My dear Kacvey,
Do you recall a 1974 to 1978 television series titled “The Six Million Dollar Man” starring Lee Majors?
Well, in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk, there now is a man whose monthly salary is about US$1,100, but dons a US$3,200,000 watch. Oh, by the way, would there also be a handbag for the lady at, for example, 1/10 of that price?
For now, just have a quick recap to situate where Khmer citizens stand in the context of Cambodia economics:
– In 2017, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Cambodia was US$1,135.20, equivalent to 9 percent of the world’s average. GDP per capita in Cambodia averaged US$648.27 from 1993 until 2017, reaching an all time high of US$1,135.20 in 2017 and a record low of US$321.40 in 1994.
– Minimum wage in Cambodia averaged US$130.25 per month from 2014 to 2017, and the minimum monthly wage of workers in textiles and footwear industry is US$170.00.
Please ask your students to do the math to find out how many years it would take for the US$1,100 monthly salaried man to pay for that watch, and how many years for the average garment workers to do the same, and all this without eating and feeding their family!?
Should we dwell on the question how such a situation could happen in such a banana state? No, to repeat it again and again is a waste of time as it has already been extensively written about: Just go to “search” box and type: Corruption, Nepotism, autocracy, Hostile Takeover or Global Witness, and then you get the answer.
Then you might ask why raising the issue of US$3,200,000 watch? Who on earth would wear such treasure on his wrist: would Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, or even the founders of the brand Antoni Patek and Adrien Philippe do it? There gotta to be, among reasonable and sane mind, an awareness and conscientiousness about value that differentiates those who earn their fortune through pure hard work and entrepreneurship and those who come from the jungle at the border between Cambodia and Vietnam and becoming corrupt autocrat through communism, deceit and falsity.
The answer is simple: It’s about the political hypocrisy, repulsive and nauseating dishonesty, and the ex-genocidal-KR turned rogue selling the entire Cambodia out to Vietnam and China:
– the weak strongman pretends to care about the fate of garments workers against the serious threat from the EU about EBA withdrawal, whereas in fact he remains stubborn in his oppressive politics against the Khmer;
– he isolates himself more and more from the future interest of the country, focusing instead on his short-term scheme of protecting his power, family and wealth;
– he continues to shackle and vassalize the country to China through concessions after concessions on use of land, destruction of natural resources and multiplication of gambling and vices industry and businesses;
– his government shames Cambodia on its ineffectiveness and incompetence in the international arena;
– he is the pariah among the world leaders including ASEAN;
– his sycophants’ ill-earned fortune that is stashed in foreign lands is under scrutiny or investigation;
– his trips outside Cambodia have been met with huge demonstrations by overseas Khmer, and
– he uses the result of the sham election as a licence to further alienate the rights and freedom of Khmer citizen in their march towards democracy.
If only the US$3,200,000 watch could tell him the time when his rule is up for CHANGE!