The Hungarian Super Spreader

My dear Kacvey,

Were you invited to meet the Hungarian Péter Szijjártó who was on a flash visit in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk? If you were you have to read this letter while in voluntary quarantine, … and listening to Frank Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies!

If you weren’t, the links below will tell you how the visit ended up and the souvenir that the visitor left behind for the weak strongman. While you’ll be reading them, chances are that you certainly recall the Westerdam saga in Kg Som on 13-14 February 2020 where the weak strongman played superman with no fear of the corona virus.

The list will be updated as availability of info happens.

France 24, 4 November 2020
Hungarian minister tests positive for virus on Southeast Asia tour

Asia Times, 4 November 2020
Hungarian minister tests positive in Southeast Asia

Associated Press, 4 November 2020
Hungary’s Foreign Minister Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Remix, 4 November 2020
Hungarian FM Szijjártó has coronavirus, isolated in Bangkok hospital

Thmey Thmey, 4 November 2020
សម្តេច ហ៊ុន សែន ដាក់ខ្លួននៅដាច់ដោយឡែក ក្រោយជួបរដ្ឋមន្ត្រីការបរទេសហុងគ្រីដែលមានកូវីដ-១៩

Channel News Asia, 4 November 2020
Hungary’s foreign minister tests positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Thailand

VOA, 4 November 2020
ក្រោយ​ចេញ​ពី​កម្ពុជា រដ្ឋមន្ត្រី​ការ​បរទេស​ហុងគ្រី​តេស្ដ​វិជ្ជមាន​កូវីដ​១៩

Euro News, 4 November 2020
Hungary’s foreign minister tests positive for coronavirus while on state visit to Thailand

RFI, 4 November 2020
លោកនាយករដ្ឋមន្ដ្រីហ៊ុន សែន និងអ្នកពាក់ព័ន្ធជិតស្និទ្ធមានលទ្ធផលតេស្តអវិជ្ជមានកូវីដ១៩

Bangkok Post – 4 November 2020
Hungarian foreign minister tests positive on arrival in Bangkok

VOA, 5 November 2020
មនុស្ស​ជាង​៦០០​នាក់ ធ្វើ​តេស្ត​កូវីដ លទ្ធផល​អវិជ្ជមាន ក្រោយ​ប្រាស្រ័យ​ទាក់ទង​ជាមួយ​រដ្ឋមន្រ្តី​ហុងគ្រី
Hundreds Test Negative After Coming in Contact with Infected Hungarian Minister

VOD, 5 November 2020
Official Says Hungarian Delegation, Foreign Ministry Asked for No Masks

RFI, 5 November 2020
ក្រសួងសុខាភិបាល៖អ្នកប៉ះពាល់ជាមួយរដ្ឋមន្រ្តីការបរទេសហុងគ្រីមាន៦២៨នាក់ ប៉ុន្តែសុទ្ធតែតេស្តអវិជ្ជមានទាំងអស់

RFA, 5 November 2020
លោក ហ៊ុន សែន ត្រូវ​​ក្រុង​ក្នុង​ផ្ទះ ១៤​ថ្ងៃ ក្រោយ​ជួប​រដ្ឋមន្ត្រី​ការបរទេស​ហុងគ្រី ដែល​ផ្ទុក​កូវីដ១៩

VOA, 6 November 2020
មនុស្ស​ជាង​២០០​នាក់​ទៀត ធ្វើ​តេស្ត​កូវីដ លទ្ធផល​អវិជ្ជមាន ក្រោយ​ប្រាស្រ័យ​ទាក់ទង​ជាមួយ​រដ្ឋមន្រ្តី​ហុងគ្រី

RFI, 6 November 2020
លោក ហ៊ុន សែន ព្រមានពីការផ្ទុះកូវីដ១៩ នៅកណ្ដាលទីក្រុង ប្រសិនបើការធ្វើចត្តាឡីស័កមានភាពខ្ជីខ្ជា

RFA, 7 November 2020
លោក ហ៊ុន សែន ព្រមាន​ពី​ការ​ផ្ទុះ​រាលដាល​ជំងឺ​កូវីដ១៩ ក្នុង​សហគមន៍ បើ​ធ្វេសប្រហែស​ក្នុង​ពេល​ធ្វើ​ចត្តាឡឺស័ក

RFI, 7 November 2020
លោក ហ៊ុន សែន ប្រគល់​ការងារ​សង្គម​ទៅ​លោក ស ខេង ខណៈទំនាក់​ទំនង​អន្តរជាតិប្រគល់​ទៅ លោក អូន ព័ន្ធមុនីរ័ត្ន

San Francisco Chronicle, 8 November 2020
Cambodia shuts schools in capital area as virus precaution

RFI, 8 November 2020
លោក ហ៊ុន សែន៖ លទ្ធផលវិជ្ជមានកូវីដ១៩លើអង្គរក្សខ្មែរ គឺជាបញ្ហាធ្ងន់ធ្ងរបំផុត

Phnom Penh Post, 8 November 2020
PM: Covid situation in Cambodia ‘alarming’

Straits Times, 9 November 2020
A*Star researchers simulate how droplets fly when a Covid-19 patient coughs without a mask

Thmey Thmey, 9 November 2020
លោក សួស យ៉ារ៉ា, ទូតហុងគ្រីនៅកម្ពុជា និង​មន្ត្រីកសិកម្មឆ្លងកូវីដ-១៩ពីរដ្ឋមន្ត្រីហុងគ្រី

VOD, 9 November 2020
Three More Found With Covid-19 in Second Tests After Hungarian Visit

Cambodianess, 9 November 2020
Three More Test Positive for COVID-19 After Contact with Hungarian Foriegn Minister

Phnom Penh Post, 10 November 2020
PM urges calm in wake of ‘November 3 event’

UCA News, 10 November 2020
Cambodia acts after bodyguard tests positive for Covid-19

U.S. News & World Report,11 November 2020
Cambodia Bans State-Organized Events in Capital Over Virus

The Guardian, 11 November 2020
Cambodian PM isolating after Covid outbreak linked to Hungarian minister

VOD, 12 November 2020
Foreign Minister Defends Szijjarto, Citing Hungary’s Support on EBA
PM’s Assistant Asks ‘What Did I Do Wrong?’ After Dozens Quarantined

RFA, 14 November 2020
មន្ត្រី​ការបរទេស​ហុងគ្រី ថា​រឿង​មិន​ពាក់​ម៉ាស់ គឺ​នាំអាទិ៍​មកពី​ខាង​ភាគី​កម្ពុជា

Let us ponder on a few things just to satisfy our own curiosity:
– Was the visitor tested before arriving in Pochentong?
– Were the Pochentong airport or government officials given the test results before deplaning?
– If the visitor was tested positive in Bangkok after an hour flight from Pochentong, did he get it before boarding the plane or in the plane?
– If he got it before boarding the plane, did he get it while in contact with maskless hosts, himself being maskless, or did he get it even before landing in Pochentong?
– Now, the weak strongman and his tribesmen are “self-quarantined”, but in such an autocratic regime, who dare control or verify whether or not they abide by the health requirements?
– Is this the way diplomacy is conducted between two ex-communist-turned-autocratic regimes?
– What type of friend is this, who came and went without telling that he tested positive and left with a “quarantine” souvenir for the host and his entourage?
– This whole enchilada reminds of this article by The Washington Post.
– More than 800 people, including ministers and high-ranked government officials, were estimated to be “in close contact” with the guest. Could it be statistically possible that none of these 800 people were tested positive? And what if the weak strongman, an ex-heavy smoker, were tested positive, would the public be informed?

How this will play out in the weeks or months to come is everybody’s guess, but one thing is certain, “something” will have to happen either in the Magyar capital or in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk, as this fits exactly what Dr. Anthony Fauci has said: “A pandemic influenza would mean widespread infection essentially throughout every region of the world.”

The corona virus does not carry any passport, either Cambodian or Hungarian. It flies with and inside whom who flies.

“We may have to cut loose the two to save the eight”

My dear Kacvey

A bombshell of news exploded on 24 October 2020 by an article published by “Mothership” in Singapore. You and your students will discover its content on your own through this link: Bilahari Kausikan: Asean may have to cut members if they continue to be led by an external power – True neutrality means taking positions based on your own interests, and not allowing others to define your interests for you.
https://mothership.sg/2020/10/bilahari-asean-china/

That article by Bilahari Kausikan drew different reactions from inside and outside Cambodia as follows:

Fresh News, 27 October 2020
Open Letter: A Singaporean Wolf Warrior Is Destroying ASEAN Unity and Centrality
http://en.freshnewsasia.com/index.php/en/localnews/19862-2020-10-27-09-23-34.html

Asia Times. 28 October 2020
Time to boot Cambodia out of ASEAN

South China Morning Post, 28 October 2020
Bilahari Kausikan dismisses claims he is an ‘agent’, after hinting Asean should expel Cambodia, Laos over Chinese influence
https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/3107483/bilahari-dismisses-claims-he-agent-after-hinting-asean-should

The Straits Times, 29 October 2020
Retired Singapore diplomat Bilahari Kausikan dismisses claims by Cambodia of being agent to foreign power
https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/politics/retired-singapore-diplomat-dismisses-claims-by-cambodia-of-being-agent-to-foreign

Phnom Penh Post, 28 October 2020
‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’
https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national-politics/no-chance-cambodia-booted-out-asean

The Diplomat, 29 October 2020
Could ASEAN Really Cut Laos and Cambodia Loose?
https://thediplomat.com/2020/10/could-asean-really-cut-laos-and-cambodia-loose/

VOA, 30 October 2020
មន្ត្រី​ជាន់​ខ្ពស់​កម្ពុជា​ប្រតិកម្ម​នឹង​សំណើ​ឱ្យ​ដក​កម្ពុជា​ចេញ​ពី​អាស៊ាន​ថា​ជា​«គំនិត​បង្ក​ហេតុ»
https://khmer.voanews.com/a/hun-sen-aide-hit-back-at-proposal-to-boot-cambodia-out-of-asean/5641659.html

The list will be updated with additional reactions as they become known.

Kacvey, as you now have perused all the above, some hard questions will certainly be thrown at you by your students. Let just prepare the possible or plausible questions:
– Why did Bilahari Kausikan raise this issue in an open public forum?
– Why at this time when the multifaceted relations between the US and China are at the lowest level: US elections, world pandemic (causes and consequences), trade war espionage, and South China Sea?
– Why at this time when the US State Secretary and the Chinese Foreign Affaires are crisscrossing Asean and Indian subcontinent capitals?
– Is there or is there not an imaginary relation between what Bilahari Kausikan said with the issues of Dara Sakor and Ream seen from the regional and global perspectives and eyes?
– Would it also draw reactions by Asean and non-Asean “officials”, observers, academicians, strategists or press commentators?
– Does the weak strongman have enough intellectual, cultivated and polyhistoric ammunitions to directly challenge or fire back at Bilahari Kausikan’s arguments through conventional channels and not on the screen of his Facebook page in Khmer?
– By discussing “Cambodia”, would Bilahari Kaisaukan mean Cambodia as a nation or its current autocratic leader that has Chinafied Cambodia? Would Bilahari Kausikan review his opinion if Cambodia is under different leadership and politics in the future?

Hope your students drill you to the core, and for those who are not interested, they should read what Plato, once wrote: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors” and Dante Alighieri: “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

=====

Update:

Fresh News, 30 October 2020
Cambodian Journalist Recalls Bilahari, Former Singaporean Diplomat

Prisonnier de l’Ancien Khmer Rouge

My dear Kacvey,

You certainly recall this French book by Sihanouk: “Prisonnier des Khmers rouges” (ISBN:978-2010121845) published in 1986.

Hope your students remember and make connection between:
1) Sihanouk’s birthday and Halloween: 31 October, and
2) the following two reporting by Radio Free Asia and Sihanouk’s book title:
– ឧត្ដមទីប្រឹក្សាផ្ទាល់នៃព្រះមហាក្សត្រ ថ្លែងថា ព្រះរាជាបច្ចុប្បន្ន ដូចជាប់ឃុំក្នុងវាំង ព្រោះស្ថាប័នរដ្ឋាភិបាល
https://www.rfa.org/khmer/news/politics/a-king-advisor-blames-the-government-for-weakening-the-monarchy-10212020041531.html
រដ្ឋាភិបាលមិនបានគាំទ្រព្រះមហាក្សត្របំពេញព្រះរាជ តួនាទីពេញលេញតាមរដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញ
https://www.rfa.org/khmer/news/politics/watchdogs-criticize-Hunsen-govt-for-abusing-King-roles-and-responsibilities-10302020050748.html

There currently are so many innocent people who get arrested and jailed by the police and justice that are in the autocratic hands of the weak strongman. They are arrested and jailed for the peaceful and non-violent exercise of their freedom of political expression. Isn’t then there a commonality between the suzerain and the people: suzerain and subjects being prisoners of the same and one regime?

If the quote attributed to Jayavarman VII: “The suffering of my people is my suffering” is true, shouldn’t the suzerain and the people join hands to free themselves from the prison? How and what would and could the suzerain do to elevate the above quote to be: “The suffering of the suzerain is the people’s suffering”?

Or would Desiderius Erasmus have foreseen the fate of Cambodia when he said: “In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”?

Kacvey, can this passage from Exodus 3:7 “And the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows” help your students to ponder on this miserable matter in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk?

=====
P.S.
1. A glimpse at the Sultan of Malaysia (pour mémoire)
Bloomberg: Malaysia’s Once-Peripheral King Emerges as Major Political Force

2. South China Morning Post, 29 November 2020
Why Cambodia’s royals need close China ties that are separate from Hun Sen’s government

3. SEA GLOBE, 5 January 2021
‘Be a leader’: Sochua calls on king to intervene to ensure her return

4. Asia Times, 11 January 2021
Does Cambodia have a ‘puppet king’?

5. RFA, 12 January 2021
Cambodian Court Charges Acting Opposition Chief Sam Rainsy Under Lèse-majesté Law

When Qu Yuan Met The Old Fisherman

My dear Kacvey,

Here is a very ancient Chinese tale that Chinese of every generation, educated or otherwise, since that time knows by heart. You may wish to share it with your students as a lesson of righteousness, integrity and rectitude. It is out of this tale that were borne the origins of both, the sticky rice dumplings 粽子 (glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves) and the Duanwu Festival 端午节 (Double Fifth Festival), also known as the “Dragon Boat Festival” celebrated on every 5 May.

In the “Songs of the South 楚辭”, the tale was titled “The Old Fisherman 渔父” and goes as follows:
“After Qu Yuan was banished, he wandered, sometimes along the river’s banks, sometimes along the marsh’s edge, singing as he went. His expression was dejected and his features emaciated.

“An old fisherman caught sight of him. “Are not you the Lord of the Three Wards?” said the fisherman. “What has brought you to this pass?”

“Because all the world is muddy and I alone am clear,” said Qu Yuan, “and because all men are drunk and I alone am sober, I have been sent into exile.”

“The Wise Man is not chained to material circumstances,” said the old fisherman, “but can move as the world moves. If all the world is muddy, why not help them to stir up the mud and beat up the waves? And if all men are drunk, why not sup their dregs and swill their lees? Why get yourself exiled because of your deep thoughts and your fine aspirations?”

“Qu Yuan replied, “I have heard it said: “He who has just washed his hair should brush his hat; and he who has just bathed should shake his clothes.” How can I submit my spotless purity to the dirt of others? I would rather cast myself into the waters of the river and be buried in the bowels of fishes, than hide my shining light in the dark and dust of the world.”

“The old fisherman, with a faint smile, struck his paddle in the water and made off. And as he went he sang:
When the Cang Lang’s waters are clear,
I can wash my hat-strings in them;
When the Cang Lang’s waters are muddy,
I can wash my feet in them.

“With that he was gone, and did not speak again.”

Here is the Chinese text:

屈原既放,游于江潭,行吟泽畔。颜色憔悴,形容枯槁。
渔父见而问之,曰:“子非三闾大夫欤?何故至于斯”
屈原曰:“举世皆浊我独清,众人皆醉我独醒,是以见放”
渔父曰:”圣人不凝滞于物,而能与世推移。世人皆浊,何不淈其泥而扬其波?众人皆醉,何不哺其糟而歠其醨?何故深思高举,自令放为”
屈原曰:“吾闻之:新沐者必弹冠,新浴者必振衣。安能以身之察察,受物之汶汶者乎?宁赴湘流,葬身于江鱼之腹中。安能以皓皓之白,而蒙世俗之尘埃乎”
渔父莞尔而笑,鼓枻而去。乃歌曰:“沧浪之水清兮,可以濯吾缨。沧浪之水浊兮,可以濯吾足”
遂去,不复与言.

Abandoning Multilateralism for Shackled Bilateralism

My dear Kacvey,

At the opening of the general debate at the United Nations 75th General Assembly on Tuesday 22 September 2020, the Phnom Penh Post reporter Niem Chheng penned an article: “Hun Sen says developing nations ‘targets of rivalry’

Your students and you can debate in the online class on various issues which are the subject of the United Nations General Assembly main agenda titled: “The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism.”

This letter is intended to introduce some ideas into your discussions on the specific case of Cambodia under the regime of the ex-KR weak strongman.

1. Has the weak strongman forgotten that it was the multilateralism of the United Nations that ended the war among Khmer in which the weak strongman was first a warrior with the genocidal Khmer Rouge and then later a puppet of a foreign force?

2. Has he forgotten that he was part the Supreme National Council (SNC) that was a party tot the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements?

3. Has he forgotten that it is through the United Nations multilateralism implemented by United Nations Transit Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) that he has become what he has been since the completion of the elections in May 1993?

4. Why has he now totally abandoned the multilateralism and espoused instead the unconditional bilateralism with China in every aspect of Cambodia economy, politics, military, human rights and international affairs?

5. Where is he going to find the money to reimburse the $30-to-$40 billions of loans that China have so far made to Cambodia, where as his government not only in complete bankruptcy now but also incapable of paying the $250 millions loan to the US?

6. Why has he signed contracts for Dara Sakor and Ream, prostituted Kg Som with Chinese casinos and thugs, and made long-term concessions of lands, forests, and water to Chinese investors, private or state owned enterprises?

7. Are there projects in Cambodia of the same magnitude in 6. above under Western or non-Chinese financiers and investors?

8. Where have those $30-to-$40 billions gone, since 99% of the country still lives in poverty, unemployment and indebtedness to microfinance, while the 1% wears $millions insane luxury watches, owns private jets, and has residences in the US, UK, France, and Cyprus?

9. In the presence of current virus pandemic that originated in Wuhan, the political and trade conflict between the US and China, the closing of hundreds of garments factories, the withdrawal of special tariffs treatment by the European Union, the return of thousands and thousands of migrant workers from neighboring countries, and the complete paralysis of tourism industry, does he realize that all issues shown in this letter are no longer in his hand, no matter how loud and lonely he and his sycophants claim in local forum? Does he understands he can’t solve those problems anymore because they are way beyond his domestic and personal ability and they will be instead handled over his head? He who created his own quagmire that he can’t extract himself out of it: the law of centrifugal force.

10. The weak strongman is no longer the one that he showed himself to be like in the past; instead he’s now sick, isolated from the people he pretends to govern, but oppress instead, self-prisoner in his 4-wall palace protected by a corps of bodyguards, and no more confidence and trust from his peers inside the corrupt people party.

Kacvey, like everything on earth, autocracy also has an end.
Fasten your seat belt tightly!

Trilogy that Can Befall the ex-KR Autocracy

My dear Kacvey,

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “trilogy” as: “a series of three dramas or literary works or sometimes three musical compositions that are closely related and develop a single theme.”

Let use that definition as a model for a series of three dramas for your students to study in Cambodia contemporary politics that befall the weak strongman.

If the play is titled: Trilogy that Can Befall the Ex-KR Autocracy, the three “dramas” are:
1. The Sword of Damocles Has Dropped
2. The Blue Tent That Became a Permanent Wooden Structure or How New Cyclopic Chéy Chétha Drew the Map of the New Kampuchea Krom, and
3. Dara Sakor, a base or not a base?

The weak strongman is no longer in command of the three quagmires that he has built under his feet that stand on corrupt and autocratic power. It’s the European Union, the United States and China that will oversee and decide above his head on the denouement of the three saga. He is expendable and the next leader who will succeed him will have enormous difficulties to deal with his excremental leftover.  And if he thinks that his son that, to this age, still holds the pleats of his pants can handle these issues, he must then have a rotten brain.

The weak strongman acting as main thespian is now less than a puppet and more like a one marble-glass-eye-scarecrow in the middle of the emptiness of a rice field.

If the weak strongman has become cockier with Khmer in domestic issues, it is – like a prisoner in his own palatial jail decorated with insane luxury watches and protected by thousands of bodyguards against his own intestinal enemies in the corrupt people party – that the gold bars on the cell windows that keep the bodyguards active for his cause until such a time that a storm blows that scarecrow away from its pole. Even a Mi 171E helicopter won’t be able to lift him on time to an unknown safe heaven.

Like in all Greek trilogy, the end is never a happy one.

Dara Sakor, a base or not a base?

My dear Kacvey,

Let start this letter with 3 archival records that you certainly have remembered to refresh our memory:
1) Report by Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS): Harbored Ambitions, and
2) Report by Human Rights Watch (HRW): Cambodia’s Dirty Dozen – A Long History of Rights Abuses by Hun Sen’s Generals
3) Report by Asia Society Policy Institute: Weaponizing the Belt and Road Initiative

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued severe sanctions against some protagonists as indicated in 1), 2) and 3) above.  The sanctions are contained in a department press release titled: Treasury Sanctions Chinese Entity in Cambodia Under Global Magnitsky Authority.

Let reproduce the full text of the press release for easing reading:

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated one Chinese state-owned entity, Union Development Group Co., Ltd. (UDG), for seizure and demolition of local Cambodians’ land for the construction of the Dara Sakor development project. OFAC designated this People’s Republic of China (PRC) state-owned entity pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption, and their supporters. UDG conducted some of these activities through Kun Kim (Kim), a senior Cambodian general previously designated by OFAC on December 9, 2019 pursuant to E.O. 13818, for his involvement in corruption.After falsely registering as a Cambodian-owned entity in order to receive land for the Dara Sakor development project, UDG reverted to its true ownership and continued to operate without repercussions,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “The United States is committed to using the full range of its authorities to target these practices wherever they occur.”“In addition, the land provided to UDG extends into Botum Sakor National Park, a protected natural area that can only be handed over by royal decree. In order to receive the land, UDG registered itself as a Cambodian-owned company, headed by a Cambodian national, but nevertheless within three years of receiving the land, UDG switched back to being a Chinese-owned and operated company without repercussion.

MALIGN CHINESE INVESTMENT IN CAMBODIA

The PRC has used UDG’s projects in Cambodia to advance ambitions to project power globally. UDG-funded activities have forced Cambodians from their land and devastated the environment, hurting the livelihoods of local communities, all under the guise of converting Cambodia into a regional logistics hub and tourist destination. As is too often the case with Beijing’s One Belt One Road initiative, these activities have disproportionately benefited the PRC, at the expense of the Cambodian people.

Of additional concern are media reports that the Cambodian government spokesperson, Phay Siphan, said that Dara Sakor could be converted to host military assets. A permanent PRC military presence in Cambodia could threaten regional stability and undermine the prospects for the peaceful settlement of disputes, the promotion of maritime safety and security, and the freedom of navigation and overflight.

Today’s action builds upon recent steps taken by the United States to demonstrate our support for a free and open Indo-Pacific, and the sovereignty of the Cambodian people. The United States is actively taking steps to deter the PRC’s exploitative investments and to stand with our partners and allies in Southeast Asia.

UNION DEVELOPMENT GROUP

“UDG is a PRC state-owned entity acting for or on behalf of a PRC official that, on May 9, 2008, was granted a 99-year lease with the Cambodian government for 36,000 hectares (approximately 90,000 acres) of land in the Koh Kong province of Cambodia. Following the approved lease, UDG began to develop the $3.8 billion Dara Sakor project, ostensibly to be used as a tourism development. The size of the development is in violation of Cambodian law, which limits land concessions to 10,000 hectares.

Additionally, UDG, through Kim, used Cambodian military forces to intimidate local villagers and to clear out land necessary for UDG to build the Dara Sakor project. Kim was instrumental in the UDG development and reaped significant financial benefit from his relationships with UDG. Specifically, with the assistance of Cambodian military forces provided through Kim, UDG prevented local villagers from planting rice paddy fields on the disputed land and was also accused of burning down the houses of villagers with whom it had conflicts, and of using private security and Cambodian military forces to control the movements of local villagers. Both the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Cambodia’s Council of Ministers asked UDG to stop using Cambodian military forces to take land from the Cambodian people. Cambodia’s Council of Ministers issued a directive ordering UDG to stop destroying villagers’ property; however, UDG ignored the directive and continued the destruction.

UDG is designated for being a person acting for or on behalf of a current or former government official, who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the entity above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by it, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods or services from any such person.

GLOBAL MAGNITSKY

Building upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the President signed E.O. 13818 on December 20, 2017, in which the President found that the prevalence of human rights abuse and corruption that have their source, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States, had reached such scope and gravity that it threatens the stability of international political and economic systems. Human rights abuse and corruption undermine the values that form an essential foundation of stable, secure, and functioning societies; have devastating impacts on individuals; weaken democratic institutions; degrade the rule of law; perpetuate violent conflicts; facilitate the activities of dangerous persons; and undermine economic markets. The United States seeks to impose tangible and significant consequences on those who commit serious human rights abuse or engage in corruption, as well as to protect the financial system of the United States from abuse by these same persons.

Could this U.S. sanction be the second Sword of Damocles after the one gifted by the European Union to the weak strongman? There is reason not to suggest otherwise: the weak strongman has not been seen in public for quite some time. What is he pondering in the darkness of the four walls of his palace ornated with so many insane luxury watches and protected by thousands of bodyguards … from his own enemies inside?

=====
Update with articles of interests:

– 23 September 2020 – Global Reporting Center: Rough Seas: Malaysia, Cambodia & Thailand
– 28 September 2020 – The World: Opening the door to Chinese investment comes with risks for Southeast Asian nations
– 2 October 2020 – Reuters: Cambodia demolished U.S.-built facility on naval base: researchers
– 2 October 2020 – Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative: CHANGES UNDERWAY AT CAMBODIA’S REAM NAVAL BASE
– 4 October 2020 – South China Morning Post: Cambodia caught in the middle of US-China clash over South China Sea military bases
– 4 October 2020 – Nikkei Asian Review: Cambodia naval base set to undergo China-led expansion
– 17 October 2020 – South China Morning Post: As China calls, is writing on wall for US-Cambodia military ties?
– 21 October 2020 – The Diplomat: Cambodia, China and the Dara Sakor Problem
– 9 November – Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative: UPDATE: ANOTHER U.S.-BUILT FACILITY AT REAM BITES THE DUST
– 10 November 2020 – VOA: Cambodia Demolishes Second U.S.-Built Facility at Ream Naval Base
– 24 January 2021 – The National Interest: Why America Fears the Creation of Chinese Military Bases in Cambodia

The Blue Tent That Became a Permanent Wooden Structure or How New Cyclopic Chéy Chétha Drew the Map of the New Kampuchea Krom

My dear Kacvey,

This letter is intended to be a compilation of news for your students to be aware of the situation on Srok Khmer’s territorial dis-integrity that the ex-KR weak strong man has manipulated to serve his own personal interests and for him to pay the debt that he had contacted on 7 January 1979 for his sustenance in the grip of corrupt and autocratic power.

The letter will be updated as news come in.

Radio Free Asia
លោក ហ៊ុន សែន ​ប្រាប់​ឱ្យ​លោក វ៉ា គឹមហុង ជួប​ពលរដ្ឋ​បាត់​ដី​នៅ​ខេត្ត​ត្បូង​ឃ្មុំ
https://www.rfa.org/khmer/news/politics/Hun-Sen-orders-Border-Committee-Chairman-Mr-Var-Kim-Hong-to-visit-people-living-a-long-border-in-Tbong-Kmum-province-08252020225836.html

Voice of America
អាជ្ញាធរខេត្តកណ្តាលថា យោធាវៀតណាមសង់ជម្រករឹងមាំថ្មីនៅព្រំដែន
https://khmer.voanews.com/a/kandal-provincial-police-reports-vietnamese-military-building-new-firm-shelter-on-border/5560193.html

Cambodianess
Vietnam Is Building Permanent Military Structures along the Cambodian Border in Kandal Provincehttps://cambodianess.com/article/vietnam-is-building-permanent-military-structures-along-the-cambodian-border-in-kandal-province

Radio Free Asia
រដ្ឋាភិបាល ប្រគល់​ផែនទី​ថ្មី ខ្នាត ១/២៥ ០០០ ឲ្យ​អាជ្ញាធរ​យក​ទៅ​ប្រើប្រាស់​ជា​ឯកសារ​ព្រំដែន​ផ្លូវ​ការ​ជាមួយ​ប្រទេស​វៀតណាម
https://www.rfa.org/khmer/news/politics/Government-provides-new-topographic-maps-to-35-public-institutions-for-official-use-08272020145739.html

Phnom Penh Post
VN ‘violates’ border with concrete shelter
https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/vn-violates-border-concrete-shelter

Vietnam+
Vietnam-Cambodia border topographic maps to be sent to UN
https://en.vietnamplus.vn/vietnamcambodia-border-topographic-maps-to-be-sent-to-un/182009.vnp

Radio Free Asia
Cambodia Distributes New Map of Border With Vietnam Despite Claims it Cedes Land to Hanoi
https://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/border-08272020172606.html

Cambodia Daily
ប្រមុខការពារជាតិ ថាបញ្ហាព្រំដែន ត្រូវបានក្រុមប្រឆាំងយកធ្វើជាអាជីវកម្មនយោបាយ
https://www.cambodiadaily.com/2020/08/28/16/45/49628/

Radio Free Asia
“ទីតាំង​វៀតណាម​បោះតង់​ជា​កន្លែង​លោក រ៉ុង ឈុន គ្រោង​ទៅ​ពិនិត្យ​កាល​ពី​លោក​នៅ​មាន​សេរីភាព”
https://www.rfa.org/khmer/news/politics/RongChhun-wished-to-witness-hundred-tents-set-up-by-Vietnamese-08272020121539.html

Phnom Penh Post
Minister lashes out at critics of VN border map
https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/minister-lashes-out-critics-vn-border-map

Cambodia Daily
លោក វ៉ា គឹមហុងថា ត្រូវរឹងចាំរបាយការណ៍ពីអាជ្ញាធរមូលដ្ឋានខេត្តត្បូងឃ្មុំ មុននឹងចុះទៅពិនិត្យបញ្ហាបង្គោលព្រំដែន
https://www.cambodiadaily.com/2020/08/28/16/44/49629/

Radio France Internationale
លោកបណ្ឌិតសុខ ទូច៖ បើនិយាយមិនស្តាប់គ្នា កម្ពុជាអាចសង់ប៉ុស្តិ៍មួយដែរនៅទល់មុខនឹងប៉ុស្តិ៍របស់ទាហានវៀតណាម
https://www.rfi.fr/km/%E1%9E%80%E1%9E%98%E1%9F%92%E1%9E%96%E1%9E%BB%E1%9E%87%E1%9E%B6/20200828-%E1%9E%80%E1%9E%98%E1%9F%92%E1%9E%96%E1%9E%BB%E1%9E%87%E1%9E%B6-%E1%9E%9C%E1%9F%80%E1%9E%8F%E1%9E%8E%E1%9E%B6%E1%9E%98-%E1%9E%9F%E1%9E%84%E1%9F%92%E1%9E%82%E1%9E%98-%E1%9E%96%E1%9F%92%E1%9E%9A%E1%9F%86%E1%9E%8A%E1%9F%82%E1%9E%93

Voice of America
អាជា្ញធរ​កម្ពុជា​រុញ​ដាក់​គ្នារឿង​របាយការណ៍​ទាហាន​វៀតណាម​សង់​សំណង់​រឹងមាំ​នៅ​ព្រំដែន​ខេត្ត​កណ្តាល
https://khmer.voanews.com/a/cambodian-authorities-have-no-answer-to-vietnamese-construction-in-controversial-border-area/5561615.html?

Cambodia Daily
គណបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិ ដែលនៅតែឈ្មោះផ្ញើលិខិតចំហជូន លោក ហ៊ុន សែន ឲ្យចាត់ការយោធាយួនចូលឈ្លានពានបូរណភាពទឹកដីកម្ពុជា
https://www.cambodiadaily.com/2020/08/29/17/56/49650/
ប្រធានរាជបណ្ឌិតសភាកម្ពុជាថា ជម្រើសចុងក្រោយ កម្ពុជានឹងសង់សំណង់រឹង តទល់ជាមួយវៀតណាមតែម្តង
https://www.cambodiadaily.com/2020/08/29/17/56/49651/
យុវជននាំគ្នាធ្វើយុទ្ធនាការលើបណ្តាញសង្គមឲ្យមានការដោះលែង លោក រ៉ុង ឈុន
https://www.cambodiadaily.com/2020/08/29/17/56/49652/

អាជ្ញាធរ​ខេត្ត​កណ្ដាល​ថា វៀតណាម​បន្ត​សង់​សំណង់​រឹង ២ទៀត តាម​តំបន់​ព្រំដែន​មិនទាន់​ឯកភាព​គ្នា
https://www.rfa.org/khmer/news/politics/Vietnam-built-10-more-posts-in-undecided-border-area-09232020165824.html

Stay tuned!

=====
Update:

– RFA, 2 December 2020
អ្នកឃ្លាំមើល​ព្រំដែន​ថា វៀតណាម​មិន​គោរព​សន្យា​ក្នុង​ការ​រុះ​តើ​តង់ ពី​តំបន់​ព្រំដែន

The Sword of Damocles Has Dropped

My dear Kacvey,

On this very Wednesday 12 August 2020, history will record a major decision that the European Commission has taken on trade with Cambodia, as per this Press Release, pending the issuance of the full text of the decision.

The Press Release reads:
“Cambodia loses duty-free access to the EU market over human rights concerns

“As of today, 12 August, some of Cambodia’s typical export products such as garments, footwear and travel goods are subject to the European Union’s customs duties. The EU’s decision to partially withdraw Cambodia’s duty-free quota-free access to the EU market is now effective. The preferential treatment enjoyed by Cambodia under “Everything But Arms” (EBA) – the EU’s trade arrangement for Least Developed Countries – is now temporarily lifted due to serious and systematic concerns related to human rights ascertained in the country. The EU enforces this measure while staying open to engage with Cambodia on the necessary reforms.

“Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan said: “We have provided Cambodia with trade opportunities that let the country develop an export-oriented industry and gave jobs to thousands of Cambodians. We stand by their side also now in the difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic. Nonetheless, our continued support does not diminish the urgent need for Cambodia to respect human rights and labour rights. I stand ready to continue our engagement and to restore fully free access to the EU market for products from Cambodia provided we see substantial improvement in that respect.”

“The withdrawal of preferential access to the EU market concerns approximately 20% of Cambodia’s exports to the EU. Cambodia may still export those products to the EU but they will be subject to general tariffs applicable to any other member of the World Trade Organization. The remaining 80% of Cambodia’s exports continue to enjoy preferential (duty-free, quota-free) access to the EU market.

“The Commission, together with the European External Action Service (EEAS), will continue its enhanced engagement with Cambodia. The EU will keep on monitoring the situation in the country, with a particular focus on current restrictions in the areas of freedom of expression and civil and political rights, as well as land disputes and labour rights in the context of the ongoing reforms.

“The EU is aware of the significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Cambodia’s economy and employment and stands ready to support the country in its fight against the coronavirus crisis and towards economic recovery. This, however, does not waive the urgent need to ensure respect for human rights and labour rights in Cambodia.

“Since February 2020, when the EU’s decision on partial withdrawal was taken, the Cambodian Government could at any time have taken the necessary steps to fulfill the conditions allowing the European Union to fully restore EBA preferential access to the EU market. This remains the case.

“The Cambodian authorities should take action to restore political freedoms in the country, to re-establish the necessary conditions for a credible, democratic opposition and to initiate a process of national reconciliation through genuine and inclusive dialogue. The Commission and the EEAS have outlined the necessary actions to the Cambodian authorities on numerous occasions, as well as in the Commission’s Delegated Regulation. Actions include the reinstatement of the political rights of opposition members and the repeal or revision of laws, such as the Law on Political Parties and the Law on Non-Governmental Organisations. If the government of Cambodia shows significant progress, particularly on civil and political rights, the Commission may review its decision and reinstate tariff preferences under the “Everything But Arms” arrangement, in line with the provisions of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

“Background

“The “Everything But Arms” (EBA) arrangement is part of the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP). The GSP allows vulnerable developing countries to benefit from lower duties or duty-free exports to the EU, and hence stimulate their economic growth. It is a one-way arrangement: it does not require reciprocity vis-a-vis EU exports. Through the EBA arrangement, the EU grants duty-free and quota-free access to its market for all products – except arms and ammunition – from Least Developed Countries (as defined by the United Nations). Under the GSP Regulation, tariff preferences may be suspended in the case of “serious and systematic violation of principles” laid down in the international human rights and labour rights conventions listed in an annex to the GSP Regulation.

“Based on serious concerns about the deterioration of political, human, land and labour rights in Cambodia, in February 2019, the Commission opened a procedure for a withdrawal of the EBA preferences granted to Cambodia. On 12 November 2019, the Commission submitted to Cambodia a report demonstrating serious and systematic violations of key principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) linked to political participation, freedom of expression and freedom of association in Cambodia. At the same time, despite remaining serious concerns, the report underlined tangible progress in solving land disputes in the sugar sector and with respect to labour rights. Following a period for comments, on 12 February 2020, the Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation on a temporary and partial withdrawal of tariff preferences granted to Cambodia under the EBA. The Regulation entered into force on 25 April 2020 and takes effect as of 12 August 2020.”

The Sword of Damocles has finally dropped on the weak strongman universally known as the former Khmer Rouge that becomes the most corrupt autocrat the world has ever known.

To paraphrase Andrei A. Gromyko, we will soon know how the weak strongman would “end up under a Sword of Damocles on a tightrope over the abyss.”

=====
Update:

VOA, 8 September 2020: លោក​ហ៊ុន សែន​ថា​ សំណុំ​រឿង​លោក​កឹម សុខា​អាច​ពន្យារ​ពេល​ដល់​២០២៤​ ខណៈ​មេធាវី​ជំរុញ​ឲ្យ​ពន្លឿន​សវនាការ
https://khmer.voanews.com/a/hun-sen-says-kem-sokha-trial-can-be-up-to-2024/5575087.html

Old Roguery – 老猾俏皮

My dear Kacvey,

You may wish to share this view with your students by of course respecting social distancing during the Wuhan virus pandemic, officially known as Covid-19.

It is about a particular character trait, among many others, written by Lin Yutang 林语堂 in his book “My Country and My People – 吾国与吾民”

In Chapter 2(4), Lin Yutang identified “old roguery – 老猾俏皮” as that particular character trait. Here are some extracts of what he wrote:

“… An old rogue is a man who has seen a lot of life, and who is materialistic, nonchalant, and skeptical of progress. At its best, this old roguery gives us mellowness and good temper, which in old men make many girls prefer them for husbands. For if life is worth anything, it is that it teaches a lesson of kindliness. The Chinese people have arrived at this point of view, not by having found any religious sanction for it, but from a profound observation and a knowledge of the vicissitudes of life. Typical of this extremely shrewd philosophy is the following famous dialogue of two poet-monks of the Tang Dynasty: “Once Hanshan asked Shihteh: “If one slanders me, sneers at me, despises me, injures me, hates me, and deceives me, what should I do?” Shihteh replied: “Only bear with him, yield to him, let him, avoid him, endure him, respect him, and ignore him. And after a few years, you just look at him.
寒山曾问拾得:”世间谤我,欺我,辱我,笑我,轻我,贱我,厌我,骗我, 如何处治乎?拾得云: “只是忍他,让他,由他,避他,耐他,不要理他,再待几年,你且看他。”

Lin Yutang continued:

“… At its worst, this old roguery, which is the highest product of Chinese intelligence, works against idealism and action. It shatters all desire for reform., laughs at the futility of of human effort. and renders the Chinese people incapable of idealism and action. It has a strange way of reducing all human activities to the level of the alimentary canal and other simple biological needs. Mencius 孟子 was a great rogue when he declared the chief desires of mankind to be food and women, or alimentation and reproduction. The late President Li Yunhong 黎云洪 was also a great rogue when he pronounced the healthily accepted dictum of Chinese political philosophy and formula for solving all Chinese party differences by saying “When there is rice, let everybody share it – 有饭大家吃.” President Li was a grim realist without knowing it , and he spoke wiser than he knew when he was thus giving an economic interpretation of current Chinese history…

Li Yutang went on:
… This nonchalant and materialistic attitude is based on the very shrewd view of life to which only old people and old nations can attain. It would be futile for young men under thirty to understand it , as it is futile for young nations of the West to try to appreciate it. Perhaps it was no mere accident that “Laozi, 老子” the very name of the author of Dao De Jing 道德经, the Bible of Taoism, means “the old boy.”

“… Taoism, in theory and practice … is a philosophy which counteracts the positivism of Confucius, and serves as a safety-valve for the imperfections of a Confucian society. For the Confucian outlook on life is positive, while the Taoistic outlook is negative, and out of the alchemy of these two strange elements emerges the immortal thing we called the Chinese character.

Hence all Chinese are Confucianists when successful, and Taoists when they are failures. The Confucianist in us builds and strives, while the Taoist in us watches and smiles. Therefore when a Chinese scholar is in office he moralizes, and when he is out of office he versifies, and usually it is good Taoist poetry. That explains why almost all Chinese scholars write poetry, and why in almost all collected works of Chinese writers, poetry occupies the better and greater half.

“… The Chinese are by nature greater Taoists than they are by culture Confucianists. As a people, we are great enough to draw up an imperial code, based on the conception of essential justice, but we are also great enough to distrust lawyers and law courts. Ninety-five per cent of legal troubles are settled out of court. We are great enough to make elaborate rules on ceremony, but we are also great enough to treat them as part of the great joke of life, which explains the great feasting and merry-making at Chinese funerals. We are great enough to denounce vice, but we are also great enough not to be surprised or disturbed by it. We are great enough to start successive waves of revolutions, but we are also great enough to compromise and to go back to the previous patterns of government. We are great enough to elaborate a perfect system of official impeachment and civil service and traffic regulations and library reading-rooms rules, but we are also great enough to break to break all systems, to ignore them, circumvent them, play with them, and become superior to them. We do not teach our young in the colleges a course of political political science, showing how a government is supposed to be run, but we teach them by daily example how our municipal, provincial and central governments are actually run. We have no use of impracticable idealism, as we have no patience for doctrinaire theology. We do not teach our young to become like the sons of God, but we teach them to behave like sane, normal human beings. That is why I believe that the Chinese are essentially humanists and Christianity must fail in China, or it must be altered beyond recognition before it can be accepted. The only part of Christian teachings which will be truly accepted by the Chinese people is Christ’s injunction to be “harmless as doves – 慈和如鸽” but “wise as serpents – 极敏如蛇.” For these two virtues, dove-like gentleness and serpent-like wisdom, are attributes of the old rogue.

In one word, we recognize the necessity of human effort but we also admit the futility of it. This general attitude of mind has a tendency to develop passive defense tactics. “Great things can be reduced into small things, and small things can be reduced to nothing – 大事化小事,小事化无事.” On this general principle, all Chinese disputes are patched up, all Chinese schemes are readjusted, and all reform programs are discounted until there are peace and rice for everybody. “One bid is not as as good as one pass – 多一事不如省一事,” so runs another of our proverbs, which means the same thing as “Let well enough alone – 勿生事,” and “Let sleeping dogs lie – 莫惹睡狗.”

In Chapter 3(3), “Lack of Science 缺乏科学精神,” Lin YuTang wrote:
Sufficient discussion of the characteristics of Chinese thinking has been made to enable us to appreciate the cause of their failure to develop natural science. The Greeks laid the foundation of natural science because the Greek mind was essentially an analytical mind, a fact which is proved by the striking modernity of Aristotle. The Egyptians developed geometry and astronomy, sciences which required an analytical mind; and the Hindus developed a grammar of their own. The Chinese, with all their native intelligence, never developed a science of grammar, and their mathematics and astronomical knowledge have largely been imported. For the Chinese mind delights only in moral platitude, and their abstract terms like “benevolence, ” “kindliness,” “propriety, ” and “loyalty ” are so general that in such discussions they are naturally lost in vague generalities…

It is easy to see why the Chinese mind cannot develop a scientific method, for the scientific method, besides being analytical, always involves an amount of stupid drudgery, while the Chinese believe in flashes of common sense and insight. And inductive reasoning, carried over to human relationships (in which the Chinese are primarily interested) often results in a form of stupidity not so rare in American universities …

This letter will be updated when and if other info are revealed in the book.