History in Lexicon

My dear Kacvey,

Your students must certainly have read this online information from both VODhotnews and The Cambodia Daily. Since the relationship between the Khmer communists and the Vietnamese communists went as far back as 1946 – quite possibly your students’ great-grandparents or grandparents generations – and still continue to influence the current conduct of the Khmer Rouge and ex-Khmer Rouge that rule the land of the Khmer since 1975, the visit should not be without controversy and your students’ attention and focus should be armed with some background awareness:

  • Ho Chi Minh (original name: Nguyen Sinh Cung) was the founder and a revolutionary leader of the League for the Independence of Vietnam or the Viet Minh, who led the Viet Minh Independence movement in 1941, and was president of Vietnam democratic republic in 1945.
  • Since the end of the Vietnam War and the reunification of Vietnam, between 1976 and today, Vietnam has had 7 presidents and 2 Chairmen of the Council of State.
  • Meanwhile, in 1975 Cambodia was led by Khmer Rouge and genocidal Pol Pot.
  • In 1977, the weak strongman (original name: Bunal or Nal) left his Khmer Rouge group and fled to Vietnam for protection and reorganization similar to the mold of the Khmer Viet Minh in 1954.
  • In 1979, he returned to Cambodia with the support of Vietnamese troops and became Cambodia solo prime minister since 1985 until today.
  • Would the trip to Vietnam under its 9th president who took office in October 2018 look like to pay homage and to recognize the eternal debt the weak strongman has contracted for his power as a subordinate ruler in Cambodia?
  • Would future history confirm its past?

Here are some historical lexicons that your students might wish to have in their notebooks:

  • COOC: Central Office of Cambodia
  • Lao Dong: Vietnamese Workers’s Party (founded by Ho Chi Minh)
  • Nam Bo: Southern Department
  • COSVN: Central Office of South Vietnam
  • CCP: Cambodia Communist Party
  • Ban Can Su: Cadre Affairs Committee
  • KC: Khmer Communist
  • KCP: Khmer Communist Party
  • Son Ngoc Minh: Khmer Communist leader during pre-and-post-Independence
  • KCPC: Khmer Communist Party Committee
  • Region 203: Southeast region of Cambodia
  • Muoi Cuc (Ten chrysanthemums?): (Possibly a.k.a Nguyen Van Cuc or Nguyen Van Linh) Head of COSVN in 1954 and Chief advisor of Khmer Communists
  • CLA: Cambodia Liberation Army, formally known as Cambodia National People’s Liberation Armed Forces
  • CCKL: Central Committee for the Khmer Liberation
  • Nguyen Thanh Son: Chief of Nam Bo’s Foreign Affairs Section
  • Training Camps and Ethnic Minority Training Camps: in Hanoi area for training regroupees of Khmer Communists
  • Regroupees: Khmer Communists who were relocated to Vietnam after Independence
  • Son Thay Military Academy: where best KC were trained
  • Nguyen Ai Quoc School: Where KC senior cadres were trained
  • Khmer Viet Minh: Khmer Communists indoctrinated and trained in Vietnam
  • GVN: Government of (South) Vietnam
  • NLF: Vietcong’s National Liberation Front
  • CCFAF: Central Committee to Fight Against Fraud (the group chaired by Lon Nol to oversee shipments of rice to Vietcong
  • CCC: Cambodian Communist Central Committee
  • Red Khmer or Red K: Khmer Krâhârm, Khmer Rouge (coined circa 1962)
  • Khmerization: (1) use of Khmer language (instead of French); (2) conversion of Khmer Leu (Northeastern Khmer) into Khmer
  • B3 Front: Vietcong military command based in Rattanakiri
  • CPK: Communist Party of Kampuchea
  • Don’t spill the tea: Warning that the tea being boiled for the master is more important than the life of the oppressed.

Last but not least, let keep this definition in the back of the mind if the weak strongman doesn’t realize his bounded vassalage because of blindness or ignorance:
“The definition of a vassal was someone in feudal times who received protection and land from a lord in return for allegiance and performing military and other duties, or someone who is subordinate.
“An example of a vassal is a person who was given part of a lord’s land and who pledged himself to that lord.
“An example of a vassal is a subordinate or servant.”


On 5 December 2018, The Cambodia Daily online published this piece: មេដឹកនាំ​ខ្មែរ​នឹង​ទៅ​ទស្សន​កិច្ច​ក្នុង​ប្រទេស​វៀតណាម​អម​ដោយ​មន្រ្តី​ កំពូលៗ​ជាច្រើន​មិន​ធ្លាប់​មាន​ពី​មុន​មក​

A Menu for the Madman

My dear Kacvey,

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the United States and for all Americans living around the globe. And Happy Thanksgiving to you!

You might recall a letter sent to you on Thursday 27 November 2014 on the subject of Thanksgiving. But today, let fantasize the imagination differently.

Imagine the weak strongman is invited to a Thanksgiving dinner by one of his American friend who happened to be a fake international zombie observer during the last sham election, and also imagine what would be served at the dinner table. But, Kacvey, the issue here is not about the type, nature, exotics or diet of the dishes, it’s rather about whether the weak strongman has the ability to chew when he has a lot on his plate and to stomach them without having heartburn, indigestion or colic afterwards.

With his recent trips to Singapore and Port Moresby, although he was only seen waving his right hand like a puppet in various photo-ops, he must have been attending endless banquets served by the host countries. So, for a change, the chef has been instructed to only use “local ingredients” that the weak strongman has been promoting.

Here is the imagined menu:
Appetizer: Sham election with 125 roasted frogs.
First entrée: European EBA with ingredients from Thbong Khmoum.
Second entrée: Chinese military base with ingredients from Koh Kong garnished with Kampong Som casinos chips.
Dessert: Wager on house arrest à la sauce parisienne.
Beverage: Water from Tonlé Buon Mouk.

The chef has tasted and if he didn’t find them delicious, they wouldn’t go on the menu for the madman.

Meantime, Bon appétit!

Oh by the way, the chef has also whispered that there are no “bai kôk” and “tréy ngiét” as substitutes!


‘I do not do policy or diplomacy by tweets’

My dear Kacvey,

The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, has given a lesson of responsibility in high politics and diplomacy that you may wish to instill in your students ethical behavior in the modern and fast age of technology and social media.

Politico has this title: Macron to Trump: ‘I do not do policy or diplomacy by tweets’ and The New York Times: Macron’s Response to Trump: ‘I Do Not Do Policy or Diplomacy by Tweets’

You may ask what does that have to do with my class?
Well, good behavior and respect of high responsibility have a lot to do with your students prospective careers.

Let leave to Emmanuel Macron and Donald trump what belongs to Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump to deal with between themselves. Instead, let just recall how the weak strongman uses Facebook to rule Cambodia, to brag about his millions “like”, to disparage people he doesn’t like, and also to raise wager with his nemesis!

Your students should bear in mind that:
– the country has scales of laws and regulations (whether or not voted and implemented by the kangaroos!)
– the prime minister is the head of the government composed of ministers (sycophantic or otherwise!) to run the ministries;
– the government has ambassadors accredited to various world capitals, and
– the government has administrative procedures and mechanism to ensure that governmental decisions are passed on hierarchically for smooth implementation.

In a very simple term, if the weak strongman uses his Facebook account to dictate his wimp, why should there be ministers and all those useless officials or ministries? why should there be national assembly? why should there be courts and tribunals? why should there be ambassadors?
Why not then abolishing the whole concept of the three branches of power and just having a big screen with the weak strongman sitting in front of the screen and belting out any stupidity that crosses his mind?

In international diplomacy and official dealings, who on earth outside Cambodia cares about what the weak strongman says or writes in Khmer in his Facebook account? Do world leaders at the UN, the EU, the IPU, or the ASEAN, etc … pay any attention to what the weak strongman says or writes in Khmer about his justification of the sham election for one-party state, of the death of democracy and the abuse and violation of human rights and freedom of association? No, no, and no.

Your students are clever enough to understand that you, Kacvey, don’t care about what they think or write in their Facebook account, and that you only accept home works or term papers either in hard copy or through email from them directly submitted to you. None of your student should never argue that: “But, professor Kacvey, I wrote my dissertation on my Facebook!”

To which you laughingly respond: “I do not correct your Facebook paper!”

On Cambodia 65th Anniversary of Independence

My dear Kacvey,

You must be wondering why there was no letter sent on 9 November 2018 which was the date of the 65th anniversary of the independence of Cambodia?

The answer is simple: for 3 years in a row, letters were written to you on the 62nd, the 63rd and the 64th independence of Cambodia. Sadly, on the 65th anniversary, nothing has changed; on the contrary, Cambodia is getting worst and worst:
– the weak strongman has murdered democracy,
– he organized a sham election transforming Cambodia into a corrupt one-party state,
– he vassalized Cambodia into a state dependent on China and Vietnam, and
– the free world subjects him and his sycophants to various degrees of sanctions.

Where is then your students’ feeling of celebration, their pride of being a free and independent Khmer when the weak strongman shackles the 3 branches of power to his greed for absolute power and endless self-enrichment?

The French left. The Vietnamese arrived. So do the Chinese.

The lesson that Khmer can learn from the 1953 independence is that if Sihanouk could wrestle Cambodia out of the yoke of French colonialism, other Cambodians also can do the same to free Cambodia from the yoke of autocracy of the ex-Khmer Rouge and his corrupt sycophants that are supported by contemporary foreign hegemons.

A 3,200,000 US Dollars Watch

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!

“Georgia on My Mind”

My dear Kacvey,

The song “Georgia on My Mind” composed by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell, and rendered a worldwide hit by Ray Charles, does it ring a bell?

Sure do,
“Georgia, Georgia
The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind”

but why the question? and why Georgia?

Dude, where were you during the week of 15-19 October 2018?

Brussels and Geneva.

O.K., too busy over there, that’s why you miss a social media news: Overseas CNRP leaders/representatives are planning a world conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on 1-2 December 2018.

So what?

Well, how about triangulating Brussels/Geneva/Atlanta?

Please elaborate.


  1. The weak strongman failed miserably to convince the European Union that his sham election was free and fair.
  2. A sham election tainted with flagrant abuse and violations of basic human rights and organized under autocratic procedure and process has no place in a democratic Europe.
  3. In Brussels, the European Union is “launching the process for the withdrawal of their Everything But Arms preferences. Without clear and evident improvements on the ground, this will lead to the suspending of the trade preferences that they currently enjoy.
  4. Simultaneously, in Geneva, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, at its 139th assembly session, adopted a set of very strong decisions against the weak strongman’s regime.
  5. The weak strongman returned to the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk not only empty-handed and lonely, but also without any assurance that, if EBA becomes effective, no other countries would come to pick up the slack.
  6. Meanwhile, on 17 October 2018, the overseas “leaders/representatives of CNRP” were planning to organize a world conference on 1-2 December 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.


How can the above situations be put into an equation for a possible or probable solution that could be beneficial to Srok Khmer and the Khmer people?

So, let create a speculative scenario: What if the Atlanta world conference would like to invite the CNRP president who is now placed under house arrest to be the key note speaker?

Kacvey, you can argue upfront that this is such a crazy, insane and far-fetched idea that the weak strongman will never ever accept or allow the leader of the opposition to leave the country, because so doing would completely destroy what he has built up so far to support and sustain his autocratic rule, and he might encounter unexpected and unhappy consequences to his rule, fortune and his sycophantic and corrupt clan.

Quite and highly possible and true: however, any idea that’s never tested on the field is crazy; please remember that many crazy ideas are mothers of great invention! Here, it’s the weak strongman that has to address the concerns and decisions by the EU and IPU, and not the other way around. The ball is in his court as it showed when he took the plane to Brussels and Geneva to face head-on the conditions set up by both European institutions.

On the one hand, IPU “urges once again all Cambodian authorities to immediately release Mr. Kem Sokha and drop the charges, to allow him to resume his duties as president of the opposition without further delay and restriction and to reinstate the CNRP.”

On the other, during the Europe-Asia Meeting (ASEM) Summit, the EU High Representative and Vice-President said “that there is a lot of concern in Europe, but not only in Europe, about the dissolution in November last year of the main opposition party and in general terms the narrowed democratic space for political opposition and civil society.” She further added: “We discussed this. I cannot say that we found solutions to any of these issues


The Atlanta world conference could be a possible “solution” to the deadlocked situation between the weak strongman and the EU/IPU: if the weak strongman is serious about Srok Khmer, serious about the fate and welfare of the garments workers, he could let the leader of the opposition go to Atlanta. So doing, he would show to EU/IPU his goodwill, if any, to attempt to break the stalemate.

But, Kacvey, you could argue that the leader of the opposition would not return to Cambodia like a jailed bird will never return to its cage. Again, quite highly possible, and if/when he returns he would be put back in jail. So, what’s good about all of that?
But the leader of the opposition already knows what Thbong Khmoum is, doesn’t he? If he is a leader with predestined national augury, why afraid of returning to Cambodia? Why would he, without dual nationality, be acting like his once co-president? His battlefield is in Cambodia next to and with the more than 3 millions constituents. On the contrary, his political courage and image would be multiplied 10 folds.

Again, Kacvey, you could argue that it would be such a big gamble for the weak strongman to bet against the banker, especially with massive supporters at Pochentong. Ah, if he is afraid of that visionary scene like during Mr. Kem Ley’s funerals procession, it would mean that he knows in his heart and mind that his political life is not far away to be ended.

Nothing would stop you from asking your students what would they say, or speculating what would be EU/IPU reactions? … Or fretting about unnecessary detail arrangements.

As Ben Franklin, once, said: “Nothing ventured, nothing gained!”

Meanwhile, let close the triangulation Brussels/Geneva/Atlanta with the next 2 couplets of the song:
I said Georgia
A song of you
Comes as sweet and clear
As moonlight through the pines.

Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you.

M1 versus M2?

My dear Kacvey,

How about a small quiz for your students:

After reading and pondering on the 3 articles below (with special Thanks to the 4 authors: Aun Chhengpor and Malis Tum, អ៊ឹម រចនា and Jonathan Sutton):
1) VOA: Hun Sen Says Son Is ‘Possible Future Leader’ of Cambodia
2) RFI: លោក ហ៊ុន ម៉ានី គ្រោង​ដឹក​នាំ​យុវជន​៥០០​នាក់ត្រឡប់​ទៅ​កាន់​អតីតកាល
3) East Asia Forum: Is Hun Manet Cambodia’s next strongman?
What would be their opinion on:
a) the relationship between M1 and M2 in the post era of their father?
b) the relationship between M1 and/or M2 with the Northern Capital and the Inner River?
3) the relationship between M1 and/or M2 with the mandarins and young cadres of their party?
4) M1 and/or M2 as legatees of autocracy, corruption and nepotism left by their father, and
5) Optional: the relationship between M1 and/or M2 with M3.

Can’t wait to read their essays!

Les Trois Grands “U”

Mon cher Kacvey,

Vos étudiants devraient se gratter la tête pour comprendre qu’est ce qui se passe en ce moment dans la Cité de Tonlé Buon Mouk avec les déclarations de toute sorte des 3 trois grands “U”.

Les 3 grands “U”, c’est quoi donc?

Ouais! l’ONU, l’Union européenne, et les Etats-Unis. Tous les 3 ont un “U” dans leur nom. Simplifions l’orthographie, quoi!

Ah, sanctions économiques, EBA, critique internationale mitraillée de quatres coins du monde contre le faible homme-fort même au sein de l’Asean, lui même en désarroi au sein de son propre parti et ridiculement hué à Sydney, New York, Tokyo et bientôt Bruxelles et  Genève!

Vous saisissez tous, Kacvey! Alors, vous vous débrouillez pour expliquer à vos étudiants les raisons, causes et effets de tous ces machins-là. Mais voici, en supplément, un téléphone arabe tout récemment intercepté par la déesse de l’année du chien (Tévoda Chnam Chôr) quand, au hazard, elle se promenait dans son chariot dans le ciel au-dessus de nos têtes:

Phnuoy Mék: Allô, mon Seigneur. C’est Phnuoy Mék à l’appareil. Je me prosterne à vos pieds pour vous présenter mes respects.
On Ze: Allô oui. Je vous entends. J’ai seulement 3 minutes avec vous. Washington est sur mes talons. Je vous écoute.
Phnuoy Mék: Les 3 grands “U” sont aussi sur mes talons et je ne sais pas quoi faire. J’attends un geste ou un mot de vous pour réagir contre eux.
On Ze: Je sais, mais vous êtes assez grand pour vous débrouiller, non?! Je ne peux pas mélanger votre histoire avec la guerre commerciale qui me menace en ce moment de Washington. Chaque chose a ses priorités.
Phnuoy Mék: Je vous ai attendu à New York pour montrer à ces 3 “U” que vous êtes le Seigneur en qui j’ai le plus absolu dévouement et qu’ils cessent de m’enquiquiner. Mais vous m’avez posé un lapin.
On Ze: Je ne voulais pas me mettre les pieds au pays des Yankees, mais il y avait pas mal de mes sujets déguisés en supporteurs pour vous encourager.
Phnuoy Mék: Vos “supporteurs” étaient dans les rues et en inferiorité numérique, mais il n’y avait personne de taille dans le grand hall de l’ONU pour me soutenir.
On Ze: Allez, arrêtez de vous plaindre. Quoi d’autre?
Phnuoy Mék: Si EBA passait dans quelques mois, j’aurai une grande crise dans mes bras.
On Ze: Ne comptez-pas sur moi pour acheter ou importer chez moi vos vêtements et chaussures fabriqués chez vous. S’il y a crise sociale, utilisez les millions de dollars qui sont dans vos chaussettes et matelas. Je peux exporter d’autres dollars pour vous, mais je N’IMPORTE ni vos vêtements ni vos chaussures. J’en ai déjà trop de tout ce bazard chez moi.
Phnuoy Mék: Mais, Seigneur, j’ai plus d’un million de travailleuses et leurs familles qui dépendent de la production et de l’exportation de ces vêtements et chaussures.
On Ze: Moi, j’ai plus d’un milliard et demi de bouches à nourrir. Savez-vous faire le math? D’ailleurs, pourquoi depuis tout ce temps-là n’avez-vous jamais réfléchi ou compris que vos usines fonctionnent et vos travailleuses vivent au dépens des dépenses de consommation des gens des 2 grands “U”?
Phnuoy Mék: Mais, c’est les entrepreneurs de chez vous, de Hong Kong, de l’Asean qui décident toujours pour moi.
On Ze: Ces entrepreneurs n’étaient pas chez vous ni avant ni après que vous arriviez de chez Ngouy en 1979. N’oubliez pas que c’est vous qui les invitiez à venir s’installer chez vous depuis 1995, et vous et votre famille en tirez énormement de profits personnels depuis lors. Pourquoi vous n’investissez JAMAIS vos énormes ressources accumulées au fur du temps dans ces usines-là, au lieu de dépendre éternellement et à 100% des facteurs extérieurs?
Phnuoy Mék: Soit. Je vous entends, Seigneur. Que ferai-je de vos entrepreneurs qui dirigent les usines de vêtements et de chaussures?
On Ze: Ils n’ont absolument pas besoin de vous parce qu’ils savent que vous ne pouvez rien faire pour eux. S’ils ferment leurs usines et rentrent chez eux, ce n’est plus leur problèmes de gérer les travailleuses qui n’ont pas de travail. C’est VOUS. Quant à moi, je ne leur dirai rien parce qu’ils savent déjà quoi faire. Sachez que les portes d’investissement sont ouvertes au Bengladesh, en Turquie ou même chez Ngouy!
Phnuoy Mék: Qu’est ce que je devrais faire pour qu’ils ne délocalisent pas leurs usines de chez moi?
On Ze: Si vous êtes communiste comme moi, soyez de vrai communiste avec la dictature du prolétariat. Le communisme et la démocracie sont deux ennemis idéologiques et politiques. Si vous êtes communiste par le biais des élections, même truquées, vous êtes un faux communiste. Regardez moi; regardez Ngouy.
Phnuoy Mék: Au sujet de Ngouy, que diriez-vous de son nouveau président?
On Ze: Au moins, il y a du changement chez Ngouy, comme chez moi. Il n’y a que chez vous que les dirigeants ont des racines comme les banians de Ta Prohm. C’est en changeant qu’on améliore. Même le communisme change les communistes qui changent la face du communisme.
Phnuoy Mék: Alors, Seigneur, vous n’êtes pas d’accord avec le choix de mon fils aîné comme mon successeur?
On Ze: Je ne répète pas ce que je vous ai déjà dit la dernière fois sur ce sujet.
Phnuoy Mék: Etes-vous fâché contre moi, Seigneur?
On Ze: L’émotion et les sentiments n’ont pas de place dans ma politique et la gestion du monde n’est pas un roman d’amour. Dernier point?
Phnuoy Mék: Oui, Seigneur. Si EBA, les sanctions imposées par Washington sur mes “sales 17” (Dirty Seventeen) et les résolutions de UNHRC contre mon autorité domestique deviennent réalité, que deviendraient vos sujets qui s’établissent à Kg Som et ailleurs, et leurs casinos?
On Ze: Je compte sur vous non seulement pour les PROTEGER mais aussi pour tenir vos obligations envers moi car vous avez déjà perçu d’énormes redevances en contrepartie.
Phnuoy Mék: Mais, Seigneur, si, pour une raison ou une autre, la crise sociale déborde et si les amis de Ngouy dans les maisons flottantes et les gros sampans de Tonlé Sap se croisent les bras?
On Ze: Alors, personne n’est indispensable. Je pourrais vous trouver une résidence luxueuse dotée de meilleure médecine traditionelle – comme jadis reservée pour le prince – pour vous dans la province natale de vos ancêtres, le “Nan Min” ou le “Bei Min.” Comme ça, vous pourrez goûter la douceur de la vie dans le communisme étranger avec plus d’un milliard et demi de gens comme voisins. Et soyez rassuré que vous ne manqueriez pas de “tréy ngiét” pour vos repas du soir.

Il y eut un click, et le téléphone arabe coupé. La déesse de l’année du chien jeta un coup d’oeil vers la terre et vit Phnuoy Mék titubant tout seul vers le Tonlé Buon Mouk, une main sur sa poitrine comme pour supplier son coeur de ne pas le lâcher.

The XXIst Century’s Chéy Chétha

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.


My dear Kacvey,

This is a story that you may wish to share with your students about the notion of truth and its value, as truth has lately been subject of assault from liars, conspirators theorists and adepts of alternative truth or alternative universe. The story went way back to the pre-christian era.

In Book XI of Jewish Antiquities, Josephus narrated the story of Darius who went to bed, but, after resting a brief part of the night, awoke and being unable to sleep any longer, fell to talking to his three bodyguards. Darius asked his first bodyguard whether wine was the strongest thing,  and the second whether kings were, and the third whether women were, or whether truth was the strongest of all. Darius also promised his three bodyguards that whoever should give the truest and most intelligent speech on the subject would be bestowed sumptuous and enormous gifts including the honorific title of “Kinsman.”

When Darius had set these questions for them to examine, he took his rest. Then in the morning he summoned the nobles, satraps and toparchs of Persia and Media, and, taking his seat in the place where he was wont to give judgement, he bode each of the bodyguards give his opinion on the matters in question in the hearing of all.

And the first bodyguard began to speak on the power of wine. When he ceased speaking, the second bodyguard began speaking about the power of the king. When he ceased speaking, the third bodyguard began to discourse on women, and then on truth, saying: “I have now shown how great is the strength of women, but none the less both they and the king are weaker than truth. For although the earth is very great and the heavens high and the sun swift, yet all these move in accordance with the will of God, and, since He is true and just, we must for the same reason believe truth also to be the strongest thing, against which no injustice can prevail. Furthermore, all other things that possess strength are by nature mortal and short-lived, but truth is a thing immortal and eternal. And it gives us, not beauty, that fades with time, nor wealth, of which fortune may rob us, but what is just and lawful, and from this it keeps away injustice and puts it to shame.”

The third bodyguard name is Zorobabelos. When Zorobabelos ended his speech on truth, whereupon the assembly acclaimed him as the best speaker, saying that it was truth alone which had unchanging and unaging strength. And the king directed him to ask for something beyond what he himself had promised, for, he said, he would give it to him for being wise and showing himself more intelligent than the others.  “You shall,” he added, “be seated next to me and be called my Kinsman.”

When the king had said this, Zorobabelos reminded him of what he had vowed to do if he obtained the throne: this was to rebuild Jerusalem and construct the temple of God there and restore the vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had taken as spoil to Babylon.