Monday, 18 August 2008

Sacravatoons : " The Emperor,the King and the Monarchists "

Courtesy Sacravatoon at http://sacrava.blogspot.com/

Thailand to host discussions on disputed border area with Cambodia

Chuna Post

By SOPHENG CHEANG, AP
Monday, August 18, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Border talks topped the agenda Monday for Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers heading into a meeting to find a lasting solution to a lingering territorial dispute that brought the two neighbors close to an armed clash.

The meeting was to begin Monday evening with informal talks at dinner in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin. A more formal session is to be held Tuesday. It follows two earlier inconclusive rounds of talks.

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej paid a visit to Thai soldiers in the area ahead of the meeting, declaring the need to resolve the dispute peacefully.

On July 28, the foreign ministers of both countries agreed to withdraw their troops from the disputed area near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.

Both sides pulled out most of their troops from the disputed territory on Saturday, leaving only 10 soldiers from each side at the compound of a pagoda near the temple, according to Hang Soth, director-general of the Preah Vihear National Authority, a Cambodian government agency managing the historic site.

Before departing for Thailand, Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said he was "optimistic the meeting will achieve a good success" and lead to "a lasting solution to border problems between Cambodia and Thailand."

He reiterated his government's previous stance to solve the problems with Thailand peacefully and amicably, because "our two countries share a lot of economic and trade interests."

He said he will also pay a visit to Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Tuesday.

Hor Namhong said the two countries will work toward pulling out all the remaining troops from the area to allow for mine clearance operations and border demarcation.

About 800 troops from Cambodia and 400 from Thailand had been deployed to Preah Vihear and the surrounding area in a monthlong standoff in which weapons were drawn once but no shots were fired.

The armed standoff began on July 15 after UNESCO, the U.N.'s cultural agency, approved Cambodia's application to have the Preah Vihear temple named a World Heritage Site. Thailand and Cambodia have both long claimed the temple, which the World Court awarded to Cambodia in 1962.

Thailand's Samak, in his capacity as defense minister, told his country's troops based near the temple Monday that they should live in peaceful co-existence with Cambodia's soldiers.

"I want the soldiers who are based here to show restraint because the policy of my government is not to go to war with neighboring countries," he said. "It is the responsibility of the government to talk with Cambodia for a peaceful solution, not war."

Samak, a talented amateur chef, helped cook a meal for some of the Thai troops.

Thai PM, army general inspect border area near Preah Vihear Temple

www.chinaview.cn
2008-08-18

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Thai Prime Miniser Samak Sudaravej and Gen. Anupong Paojinda, commander in chief of the Royal Thai Army, Monday morning inspected the Thai-Cambodian border area near the Preah Vihear Temple in the eponymous Cambodian province, said a Cambodian official.

"They came to see their troops and the situation there. I expect their presence to help facilitate the second round of talks between the two countries' foreign ministers, which started today in Hua Hin province of Thailand to realize total troop withdrawal at the border area," Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Cambodian Council of Ministers, told Xinhua.

"Up to now, we didn't get information that the Thai premier and the commander in chief would visit the Preah Vihear Temple," he said.

Meanwhile, Hang Soth, secretary general of the Cambodian National Authority of the Preah Vihear Temple, told Xinhua that the Thai pair arrived about 10:30 a.m. local time at the border area.

The two also had a meeting with Thai troops on their land, he said.

Cambodian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong left here for Thailand Monday morning, optimistic about his bilateral talk with the Thai side to seek peaceful resolution to withdraw the troops totally from the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda and the surrounding area of the Preah Vihear Temple.

On July 15, Thai troops went into the border area to fetch three trespassers who had intended to claim Thai sovereignty over the Preah Vihear Temple. The troops stationed there ever since, thus triggering the military stalemate.

The same day, Thai troops occupied the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda, which is situated on the only way leading to the Preah Vihear Temple.

In the following days, both sides gradually increased their military personnel to a thousand strong at the border area to show their determination for territorial sovereignty.

On July 28, foreign ministers from Cambodia and Thailand held a meeting in Siem Reap province and agreed to mull the possibility of evacuating troops from the border.

On Aug. 3, Thai troops entered the Tamone Toch and Tamone Thom temples in neighboring Otdar Meanchey province of Cambodia, thus aggravating the standoff.

On Aug. 16, most of the troops at the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda and within the surrounding area of the Preah Vihear Temple were evacuated according to both sides' agreement.

The Preah Vihear Temple straddles the Cambodian-Thai border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the 11-century temple and the land around belongs to Cambodia, which rankled the Thais and has led to continuous disputes.

Editor: Bi Mingxin

Cambodian foreign minister eyes end to Thai border problems

Cambodian Army General Srey Dek, right, and Thai Army General Kanop Netrak Thavesanak, left, walk together at Preah Vihear temple in Preah Vihear province, some 543 kilometres north of Phnom Penh. (AFP)

By AFP
Monday, August 18, 2008

Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said he was optimistic that a new round of talks with Thailand on Monday would result in a lasting solution to a long-running border dispute.

At the weekend, up to 1,000 Cambodian and Thai troops pulled back from a small patch of disputed land near Cambodia's 11th century Preah Vihear temple, suggesting that an end to the month-long military stand-off could be near.

Only 20 troops from both sides remain stationed at a small pagoda in the contentious border area, while 40 Cambodian and Thai solders remain nearby.

Hor Namhong and his Thai counterpart Tej Bunnag were due to meet for dinner later Monday near the Thai beach resort of Hua Hin to launch another round of talks aimed at finding a long-term solution to the dispute.

"The meeting will achieve good success in resolving the problem step by step," Hor Namhong told reporters before departing for Thailand.

"I think that at the meeting today (Monday) and tomorrow, we will achieve the total withdrawal of the troops at the pagoda and around the pagoda. So the problem will be settled."

Hor Namhong insisted his government wished to resolve the problem with Thailand peacefully, amicably and by legal means as the two countries share "a lot of economic and trade interests."

Thailand's Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej flew to the border early Monday ahead of the talks to meet with soldiers still stationed there.

Relations between the neighbours flared up last month after Preah Vihear was awarded world heritage status by the UN cultural body UNESCO, angering nationalists in Thailand who still claim ownership of the ancient Khmer temple.

On July 15, Cambodia arrested three Thai protesters for illegally crossing the border to try to reach the temple, sparking the deployment of troops from both sides on the tiny patch of disputed land near Preah Vihear.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia, but surrounding land remains in dispute.

The Cambodian-Thai border has never been fully demarcated, in part because the border is littered with landmines left from decades of war in Cambodia.

Cigarette smuggling burns up Mekong Delta province

Officials were pleased when tobacco smuggling was hampered by the rainy season – until industrious smugglers turned to using boats on the canals in the Cambodia-bordering province of Long An.

Thanhnien News.com
Monday, August 18, 2008

Vo Van Cuong, deputy police chief of Long An’s My Quy Dong Commune, Duc Hue District, said traffickers transported the contraband by boats at speeds of 50 kilometers per hour, which is too quick for the underequipped local constabulary.

Though My Quy Dong is a “hot spot” for cigarette smuggling in the Mekong Delta province, commune police have seized only 2,000 packs of cigarettes so far this year.

Most of the packs were collected after smugglers made hasty retreats from the police, Cuong said.

The policeman said traffickers used runners to walk the Vietnam– Cambodia border and into Cambodia’s Svayrieng Province, before returning by boat to regroup at An Ninh Tay Commune’s Cay Xoai Wharf.

In the span of 20 minutes, a Thanh Nien reporter witnessed 10 boats carrying illicit tobacco through My Binh Canal.

Later that afternoon, three other boats full of contraband docked at Giong Noi Wharf.

A resident said Giong Noi Wharf was a place where illegal tobacco was gathered and then distributed to motorcycles from boats.

He said smugglers then transported tobacco to Ho Chi Minh City through Roads 8, 9, and 10.

The central steering committee responsible for combating contraband, fake goods, and trade fraud have recently launched a new tobacco smuggling telephone hotline at 1800-58-58-55 to mobilize the public to report the crime.

Reported by Hoang Phuong

Quick end for the anti-Thai demonstration

Rong Chhun denounces the lack of freedom of expression. . @P. S.
Cambodge Soir
18-08-2008

Only two people showed up at the demonstration on Sunday 17th of August, in front of the former National Assembly. Chea Mony, representative of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC) and Rong Chhun, president of the Independent Teacher’s Association (ITA) arrived around 6.30am, preceded by a high number of police forces.

Both representatives denounced the blockade on the road of Phnom Penh “of about one hundred workers who came to demonstrate”, called for by the Cambodian Union Confederation. The CUF, composed of the ITA and the FTUWKC, had the intention to protest against the intrusion of Thai soldiers in Cambodia, who, until the day before, were still stationed on the site of the Preah Vihear temple.

Forbidden by Phnom Penh on Friday, the demonstration was finally upheld.

“We ask the Thais to respect the conventions [which designate the borders of the country]”, explained Chea Mony and Rong Chhun amongst about thirty journalists.

If, according to them, their demonstration is “non-violent and not directed against the government”, they nevertheless didn’t hesitate to criticise the position of Cambodia. “I don’t think that the discussions [held between both countries, scheduled for Monday 18th of August] will have any results, said Chea Mony. Why should we have to negotiate with the Thais while they’re the ones who invaded our territory? We should have filed a direct complaint with Unesco.” Moreover, he added, the withdrawal of troops last Saturday should have only been done by Thailand. “Why should Cambodians have to pull out?”

For what concerns Touch Naroth, Phnom Penh Police Chief, the demonstration had been forbidden in order to avoid events like the ones in 2003, when the Thai embassy had been destroyed. “The compensations were heavy for our government”, he declared.

“It’s unfair. We are Khmer and we only want to show our love for the country, answered Rong Chhun. Instead of forbidding us to demonstrate, the authorities should have joined us.” And threatening: “The protecting spirit of Preah Vihear will condemn them.”

The CUF wished to start from the former National Assembly and reach the Thai embassy in order to bring a petition signed by its members. Its two representatives renounced their actions because of the deployment of police forces and went back to the FTUWKC headquarters.

There, police forces were waiting for them as well. The police, armed with batons and shields, were stationed in front of the building. Facing them, the militants were gathered in the courtyard and on the sidewalk. Above them, a signboard said: “The Cambodian Government has to ask for UN intervention”

The police forces didn’t prevent Rong Chhun, who was holding a Cambodian flag, to pronounce his speech. He denounced the confiscation of posters in particular. “The freedom of expression went back to zero. This shows a very bad start of the new government. It represses its compatriots, but not “the Siam thieves”, did he declare over the microphone before the group scattered around 8.45am.

Preah Vihear, the Thais are withdrawing

The soldiers of both countries are withdrawing from the disputed site. Archive Picture


Cambodge Soir
18-08-2008

The Cambodian and Thai troops started pulling out from Preah Vihear on Saturday 16th of August.
Hang Soth, director of the authority managing the site has confirmed their withdrawal, during a phone call with Cambodge Soir Hebdo.

Initiated on Friday, this withdrawal should continue until Saturday evening, explained Lieutenant-Colonel Sar Thavy to the Reuters Press Agency. “Everybody seems happy to see the Thai troops pulling out, said Sar Thavy. The villagers are coming back to set up their businesses close to the temple of Preah Vihear.”

The withdrawal of the soldiers had been negotiated by the military authorities of both countries and was announced on Thursday 14th of August by General Neang Phat, State Secretary of Defence and Director of the Preah Vihear Conflict Resolution Committee. Heavy weaponry should also be pullet out.

“The exact number of soldiers who left the country remains confidential”, said Hang Soth on Saturday afternoon. In total, one thousand military troops were deployed in the area. A few dozens should remain on their positions at the border, according to an announcement from Neang Phat on the 14th of August. The State Secretary of Defence didn’t reveal more details at the time.

The withdrawal of troops takes place while the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of both countries are planning to meet for new negotiations on Monday 18th of August.

Hun Sen doesn’t expect a reshuffle of Governors

Cambodge Soir
18-08-2008

Hun Sen declared in a press release from Saturday 16th of August that the reshuffle of governors, deputy governors, police chiefs and deputy police chiefs isn’t on the agenda.


He also denies the rumours which were circulating since the end of the 27th of July elections concerning possible transfers of these officials. Their nomination is one of the prerogatives of the Government Leader.

“These rumours, said the Prime Minister, have created problems and frightened our officials and our army personnel”. He also called upon “all high officials to continue to work as usual”.

For what concerns the “troublemakers” at the source of these rumours, the Prime Minister hopes to bring them before justice as soon as possible.

Olympic Games: no miracles for the Cambodian swimmers

Cambodge Soir
18-08-2008

Despite their decent performances, the two Khmer representatives didn’t go beyond the 50 metres freestyle swimming qualification series.

It makes no doubt that Hemthon Vitiny’s heart must have beaten very fast on Thursday 15th of August at precisely 6.38pm, at the start of the 50 metres women’s freestyle swimming competition. On the day she turned 16 - she was born on the 15th of August 1992 - Vitiny took part in her first Olympic Games. She competed in lane 1. The swimmer has ended seventh on eight participants, 1.99 seconds from the Ugandan, Aya Nakitang who won the series.

Even thought this performance doesn’t qualify her for the semi-finals, the Khmer swimmer has covered the distance in 31.48 seconds. She broke her qualification time of 32’14’’. The world record is held by the Australian, Lisbeth Trickett with 23.97 seconds.

The day before, her uncle, Hemthon Ponloeu, who is two years older than her, reached a satisfying 5th place with 27’39’’. This wasn’t enough to qualify either. The Australian, Eamon Sullivan, silver medal in the 100 metres freestyle swimming behind the Frenchman, Alain Bernard, holds the world record with 21’28’’.

Thai premier visits controversial border temple on eve of talks

M&C Asia-Pacific News
Aug 18, 2008

Bangkok - Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Monday visited the Phreah Vihear complex on the eve of bilateral talks with Cambodia over the disputed border temple that sparked a military standoff between the two neighbouring countries last month.

'Cambodia is our ASEAN neighbour that we must live together with, not be enemies with,' Samak said while visiting the temple about 400 kilometres north-east of Bangkok.

Both Thailand and Cambodia are members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which also includes Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

Over the weekend, both Thailand and Cambodia withdrew hundreds of troops from around Phreah Vihear, leaving 10 soldiers posted in the contested zone each.

Samak's visit and the troop withdrawal came on the eve of talks on the disputed 11th-century temple site between Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag and his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Nam Hong, at the Thai beach resort of Hua Hin, 150 kilometres south-east of Bangkok.

The two foreign ministers last met July 28 to try to defuse the temple spat, which was then in danger of turning into a military conflict.

Separate claims on the area surrounding Preah Vihear turned into a military standoff between Thailand and Cambodia last month after UNESCO agreed to name the Hindu sanctuary a World Heritage Site.

Although Thailand has long accepted a 1962 ruling of the International Court of Justice that granted Cambodia sovereignty over the temple, which sits on a 525-metre cliff that defines the two countries' common border, it has disputed Cambodia's claim to the area surrounding the temple complex.

Many Thai historians and academics refute The Hague court's ruling, claiming it was based on a faulty 1907 border map drawn up by the French, who were the colonial masters of Cambodia at the time.

The court ruled that since Thailand had not officially objected to the border demarcation placing the temple in Cambodia, it had forfeited the temple, but the court stopped short of ruling on the legitimacy of the French-drawn map's borderline in Preah Vihear's vicinity.

Thailand claims a 4.6-square-kilometre plot of land adjoining the temple is still disputed.

In fact, the 798-kilometre-long Thai-Cambodia border still has many disputed areas, with Preah Vihear being just the most controversial to date.

'We think this issue is complex, and it will take a long time to solve,' Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat said.

The Preah Vihear dispute has stoked nationalistic sentiments on both sides on the border.

About 200 police were deployed in Hua Hin to assure the safety of Hor Nam Hong, media reports said.

Cambodian FM optimistic about border talk with Thailand

www.chinaview.cn
2008-08-18

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong on Monday expressed optimism about the two-day talk with his Thai counterpart to ensure total military withdrawal from the border area to end the two countries' month-long standoff there.

"I am optimistic about the bilateral talk with the Thai side to seek peaceful resolution to withdraw the troops totally from the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda and the surrounding areas of the Preah Vihear Temple (in the eponymous Cambodian province)," he told reporters at the airport before leaving for the meeting set in HuaHin province in Thailand.

Currently, each sides only deployed 10 military people at the pagoda and 20 within the surrounding areas of the Preah Vihear Temple, said Hor Namhong, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, adding that this was the result from the previous foreign ministers' meeting in Siem Reap province, Cambodia, on July 28.

"We want to withdraw all the troops from the areas near the Preah Vihear Temple, clear the mines there and finally plant border demarcation posts between the two countries," he said.

In addition, for the Tamone Toch and Tamone Thom temples in neighboring Otdar Meanchey province of Cambodia, "we will discuss step by step to withdraw the troops there and end the problem in the near future," he added.

During the trip, the foreign minister is also expected to visit Thai King to brief him on the current situation.

On July 15, Thai troops went into the border area to fetch three trespassers who had intended to claim Thai sovereignty over the Preah Vihear Temple. The troops stationed there ever since, thus triggering the military stalemate.

The same day, Thai troops occupied the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda, which is situated on the only way leading to the Preah Vihear Temple.

In the following days, both sides gradually increased their military personnel to a thousand strong at the border area to show their determination for territorial sovereignty.

On July 28, foreign ministers from Cambodia and Thailand held a meeting in Siem Reap province and agreed to mull the possibility of evacuating troops from the border.

On Aug. 3, Thai troops entered the Tamone Toch and Tamone Thom temples, thus aggravating the standoff.

On Aug. 16, most of the troops at the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Pagoda and within the surrounding areas of the Preah Vihear Templewere evacuated according to both sides' agreement.

The Preah Vihear Temple straddles the Cambodian-Thai border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the 11-century temple and the land around belongs to Cambodia, which rankled the Thais and has led to continuous disputes.

Editor: An

Cambodia, Thailand to hold new border talks

BANGKOK, Aug 18 (TNA, Agencies) -- Only a few Thai and Cambodian troops remain near the disputed temple of Preah Vihear ahead of a meeting Tuesday of the two countries foreign ministers in Thailand's Phetchburi province southwest of Bangkok to seek a solution to a lingering border dispute over the ancient temple.

Thai Army chief General Anupong Paochinda is scheduled to inspect a Thai troop pullout from border points near the Preah Vihear temple in Thailand's northeastern province of Si Sa Ket Monday morning.

Prior to departing for Si Sa Ket, Gen. Anupong reaffirmed the troop pullout which both countries have carried out since Saturday was the result of cooperation and understanding between Thailand and Cambodia to avoid confrontation and tension.

Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith confirmed Sunday that there were only 20 soldiers --10 Cambodian and 10 Thai -- in the compound of a pagoda located in a border area claimed by both countries, according to the Associated Press.

In Phnom Penh, at least three people were slightly injured on Sunday when Cambodian anti-riot police cracked down on about 50 anti-Thai protesters, mainly teachers and garment workers during a demonstration over the disputedPreah Vihear temple.

The demonstrators urged Thai troops to complete their withdrawal from the disputed temple.

Phnom Penh's police chief G. Touch Naruth said such a protest would never help reduce the tension between the two countries, according to a report by Reuters.

Tensions at the ancient temple escalated after the United Nations for Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) early last month named the temple as World Heritage site to Cambodia. The International Court of Justice in 1962 ruled that the temple belongs to Cambodia, but that the surrounding area remains in dispute between the two countries.

The troop withdrawal followed the first meeting of Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong held in the Cambodian province of Siem Reap on July 28. (TNA)

Thailand and Cambodia to resume border talks

International Herald Tribune
The Associated Press
Published: August 18, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Border talks topped the agenda Monday for Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers heading into a meeting to find a lasting solution to a lingering territorial dispute that brought the two neighbors close to an armed clash.

The meeting was scheduled for later Monday in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin, following two inconclusive rounds of talks.

On July 28, the foreign ministers agreed to withdraw their troops from the disputed area near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.

Before departing for Thailand, Cambodia's Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said he was "optimistic the meeting will achieve a good success" and lead to "a lasting solution to border problems between Cambodia and Thailand."

He reiterated his government's previous stance to solve the problems with Thailand peacefully and amicably, because "our two countries share a lot of economic and trade interests."

He said he will also pay a visit to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Tuesday.

Both countries' militaries pulled out most of their troops from the disputed territory on Saturday, leaving only 10 soldiers from each side at the compound of a pagoda near the temple, according to Hang Soth, director-general of the Preah Vihear National Authority, a Cambodian government agency managing the historic site.

Hor Namhong said the two countries will work toward pulling out all the remaining troops from the area to allow for mine clearance operations and border demarcation.

About 800 troops from Cambodia and 400 from Thailand had been deployed to Preah Vihear and the surrounding area in a monthlong standoff in which weapons were drawn once but no shots were fired.

The standoff began on July 15 after UNESCO, the U.N.'s cultural agency, approved Cambodia's application to have the Preah Vihear temple named a World Heritage Site. Thailand and Cambodia have both long claimed the temple, which the World Court awarded to Cambodia in 1962.

Hun Sen enters 34th year in power in Cambodia


Sunday 17th August, 2008
((Op-ed) Tom Fawthrop - The Guardian)

With yet another election victory in the bag, Cambodia's prime minister, Hun Sen, is now entering his thirty-fourth year in power.

Hun Sen draws his inspiration not from south-east Asia's more democratic leaders, but from Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew, who used dictatorial methods to build a modern, prosperous but tightly-controlled island city-state. Still only 57, Hun Sen has now served two years longer than Lee Kuan Yew – and even muses that he could still be premier at 90 if the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) keeps winning elections. It is this prospect, however fanciful, that alarms many educated Cambodians.

Trade unionists, opposition parties, and human rights workers have well-founded fears that this landslide election victory could lead to a clampdown on the right to protest and strike in Cambodia - human rights that were crushed long ago in Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew's notorious Internal Security Act.

Hun Sen is the son of a poor farming family in Kompong Cham province, and a former Khmer Rouge officer who rebelled against Pol Pot, fled to Vietnam in 1977 and returned two years later as foreign minister, backed by the Vietnamese army. Still younger than any of his Asean counterparts, he now ranks as their most experienced prime minister. And he achieved all this despite losing an eye in the final battle to defeat the US-backed military regime of General Lon Nol back in 1975.

Only Prince Norodom Sihanouk's rule in the 1960s can be compared with Hun Sen's in terms of its strong leadership and its success in defining the politics and development of the country. Between these two eras, the nation was brought to the brink of extinction by the secret US bombing of Cambodia authored by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, which ultimately helped Pol Pot's forces to seize power.

Now, after a period of survival in the 1980s – moulded in part by Vietnamese communism mixed with a revival of Cambodian culture – everything is changing. The free market reigns supreme. Land and property speculation is everything, heritage is for sale, and the US dollar is king. Land that was owned by poor farmers in the 1980s is now up for grabs – and indeed frequently is grabbed by a few tycoons linked to Hun Sen. The PM is generally regarded as part of a nouveau riche kleptocracy that siphons off foreign aid and ignores protests about human rights. But defenders of the CPP, and many of the people who have just voted for it, would point out that under his leadership the country is now at peace. Schools, roads and bridges have been built. The economy is booming, and the CPP has been justly rewarded. Few international observers seriously doubt that the democratic will swung behind the CPP, even allowing for unbalanced TV media coverage. (Unlike neighbouring countries, all Cambodia elections since 1993 have been monitored by international observers.)

In the 1980s Hun Sen – who was widely derided as a Vietnamese puppet at the time - had two priorities. The first was to stop the Khmer Rouge from returning to power (they were backed militarily by China and diplomatically by the west). The second was to rebuild a shattered nation.

The fragile government in Phnom Penh not only kept Pot's forces at bay, but their Vietnamese backers speedily restored some basic services. After 1979 hospitals, schools, markets, Buddhist temples and cinemas - closed by the Khmer Rouge - were rapidly reopened by Hun Sen's government. Hun Sen initiated peace talks with Cambodia's exiled Prince Sihanouk, which eventually led to his return. He proved to be an inspirational leader, but much western reporting during the Cold War focused on the partisan belief that Cambodia was under foreign occupation. There was an abysmal failure to report the real story of a nation's dramatic recovery, despite the UN's cynical denial of aid to a desperately poor country.

I first met Hun Sen in 1981, and respect his achievements in helping to bring about the rebirth of his nation and ending the Khmer Rouge terror in the countryside. But from the point of view of public services and the treatment of the poor, his record since the 1993 elections leaves a great deal to be desired. His failure to build an equitable Cambodian society that all can share in, based on social and economic justice – not just a real estate boom – is lamentable.

It is strange that Hun Sen, who shares his humble beginnings with Brazil's Lula and Bolivia's Evo Morales, has no agenda for the poor, no instinct to curb the grotesque excesses of the ruling elite, and has made no attempt to protect the small farmers that he is descended from. For all his intelligence and political skills, Hun Sen's success was based on survival, not a vision of the future. Bolstered by the recent discovery of offshore oil, the CPP has no development model other than the prescriptions of the IMF and World Bank, which are easily grafted onto the corruption and get rich-quick mentality of his business cronies, military generals and his police chiefs.

If he had gracefully stepped down from power in 1998, after the final surrender of the Khmer Rouge, Hun Sen's place in history would surely have been assured. Unless he changes tack, the dispossessed may have to resort to other means to achieve justice.

Cambodian King to preside over inauguration of National Assembly

www.chinaview.cn
2008-08-18

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni is scheduled to preside over the inauguration ceremony of the National Assembly on Sept. 24, local newspaper the Mekong Times reported Monday.

Senior Cambodian People's Party (CPP) official Nguon Nhil said that the King's chairmanship of the first session of the fourth National Assembly would "greatly honor" the legislative body.

Opposition officials agreed the King's presence is imperative, particularly as the nation's opposition has warned it may boycott the inauguration.

"The King's presence always stabilizes (problematic) national situations, and citizens and political parties always respect and want the King to be here. The King's presence is definitely important because he is a symbol of national peace and stability," Kong Kom, Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) Deputy President, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

According to still preliminary results from the National Election Committee, the SRP won 26 of the 123 parliamentarian seats in the July 27 national election while the CPP gained 90 seats.

Editor: An

Royal to raise $2bn to develop island

FT.com
By Raphael Minder in Hong Kong
August 17 2008

Royal Group, a Cambodian conglomerate whose interests range from banking to mobile telephony, is raising $2bn from private investors, together with Hong Kong-based Millennium Group, to develop Koh Rong, an island off Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s only deep-water port.

The move comes as property developers are planning billion-dollar investments to transform Cambodia’s coastline into one of Asia’s leading holiday destinations.

Such investments are designed to help diversify a Cambodian tourism industry that is heavily reliant on Angkor Wat and the country’s other inland historic treasures.

The amount planned by Royal will only cover the initial stages of the development, according to Mark Hanna, chief financial officer of Royal Group.

“We are talking about an island that is the same size as Hong Kong island, where we want to add things such as an airport, so ultimately we are certainly looking at several billions,” he told the Financial Times.

Meanwhile, MPDI, a subsidiary of Seng Enterprise, a family-owned group that is one of Cambodia’s leading construction companies, is working on another $2bn project, with unnamed US, Japanese and Middle Eastern investors. The project will triple the size of Kep, a neglected former French colonial resort

Seng’s plan involves reclaiming land along a 6km stretch of coastline and building luxury towers and bungalows. that will be able to house about 10,000 families.

They also include Preah Vihear, another temple that straddles the border with Thailand and whose disputed ownership has threatened to spark a military conflict between the two countries.
After decades of war and genocide overseen by the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia is playing catch-up to other south-east Asian tourism hotspots in countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.

In the 15 years since Cambodia’s return to multiparty democracy, the country has made an impressive economic recovery and tourism has grown almost tenfold to become the second most important sector after textiles. The number of visitors to Cambodia breached 2m for the first time last year, but of those only 122,000 visited the country’s beaches.

Vantha Seng, chief financial officer of Seng Enterprise, said construction in Kep was likely to start next year, thanks to a first round of financing of about $250m, with contributions from “well-known” Japanese, American and Middle Eastern funds and private equity firms.

She said the project could become Cambodia’s first offshore listing, either on the Hong Kong or Korean stock exchange. As to the targeted clientele, the developers are betting particularly on wealthy Asian pensioners from Singapore, South Korea and Japan. Some of the housing will also be reserved for Cambodians.

“We already have some bookings and it’s mainly from people under 50 who are preparing their retirement plans,” she said. “Thailand has shown how you can develop beautiful beaches but we also want to avoid some of the mistakes there and certainly want to remain upmarket.”

New round of border demarcation talks starts today

The Bangkok Post
Monday August 18, 2008

WASSANA NANUAM AND AP

The Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) meets today in a new bid to end the border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.

It comes after both sides agreed to reduce the number of troops on each side of the border.

The Suranaree Task Force and the Cambodian government confirmed yesterday that the number of Thai and Cambodian soldiers in the overlapping zone had been reduced in line with the agreement reached last Wednesday in Surin.

The two countries still had 10 soldiers each at the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda near Preah Vihear temple and 45 more around the pagoda's compound for joint patrols, a source at the task force said.

The rest were spread out in the 4.6 square kilometres of land which had not been demarcated, the source said.

Thailand insists the area in dispute is in Kantharalak district in Si Sa Ket, while Cambodia argues that it is part of Preah Vihear province.

Both countries finished moving most of their troops from a nearby temple on Saturday, said the source.

Cambodian Information Minister Khieu Kanharith and Hang Soth, the director-general of the Preah Vihear National Authority, a Cambodian government agency managing the historic site, confirmed the troop pullout.

''The tension has eased considerably. There is no more confrontation,'' Mr Hang Soth said, calling the troop withdrawals a ''good process giving us hope'' about the new talks.

The reduction of troops came on the eve of the meeting between Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong in Cha-am district of Phetchaburi.

The ministers will hold an informal meeting today followed by the official JBC meeting tomorrow.

The Foreign Ministry said Thailand's main agenda is to find a way to establish sovereignty of the disputed area.

Second Army chief Lt-Gen Sujit Sitthiprapa will join other Thai negotiators in the talks.

Despite the reduction of troops, the source at the task force said the army was not satisfied as another Thai demand had not been met.

Thailand proposed at the Surin meeting that Cambodia replace 1,200 soldiers on top of the temple with police as a gesture of goodwill.

The presence of the Cambodian soldiers at the temple put Thailand at a strategic disadvantage.
On July 28, the nations' foreign ministers agreed on a plan to withdraw their troops from the disputed area near the temple.

The stand-off started on July 15 after the World Heritage Committee approved Cambodia's application to list the temple as a World Heritage site.

Both countries have long claimed the temple, but the World Court awarded it to Cambodia in 1962.

Cambodian editor fled for US for sake of safety

China Daily
2008-08-18

PHNOM PENH -- Dam Sith, editor in chief for the Khmer Conscience News, which is closed related with the major opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), has secretly fled Cambodia for US for the sake of his safety, national media said Monday.

Sith was once jailed over accusation by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong for defamation. His part-time colleague, journalist Khim Sambo, was shot dead on street and the murderer is still at large.

"Dam Sith has left because his life was in danger," English-Khmer language newspaper the Mekong Times quoted SRP deputy secretary general Mu Sochua as saying.

"His career as an editor is under threat as one of his colleagues was killed and the authorities haven't found the killers. Politics is also involved as he is a SRP member," she added.

Meanwhile, SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said that Dam Sith had been very worried about his safety and with the help of SRP, he received a visa from the US Embassy before the general election in July.

Mu Sochua said that the editor in chief will return to Cambodiaas soon as the situation becomes stable and his personal safety is ensured.

More than 10 reporters and editors have been killed since the 1990s in the kingdom. None of the cases are settled yet.

Show us your proof, say tour guides

The Bangkok Post
Monday August 18, 2008

Thais on the border reject Phnom Penh's latest claims to temples in disputed territory, as Preah Vihear struggle spreads to new areas

Onnucha Hutasingh in Surin

For Thai children at the border with Cambodia, like Pailin Bandorn and her friends, the Ta Moan Thom temple belongs indisputably to Thailand.

The temple in Phanom Dong Rak district in this northeastern province has come to public attention as the rift between the two countries concerning neighbouring Preah Vihear temple in Kantharalak district spills over into other areas.

Following the listing of the 11th century Preah Vihear as a World Heritage site by the World Heritage Committee, the relationship between Thailand and Cambodia soured.

Since Preah Vihear was listed, Cambodia has stepped up claims of ownership over more ancient temples along the Thai-Cambodian border, including Ta Moan Thom temple.

The temple is about 100 metres away from the borderline.

The original Ta Moan Thom was built during the 12th century, while the current relics were part of the temple reconstruction on its original site during the 15th century.

Ta Moan Thom is the only ancient Hindu temple in Thailand with a linga in the main worshipping hall that was made of a natural linga-shaped stone.

The Fine Arts Department registered the temple as a national heritage item in 1935. It restored and maintained the temple until 2000, when Cambodia began claiming sovereignty over a disputed area which includes the temple. Since then, the temple has been left unattended.

Phnom Penh claimed Ta Moan Thom was on Cambodian soil and complained to Thailand after its troops were denied a visit on Aug 2 by Thai soldiers.

The complaint bewildered Thais living around the temple.

"If they thought it was theirs, they should show evidence to prove it.

"Thailand has evidence that we've long taken care of the temple and no single Cambodian has ever contributed to the effort," said 14-year-old Pailin, who is a young volunteer guide at Ta Moan Thom.

Pailin and her friends at Ban Nor Khanna School in tambon Ta Miang spend their weekends as volunteer guides, leading tourists through the ancient temple and telling them the temple's history.

"I was born here and grew up here. I've been roaming around the temple for 14 years. My parents and grandparents told me the temple is on Thai soil.

"I believe this temple belongs to Thailand," said Pailin.

Phnom Penh has also claimed the Sadokkokthom temple in tambon Khok Sung in Sa Kaeo's Ta Phraya district.

Sadokkokthom was built during the 15th century. The Fine Arts Department registered it as a heritage item in 1935.

The department is in the middle of renovating the temple. The renovation work is expected to be completed in the next two to three years.

Wichian Bun-udom, chairman of the tambon Khok Sung culture council, said Khok Sung residents hold a religious ceremony at the temple every year, and he has never seen any Cambodian visiting the temple.

The dispute between the countries would be settled if Thailand and Cambodia complete demarcation of their land border. That duty rests with the Joint Boundary Commission which will resume talks today in Cha-am district in Phetchaburi. The area which the Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers want clarity over the most is the overlapping zone near Preah Vihear.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, takes part in a demonstration

Rong Chhun (C), president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, takes part in a demonstration organized by the Cambodian Confederation of Unions protesting against Thailand's deployment of troops at the disputed Preah Vihear and Ta Moan temples located at the Cambodian-Thai border, in Phnom Penh August 17, 2008. Cambodian and Thai troops started to pull their troops back from the disputed border area on Saturday, Cambodian army officers said, after a month-long stand-off centring on the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple.REUTERS/Stringer (CAMBODIA)

Rong Chhun (C), president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, takes part in a demonstration organized by the Cambodian Confederation of Unions protesting against Thailand's deployment of troops at the disputed Preah Vihear and Ta Moan temples located at the Cambodian-Thai border, in Phnom Penh August 17, 2008. Cambodian and Thai troops started to pull their troops back from the disputed border area on Saturday, Cambodian army officers said, after a month-long stand-off centring on the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple.REUTERS/Stringer (CAMBODIA)

Rong Chhun (L), president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, takes part in a demonstration organized by the Cambodian Confederation of Unions protesting against Thailand's deployment of troops at the disputed Preah Vihear and Ta Moan temples located at the Cambodian-Thai border, in Phnom Penh August 17, 2008. Cambodian and Thai troops started to pull their troops back from the disputed border area on Saturday, Cambodian army officers said, after a month-long stand-off centring on the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple.REUTERS/Stringer (CAMBODIA)

Riot police block demonstrators from the Cambodian Confederation of Unions protesting against Thailand's deployment of troops at the disputed Preah Vihear and Ta Moan temples located at the Cambodian-Thai border, in Phnom Penh August 17, 2008. Cambodian and Thai troops started to pull their troops back from the disputed border area on Saturday, Cambodian army officers said, after a month-long stand-off centring on the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple.REUTERS/Stringer (CAMBODIA)

Riot police walk near the Thai embassy as Cambodia deploys more security in the area after a demonstration organized by the Cambodian Confederation of Unions protesting against Thailand's deployment of troops at the disputed Preah Vihear and Ta Moan temples located at the Cambodian-Thai border, in Phnom Penh August 17, 2008. Cambodian and Thai troops started to pull their troops back from the disputed border area on Saturday, Cambodian army officers said, after a month-long stand-off centring on the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Destructive flooding puts Southeast Asia at risk

A man pulls his boat through floodwaters at Xiengkuane Buddha Park, about 25 kilometers, or 16 miles, east of Vientiane, the capital of Laos, on Saturday. (Reuters)

International Herald Tribune
By Seth Mydans
Published: August 17, 2008

HANOI: Torrential rains and overflowing rivers have brought some of the worst flooding in decades to Vietnam and its neighbors, flooding cities and farmlands in five nations.

At least 130 people were killed, dozens were missing and thousands were driven from their homes in northern Vietnam and hundreds of tourists were evacuated near the hill tribe resort area of Sapa.

Flooding has also hit parts of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos as well as Myanmar, where waters rose in the Irrawaddy Delta, which is still recovering from a cyclone that left 38,000 people dead or missing in May.

According to the official press in Myanmar, the floods affected much of the country, including the main city, Yangon, as well as Mandalay in the center and the Karen and Mon states in the southeast.

In Vientiane, the capital of Laos, officials said the Mekong River had brought the worst flooding in memory, rising to nearly 14 meters, or 45 feet, above its lowest level in the dry season. The high water in Vientiane broke a record set in 1966 and overflowed a levee that was built after that flood.

Mudslides also cut the main road from Vientiane to the ancient capital of Luang Prabang, a city of temples and monasteries where the Mekong waters also rose.

In parts of northeastern Thailand, officials said the Mekong had reached its highest level in 30 years, inundating farmlands and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people in three provinces along the river, which divides Thailand from Laos.

Officials said the high water was caused by heavy downpours in southern China, Laos and Thailand.

As the high waters of the Mekong moved downstream, Cambodia and eastern Thailand prepared for major floods and officials warned residents in some areas to move to higher ground along with their livestock.

In Vietnam's southern Mekong delta, where the 4,345-kilometer, or 2,700-mile, river flows into the sea, forecasters said that rising waters had reached a critical level two weeks earlier than last year and that worse flooding lay ahead.

In northern Vietnam, the government said floodwaters peaked at close to their record levels of 1968. Military helicopters brought instant noodles and other supplies to stranded residents and airlifted hundreds of Vietamese and foreign tourists from Lao Cai, on the border with China.
Several hundred train passengers en route to the popular tourist area, including about 50 foreign tourists, took refuge in hotels before being airlifted out, according to the Vietnamese press.

In the neighboring province of Yen Bai, according to official reports, at least 35 people were killed, many of them buried under landslides that hit at night as they slept.

The government's Central Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Control said in May that over the past three years, floods and storms had become stronger and more destructive. Last year's floods were followed by a rare prolonged cold spell at the end of 2007. That was followed in turn by unexpected scorching weather and early storms in the first months of 2008, the committee said.

The most destructive flooding in recent years came in late 1999 in the country's central provinces, leaving 750 people dead or missing.

Crunch Time

In Cambodia, creepy-crawly snacks are never far away. By Dawn Reiss

AMERICAN WAY

I’M NOT A FEAR FACTOR KIND OF GAL. Sure, I’ve been dogsledding in Alaska, and diving and zip-lining in various parts of the world. But the thought of bungee jumping or skydiving terrifies me. Nor have I ever harbored a desire to be like the Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern, the host of Bizarre Foods, who eats things like blood pudding and rotten shark. That’s why I’m utterly shocked to find myself on the verge of eating a cricket.

It’s my first trip to Asia, and I’m in the middle of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. On a whim, I decide to take a six-hour bus ride, by myself, up to Siem Reap, the nearest city to the famed temples of Angkor. At the equivalent of $10, the price is right.

The Mekong Express bus is nearly full. Its two rows of small seats are divided by a single walkway. An underpowered air conditioner tries to keep the humidity at bay, and a small television plays music videos of women in saris who wave their arms as they dance.

The bus is filled mostly with Cambodians, though a few foreigners from Australia, Canada, and the United States are also onboard. My six-foot-one frame is smashed into the seat, my legs plastered in a permanent holding pattern. Next to me is a friendly Cambodian man in his 20s who is curious about the United States.

We leave Phnom Penh, with its dirt streets full of open-air markets, Buddhist monks, and Lexus SUVs, and begin to see the countryside. Small houses and palm-frond shacks sit near the impressively ornate stone entrances that lead to the ubiquitous pagodas. Tin-roofed brick factories are outnumbered only by flooded fields and rice farmers.

Three hours into the trip, our tour guide announces the bus is going to pull over for a 15-minute break at a small village. Stepping from the bus is like walking into a wall of heat. We’re greeted by rows of small garage-style storefronts that are packed with stacks of Pringles, bottled water, and postcards. Children wander the streets, and nearby, a few men lean against their “motos,” or motorbike taxis, quietly observing the sudden rush of visitors. Pushcart vendors display tropical fruits such as mangoes, papayas, and dragon fruit, and whole chickens cook on open-air rotisseries.

But most of the Cambodians are flocking to several stands where the options are deep-fried crickets and hairy black tarantula-like spiders that are bigger than my hand. I am curious but not brave. Not yet.

FLASH FORWARD TWO DAYS. I have visited the magnificent Angkor temple complex, which covers an area twice the size of Manhattan and is far more breathtaking than anything I have seen in Europe. It’s just like being in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, if you discount the fact that I don’t look like Angelina Jolie. Once again, I am on the bus, headed back to Phnom Penh. This time, I am sitting next to a 27-year-old college-educated woman named Nin, who comes from a well-off family in Phnom Penh.

She’s very friendly, so I ask her, “Do you eat crickets?”

“Sure,” she says. “They are delicious. Haven’t you ever tried one?”

I shake my head no.

I had politely declined an offer from my previous seatmate, despite his insistence that crickets are a good source of protein and would help my lingering cough. Along with many of the others, he had purchased a plastic bag full of crickets and munched on them during the ride, much like Westerners snack on popcorn and peanuts. Crickets, as well as spiders and other insects, became part of the Cambodian diet after the Khmer Rouge regime’s policies in the 1970s caused a scarcity of food. They are still a staple today. But I’d already been feeling slightly queasy, and adding something creepy and crawly to my stomach would have been too much.

Now I am still apprehensive, but my curiosity is piqued. When the bus stops, Nin and I get off, and she directs me to the cricket stand where she is going to make a purchase. The crickets and tarantulas are piled by the hundreds in large bowls, and customers scoop out the insects with soup cans.

“They are fresh and good here,” Nin says. “More fresh than the ones you find in the city.”

I turn slightly and see my former seatmate who is traveling back on a different bus. He recognizes me, and soon, they are both encouraging me to try the delicacy. To them, it’s like eating shrimp from the grill.

“Eat one,” my former seatmate says, motioning to the pile of crispy fried crickets. “You’ll like it.”

“I can’t,” I say, as my stomach churns.

“Why?” he asks.

“I’m nervous about eating an insect,” I say, imagining a chirping cricket jumping inside me.

Clearing his throat, my former seatmate says, “You’re human, right? And I’m human, right? So if eating a cricket is good enough for Cambodians, it should be good enough for Americans.”

Gulp. Wow, guilt trip 101. He’s better at that than my mother, I think.

A crowd has now formed around me. Not wanting to look like the ridiculous, ugly American, I finally relent. Considering my options -- cricket or tarantula -- the former seems like a better choice.

A cricket that seems enormous, like the size of a small hot dog, is plucked from the pile.

“Too big,” I say, “A smaller one, please.”

With my choice selected, I am told to take off the legs (which have small razor-sharp edges that could cut my throat) and eat the head and body. Luckily, Nin doesn’t like the head and offers to decapitate the insect and pull off the legs for me. She does the same with her own and then quickly swallows. I gingerly put the cricket -- seemingly dead -- in my mouth. It’s crispy and then chewy. It dissolves into a messy ball of goo, and I try not to taste too much. I just swallow, as a crowd of Cambodians and other world travelers hoot and holler encouragement.

I smile squeamishly, trying to cover up the rising wave of nausea I’m suddenly experiencing. Nin looks over at me. “Are you okay?” she asks. I nod, trying to ignore the gritty, bitter aftertaste in my mouth as we walk back to the bus. A cricket does not taste like chicken. It just tastes … gross.

As we ride back to Phnom Penh, Nin tells me she hopes to visit the United States someday -- the land of Big Macs, stuffed-crust pizza, and pork rinds.

I just hope she has the stomach for it.

DAWN REISS is an award-winning journalist and a former St. Petersburg Times staff writer.
Her work has been published in Travel + Leisure, Chicago magazine, and USA Today.

CULTURE-CAMBODIA: Pre-War Khmer Music Making a Comback

The 'Golden voice' of Ros Sereysothea is undergoing a revival. Credit:Wikipedia

IPS
By Andrew Nette - Newsmekong

PHNOM PENH, Aug 17 (IPS) - Grainy black and white newsreel footage of B-52 bombing raids and fierce fighting are the images most frequently associated with Cambodia in the sixties and early seventies -- not rock and roll, hot pants and wild dancing.

But when the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975, emptying the cities and systematically eradicating the so-called old culture as corrupt and decadent, they almost completely destroyed what was probably, for its time, the most unique and vibrant rock and roll scene in South-east Asia.

"Cambodia definitely had one of the most advanced music scenes in Asia at the time," agrees Greg Cahill, who is currently seeking finance to turn his 30-minute film on the most famous of the era’s female singers, Ros Sereysothea, ‘The Golden Voice’, into a fully-fledged biopic.

"It is amazing that a lot of it survived at all," says Cahill, who was recently in Phnom Penh to scout for locations. "The Khmer Rouge destroyed everything related to the music scene they could get their hands on, including trashing all the recording studios and destroying all the musical recordings they could find."

All the major singers, many of them still household names today such as Sin Sisamouth and Sereysothea, were killed.

Not only has the music survived. Its legacy of thousands of songs ranging over musical styles as diverse as psychodelia and Latin, is garnering increasing international attention.

‘The Golden Voice’ is one of two films on Cambodia’s pre-war music scene in the works. The other, Los Angeles-based cinematographer John Pirozzi’s ‘Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten’, a history of the scene, is currently in production.

Songs from the period featured on the soundtrack of the 2002 crime thriller shot in Cambodia, ‘City of Ghosts’.

It has also been given significant exposure by the six-piece Los Angeles-based band ‘Dengue Fever’, whose lead singer, Cambodian-born Chhom Nimol, covers many of the classic hits from the period.

While the music’s domestic popularity is mostly restricted to older Khmers, the pre-war artists are being sampled and mixed in hip hop and rap music tracks, slowly exposing it to a new, younger audience.

"When I first heard this music, I did not think much of it," says Sok ‘Cream’ Visal. "I thought it was just the style back then."

"The more I listened, the more I realised just how different and edgy this music was," says Visal, art director at a local advertising company who, for the past few years, has been experimenting with remixing pre-war music with more modern sounds. "Thailand, Vietnam and Laos did not have this scene. It was unique to Cambodia."

Two factors are credited with kickstarting Cambodia’s pre-war music industry.

The first was the patronage of then King Norodom Sihanouk. As part of his post-independence nation-building efforts, Sihanouk encouraged royal court musicians to experiment with new styles.

This influenced people like Sisamouth, whose career started as a ballad singer in the royal court and by the end of the sixties had become the ‘King of Cambodian rock and roll’.

In the sixties, Sihanouk began importing Western music into Cambodia. Local record labels sprung up and by the seventies, these were being supported by a well-developed network of distributors and clubs.

The other major influence was the R and B, country and rock music that was blared into Cambodia by the U.S. Armed Forces radio in Vietnam.

"This exposed Cambodian musicians to Jimi Hendrix, Phil Spector, the Doors," says Visal. "Meanwhile, from Europe we got Latin styles such as cha cha, rumba and flamenco.’

These sounds, as well as influences as diverse as do-wop, psychodelic and Motown, can clearly be heard in the pre-war music, often mixed with traditional Cambodian instruments.

From the royal court, Sisamouth became a popular radio singer in the late fifties, before branching into film and TV. Although he did many rock and Latin tunes, he is better known for his more silky crooner numbers and is often compared to singers like Nat King Cole.

Although Sisamouth was the bigger star, it is Sereysothea who had the greatest mystique and exercises the strongest contemporary interest.

Born into poverty in a small village in Battambang province, Sereysothea spent her teens performing with her family in a traditional peasant band touring Cambodia’s rural backwaters of the north-west.

Her reputation slowly grew and she moved to Phnom Penh and started performing at local clubs. By the late sixties she was a major star, producing a number of albums and starring in films. It was during this time hat she started performing with Sisamouth.

She was married for a time to another singer, Suos Mat, who was incredibly jealous of her success and is said to have beaten her regularly. Sereysothea was subsequently involved with a paratrooper in the Lon Nol army who was killed fighting the Khmer Rouge.

When the Khmer Rouge marched into Phnom Penh on Apr. 17, 1975, Sereysothea joined the rest of the city’s residents in being marched at gunpoint to the countryside.

Sereysothea and Sisamouth in particular were very creative, says Cahill, who has extensively researched the era.

Over the seven to eight years leading to the Khmer Rouge takeover, they wrote, sang and produced about 2,000 songs, often at a rate of one or two songs a day. They also recorded a wide array of covers in English and Khmer.

Under the Khmer Rouge, even the slightest western influence such as speaking a second language, having long hair or wearing flares was enough to invite a death sentence.

Sisamouth was reportedly shot. Sereysothea successfully hid her identity for some time until she was finally discovered and made to perform revolutionary songs celebrating the regime.

According to Cahill’s research, Sereysothea was in a camp in central Cambodia when her real identity was discovered. She was forced to marry one of Pol Pot’s commanders who eventually had her murdered.

The music of the sixties and early seventies is currently available on CD and cassette in markets throughout Phnom Penh. That it survived the destruction of Cambodian culture wrought by the Khmer Rouge is due to Cambodians who took it with them when they fled the country.

"In the Khmer community in Long Beach, California you cannot go down the street without hearing this music," says Cahill.

Visal remembers his parents taking music with them when they fled Cambodia to France. "Music was a part of their everyday lives," he recalls. "For them it was about memories of Cambodia in the good times."

A compilation CD of Khmer pre-war music was released in the U.S. in 1999. Called ‘Cambodian Rocks’, it was put together from cassettes bought by a U.S. tourist during a trip to Cambodia. The CD, which contained no information about the singers or names of their songs, became a cult favourite among college students.

However, it was not until the music was released as part of the soundtrack for ‘City of Ghosts’, written and directed by U.S. actor Matt Dillon, that it started to get serious international exposure.

Visal’s own path back to Cambodia’s pre-war music involved a long detour through the rap and hip that he listened to in the housing projects of suburban Paris.

"I remember seeing the tapes of artists like Sisamouth and Sereysothea for sale in the Phnom Penh in the nineties," says Visal, who returned to Cambodia in 1993. "I did not really pay any attention to the music until I bought a computer to learn design. I stumbled on music editing software and started messing around with sampling Khmer music."

"Soon, I was started going out and combing the markets, listening to every song I could find from this period and I started to mix and sample them," Visal continues. "The first reaction I had from people was shock. They thought it was blasphemy and did not understand why I wanted to do it."

Visal recently started up his own label, Klapyahandz, promoting young Khmer hip hop and rap bands and is keen to release a CD of his mixed songs. "I started remixing old music for fun but now it has become a real mission, trying to remind people now just how creative people were back then."

"In the next five years we are going to see a real explosion of the arts in Cambodia, particularly in music," predicts Visal. "I hope the pre-war songs will be part of that."

(*This story was written for the Imaging Our Mekong Programme coordinated by IPS Asia-Pacific)

Cambodia’s transforming tycoon


FT.com/Home UK
By Raphael Minder
August 17 2008

About an hour into our meeting, Kith Meng, Cambodia’s leading entrepreneur, dips a finger into an intriguing little flask on his coffee table and applies a fragrant yellow ointment to his neck and temples. “It’s Chinese,” he says. “When you have a muscle cramp, it helps take the pain away.”

The massage brings a smile to the face of a man who seems to find it hard to wind down. A self-confessed workaholic, the 39-year-old cannot imagine ever retiring or selling his Royal Group conglomerate because, he says, “this business is my passion”. He adds: “If I don’t work, I get sick. I don’t like to take it easy, I like to get things done.”

Such energy and intensity set him apart from the more relaxed attitude of the average Cambodian.
Mr Kith Meng has been at the forefront of Cambodia’s transform­ation from a backward, war-torn country into one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, averaging 9 per cent growth a year over the past decade. Royal Group’s businesses include the country’s biggest mobile phone company, its first broadband provider and a bank that pioneered ATMs. It is about to launch phone banking.

Such activities have put Mr Kith Meng on a very different path from his fellow ethnic Chinese, who have tended to build family businesses in traditional sectors such as farming, mining and logging.

“We are going into every sector we can because Cambodia needs every sector to grow,” he says. “After that, we’ll see in what industry we want to be an Asian player.”

With such ambitions in mind, he has already started touring financial centres such as Singapore and Hong Kong to see how and when Royal Group should widen its presence in the region as well as list the equity of a company that has already made him a billionaire. (He refuses to value his assets precisely.)

Mr Kith Meng also has casino interests in Cambodia and one of his recent trips abroad was to Macao, the world’s largest gaming centre, accompanied by western bankers. His conclusion is unambiguous, and typical of a man who believes Cambodians must shed their inferiority complex towards other Asians. “Macao is already so crowded,” he says. “I think people in Macao should be looking here, not us looking there.”

Although he has so far confined his activities to his homeland, his ascent has started to draw comparisons with more renowned and far-reaching Asian tycoons, including Thaksin Shinawatra, the Thai businessman and ousted former prime minister. Mr Kith Meng scoffs at that particular comparison, insisting he has no desire to use his wealth as a political launchpad as Mr Thaksin did in Thailand, where he created his own political party. “I am a businessman and just don’t have any of that [political] ambition,” he says.

In fact, insiders say Mr Kith Meng’s allegiance to Hun Sen, Cambodia’s long-standing prime minister, has been crucial to his success. Royal Group’s meeting rooms are adorned with pictures of the Hun Sen family, confirming what he describes as “very good relations with the government”.

Mr Hun Sen was returned to power in a landslide electoral victory last month with the backing of a business community that has benefited from strong growth and political stability after decades of war. Still, the government’s record has continued to be stained by international corruption studies that rank Cambodia among the most corrupt nations in the world. On that topic, Mr Kith Meng echoes government officials, emphasising the billions of dollars of foreign investment that have poured into Cambodia in recent years as vindication of Mr Hun Sen’s efforts to guarantee a fair and transparent business and legal environment.

“From outside, people can make any statement they want, but those [investors] who actually come here realise that Cambodia is a place where they should do business,” he says.

Even though he also holds the honorific title of Okhna, the Cambodian equivalent of a British peerage, associates and some other local businessmen say he steers clear of fellow Cambodian high-flyers. While Royal Group is set to build one of the skyscrapers that are redrawing Phnom Penh’s skyline, the company’s headquarters are in a nondescript office block and are entered via an electronics dealership with peeling walls.

Asked about this surprisingly low-key location, Mark Hanna, his Irish chief financial officer, says: “It might seem strange but I don’t think he’ll ever move from here. Perhaps it’s a mix of feng shui, good luck and superstition.” Meanwhile, Mr Kith Meng has his own take on good fortune: “Luck is about intelligence and timing.”

Mr Kith Meng’s workplace may be modest but he does have some flashy tastes. His oversized Cartier gold watch is overshadowed only by his diamond ring. He also has a penchant for luxury cars, owning a Rolls-Royce and a Bentley. He has no plans to settle down. “I’m single because when you’re a workaholic you don’t have time for that,’’ he grins.

Mr Kith Meng’s meteoric rise has drawn a mix of envy and disdain from some rival businessmen.“I can assure you that he has plenty of enemies here,” says a local financier. But he denies feeling threatened, describing his bodyguards as assistants who are “just here to support me”.

He makes no qualms about taking a different stance from the local elite, which tends to close ranks rather than open its doors to foreigners. “I [make joint ventures] with international companies, not Cambodian ones,” he says.

That openness may stem from an adolescence spent in Australia in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge regime (see below). However, despite having Australian citizenship and maintaining a home there, Mr Kith Meng has “mixed memories” from his youth in Canberra. “In the late 1980s, Australia was a very discriminatory society,” he says. “I think that society has now changed completely.”

Now, Royal Group’s most important Australian connection is its joint venture with ANZ bank. Meanwhile, its telecoms business is a partnership with Luxembourg-registered Millicom International Cellular. Mr Kith Meng also has exclusive distribution rights in Cambodia for a gamut of multi­nationals, including Canon, Siemens and Motorola, as well as the restaurant chains Pizza Hut and KFC. Mr Hanna is among a dozen English-speaking executives working for the group, including a team of former bankers from Macquarie, hired to set up an investment bank for the sprawling business empire. “We, as Cambodians, need outside expertise,” says Mr Kith Meng.

Unsurprisingly, he likes to monitor any international news or report relating to Cambodia.

He cites reading as a favourite hobby, although he has to check with an assistant for the exact title of the book he is currently enjoying. “Hey, what’s the name of that book that I’m reading, that you bought for me?” he shouts across the room. “ Don’t Sweat the Small Stuffby Richard Carlson,” comes the answer. Wise advice, perhaps, but probably something Mr Kith Meng worked out long before starting the first chapter.

Cambodia, Thailand to meet for new border talks

China Daily
2008-08-17

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Cambodia and Thailand geared up Sunday for renewed border settlement talks after both sides ended a monthlong armed confrontation by withdrawing most of their troops from disputed territory around an ancient temple.

Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin on Monday in a bid to find a lasting solution to a lingering border dispute that brought the two neighbors close to an armed clash.

The new meeting follows two inconclusive rounds of talks.

On July 28, the two nations' foreign ministers agreed on a plan to withdraw their troops from disputed area near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple to reduce tension.

Both countries completed moving most of their troops from a nearby temple on Saturday, said Hang Soth, director-general of the Preah Vihear National Authority, a government agency managing the historic site.

He said the two sides are currently keeping only 10 soldiers from each side in the compound of the pagoda, which is located in a border area claimed by both countries.

"The tension has eased considerably. There is no more confrontation," Hang Soth said Sunday, calling the troop withdrawals a "good process giving us hope" about the new talks.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith confirmed Sunday that there were only 20 soldiers, 10 Cambodian and 10 Thai, in the grounds of the pagoda.

The standoff began on July 15 after UNESCO, the UN's cultural agency, approved Cambodia's application to have the Preah Vihear temple named a World Heritage Site. Both countries have long held claim to the temple, but the World Court awarded it to Cambodia in 1962.

About 800 troops from Cambodia and 400 from Thailand confronted each other in the area for a month.

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej had backed Cambodia's World Heritage site bid, sparking demonstrations by Thai anti-government protesters who claimed it would undermine Thailand's claim to the surrounding area.

The protests left Samak politically vulnerable, and he sent troops to occupy the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara Buddhist pagoda compound adjacent to Preah Vihear to appease his critics. Cambodia responded with its own troop deployment.

Building their Future; Darceys reach out to Cambodian orphans

CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COMMeta Torn, 16, an orphan from Future Light Orphanage of Worldmate in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was a guest of Nancy Walden, a director of Email Foster Parents International, during a four-week cultural exchange at Punahou School. Torn returned home on Thursday. More children from the orphanage will come to Hawaii next month to perform music and dance in a fundraiser for Email Foster Parents International. Above, Torn shared a laugh with Walden last Sunday in Hawaii Kai.

Star Bulletin
By Allison Schaefers

Hal Darcey, who started Honolulu-based Darcey Builders in 1974, has retired; however, he's still in the building business.

These days, Darcey is using his building skills to turn the Email Foster Parents International program, which was created by fellow Rotarian Rob Hail, into an official nonprofit that will use e-mail to link hundreds of orphaned children with responsible caring donors in Hawaii and elsewhere. He, his wife Lei, and other Hawaii volunteers have turned a modest second-floor addition at Darcey Builders into a corporate office that will expand the work started by Hail and the Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunrise.

Instead of golfing or fishing or engaging in other popular retirement pursuits, Darcey is spending up to seven days a week at the office shoring up the lives of the Cambodian children, who have crept into his heart.

He and other volunteers are busy raising funds to bring some of the orphans that live at the Future Light Orphanage of Worldmate (FLOW) in Phnom Penh to Hawaii on a cultural exchange. And, they are looking at ways not only to meet the children's subsistence needs, but to expand the range of educational and trade programs that are offered at the orphanage.
"I'm busier now than I ever was," Darcey said. "But it's very satisfying. I feel that what I do now has great value. I didn't always feel that way in business where success is often measured by your product or your service or your profit."

Lei Darcey, who still keeps the books for the family business, also has scaled back to lend her expertise to help her husband grow the nonprofit. The couple has found that these days their bottom line stretches all the way to Cambodia.

Although Hal Darcey has been an e-mail foster parent since 2001, it is the lasting memories of a 2004 trip to visit the orphans at FLOW that gave shape to his retirement plans.

"We noticed that their classroom was too small and inadequate," Darcey said. "It was an opportunity to use some of my construction skills in a way that I don't normally use them to help the orphanage get funding, find a contractor and eventually build a new school."

Darcey said that he was so taken with Madam Phaly Nuon and her brood of some 350 orphaned children that he went back to FLOW for another visit in 2007, this time bringing Lei.

"We stayed five days at the orphanage and really developed a bond with these kids," she said.
Now, the couple takes delight in encouraging others to experience the fulfillment that they have received from participating in the foster parent program, Lei Darcey said.

"Just talking about our involvement has encouraged others to get involved," she said. "Many of our friends have become foster parents or donated money to FLOW."

For Hail, Darcey's willingness to help build on the program he created is a dream come true.
"I think it's great that he and his wife, who are phasing out of the business world and into the world of philanthropy, are using their business skills and resources to help others," Hail said.
"This is also true of the other key people who are supporting the Email Foster Parent Program and the Cambodian Children's Cultural Tour."

For Nuon and her children, the Darceys' involvement means much more. She is hoping that the nonprofit will give the orphanage a stronger foundation in which to support the many hopes and dreams that the children have for a brighter tomorrow.

"There's no welfare system in Cambodia. The kids are on the street unless they find an organization like Phaly's that will give them a place to live," Hal Darcey said. "For many of these children, the orphanage is the first time that they haven't had to worry about their safety or having enough to eat."

While the diminutive Nuon is a fierce advocate for Cambodia's lost children, she needs more resources to care for her growing brood. With adoption to the U.S. still restricted, fewer orphans are able to leave her care, Nuon said, during an interview last fall at FLOW.

"We used to have adoptions, now almost no one leaves me," Nuon said, as she watched the children sing, dance and play games in an open-air pavilion seemingly oblivious to the challenges that their future could hold.

Nuon's resources are stretched so thin that the children subsist on little more than rice, and their tattered clothing bears the worn remnants of the American cartoon characters and brands that more fortunate children know to covet. Still, the austere orphanage is warm and welcoming and a far cry from the dark, scary places where Nuon and many of the children have been.

"We call ourselves the Future Light Orphanage of Worldmate because the children who live here are learning the skills necessary to lift themselves out of poverty towards a brighter future," Nuon said in her mission statement. "We want to equip these children with skills needed to become the future leaders of Cambodia."

The orphanage, which Nuon opened in 1992, came about as a result of the many tragedies that she experienced in her own life, which changed dramatically in 1975 when Khmer Rouge communist troops forcibly evacuated Phnom Penh.

At the time, Nuon was a 32-year-old professional working mother with three children and one on the way. Though she was nine months pregnant, Nuon was forced out of her home in Cambodia's capital city and ordered to make a multiday trek into the countryside to conform to Pol Pot's vision of a new agrarian order.

"The blood was running down my legs," she said, a stray tear traveling down her cheek.

Nuon recalls that as the chaos surrounded her, she strapped thousands of dollars in currency and heirlooms to her body and fled her comfortable home, along with her children and siblings, for what would become nearly two decades of horror. Along the way, Nuon's first husband died of starvation. She dug his grave and buried him herself.

Only two of Nuon's four natural-born children kept starvation at bay to survive Cambodia's infamous genocide; however she managed to find the strength to live through that agony.

"I had to be strong enough. We keep working so that we cannot remember the bad memory," Nuon said.

While the first group of orphans came to Nuon because they lost their family during the conflicts, now most of them come because the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS has taken one or more of their parents, Nuon said.

"About 60 to 80 percent of the children have lost both of their parents," she said. "The other 20 percent or so have a father or a mother, but often they are too sick to care for the children or provide food for them. Now, they are my children. When they cry, I tell them that I will be their mama if they will let me."

Nuon's hopes and dreams for the many children she now calls her own are wide and deep enough to almost fill the caverns of her broken heart. Her wishes like festival lanterns have traveled across the ocean where they have been picked up by the Darceys and other volunteers.

While survival is still a focus for Nuon and her children, offshore support from volunteers in Hawaii has allowed them the luxury of planning for tomorrow instead of just worrying about today. As the children age and are forced to leave the orphanage at age 18, Nuon must help them find a way to stay safe and fed, she said.

"We need to think about where these children will end up when they graduate," Hal Darcey said. "For many, even a college education will not bring about a way to earn a living."

A self-made businessman, Darcey believes that while academics are important to the children, some of them may benefit more from learning a trade.

"I went to trade school for high school and graduated with a GED equivalent," Darcey said. "I saw myself as a carpenter and those skills have provided a good life for me and for my family."

Now perhaps, in his retirement, Darcey will use those same skills to build a better life for the many orphan children who now make up his extended family.

The leader who goes on and on

Hu Sen brought peace to Cambodia but he has sacrificed the poor on the altar of an economic boom

Tom Fawthrop
guardian.co.uk
Sunday August 17 2008 13:00 BST
Article history

With yet another election victory in the bag, Cambodia's prime minister, Hun Sen, is now entering his thirty-fourth year in power. Hun Sen draws his inspiration not from south-east Asia's more democratic leaders, but from Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew, who used dictatorial methods to build a modern, prosperous but tightly-controlled island city-state. Still only 57, Hun Sen has now served two years longer than Lee Kuan Yew – and even muses that he could still be premier at 90 if the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) keeps winning elections. It is this prospect, however fanciful, that alarms many educated Cambodians.

Trade unionists, opposition parties, and human rights workers have well-founded fears that this landslide election victory could lead to a clampdown on the right to protest and strike in Cambodia - human rights that were crushed long ago in Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew's notorious Internal Security Act.

Hun Sen is the son of a poor farming family in Kompong Cham province, and a former Khmer Rouge officer who rebelled against Pol Pot, fled to Vietnam in 1977 and returned two years later as foreign minister, backed by the Vietnamese army. Still younger than any of his Asean counterparts, he now ranks as their most experienced prime minister. And he achieved all this despite losing an eye in the final battle to defeat the US-backed military regime of General Lon Nol back in 1975.

Only Prince Norodom Sihanouk's rule in the 1960s can be compared with Hun Sen's in terms of its strong leadership and its success in defining the politics and development of the country. Between these two eras, the nation was brought to the brink of extinction by the secret US bombing of Cambodia authored by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, which ultimately helped Pol Pot's forces to seize power.

Now, after a period of survival in the 1980s – moulded in part by Vietnamese communism mixed with a revival of Cambodian culture – everything is changing. The free market reigns supreme. Land and property speculation is everything, heritage is for sale, and the US dollar is king. Land that was owned by poor farmers in the 1980s is now up for grabs – and indeed frequently is grabbed by a few tycoons linked to Hun Sen. The PM is generally regarded as part of a nouveau riche kleptocracy that siphons off foreign aid and ignores protests about human rights. But defenders of the CPP, and many of the people who have just voted for it, would point out that under his leadership the country is now at peace. Schools, roads and bridges have been built. The economy is booming, and the CPP has been justly rewarded. Few international observers seriously doubt that the democratic will swung behind the CPP, even allowing for unbalanced TV media coverage. (Unlike neighbouring countries, all Cambodia elections since 1993 have been monitored by international observers.)

In the 1980s Hun Sen – who was widely derided as a Vietnamese puppet at the time - had two priorities. The first was to stop the Khmer Rouge from returning to power (they were backed militarily by China and diplomatically by the west). The second was to rebuild a shattered nation.

The fragile government in Phnom Penh not only kept Pot's forces at bay, but their Vietnamese backers speedily restored some basic services. After 1979 hospitals, schools, markets, Buddhist temples and cinemas - closed by the Khmer Rouge - were rapidly reopened by Hun Sen's government. Hun Sen initiated peace talks with Cambodia's exiled Prince Sihanouk, which eventually led to his return. He proved to be an inspirational leader, but much western reporting during the Cold War focused on the partisan belief that Cambodia was under foreign occupation. There was an abysmal failure to report the real story of a nation's dramatic recovery, despite the UN's cynical denial of aid to a desperately poor country.

I first met Hun Sen in 1981, and respect his achievements in helping to bring about the rebirth of his nation and ending the Khmer Rouge terror in the countryside. But from the point of view of public services and the treatment of the poor, his record since the 1993 elections leaves a great deal to be desired. His failure to build an equitable Cambodian society that all can share in, based on social and economic justice – not just a real estate boom – is lamentable.

It is strange that Hun Sen, who shares his humble beginnings with Brazil's Lula and Bolivia's Evo Morales, has no agenda for the poor, no instinct to curb the grotesque excesses of the ruling elite, and has made no attempt to protect the small farmers that he is descended from. For all his intelligence and political skills, Hun Sen's success was based on survival, not a vision of the future. Bolstered by the recent discovery of offshore oil, the CPP has no development model other than the prescriptions of the IMF and World Bank, which are easily grafted onto the corruption and get rich-quick mentality of his business cronies, military generals and his police chiefs.

If he had gracefully stepped down from power in 1998,after the final surrender of the Khmer Rouge, Hun Sen's place in history would surely have been assured. Unless he changes tack, the dispossessed may have to resort to other means to achieve justice.