November 14, 2014

Politics and the Khmer Royals


Happy ending? In history few monarchs who had been overthrown in similar circumstances had ever been allowed to regain their throne the second time. Sihanouk's 'throne' [now passed on to his son], his "royal legacies" and purported achievements, including winning national independence from France, have been no more than mere mirages in substance. However, his royal myth has been continuously propped up by all sides, as the recent annual 9th November commemoration of 'Independence' has shown, whereas the nation should be mourning the loss of sovereignty and territories to predatory neighbours instead. In a very real sense, he was above all a victim of his own vanity and delusions that the myth in part has helped to sustain. Like the conception of a divine monarch [God-king] such a myth would become potent and enduring once it has found its anchor, and laid down, its roots in the mind of the common man, and more so, in the warped consciousness of those who continue to worship his 'legacies' and his cult of personality in the name of Sihanoukists, and in denial of empirical facts and errors - School of Vice

'Sihanouk and his wife in the middle of North Vietnamese troops' - royalcambodiaarmy
The Little People's sufferings are easily overlooked in the grander schemes of worldly diplomats and vain 'statesmen' such as the late N Sihanouk - School of Vice

Reproduced from KI-Media

Friday, December 10, 2010

Op-Ed by MP

ONE would have surmised that King Father would have availed himself of the opportunity granted him by his Vietnamese hosts recently to urge them to respect Cambodia's territorial borders, if not the plight of the Khmer Kroms and other important issues. Not so, judging by the presence of those enormous concrete markers in Kampong Cham. After all, retirement is retirement, eh?

It comes as no surprise to anyone following Cambodia's politics that King Father has a history of siding himself with the faction(s) most likely to come out on top or, with those already consolidating themselves in power - in this case, the Hanoi-backed and nurtured CPP - whilst paying scant attention to the plight of his subjects and/or national sovereignty, which would be delivered over to his friends like lambs to the slaughter.

Of course, Mr Hun Sen would always warm up to Rannaridhh or any other royal pawns still remaining outside his snares and the Royal Palace where they will be expected to do or say nothing more or less than what CPP protocols require of them. To understand why Mr Hun Sen and his Vietnamese mentors would rather have the Khmer Monarchy on their side one would have to appreciate the deep roots that this ancient institution has established in the Khmer populace and mindset, from which even their well-oiled propaganda machine has not succeeded in dislodging.

The electoral campaign of 1993 by Funcinpec, for example, had been well fought; the party was further aided by a fair distribution of mass media coverage. However, the decisive factor contributing to the electoral victory, albeit by a narrow margin, was not Rannaridhh’s leadership skills or his political acumen, but the natural desire for change and a yearning of a people who had, for the previous two decades been abandoned to the charge of alien rulers, for resumption of a bygone - and what by now appeared - ‘golden’ age of peace and stability. Rannaridhh’s greatest asset to the CPP would have to be his gullible demeanour before his real enemies, and his abrasive inflexibility before his real friends. As First Prime Minister, the Prince appeared to have dispensed more energy persecuting his party rivals like Mr Sam Rainsy than attempting to consolidate or widen Funcinpec’s electoral base. In the end, as many observers had long forecast, Rannaridhh’s hatchet job for Mr Hun Sen would leave him personally wealthy, but his party ruined.

On the other hand, the House of Norodom’s tendency to play Russian roulette with the Khmer people and their nation by colluding with their traditionally deadliest of enemies can be seen as a reflection of its fear and distrust of the progressive, educated classes whose broadly democratic, republican outlook tends to be at odds with the autocratic style and entrenched conservatism of the modern Khmer monarchy; a conservatism that by itself is not essentially evil or inimical to national life or progress, but which nevertheless remains a pliable, reactive force to the point of being an anachronism and an aberration when subject to the whims and emotions of a notoriously self-styled, excitable and consistently inconsistent human persona that was Norodom Sihanouk. To suggest that this unwholesome trait mirrors the pressure the Prince had found himself harbouring under in the course of his colourful and tumultuous political career may help us to appreciate somewhat the fragility factor in his human dimension, or the pressure that comes with the weight of national responsibility. Yet there is no stronger defense for any man or woman in like circumstances before the judgement of their nation than their own conscience and enduring fidelity towards their people; something that has sadly been found wanting in the former monarch.

In this respect, N. Sihanouk’s reference to the CPP as the sister of his Popular Socialist Party (or the Sangkum Reastr Niyum) of the 1960s is not without justification. The former King could easily confide to Mr Hun Sen that he had once been in the same shoes with regard to those unruly, ‘ungrateful’ elements who owed their lives’ privileges, along with a good education, to his patronage and goodwill, and who were now conspiring and rebelling against him like wayward children. Even Saloth Sar (Pol Pot) had won his scholarship to study abroad by virtue of his Palace connection.

With this in mind, the tendency of the current regime as well as that of the Khmer Monarch to drift in the direction of authoritarianism and to act as stumbling blocks to progressive, liberal movement and reform, is born naturally out of a ‘safety for me first’ instinct, otherwise known as self-preservation. In this context too, it is also clear why the Khmer Monarchy, as represented by the House of Norodom from the 1960s onward, has much in common with the dynasties of the Communist world; an un-holy alliance forged by mutual self-interest in defiance of democratic aspirations of the respective populations in question. What marks Cambodia and Cambodians apart, however, has been the manner in which national sovereignty has been allowed to become severely tarnished and compromised through such unequal partnership. What else could be offered to us as a more acceptable, meaningful rationale with which to endorse or make sense of tyranny?

It would be easy to condemn the 18th March 1970 coup leaders for their failure to better the general conditions they had inherited from Sihanouk whose failings in as much as his questionable, dubious dealings with Hanoi had been the source for their ire and the cause of their discontent. But, in fairness, they, along with their seven million compatriots, had their tragic fate firmly sealed by the Prince and his allies in Hanoi long even before they assumed power, and with all these inherited handicaps they then proceeded to sort out a war ravaged country already embroiled in compounding multifarious crises that would have overwhelmed any other well heeled administrations in similar circumstances.

This experience shows why it is important that any sensible government must tackle identified social ills resolutely in peace time, for the time of war - if that arrives - could but ill afford room for the purpose of implementing that task. This consideration is all the more relevant for a small country like Cambodia, still heavily dependent upon foreign assistance and largely without an industrial base to supplement, or relieve its reliance upon, seasonally bound agricultural economy. From Cambodia’s own recent past alone, it is clear that war-time priorities had at best been ill met, and at worst, violently engaged; a practice that has been grimly and resiliently familiar to all regimes within that time span, of which the mass mobilisation of the ‘K5’ project had been the last of its kind to spring to mind, serving to illustrate yet again the dismal discrepancy between forward planning and arising contingencies; a habit of which, further, the recent peace-time 2010 bridge stampede tragedy at the heart of the capital can be cited legitimately as an unnecessary, but understandable casualty and by-product.


Karl [Kalonh] Chuck said...

Re: Like the conception of a divine monarch [God-king] such a myth would become potent and enduring once it has found its anchor, and laid down, its roots in the mind of the common man, and more so, in the warped consciousness of those who continue to worship his 'legacies' and his cult of personality in the name of Sihanoukists, and in denial of empirical facts and errors - School of Vice

Dîtes tout celà à un veil homme nommé Ngin Chhorn 'Lokta Ruom Rith'...Merci.

Kmenhwatt said...

God-king?,Or "gook-King"? Devine indeed,serving evil-doers to gain personsl's interests not nationals' interests.Deceased father [gook-king] walked/slept with our old adversary to gain popularity and fame for politicals/personals' gain,the dancer son (Xihunmoni) walked similar way as his gook's father once walked; the differences were both Devine gook's king loves PuzC and the Dancer son king loves Kdor! both serving communism using khmer's religion [Buddhism] for free ride.....! Please WAKE UP ALL KHNERS!

William said...

Nothing that we can hide,the truth is just speaking it self. Cambodians people
you better learn something NEW not the one way go , like the sheep don't be a follower be a thinker.
We follow this Vietcong King and the Vietminh queen at the end they killed half of our country men ,women and fill up with their youn=dog eaters+(vietnamese aggressors )

Unknown said...

Please take off the picture of Hun Manet and the Lowell's guy. These 2 guy are not that important for KI Media to look at their face or unless you wanted them to become a world famous.