My dear Kacvey,

Well, another year has gone by, and when we look at ourselves in a non-transformative and clean mirror, our face has more wrinkles, sagging eyelids, grayer beards and thicker lenses. That is the course of nature, even with botox!

But that is not the reason to be grim about, life is not only or just appearance; it is the inner virtue and peace that make life worthwhile.

So said, that would not prohibit you from enjoying the Festive Season under the beautiful sun of Cambodia and the cool breeze of Khè Kacdeuk!

Even if we invoke the divine power of Heaven to mutually wish each other Good Health and Greater Happiness for the coming 2015 and throughout, the old and everlasting saying remains solidly valid: “Heaven will only take care of those who take care of themselves.” … Aide-toi, le ciel t’aidera!

Kacvey, please do not whisper! Say it out loud for Pete’s sake! So, your question is what would Cambodia look like in 2015?

The answer is a question back to you: Have you consulted astrologist Moha Sangkraan or Nostradamus?

If the influence of heavenly bodies could be believed to be possibly exercised on human behavior, the study of past events could also well be useful for the formation of a probable feature of future course without objectifying it beyond the scope of a certain realism.

Nothing will change much in 2015 in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk.

Those in power will still be there even on a stretcher, with a shrinking constituency in size and less convinced in the 40-year old ideology reconfigured for convenience and power occupation and political deeds and expediencies. They will sing the refrain “après moi, le déluge” when they sense the itching on their face, but the clapping sound of the audience or the scream for “an encore” would be inaudible. Irresponsibility and un-accountability are the diamonds pendants that all elements in the public function will always wear with their golden necklaces. The sale of state lands and natural resources for private interests behind the ugly cover of national economic development will continue unabated, and more demonstrations by the dispossessed will not be discounted. The culture of denial that the country is not taking the right direction continue to be the firm belief of the leaders who do not see or refuse to see what the population-at-large see and feel. In other words, they govern the unhappy countrymen.

Those who want to have the power are running out of reasons and arguments to justify their thirst and hunger as they have already tried all the dishes in the menu. They keep on believing that their supporters are still a solid bloc as in July 2013, but the chinaware is broken everywhere, in Cambodia, North America or even France (e.g. on 27 December 2014, Villepinte or Bussy-St-Léger?) Even “Super Glue” might not do the business. Dream and hope for future premiership remain dream and hope which motivate the swelling of the ego. They might nurse a remote illusion of a cabinet shake-up which could open a possibility to enter the government using the in-vogue vocab “culture of dialogue”, whatever that means. Although the turf is well demarcated between the “minority leader” and the “1st vice-president of the NA”, nothing will stop them, from time to time, jostling each other within the party, KCTM versus KCPB! Power makes money and wealth. Power creates ambitions and corrupts.

It will not be a bright and flourishing political climate, as everybody will carefully watch each other, scrutinize the other’s move, cut the grass under the other’s feet or purely “buy it”. In Cambodia in 2015, nothing is more true than what was attributed to Vegetius: “Si vis pacem, para bellum” – If you want peace, prepare for war.

However, although the bi-dimensional politics in Cambodia is a contemporary reality, it is not by no means an absolute truth. Like everything and everywhere else, Cambodia also lives the theory of evolution. Time creates evolution of mind and matter. Therefore, there are “other” Khmers who garner the evolution of idea and concept outside the existing “bi-dimensional” paradigm. This could be recognized that Khmers have brain and know how to think freely and independently. Khmers have already lived for such a long time in a mode of “self-appointed-leaders-think-for-Khmer-people”; it is time to introduce a new mode of thinking that Khmers can very well think for themselves. He who is afraid of other people’s idea is unsure of his own.

But Kacvey, you may say this is all charlatanism. True, if it won’t happen but the jury verdict won’t be out by 31 December 2015, which date will be crucial for Cambodia in the long range: integration into Asean.

Cambodia is not ready for this international process: no legal framework, no institutional infrastructure, no economic/financial/monetary/fiscal policy, no social protection … nothing at all. There has never been a public debate on this issue involving academician, economist, social partners to assess Cambodia’s capabilities/inabilities both to participate as an equal partner and as a country which will not give away its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, nor there is a plan for public consultation through a referendum. There is no guarantee that this integration will not see planeloads/busloads of Aseanians from populated/over-populated and economically strong countries disembarking at various ports of the country taking up residence in Cambodia. We give no credence to petty politicians who blindly agree to this Asean policy because of their limited knowledge and understanding of global/regional politics. If this integration goes through, my dear Kacvey, within a span of a decade, the Khmer race might be alienated forever.

You may also ask how about the New Year resolution?

It is a fair and reasonable question or expectation for the temporal transition. Let us then, for this auspicious moment, use Horace’s Satire I as a basis for the development of the resolution:

“How is it, Maecenas, that no one is content with his own lot – whether he has it by an act of choice or taken it up by chance – but instead envies people in other occupations? …

Must every one, because of greed, be at odds with himself and envy those in other occupations; waste away because his neighbour’s goat has more milk in her udder; and instead of comparing himself with the thousands who are worse off, struggle to out do first him and then him? However fast he runs there is always somebody richer just in front.”

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2015!

Well, that’s enough for 2014, and until 2015 we shan’t add another word.