My dear Kacvey,

The calendar has just now “changed” to 2016.

Farewell 2015! Auld Lang Syne! Thank You for whatever good that was happening during your reign! Thank You for leaving a heavy dossier of outstanding and toxic issues that 2016 will have to attend to. The list is as long as the length of suffering under the burden of lack of democracy, violation of rule of law, injustice, economic inequality, deforestation, land grabbing, corruption and autocracy.

2015 has gone, indeed, and it has made mortals one year older. But for Cambodia, it is fair game to ask whether Khmer politicians have learned from past year of what went wrong for the country and the people? And why was it so? Have they learned that time does not stagnate man’s growth in knowledge, perception, idea and judgement? Have they learned not to see their environment through their own glasses or have  they still been like – as Zhuangzi (庄子) said in his essay “Autumn Floods“ (秋水) – “a frog in a well that cannot be talked with about the sea?” Have they learned that everything changes through erosion?

The way things have regularly happened in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk leaves little room to hope that they have improved one iota in their political thinking, character, attitude and behavior. As a consequence, the confusing and chaotic political environment will furthermore exacerbate the social conditions and the overall state of the nation.

The fish named “cod” is long gone dead.

The “nec” is still in serious pain.

“68” dominates the national assembly under the clothes of democracy in travesty.

Corruption is the norm and autocracy favors/maintains the status quo.

On this very 1st day of the New Year, let ponder on a statement by Hubert H. Humphrey:  “If there is dissatisfaction with the status quo, good. If there is ferment, so much the better. If there is restlessness, I am pleased. Then let there be ideas, and hard thought, and hard work. If man feels small, let man make himself bigger.”

However, centuries before Humphrey, Niccolo Machiavelli had a different feeling about “status quo”. Kacvey, if you want to know what that feeling was, just say so and you’ll be obliged!