaoke or drug den, every pagoda or hospital, every market, mall or school, every radio or TV station, every stadium, park or playground, etc … The Northern Capital has also supplied additional war materials and equipment to reinforce the existing war machines against the Khmer. The net seems so tight that even water would have difficulty to seep in. So how the exiled is going to get into Cambodia without being detected?

History told that in 1976 the weak strongman sneaked into Vietnam without his leader Pol Pot knew about it. His master in the Northern Capital knew a lot about how the outlaws operated in the classic “Water Margin 水浒传” or how the warriors assaulted the fortresses in “Three Kingdoms 三国”. And how about parachuting in the night? or flying with Hoverboard like Franky Zapata very recently did over the Channel? or dressed up in a swimsuit as a shark and landed in Kg Som and changed into a Chine$e gambler or a dumpling street vendor? Inspiration could be had from Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne or Ian Fleming’s James Bond, couldn’t it? Enough of fantasizing!

By the way, 9 November 2019 is also written as 9/11/2019 in Gregorian calendar format or 11/9/2018 in the U.S. Calendar format.

Let start the count down: 83 …
Comptons à rebours: 83 …

The Conversation That Did Not Take Place

My dear Kacvey,

Here is a transcript of a conversation that did not take place.

Paris XXI: Allô, Paris XXI vous écoute.
Tuorl Kôrk: Hello, it’s Tuorl Kôrk speaking.
Paris XXI: Good to hear your voice. Aren’t you afraid that your phone is wiretapped?
Tuorl Kôrk: It’s always been. What else is new! The more they wiretap, the more the world knows.
Paris XXI. Let’s go straight to the point.
Tuorl Kôrk: It’s August, and September is next.
Paris XXI. I know and I’m ready.
Tuorl Kôrk. Can’t greet you when you’re in, because they lay many rings of barbed wire around me.
Paris XXI. The “HCM trail” will carry the bag of rice to you.
Tuorl Kôrk. Thanks, but remember this: 以逸待劳.
Paris XXI. Yeah, choosing the time and place, and confusing the enemy.
Tuorl Kôrk. Few critical dates in September: 1: Death of Louis XIV, 2: London was on fire, 4: Los Angeles was founded, 9: Mao Zedong died, 11: Terrorists attacked World Trade Center, 11: I was released on bail but still in house arrest, 12: Germany unified, 15: Agatha Christie was born, 19: New Zealand, first country to grant women the right to vote, 25: William Faulkner was born…
Paris XXI: We have the map and the calendar.
Tuorl Kôrk: Make it one of the days of Khmer history!
Paris XXI. Is your phone on 5G?
Tuorl Kôrk: What’s the difference, 4G or 5G, both Chinese and Vietnamese are listening anyway, and it’s good that they do because they even know what time the other guy goes to pee or … if he still can.
Paris XXI. What’s the mood inside the lair?
Tuorl Kôrk: Pretty nervous ’cause the split is real inside each family. They only focus on arresting “you” by using 擒贼擒王 stratagem, and they don’t have a clue on what to do next. They don’t dare asking their masters because they are f… if their masters know their stupid ruse.
Paris XXI. Role reversal of 17 April 1975?
Tuorl Kôrk: And the “shoulder pain” of the other guy is not a good sign of encouragement to his sycophants.
Paris XXI: What’s the mood on the river banks?
Tuorl Kôrk: The tapes of your return in July 2013 and the funerals of Mr. Kem Ley in July 2016 are just too big for their mind. Fear isn’t even the right word.
Paris XXI. How the flood could be played?
Tuorl Kôrk: It’s neither good for you nor for him.
Paris XXI. And the Chinese?
Tuorl Kôrk: They won’t come out against you. Catch one who can’t speak Khmer or know nothing about Khmer, and the embassy will deny: it’s too risky for this master.
Paris XXI: And the Vietnamese?
Tuorl Kôrk: They will just watch and wait to see how the guy handles it.
Paris XXI. Any នំបញ្ចុក or “noum kruork” party before?
Tuorl Kôrk: Don’t be de-focused. Work first, eat later.
Paris XXI. That’s it, right?
Tuorl Kôrk. That’s it, for now.

Can “China Dream” have a nightmare?

My dear Kacvey,

In the current world geopolitical turmoil, it would be good for your students who are studying the relationship between Cambodia and China and the consequential vassalization of Cambodia by China, to take a step back and serenely ponder on the Chinese ancient text of Dao De Jing, Chapter 29:
“Does anyone want to take the world and do what he wants with it?
I do not see how he can succeed.
The world is a sacred vessel, which must not be tampered with or grabbled after.
To tamper with it is to spoil it, and to grasp it is to lose it.”

道德经 – 第二十九章:

将欲取天下而为之,
吾见其不得已。

天下神器,
不可为也。

为者败之,
执者失之。

Hope you would have a deep discussion on the issue of the possibility that Cambodia will lose everything that the Khmer have built since time ever to the people of the Northern Capital to whom the weak strongman has sold the entire country for his diabolical greed of power over the Khmer without knowing that he just is an expendable worms in the “One Hundred-Year Marathon” scale and when the people of the Northern Capital achieve their “China Dream.”

36 Stratagems

My dear Kacvey,

As Cambodia has already started to be dominated, vassalized or colonized by China, it would be important that your students should be aware of the unsaid, unexplained or unrevealed Chinese thinking that could help them when coming face to face with the invaders or colonizers. To learn to understand the Chinese is the only way that would enable them to deal vigorously and intelligently with the Chinese that had studied and understood Khmer attitude and thinking long, long time ago.

The Chinese are using the tricks that their ancestors had taught them since time memorial, and every Chinese from high school up knows them by heart, thinks, reasons and behaves accordingly, both in planning and negotiating, and in critical moments.

The present era is that the Chinese have put in actual application what they have learnt all along; they do it to the world, and by extension to Cambodia with the help of US trade deficit and US largess on sciences and technology since the historical Richard Nixon’s visit in 1972.

The fundamental ideas are contained in a very ancient and classic text called “The Thirty-Six Stratagems” (三十六计) that illustrated a series of stratagems used in politics, war, and in civil interaction.

Kacvey, you can argue that since the essay is available in every book store, why making such a big deal? You have indeed a very valid point, but the issue is not about availability of the material, but the knowledge that the material is important and should be studied. A book that is open but unread doe not make the person holding it knowledgeable.

Below is the list of stratagems contained in the 6 Chapters of the Thirty-Six Stratagems, and the basis of that, your students could begin to study further and deeper their meaning under different forms, situations or circumstances, bearing in mind that the value is not in the literal meaning of each Chinese character or their combination into phrase or idiom, it rather is in the figurative meaning that is hidden in the pictograph of the Chinese language.

Chapter 1: Winning Stratagems 胜战计

  1. Deceive the heavens to cross the ocean 瞒天过海
  2. Besiege Wei to rescue Zhao 围魏救赵
  3. Kill with a borrowed sword 借刀杀人
  4. Wait at leisure while the enemy labors 以逸待劳
  5. Loot a burning house 趁火打劫
  6. Make a sound in the east, then strike in the west 声东击西

Chapter 2: Enemy Dealing Stratagems 敌战计

  1. Create something from nothing 无中生有
  2. Openly repair the gallery roads, but sneak through the passage of Chencang 明修栈道,暗度陈仓
  3. Watch the fires burning across the river 隔岸观火
  4. Hide a knife behind a smile 笑里藏刀
  5. Sacrifice the plum tree to preserve the peach tree 李代桃僵
  6. Take the opportunity to pilfer a goat 顺手牵羊

Chapter 3: Attacking Stratagems 攻战计

  1. Stomp the grass to scare the snake 打草惊蛇
  2. Borrow a corpse to resurrect the soul 借尸还魂
  3. Entice the tiger to leave its mountain lair 调虎离山
  4. In order to capture, one must let loose 欲擒故纵
  5. Tossing out a brick to get a jade gem 抛砖引玉
  6. Defeat the enemy by capturing their chief 擒贼擒王

Chapter 4: Chaos Stratagems 混战计

  1. Remove the firewood from under the pot 釜底抽薪
  2. Disturb the water and catch a fish 浑水摸鱼
  3. Slough off the cicada’s golden shell 金蝉脱壳
  4. Shut the door to catch the thief 关门捉贼
  5. Befriend a distant state while attacking a neighbor 远交近攻
  6. Obtain safe passage to conquer the State of Guo 假道伐虢

Chapter 5: Proximate Stratagems 並战计

  1. Replace the beams with rotten timbers 偷梁换柱
  2. Point at the mulberry tree while cursing the locust tree 指桑骂槐
  3. Feign madness but keep your balance 假痴不癫
  4. Remove the ladder when the enemy has ascended to the roof 上屋抽梯
  5. Deck the tree with false blossoms 树上开花
  6. Make the host and the guest exchange roles 反客为主

Chapter 6: Desperate Stratagems 败战计

  1. The beauty trap (Honeypot) 美人计
  2. The empty fort strategy 空城计
  3. Let the enemy’s own spy sow discord in the enemy camp 反间计
  4. Inflict injury on oneself to win the enemy’s trust 苦肉计
  5. Chain stratagems 连环计
  6. If all else fails, retreat 走为上计

Your students should also be knowledgeable about the Chinese concept of “Tianxia” 天下  (or “All Under the Heaven”) that could be found comprehensively explained in the book “RENEWAL – The Chinese State and the New Global History” by Wang Gungwu 王賡武, a historian and professor.

Kacvey, please also warn your students that learning the above essay is like scooping up a bucket of water from the ocean of Chinese history and thinking, but like Laozi said in Chapter 64 of Dao De Jing 道德经: “A journey of a thousand leagues starts from where your feet stand”, 千里之行,始於足下.

Start the journey!

Quora’s Questions

My dear Kacvey,

For your students to be able to think further outside the box, a posting is created and updated as more and more articles from Quora could be found:

Christopher Treshan Perera answered the question: What was Cambodia before the Cambodian genocide? What changed?
https://www.quora.com/What-was-Cambodia-before-the-Cambodian-genocide-What-changed

Kaiser Kuo answered the question: What was it about the 20th Century that created monsters like Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler and Mao?
https://www.quora.com/What-was-it-about-the-20th-Century-that-created-monsters-like-Pol-Pot-Stalin-Hitler-and-Mao

Brenna Saunders answered the question: Why did Pol Pot kill his people?
https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Pol-Pot-kill-his-people

Andrew Crawford answered the questions: Did the Cambodians create a very high civilization in Southeast Asia? Why is today Cambodia a poor country?
https://www.quora.com/Did-the-Cambodians-create-a-very-high-civilization-in-Southeast-Asia-Why-is-today-Cambodia-a-poor-country
Was Hun Sen of Cambodia a member of Khmer Rouge? Why does he have power?
https://www.quora.com/Was-Hun-Sen-of-Cambodia-a-member-of-Khmer-Rouge-Why-does-he-have-power

Philip Ford answered the question: How did Pol Pot come to power?
https://www.quora.com/How-did-Pol-Pot-come-to-power

Dave Turner answered the question: How can Pol Pot be compared with Hitler, Stalin or Mao?
https://www.quora.com/How-can-Pol-Pot-be-compared-with-Hitler-Stalin-or-Mao

Sinet Sem answered the question: Is Hun Sen a fair leader in Cambodia?
https://www.quora.com/Is-Hun-Sen-a-fair-leader-in-Cambodia

Robert Wagner answered the question: Cambodia: Why was Pol Pot not killed after being deposed?
https://www.quora.com/Cambodia-Why-was-Pol-Pot-not-killed-after-being-deposed

David Krueger answered the question: Cambodia: Who is responsible for empowering the Khmer Rouge?
https://www.quora.com/Cambodia-Who-is-responsible-for-empowering-the-Khmer-Rouge

Alejandro Peralta answered the questions: What was the strategic purpose of Vietnam’s invasion of Cambodia?
https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-strategic-purpose-of-Vietnams-invasion-of-Cambodia
Would the Khmer Rouge genocide have happened if the US had won the Vietnam War?
https://www.quora.com/Would-the-Khmer-Rouge-genocide-have-happened-if-the-US-had-won-the-Vietnam-War

Namru Casterly answered the question: Were the Vietnamese invaders during the Cambodian-Vietnamese war greeted as liberators by the people of Cambodia?
https://www.quora.com/Were-the-Vietnamese-invaders-during-the-Cambodian-Vietnamese-war-greeted-as-liberators-by-the-people-of-Cambodia

Salem Stanley answered the question: Cambodia: Why wasn’t the UN involved in the Khmer Rouge genocide?
https://www.quora.com/Cambodia-Why-wasnt-the-UN-involved-in-the-Khmer-Rouge-genocide

Gwydion Madawc Williams answered the question: Why did so many Cambodians support Pol Pot?
https://www.quora.com/Why-did-so-many-Cambodians-support-Pol-Pot

Preston Ingalls answered the question: What is the solution to Vietnam war against Cambodia?
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-solution-to-Vietnam-war-against-Cambodia

Matt Jones answered the question: Kampuchea: How does ethnic cleansing committed by the Khmer Rouge regime affecting Cambodians today?
https://www.quora.com/Kampuchea-How-does-ethnic-cleansing-committed-by-the-Khmer-Rouge-regime-affecting-Cambodians-today

Trang Vu answered the question: Why did Vietnam invade Cambodia?
https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Vietnam-invade-Cambodia

George McBride answered the question: Although Vietnam saved Cambodia from the vicious Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodians generally view Vietnam as the enemy. Why so?
https://www.quora.com/Although-Vietnam-saved-Cambodia-from-the-vicious-Khmer-Rouge-regime-Cambodians-generally-view-Vietnam-as-the-enemy-Why-so

Hoàng Nguyên answered the question: Has Cambodia recovered from the Khmer Rouge?
https://www.quora.com/Has-Cambodia-recovered-from-the-Khmer-Rouge

Suttichart Denpreuktham answered the question: Is Cambodia an imminent threat to Vietnam?
https://www.quora.com/Is-Cambodia-an-imminent-threat-to-Vietnam

LeRoy Duvall answered the question: What is it like to live in Cambodia?
https://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-live-in-Cambodia

Jacques Văn Khải answered the questions: Did Vietnam try to annex Cambodia and Laos after the end of the Vietnam War?
https://www.quora.com/Did-Vietnam-try-to-annex-Cambodia-and-Laos-after-the-end-of-the-Vietnam-War
Why did Vietnam occupy Cambodia for ten years after overthrowing the Khmer Rouge?
https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Vietnam-occupy-Cambodia-for-ten-years-after-overthrowing-the-Khmer-Rouge

Greg Moylan answered the questions: Cambodia: Why did China support the Khmer Rouge regime when ethnic cleansing was their main priority?
https://www.quora.com/Cambodia-Why-did-China-support-the-Khmer-Rouge-regime-when-ethnic-cleansing-was-their-main-priority
How did Pol Pot get away with war crimes?
https://www.quora.com/How-did-Pol-Pot-get-away-with-war-crimes

Nguyễn Khánh answered the question: Can we consider the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia as a war crime?
https://www.quora.com/Can-we-consider-the-Vietnamese-invasion-of-Cambodia-as-a-war-crime

Neil O’Connell answered the question: Why is Cambodia so undeveloped?
https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Cambodia-so-undeveloped

Duc Thanh Nguyen answered the questions: Did Vietnam destroy Cambodia’s civilization and reduce Cambodia to a minor power? Did Thailand? Why?
https://www.quora.com/Did-Vietnam-destroy-Cambodias-civilization-and-reduce-Cambodia-to-a-minor-power-Did-Thailand-Why
When Hun Sen is removed from power, will Vietnam invade Cambodia again?
https://www.quora.com/When-Hun-Sen-is-removed-from-power-will-Vietnam-invade-Cambodia-again

Andrew Crawford answered the question: Is Cambodia politically stable?
https://www.quora.com/Is-Cambodia-politically-stable

Nguyen Huu answered the question: What is the relationship like between Cambodia and Vietnam?
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-relationship-like-between-Cambodia-and-Vietnam

Andrew Dang answered the question: What are the reasons Vietnam doesn’t apologize to China and Cambodia for the war in Cambodia?

Oudom Thach answered the question: What good things did Pol Pot do?
https://www.quora.com/What-good-things-did-Pol-Pot-do

Adam Fayed, answered the question: Is life hard in Cambodia?
https://www.quora.com/Is-life-hard-in-Cambodia

Julian Dalton answered the question: In Cambodia, how does religion influence politics?
https://www.quora.com/In-Cambodia-how-does-religion-influence-politics

Jianzhong Chen answered the question: Why was Vietnam condemned for removing the Khmer Rouge who were commiting genocide from power?
https://www.quora.com/Why-was-Vietnam-condemned-for-removing-the-Khmer-Rouge-who-were-commiting-genocide-from-power

Peter Topping answered the question: How come a small developing country like Vietnam can politically influence Laos and Cambodia?
https://www.quora.com/How-come-a-small-developing-country-like-Vietnam-can-politically-influence-Laos-and-Cambodia

James Beck answered the question: How is Buddhism manifested in Cambodia’s political structure and laws?
https://www.quora.com/How-is-Buddhism-manifested-in-Cambodias-political-structure-and-laws

Banh Dau answered the question: Can China help Cambodia retake Southern Vietnam?
https://www.quora.com/Can-China-help-Cambodia-retake-Southern-Vietnam

Zhang Cheng answered the question: Why did Pol Pot attack a Vietnamese village in the Mekong Delta? Did Vietnam support Khmer Rouge coup against legitimate Cambodia govt before this?
https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Pol-Pot-attack-a-Vietnamese-village-in-the-Mekong-Delta-Did-Vietnam-support-Khmer-Rouge-coup-against-legitimate-Cambodia-govt-before-this

Sang Phan answered the question: Why is China building a lot of stuff for Cambodia but not for Vietnam?
https://www.quora.com/Why-is-China-building-a-lot-of-stuff-for-Cambodia-but-not-for-Vietnam

Jon Morris answered the question: What is the strangest thing you have seen or heard while in Cambodia?
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-strangest-thing-you-have-seen-or-heard-while-in-Cambodia

Smilinger Zhang answered the question: Have China put Mr. Hun Sen to destabilize Cambodia, turn it upside down, make it under China control?
https://www.quora.com/Have-China-put-Mr-Hun-Sen-to-destabilize-Cambodia-turn-it-upside-down-make-it-under-China-control

Thang Luu answered the question: Since Cambodia was a neutral nation during the Vietnam war, why did Vietnam still invade them and used their land against US or South Vietnam?
https://www.quora.com/Since-Cambodia-was-a-neutral-nation-during-the-Vietnam-war-why-did-Vietnam-still-invade-them-and-used-their-land-against-US-or-South-Vietnam

Ananda Syahendar Perdana answered the question: What is the most Chinese-influenced country in Southeast Asia?
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-most-Chinese-influenced-country-in-Southeast-Asia

Kounila Keo answered the question: Does anyone still support the Khmer Rouge?
https://www.quora.com/Does-anyone-still-support-the-Khmer-Rouge

Peter Topping answered the question: Why has Cambodia pursued a foreign policy much closer to China than have its neighbors?

Giao Vu answered the question: Why did Pol Pot kill over 2 million people?
https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Pol-Pot-kill-over-2-million-people

Surachai Jaturapattarapong answered the question: How do Cambodians view Vietnamese?
https://www.quora.com/How-do-Cambodians-view-Vietnamese

Daniel Mokrauer-Madden answered the question: Why is Pol Pot’s Cambodian revolution rarely taught in western history?
https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Pol-Pots-Cambodian-revolution-rarely-taught-in-western-history

Umakant Singh answered the question: Whom does the U.S. President Trump support in Cambodian politics: the current Prime Minister Hun Sen, or the opposition leader Sam Rainsy?

Orlando Barrios answered to the question: How would Cambodia be different if the Khmer Rouge remained in power and was not overthrown by Vietnam and FUNSK (Khmer Rouge dissidents) in 1979?
https://www.quora.com/How-would-Cambodia-be-different-if-the-Khmer-Rouge-remained-in-power-and-was-not-overthrown-by-Vietnam-and-FUNSK-Khmer-Rouge-dissidents-in-1979

Greeting the Chaul Chnam Khmer, Year of the Chrouk

My dear Kacvey,

Happiness and Good Health be with you when celebrating the Chaul Chnam Kor!

Goddesses of previous Chaul Chnam have already left Cambodia with a tacit message that Khmer are adult enough to deal with their own problems as humans. Goddesses are only on painted or digitalized images for their imagination, abstract feeling, invisible hope and far away dream.

Have fun with your friends and family during the holidays, as the space in Cambodia for vacations has enormously shrinked by the weak strongman for Chinese casinos and Chinese presence.

It would be unfair to underestimate the goodwill of Tevoda Chrouk on her first day in the sky over Cambodia, but if all Goddesses – Monkey, Rooster, Dog – are alike and cut from the same clothes, let welcome them with joined hands, open heart and respect of the unknown and invisible,without false pretense and hypocrisy.

Divinity is beyond the realm and power of the mortals.

Happy Chaul Chnam Chrouk!

Is the Eternal Second Having his Own Jersey?

My dear Kacvey,

Have you seen the three articles written in Khmer and published in three sites about what the two samd’achs had said in public? Was it a journalistic coincidence, a calculated conjunction or a chance fortuity? If so, have you discussed them with your students? And what do they think or how do they read between the lines?

You certainly remember Raymond Poulidor and his performance at Tour de France, don’t you? And his famous self-appreciation of never donning “le maillot jaune”, not even once: «je suis connu pour être l’éternel second»!

Well, well! First thing first:
1) On 14 March 2019, dap-news.com posted this article: រដ្ឋមន្ដ្រីមហាផ្ទៃ ណែនាំអាជ្ញាធរខេត្ត កុំឲ្យខឹងការរិះគន់ របស់សង្គមស៊ីវិល
2) On the same day, wmc.org.kh posted this article: សម្ដេចហ៊ុនសែនថាបើសម្ដេចស្លាប់គណៈរដ្ឋមន្ត្រីត្រូវរលាយហើយអ្នកប្រមាថ​សម្ដេច​នឹង​ស្លាប់គ្មាន​ដីកប់ដូចប៉ុលពត
3) On 16 March 2019, The Cambodia Daily posted this article: លោក​ស ខេង​ប្រកាស​ថា​កម្ពុជា​នឹង​មាន​វាសនា​អាក្រក់​ប្រសិន​បើ​ដើរ​ចេញ​ពី​គន្លង​លទ្ធិ​ប្រជា​ធិបតេយ្យ​

Let not go into the brain of those two samd’achs as that would be the jobs of a political shrink, but rather focus on what the Khmer texts could tell us:

  • The Cambodia Daily did not use the word samd’ach;
  • The two samd’achs ignore each other in their speech;
  • The two samd’achs broach the subjects in a different style, interpretation, value, approach and depth;
  • One is arrogant, violent, brute, unhinged and mean; the other is calm, smooth, self-controlled and down-to-earth;
  • They haven’t been seen together in a friendly or “camaraderie” mood as they used to;
  • They are not subject to open and public discussions by commentators, observers or critics about “this group” or “that group” like in the case of the opposition with this phrase by the exiled: “Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha are as one. We are not stupid enough to split and to help Hun Sen cling to power“;
  • One is the top from day 1 of the regime and the other as number 2 since that same day 1;
  • One talks a lot and brags about the army and the bodyguards and their loyalty, the other only about the police, but the sycophant that runs the defense department behaves like a duck that knows that its destiny will be roasted as “téa khwày”;
  • Both of them seem to ignore each other, or rather watch each other with hawks eyes;
  • In the “Rock” raid  issue, one talked about the “younger oknha”, the other was elated and satisfied with the arrest of the “older brother”;
  • In the meantime, for both of them to remain in power, they refrain from being critical of each other, but after 34 years at the same position as eternal number 2, is this what a person really wants? Raymond Poulidor had tried very hard against Jacques Anquetil, but Pou-Pou was never able to dominate the race to win the “maillot jaune” when the Tour finished on the Champs Elysées;
  • While one is placing his sons in strategic military positions, the other consolidate his “Interior”, and
  • Unfortunately for both of them, their “generals” are so corrupt that whatever they do, neither of them won’t be able to rely on their “generals” that do not know anything about military or police principle and theory for the service of the country and the people.

Kacvey, what will be going on over there?
Is something being cooked up for “Belshazzar’s feast”?
Or is it an intra-party-colorless-or-White-silent-revolution?
When democracy is dead, dictatorship rules.
Which dictator succeeded to pass the rein of dictatorial power to baby dictator? Duvalier? Noriega? Franco? Bhutto? Idi Amin? Stalin?
Dictatorship will also die, and the question is how and when will it do.

=====
Update:
– On 18 March 2019, Radio Free Asia posted article: Cambodia Investigating Employment Status of Chinese Nationals Amid Complaints of Lost Jobs
– On 19 March 2019, Radio Free Asia posted a Khmer article: លោក ស ខេង ទទួល​ស្គាល់​ថា ជនជាតិ​ចិន​កំពុង​ដណ្ដើម​មុខ​របរ​តូចតាច​របស់​ពលរដ្ឋ​នៅ​ខេត្ត​ព្រះសីហនុ