My dear Kacvey,

While President Xi Jinping was on state visit to Phnom Penh on 13-14 October 2016,  The Phnom Penh Post published on the same Friday an article: “New documentary digs deep into the Cambodian psyche, finds hope” by Audrey Wilson.

The said article is about a movie titled “Angkor Awakens” produced by Professor Robert H. Lieberman of Cornell University. Whereas a trailer is inserted in The Phnom Penh Post article, the entire movie has not been publicly screened yet either in or outside Cambodia. However, 2 special screenings have been advertised to be on 4 and 5 November 2016 in Ithaca, New York, USA.

What is interesting for you about the article itself is what was written in the following paragraph: “Lieberman provides few answers, but he does engage with the root of this uncertainty: baksbat. “If Hun Sen were overthrown, what does that mean for the country? Does it mean instability? Or does it mean a move towards democracy?” he asks. “I don’t know.

For the moment, let focus on ONE conditional clause: “If Hun Sen were overthrown” as the following clauses are nothing else but consequences/results/aftermath of the 1st one.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “to overthrow” as “to remove (someone or something) from power especially by force.” Let the academic and hypothetical supposition raised by Mr. Lieberman be addressed by other quarters that might have the Merriam-Webster’s definition characteristics without omitting that contemporary history of Cambodia has ample examples of “overthrown”:
– March 1970, Lon Nol overthrew Prince Sihanouk;
– April 1979, Pol Pot of Democratic Kampuchea overthrew the Khmer Republic, and
– January 1979, Pen Sovan of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea, with support of Vietnamese troops, overthrew the Democratic Kampuchea.

Incidentally, as of now, where are the “overthrowers” and the “overthrowns”?
– Lon Nol died on 17 November 1985, in California, USA;
– Pol Pot died on 15 April 1998 in the jungle of Anlong Veng, Cambodia, and
– Prince Sihanouk died on 15 October 2012 in Beijing, China, and
– Pen Sovan died on 29 October 2016 in Takéo, Cambodia.
And as Arthur Schopenhauer, once, said: “Obit anus, abit onus” or “The old woman dies, the burden is lifted.”

Instead, let examine whether there could be other forward-looking, possible and peaceful – as a matter of course without using “force” – options/alternatives of alternation to power that exclude “overthrown.” So, Kacvey, as a man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants, he could choose one or more of those below:
– Resignfrom premiership;
– Retire while being ahead of the game and enjoy the vastly amassed fortune;
– Walk totally out of politics or enter monkhood;
– Stop running as president or secretary-general of the party;
– Stop running as deputy/parliamentarian to the national assembly;
– Get rid of vanity and stop thinking of indispensability and irreplaceability;
– Stop believing in self-immortality;
– Stop imitating the above-mentioned 3 foregone leaders;
– Start having trust on Cambodian people;
– Respect Cambodians and their constitutional vote.

On the contrary, in a larger spectrum, world history has left a lot of trails for future generations to learn about regime change through turbulence, violence or bloodshed:
– Laos, 1960: Captain Kong Le;
– South Vietnam, 1963: General Nguyen Cao Ky;
– Grenada, 1979: Maurice Rupert Bishop;
– Liberia, 1979: Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings, and
– Ghana, 1980: Master Sargent Samuel Doe.

As the man goes, other Cambodians stay, and they won’t talk/think about “overthrown.” Instead they would wonder with positive perspective and rephrase Mr. Lieberman’s supposition to: “If Hun Sen were leaving, what does that mean for the country? Does it mean stability? Or does it mean a move towards true democracy?”


– Asian Correspondent, 4 May 2017: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen hospitalised in Singapore
– The Phnom Penh Post, 5 May 2017: ‘Tired’ PM Hun Sen in Singapore hospital
– Asia Info Community, 5 May 2017: PM Hit With ‘Exhaustion,’ Currently Recovering in Singapore