My dear Kacvey,

At this precise moment, i.e. Tonlé Buon Mouk Time, Khmer astrologer forecasts the arrival of Goddess Sochendamony. She will settle in the celestial realm of time over Cambodia and begin to oversee the deployment of the Year of “Hanumaan.”

Welcome Goddess Sochendamony!
Welcome “Hanumaan,” the lord monkey!
Welcome the Khmer New Year!
Please accept and acknowledge our respect and benevolence.

The time has also come to express our heartfelt thanks to the Lord Goat for his divine blessing and assistance given to all of us throughout Chnam Môr Mé.

Turning now to more terrestrial matters, you may wish to re-visit the letter sent out on 14 April 2015 under the title “Greeting the Khmer New Year” and to see how, one year and 78 other letters later, the situation in Cambodia has become in real terms. A part of that letter reads:
“Since ever, Cambodians have been cheated out left and right;
All leaders only think for themselves, and never for the Khmer’s plights.
Rights are abused, lands taken, forests denuded, Mekong dried,
Cambodia’s future is far from being bright.”

Kacvey, have you then noticed any difference from the time you received that letter to the present one? No, there indeed is no difference at all, but it rather has become more serious and severe. Why so, you may ask? Because in addition to what was already projected at the beginning of the year, other “stuffs”, ceteris paribus, happened and came to add heavily to the already sullen political and social atmosphere. Chief among them are:
– the “cod” (as ironically called the “culture of disconnect”) becomes totally rotten and decomposed;
– the thuggery violence against opposition parliamentarians;
– the arrest and prosecution of opposition figures on trumped-up charges;
– the dispersion, delocalization and ineffectiveness of the 55 opponents;
– the exile of the minority leader;
– the functioning of the supposed-to-be-neutral “nec” is handicapped by its innate non-neutral constitution, and could well end up as “no elections coming;”
– the extremely low ratings by international organizations on performance by the government;
– the vehement protests in Paris and Rancho Mirage against the autocrat and currently in many cities in the US and Canada against his dauphin;
– the narcissistic use of social media for self-promotion along with the accumulation or childish competition of “like” bought through click farms or otherwise;
– the constitution by the autocrat of a fourth branch of power called the “facebook power” that, on the tip of a finger, rules over every bit of the three existing branches of power;
– the formation of a new task force to catch “illegal loggers” who have been logging with the benison of the high and powerful authority;
– the infidelity “tape” openly schemed and manipulated to create unnecessary and artificial confusion and suspicion;
– the passing of legislation that nobody likes;
– the reshuffling of the cabinet by way of musical chairs leaving the “totem reshuffler”, as usual, un-reshuffled, and
– the open cases of corruption at the embassy in South Korea and off-shore banking as revealed by the Panama Papers.

You may wonder whether Goddess Sochendamony should be happy with such a heavy dossier left by Lord Goat?! Guess not, like many other gods and goddesses in ancient time, e.g. Juno, Mercury, Neptune, Ares … they treated each other unfairly too! Well, let her do her job, and men do theirs, and it shall be seen how She will behave herself vis-à-vis the old saying: “Man proposes, God disposes.”

BTW, where has the good spirit of the Siem Reqp “giant noum ansâm” of yesteryear gone? Buddy yesterday, enemy today! Selfie yesterday, handcuffs today! Such is cruel and sinister human nature and interaction!

Kacvey, you might also ask why “the Year of Hanumaan” instead of the traditional name “Year of the Monkey?” Well, if a monkey can be attributed to a year, why not the lord of the monkeys itself, as some say “Year of the Ram”, others “Year of the Goat” etc … It’s lexicology in motion. Besides, monkey is trivial, small-fry, zoo or circus, or concept “speak no, see no, hear no evil”, whereas Hanumaan is the Ramayana Monkey of the monkeys – similar to his equal Sun Wukong (孙悟空) of the “Journey to the West” (西游记) – that overpowered the evil giant Ravana and his rakshasa and rakshasi.

Therefore, it’s better to have the clever, courageous, honest and fun Hanumaan on the side of the ordinary Khmer who pursue a good end for the country and against all odds and others’evil means.