My dear Kacvey,

The next US presidential election will be in 2016 and President Obama is barred by the US Constitution from seeking re-election. It is therefore expected to see a large crowd of candidates from both Democratic and Republican parties with prominent names such as Clinton or Bush being very often mentioned in the media or public conversations.

A recent article in NBC News: ” More of the same: Some on both sides ready to ditch dynasty candidates for 2016″ has introduced a new thinking in the traditional paradigm of American politics.

You would be wondering what does all this have anything to do with Cambodia which has no presidential election at all.

Kacvey, if you opened the link and read the article through, your lack of curiosity will mitigate when you travel your imagination to meet the courage that American citizens would be taking “to ditch dynasties candidates.”

Please leave the 2016 US presidential election to the American people, but let us firstly concentrate and fathom on the notion of leadership of a country where democracy rules by ways of representation, and focus the issue on Cambodia.

From 1955 to today, in the span 60 years, how many leaders has Cambodia had? e.i. 1955-1970, 1970-1975, 1975-1978, 1979-2015? Easy guess, right!

Countries of the world have seen their leaders periodically gone and replaced one after another, either democratically or otherwise: Sukarno, Chou En Lai, Nehru, Tito, Khrushchev, Eisenhower, Churchill, De Gaulle, Nkrumah, Adenauer, Mandela, Dubcek etc … and the change in leadership has met and leveled  the challenge of times and men.

It would not be inappropriate to insert here a quote from Juvenal’s Satire I: “The despot should now retire into private life, take a good long sleep.”

As Khmer politicians very often ascribe the British parliamentary system as their prime reference and even mantra, let us then use this system as a case in point. Between 1985 and today, how many prime ministers does the United Kingdom have? The answer is 5: Thatcher (3rd term), Major, Blair (3 terms), Brown and Cameron.

And how many has Cambodia had in the same span of 30 years? Muoy!

Could you, Kacvey, help us try to understand and address these questions:

– Why does the British people have the courage for alternation?

– Why does the British people have the courage to ditch one party for the other?

– Is one British prime mister less intelligent than the other, and more intelligent than the British people?

– Was there a deluge in the United Kingdom after the departure of each prime minister?

Secondly, let us now consider Cambodia in the same context of parliamentary democracy and ask ourselves these questions:

– If Cambodia is a parliamentary democratic country, why is autocracy the daily norm?

– Are Cambodians born with fear factor in the blood that paralyses the faculty of thinking and reasoning beyond personal security and interest?

– Are Cambodians still under the trauma of the Khmer Rouge era that they continue to submit themselves to the same Khmer Rouges but this time in dark suit and luxurious cars?

– Do Cambodians have less courage to face the challenge of tomorrow with different leaders?

This is your homework for now, Kacvey, and please remember: clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.

Once, Blaise Pascal said: “Pensée fait la grandeur de l’homme”, and George S. Patton, centuries later, added: “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking”