My dear Kacvey,
Wow, the world is moving dangerously and fast during the last 10 days: terrorist attacks in Paris, world conference in Turkey, Apec summit in Manila and Asean summit in Kuala Lumpur. Amid all of that, the name of Cambodia is ever present at those events, even in French: “Le Petit Cambodge.”
For now, let just focus on Apec and Asean.
Kacvey, have you heard anything about Cambodia at the Apec meeting in Manila, and/or the Asean summit meetings in Malaysia? Have you heard what Cambodia had said or proposed at those meetings? Have you been told what was Cambodia doing in those meetings besides sitting at the conference tables with the headsets on or appearing on photo ops? Was there any Cambodian press corps attending those meetings and independently reporting to their readership back home or elsewhere?
In the absence of real and exciting news about Cambodia at those official meetings, let fancy ourselves with an imaginary press conference given by Cambodia at one of the venues where those meetings took place and in front of the international press.
International Press: Thank you, Sir, for making yourself available to the international press which will ask you few questions, all related to or about Cambodia.
Cambodia: Good! My Cambodia is my domain. Fire it.
IP: Unlike many countries who use international forum to promote their politics, we have not heard anything from you, Sir. Why?
C: Talk is cheap. I let my ministers or interpreter talk. If you have specific questions, ask them.
IP: Among the Apec and Asean leaders who are here, all of them have changed from one time to another. You are the only one who appears on every photo since Cambodia joined Asean in 1999 and also since Cambodia has been invited to participate in Apec as a non-member-economies. Why is so?
C: Because those people like to change, it’s their business, their freedom. I don’t like change. As I told you before, I can teach those people a few tricks on how to govern without change.
IP: You must be the only one who has amassed the most “shirts” offered at those occasions.
C: I intend to break the Guinness Records Book on that.
IP: But, Sir, the people of those countries make the change democratically and no disaster falls upon them after the change: Bush/Obama, Hu/Xi, Sarkozy/Hollande, Harper/Trudeau … just to name a few.
C: You seem to confuse power and power. Change of power every 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 years is cheap and banal. Temporary power is not my definition of power.
IP: Sir, what is then your definition of power?
C: Power defines its strength by its permanency. Permanent power is real power. When I met Hollande at the Elysées in October, he greeted me and saw me off at the porch of the palace. It struck me as I visualized Sarkozy leaving the same palace when Hollande won and took the leadership of France. A minute before Sarkozy was president, 3 minutes later he went to his private residence as an ex-president. Same for Bush and Obama. Bush is back to his ranch in Texas, Obama is president. It will also happen to Obama in January 2017.
IP: But, Sir, Bush or Sarkozy had real power during their terms?
C: They did, but now they don’t. Remember, yesterday’s power is no longer important.
IP: But others come up and replace them and the beat goes on for their country, doesn’t it?
C: That is the difference between them and me: I had power, I still do, I also will. And I shall. Continuity also defines power.
IP: Sir, do you have accountability?
C: Accountability is for others to me.
IP: Could you please define the length of your “permanency” or the duration of your “continuity.”
C: The length of my life and my progeny.
IP: Does it imply dynastic power in your “after life”, like the Tang, the Ming or the Qing dynasties in Chinese history?
C: My vision is my own, and also what I consider the “vision of greatness.”
IP: So, Sir, have you ever been afraid of losing power like Sarkozy or Bush?
C: I sure am, and that’s the reason why I am making my power continuous and permanent. The night is the source of my fear; it makes me fear the morrow that may take the power away from me.
IP: Can you, Sir, describe your fear?
C: Easy! I cannot fathom seeing another person sitting on what I have built since I joined the KR. I cannot dream of having to sit on the opposite side of the desk from where I am sitting now, or to sit behind the podium like a statue or worst to sit in a court box/bench as an accused. I will not put myself into such a disgrace. Besides, if I don’t have power, I do not know what else could I do as I never had any skill, academic or otherwise. War against Khmer is my forte, my trade mark.
IP: Sir, how do you keep up with your fear of losing power day after day?
C: Keeping power is like reinforcing a wall of bricks. Every day you fortify the foundation and the wall structure with more steel tube, more cement, more mortar and more bricks, so that the wall will resist any political tsunami. You must also employ the workers that are dedicated to you, body and soul. So long you stay behind the accrued fortified wall of power, you can easily shoot at any target outside the wall without being seen. That what I learnt from the guerrillas time.
IP: You still use the guerrillas tactics and strategies, don’t you?
C: Any good lesson is always worth to be learned and put into effect. If I did not join the guerrillas and the KR, I wouldn’t be here today to talk to you like this.
IP: Sir, do you have a recipe for staying on par with your defined power?
C: No wine maker or great chef will ever disclose their recipe to customers. Don’t even try, my friend!
IP: So, are you also a wine maker and a chef?
C: As a chef, I designed the dishes that will be prepared by the kitchen helpers. Then I select the wine that would go with the dishes.
IP: And you enjoy the dishes and the wine!
C: No, no and no. You do not seem to follow the flow of my thinking.
IP: I don’t get it!
C: You see, I do not eat those dishes and drink those wines. They are all for J and G. By the way, just “tréy ngiét” would do fine for me!
IP: Who or what are J and G?
C: They are like my left and right arms: Justice and Gaol. You see, I every day feed them both with these delicious dishes and wines; the dishes and wines are so pleasant and enjoyable to their palate that they become addicted to; J and G are so fat and addicted that they cannot go anywhere else but me. Once you have J and G in your armpits, the rest is like peeling a banana.
IP: But, Sir, J and G cannot go and arrest people who are not in your good book like that!
C: You are such a novice in Khmer politics. Once I finish giving signal, J will mobilize his authority and let other do the dirty jobs. And then G will take over. Since J runs the kangaroo court, people have to think twice before daring me.
IP: Sir, do you happen to have, from time to time, some kind of guilty conscience?
C: Ah, Western psychology! Real leaders don’t. Power excludes guilt. But 5 hours of good sleep per night is a rare commodity.
IP: Claire Denis said: “I am the eldest child; it’s lonely at the top.” Now Sir, do you often feel lonely sitting in that cathedra of power?
C: To feel lonely is not having power is all about, and loneliness does not surround me. I am only lonely when I strategize, like playing chess.
IP: You must be a happy man with your power.
C: I am happy when I bully, frustrate and confuse my enemies, my opponents. When they are unhappy, in my heart I laugh.
IP: Thank you for your time with us. Would you be willing to give another press conference in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk in the near future?
C: In that City, I don’t allow anybody to ask me questions, nor I allow my power to be questioned.
IP: Then in Paris, at COP21-UN Climate Change Conference between 30 November and 11 December?
C: No, I had my share of Paris. Besides, in those summit settings, nobody cares or talks about me. I rather stay put in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk, give hell to those who dare contesting my authority or keep them outside of my Cambodia!
IP: Thank you, Sir.