My dear Kacvey,
You and your students certainly have friends of Khmer Krom origin and whose historical memory is still vivid and painful about how Chéy Chétha II, in 1623, gave away about 34,300 square miles of Khmer land to Vietnam that later, in the 18th century, incorporated into its own territory.
The 21st century is witnessing and living through the same experience and reality that Cambodia is transforming itself into a vassal state or a colony territory, the chef d’oeuvre of the weak strongman. How ironic future history of Cambodia is revealing: the ex-Khmer Rouge who proclaimed to be the strongman who oppressed and repressed Cambodia and Cambodians is progressively handing over Cambodia to the power of money from the Northern Capital. When the weak strongman dies – no man lives forever – his soul wold be doubly judged: one by Hades for being part of the genocidal Khmer Rouge, and two by history for being the Chéy Chéetha XI for letting the people from the Middle Kingdom to come and take over the land of the Khmer Leu.
Somewhere, under a banyan tree on the sidewalk of the silk road, two men share their secrets:
Phnuoy Mék: May I greet you my lord, and long live your reign!
On Ze: Not too loud, banyan branches have ears.
Phnuoy Mék: My lord, I thank you for having made me who I am since 2012.
On Ze: You’ve been a good boy for us, and you’ve served us well.
Phnuoy Mék: For your desire, nothing cannot be impossible in srè khmok so long you let me know.
On Ze: Listen carefully. So far, it’s only the beginning. I have a big belly, so my belt is long, and the road I’m travelling is much longer than the historical silk road.
Phnuoy Mék: My lord, I’m all ears.
On Ze: I want to make your country and its sea a 1st outpost of my objective to control the whole region: the economy will serve the military.
Phnuoy Mék: Yes, my lord. Money first and army later.
On Ze: Not only that, but also millions of my subjects. I need my people to execute my plan. Your guys are not up to the level of my plan.
Phnuoy Mék: I close my eye for their arrival by air, sea or land.
On Ze: Yes, that’s why the casinos are an indispensable instrument: my subjects use entertainment to disguise their true identity.
Phnuoy Mék: My lord, the more the casinos, the fuller my coffer.
On Ze: We supply you with more than yo wish, even if you would wish to use it as a pyre.
Phnuoy Mék: Your desire is my obligation, my lord.
On Ze: Don’t do anything behind my back to upset Ngouy.
Phnuoy Mék: Please count on me, my lord. Ngouy is sulking and pouting, but I told him that I am very thankful to him for what he’d done to me since the time I left the khmèr krâhârm to join him in 1977, facilitated my return in early 1979 and until I started to embrace your feet.
On Ze: I deal with him on my own term and time, but just make sure that Ngouy’s people around you do not do foolish thing.
Phnuoy Mék: My lord, I hear your voice.
On Ze: You’ve done a great job in shutting up your people’s mouth against you. The same thing must apply towards me and my gamblers.
Phnuoy Mék: In my previous association with the khmèr krâhârm, I’ve learned how to make them “bak sbaat.” They are still under that spell, and my lord should not worry.
On Ze: I have to leave now; anything else you wish?
Phnuoy Mék: My lord, have you thought about “after me”?
On Ze: Oh yes, I have. You seem to forget that Ngouy had groomed you and you have neglected not to groom anybody for “after you.”
Phnuoy Mék: I do, my lord; any of my 3 sons can be my dauphin.
On Ze: But none of them has had training in my hometown like you had in Ngouy’s hometown. By the way, is there unity among your 3 sons?
Phnuoy Mék: The 2nd and 3rd are not measured up to their brother.
On Ze: Then, send them back to boot camp.
Phnuoy Mék: Please absolve my sin, my lord.
On Ze: You shouldn’t worry about your “after me.” Since the end of the cultural revolution, I am the secretary general number 5. So, change makes changes. You have done enough for me that, “after you”, the spot will not be empty.
Phnuoy Mék: My lord, are my days numbered?
On Ze: I don’t read cards, but my plan includes the ephemerality of the person; nobody lives forever nor is absolutely indispensable in the future. After you go, your land remains … for our use.
Phnuoy Mék: What will happen to my three sons?
On Ze: They can still enjoy the remnant of your wealth … elsewhere.
Phnuoy Mék: Oh no, are you making me the Chéy Chétha of the XXIst century?
On Ze: I don’t make you Chéy Chétha. You make yourself like Chéy Chétha … without knowing it.
Phnuoy Mék: Why didn’t I see it?
On Ze: Your Chéy Chétha was about woman. You are about power and money. All things you have done have consequences that your eye can’t see. Good Bye.