Socheata Vong

My thoughts about beloved Cambodia

Author: socheata (page 2 of 3)

Survey of Cambodian Public Opinion

A Cambodian post election poll was conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) in November 2008 to obtain primary data on the thoughts and opinions of the Cambodian citizenry concerning current political, social and economic issues. The poll was released on February 17, 2009. Find out how our Cambodians responded to the country’s direction. View the Poll slides >>

A few poll highlights by topic:

Is the Country Moving in the Right/Wrong Direction?

  • 82% of Cambodians see their country as moving in the right direction, mainly because of the infrastructure they see being built, including roads, schools, health clinics, pagodas etc.
  • 17% see the country as moving in the wrong direction, citing the corruption, price of goods, and poverty as the greatest hindrance to their country’s future.

What three issues or concerns do you feel most impact Cambodia as a country?

  • 59% of Cambodians said border issues and demarcation as the most concern followed by the prices of goods. (Compared to August 2007 poll, only 5% concerned about border issue – mainly Vietnamese border).

What differences do you see between the major parties that competed in National Assembly elections?

  • More than half of the population see no differences (33%) or don’t know the differences (22%). 17% see the differences in power, size, and influence. However, only 4% responded that the differences are the issues political parties talk about

Did you vote during National Assembly elections in July?

  • 88% of the respondents said they voted (NEC result is 82%)
  • 36% of the respondents who did not vote said their names were not on the voter list.

Which one of these has the stronger influence in your daily life?

  • Village chief (41%), Prime Minister (28%), Commune Council (14%), National Assembly (5%)

Source: IRI

Government Should Refute, Not Deny Accusations

Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Global Witness’s 95-page report, “Cambodia’s Family Trees: illegal logging and the stripping of public assets,” has raised grave concern about deforestation of catastrophic proportions.

I am in no position to question the report’s accuracy or to judge the government’s denial of involvement in logging scandals. However, I think the government should produce any evidence it has to counter Global Witness’s allegations and to prove its innocence, especially if it is confident, as one Forestry Administration official said, that “Global Witness lied on every page.” (Global Witness Decries Report Ban; Probe Ordered,” June 5, page 1).

Producing such evidence would encourage more accountability and transparency.

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh

We Must Keep Truth About KR Atrocities Alive

Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Friday, May 11, 2007

I am shocked by reports that some young people do not believe that starvation, torture and mass killings really happened under the Khmer Rouge.

There are several reasons why this is missing from our young people’s minds. First, parents tend to take for granted their responsibility to refresh the memory of this holocaust. Perhaps they feel people’s lives are much better now and that the past should be left behind.

Second, our government has failed to adequately educate students about the regime. Third, many of us as victims are still struggling to understand the reasons behind the Khmer Rouge’s actions. Without this understanding, we have less to share. Finally, young people seem not recognize the importance of our history.

It is our shared responsibility to keep alive the truth about the Khmer Rouge to ensure a better, safer future. The new textbook on the regime published by Khamboly Dy is a great achievement. I implore people to pay serious attention to it.

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh

Hun Sen’s War on Land Grabbers Will Benefit Poor, Restore Trust

Hun Sen’s War on Land Grabbers Will Benefit Poor, Restore Trust
Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Thursday, March 8, 2007

I welcome Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen’s very proactive stance in resolving the notorious land grabbing controversy, (“This is War, Hun Sen Tells Land Grabbers,” Tuesday, page 1).

Firing a general would certainly constitute an effective response to our current situation and would send a clear warning to other land grabbers. Such a measure will be triumphantly celebrated once it has been carried out. I really hope that the public will have access to information about such firings.

I strongly appeal to Hun Sen and the influential CPP Central Committee to take firm measures against affluent and powerful individuals who have abused the poor by grabbing their land. This would have restore poverty, as it is outlined in the government’s agenda.

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh

Government at Fault for Low Graft Index Ranking

Government at Fault for Low Graft Index Ranking
Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

That Cambodia ranked 151st out of 163 countries in Transparency International’s global perceptions of corruption index was very sad but unsurprising news to me, “Cambodia Falls Near Bottom of Graft Index,” (Wednesday, page 1.)

The Cambodian government may have reason to be skeptical of this report. However, I completely disagree with government officials who downplayed this assessment when our credibility and image in the international arena are at stake.

Instead of claiming that the index is politically biased, our government should attribute this finding to its own failure and lack of political will to curb corruption.

Cambodia should be more cautious of how it is viewed by the outside world. Needless to say, corruption will be factored in to foreign decisions to invest on our soil. In this way, corruption affects the Cambodian people and everyone pays.

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh

Bar Association Plays a Crucial Role, Needs to Act Responsibly

Bar Association Plays a Crucial Role, Needs to Act Responsibly
Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Tuesday, September 5, 2006

I am profoundly frustrated that the bar association dispute has dragged on for almost two years, solely orchestrated by a few obsessively power-oriented and highly politicized people.

It is a crying shame that political convenience and gain have been attempted instead of a solution to the conflict.

In a system with a corrupt judiciary, the legal profession is one of the most important means in preserving justice.

The bar’s leadership has a crucial role to sustain this.
The bar’s credibility has been eroded in the eyes of its members, donors and, above all, in the eyes of the Cambodian population.

[Everyday that the dispute continues, my utmost sympathy goes out to Cambodians who are helplessly facing injustice in a very corrupt system, while the bar is being severely undermined.]

Everyday that the dispute continues, my utmost sympathy goes out to Cambodians who are helplessly facing injustice in a very corrupt system, while the bar is being severely undermined.

The bar’s leaders should learn to be more responsible toward their members and the Cambodian public before they decide to do battle over a position they not even deserve.

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh

When Parliamentarians Restrict Speech, a Country Is Diminished

When Parliamentarians Restrict Speech, a Country Is Diminished
Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Friday, September 1, 2006

It is a sad irony that Cambodia, while proclaiming to be a democracy, has taken a move backward by hurting freedom of expression, one of the most fundamental rights for a democratic society (“Legislators Vote to Limit Their Own Speech,” Thursday, page 1)

I was shocked that our lawmakers, the so-called people’s representatives, who were elected by the people to speak for them, have chosen to abandon their mission by adopting a law to criminalize parliamentarians’ voices.

Shamefully, while the voices in parliament are silenced, Cambodians’ endeavors to make their voices heard, to contribute to development and to improve the nation through their elected representatives will be in vain.

Are we going back to the stage when we will all have to remain silent? When this core value of free expression is threatened, the country itself is diminished.

[Cambodian leaders should embrace criticism.]

Cambodian leaders should embrace criticism and be more responsible with every single decision they make.

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh

KR Officials’ Health Should Be Monitored

KR Officials’ Health Should Be Monitored
Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Thursday, July 13, 2006

While the approaching Khmer Rouge tribunal has inspired a great sense of justice, the deteriorating health of former rebel commander Ta Mok has prompted grave concerns that his death will prevent him from standing trial.

In the long wait for the trial, some of the regime’s top officials have died: Pol Pot in 1998 and most recently former KR Health Minister Thiounn Thioeun in June.

Former Khmer Rouge head of state Khieu Samphan and Brother Number Two Nuon Chea are also aging. I strongly appeal to the tribunal and the public to pay close attention to their health.

I strongly hope that justice will be served for the 1.7 million people who were brutally killed and for survivors who are haunted by the nightmares of Cambodia’s most notorious chapter in history.

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh

Cambodian Government Must Not Ignore the Khmer Krom

Cambodian Government Must Not Ignore the Khmer Krom
Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Thursday, June 8, 2006

I was greatly saddened by a comment made by a government official in the story “Khmer Krom Mark 57 Years Since VN Handover”(Monday, page 11).
More than 3,000 people turned out to mark the 57th anniversary of the 1949 loss of Kampuchea Krom.

The commemoration inspired great hope and dreams, but I was shocked and almost burst into tears by the comments of one government official who said that the rally and the expressed demands “will make the Vietnamese government put further pressure on Khmer Kampuchea Krom.”

I am not sure of the meaning of this comment and whether it was intended to discourage any demands by the Khmer Krom community or does it mean that any activity including this peaceful assembly will result in further pressure from Hanoi?

I should take this time to reflect on the fact that many monks and ordinary people have been physically and mentally persecuted and ill-treated by the Vietnamese authority, which prompted many of them to flee to Cambodia.
Here they hoped they would be recognized as Khmer, but unfortunately they have been denied.

[While I feel great pain over the historical loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom territory…I am even more saddened by our current government ignoring the situation.]

While I feel great pain over the historical loss of Khmer Kampuchea Krom territory, which was conceded to Vietnam by colonial France, I am even more saddened by our current government ignoring the situation.

It is indeed a very sad irony that the government is very inactive in resolving this controversy while it is as the same time proactive in discouraging Khmer Krom, whose very blood they share, from exercising their rights.

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh

Advertisers Must Be More Responsible

Advertisers Must Be More Responsible
 Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Thursday, May 25, 2006

I am greatly dismayed and frustrated by adverts showing Cambodian women drinking wine and beer, with their faces expressing satisfaction. Companies are profit-oriented, but to think they should maximize their profits without taking business ethics or social implications into account would be insane.

Is society so greatly changed that drinking is part of Cambodian women’s socializing? I seriously doubt it.

I am greatly saddened by the thought that the beautiful culture and tradition of Cambodian women, which has been so well maintained for centuries, is being destroyed by a few businesses and reckless film stars. The view that Cambodian women are gentle, calm and reserved is fading away.

I can’t help fear that if this recklessness is not well addressed, sooner or later we will see our actresses smoke the way men do on television.

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh

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