Socheata Vong

My thoughts about beloved Cambodia

Category: Opinion Article (page 2 of 2)

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

Cambodian Workers, Teachers Deserve Better Living Standards

Cambodian Workers, Teachers Deserve Better Living Standards
Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Wednesday, May 3, 2006

May 1 marked the 120th International Labor Day, where workers around the world assemble to make large protests to demand better working conditions.

Under the Cambodian Constitution, Cambodian people have the right to a peaceful assembly or march. But have their rights so far been properly exercised?

The government often raises the fear of affecting social order, and banning protests is common. But have there been solutions concerning wage increases?

I read the story on Monday “Workers Rally for May Day Despite Gov’t Ban”(page 1) and saw a comment from one top government official saying that raising wages and reducing work hours would deter investors. I wonder if demands for a wage rise were met, would it result in deterring foreign investment?

Look at the current living conditions of workers and public teachers. Their wages remain the same but the price of goods for daily consumption continues to get higher.

It is unbelievable to compare the low wages with the high price of goods.
Who feels the pain of workers? Who knows the difficulties of their lives?
Has the 1997 Cambodian Labor Law effectively ensured workers’ rights and their working conditions?

Do Cambodia teachers and workers have to continue surviving under such poor living standards?

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh

Does Cambodia Take Care of Its Own?

Does Cambodia Take Care of Its Own?
Letter to the Editor
The Cambodia Daily
Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Since the arrest of Khmer Rouge commander Nuon Paet in 1999 and that of Sam Bith three years later, the recent capture of their comrade Chhouk Rin marks the final destination for justice for the 13 Cambodians and three tourists brutally killed in 1994 on Vine Mountain in Kampot province.

It took almost 12 years for justice to be served and for the perpetrators to be held responsible for the deaths of 16 innocent people.

Calls for action, made by the three foreign countries whose citizens were killed, were key in finding justice – especially the request made by France.
Was justice found because the Cambodian criminal system is so effective that criminals who commit crimes are punished? Or was it because the deaths of three foreigners forced other countries to intervene?

The entire case of the 1994 train attack seemed to be prompted by – and focus on – the deaths of the foreigners.

Would it have made any difference if all 16 victims were Cambodians? Would justice have been found? Would there have been any commitment or willingness to make arrests and issue sentences had other nations not intervened?

The 1997 grenade attack on a peaceful march in front of the National Assembly, which killed at least a dozen and wounded many more, has not been resolved.

When we hear about that grenade attack now, it is because among the injured was one US citizen that compelled the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to become involved.

Just for a second, let’s imagine that all the victims in that attack were Cambodian.

Would there be any effort to find justice?

It has been almost eight years now since the attack. In our silent shame, we have not figured out who perpetrated the attack or what their motives were.

I am a Cambodian person. I feel so hurt when innocent people are killed in vain, and when criminals gain at the expense of others’ lives.

I strongly hope justice will be found for the victims of both the 1994 and 1997 attacks.

I believe the victims deserved to live, and that everyone now deserves justice.

Vong Socheata,
Phnom Penh

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