jeudi, novembre 09, 2006

How To Liberate Cambodia ? (3)



Khemara Jati
Montréal, Québec
Le 25 octobre 2006

The multiform struggles of our fellow countrymen in Cambodia

First : The cultural policy

One knows now that the national cultural identity of a country lies in the development of its writing culture[1]. The colonial power has vietnamised Cochinchina by using only french and vietnamese languages in the administration and by implementing primary and secondary modern teachings in the vietnamese only. Cambodians of Cochinchina are allowed only to pagoda schools, even "converted”.[2]

Concerning our politicians, why only few of them surrounded or have company by intellectuals of high levels ? Only Europe bequeathed that by its traditions since the highest antiquity. However, let us mention two exceptions:

§ Son Ngoc Than had the life safe, because he was arrested by the Frenchmen with the complicity of the English. The English did not want to have a prisoner's blood in their hand. But his private secretary was a bilingual intellectual named Huot Sovan, elder brother of Huot Sambath, son of the doctor Huot, « accused of collaborating with the Japanese, was interned in barracks beyond Phnom Penh and tortured to death by the Welsh commander.»[3]

§ Sisowath Yutévong chose as private secretary Nou Hach, the author of classic « Phkar Srapaune », a real plea for the intellectuals. But the political life of Yutévong was too short.

Except for these two personalities, it seems that our politicians are afraid of intellectuals’ in particular patriotic intellectuals. Even nowadays. Except the increase of professor salary, no any politician worries of the textbook’s contents, the creation of an Institute for the historic research, the other one for the geographic research. No encouragement either for a new Cambodian language dictionary publication. Worse the prize-winners of the Scientific Olympiads Junior are not either honored etc[4].

During period from 1954 till 1970, the higher education was in French. Cambodian of the high society sent children to French secondary school Descartes. For them the cambodian language is a foreign language.

In these conditions how alphabetize quickly the whole people (to teach, to read and to write) ? How to form quickly a big number of high-level intellectuals like Malaysia as example ? Do not all the examples in the world show that educated people never live under a foreign domination ? Is it normal to educate the whole people in foreign language ?

Let us remind that during Sangkum, there were interesting publications, but all in French. As the “Etudes Cambodgiennes” papers for example. The political newspapers the most popular was “La Dépêche” directed by Chau Seng. In these conditions, how alphabetize quickly the whole people in the national language? Fortunately, the literature’s development in national language of a good level (Khemarak Yeankam) begins and the first dictionary of our language was published and supervised by Chuon Nath. There were well-learned scholars in national language as Achar Pang Khat for example. But nobody pays attention to them. A high-level, bilingual intellectual, Ieu Koeus, General Secretary of the Democratic Party, was murdered by “unknowns” in January 1950.

In one word, until 1970, there is only a handle of intellectuals' in an ocean of illiterates.

Nowadays, there is a development of books, newspapers, magazines in national language. The administrative language is in cambodian. In spite of all obstructions our language and our culture still develop, but slowly because there is not enough of national and international financial and political support. Let us note the efforts of our fellow countrymen in Cambodia and also the helps of the foreign personalities as Ingrid Muan, who was able to contribute to generate the foreign foundations as The Albert Kunstadrer Family Fuondation, The Japan Foundation Asia Center, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Toyota Foundation, for example. Cambodia own now modern printing offices with a staff capable of ruling them and if need they can repair them properly accordingly by themselves. Now Cambodia is capable of producing books almost in the same quality as those of the international one. On the other hand the publishers / editors and the booksellers gain some money and they can depend on that to live. It proves that the number of readers increases. But regrettably in the villages there are still very few people who can read. It is due to the medieval situation of our communication means. Japan modernizes only the communications between Saigon and Phnom Penh, to put Cambodia depending on Saigon, as during colonial period.

It is interesting to note that songs composed and chanted by our brothers of Surin reached our brothers of Kampuchea Krom, by way of Phnom Penh. Our brothers of Kampuchea Krom are fighting the DVD free to circulate, as well as the books and other cultural matters from Cambodia. So the solidarity between Cambodians of Cambodia with our brothers of Thailand and of the South-Vietnam becomes a reality with the development of the intellectual level of our people.

Also let us note that the Cambodian artists: singers, comedians, actors of cinema etc. also begin to gain some money by their profession. Of course there are Piseth Pilika and Touch Sunnich murder. But now the Cambodian artists move with bodyguards.

Another interesting fact to be noted : The fight of the Cambodian lawyers to democratize the Bar (Association) of lawyers. In this struggle, our lawyers received neither help nor assistant of the major powers.

Until now no any major power comes to help us in these domains. China forms in driblets the Cambodian engineers and technicians in China and in chinese. The other major powers do the same. Almost nobody comes to help us to have leeway to make up in this domain. Let us remind that Bill Gates of Microsoft gives training 15 000 engineers of high-level computer specialists to Vietnamese.

Major powers spend enormously to help the poor countries to fight against AIDS and the famine. Now everybody knows that the educated peoples know better how to fight against the AIDS propagation and against the famine. Why not using a part of these helps to educate the people, in particular the women?

So, thanks to the efforts and the fights of our fellow countrymen in Cambodia, the absolute number of the lettered increases. But regrettably its percentage decreases. Still the well-read remain flooded in the ocean by the illiterates.

A group of Cambodians in Australia has just realized the lack of culture amongst the young Cambodians especially the Cambodian language. In the marriages of love and reason, it is often the foreign spouse who asks to go in Cambodia to get fresh ideas in our culture. This group has just realized a film about this subject and recommends to learning of our language in Australia as first measure. This film will be projected in Cambodia next March.

Let us note as well the fact that numerous Cambodians pensioner come to settle in Cambodia and bring their knowledge to give some training to the Cambodian technicians. It is also a mattering fact to impulse the solidarity between Cambodians.

In Cambodia, the construction of houses and buildings is going full swing. Are there big Cambodian enterprises participate in these constructions? Did the United States call Cambodian companies to build its immense embassy near Watt Phnom ? Now many buildings are built in Phnom Penh and its environs, are there participation of the Cambodian companies, the architects, the engineers and the Cambodian technicians ?

About the formation of the lower, average and upper middle-class

How a country can be independent if the artisans, the technicians, the engineers, the leaders of the commercial and industrial of the small and medium-sized enterprises are still mainly foreigners ? Why there is no school or institute to form and train them massively ?

Presently, no any major powers help us to form these people according to our need. But what is regrettable is that none of our politicians has a program to remedy this state of things.

Of course there are foreigners like Swiss Beat Richner who builds his four Kantha Bopha hospitals with companies, architects, engineers, technicians and workers 100 % Cambodians, assisted by some foreign experts in case of necessity. Also these hospitals are managed by a medical staff and other personnel also 100% Cambodians, with 0 % corruption and without the slightest favoritism. Swiss hygiene reigns in these hospitals. More, drugs using in these hospitals are the same quality as of the Switzerland. Cambodians call these hospitals of “Monti Pait Thane Sour” (hospitals of the paradise). Does Richner show us that Cambodians are capable of doing everything and they are doing well ?

On the other hand Japan build bridges, roads and highways, mainly to facilitate the terrestrial communications with Saigon with an aim of making Cambodian foreign trade depending of this vietnamese port. It is anyway the policy adopted by the colonial regime since the middle of the XIXth century. More for these constructions Japan uses only companies, engineers and vietnamese technicians. Why this exclusivity?

The Chinese build bridges and roads connecting Phnom Penh with Laos and also to improve our internal communications. But they use only companies, engineers and chinese technicians.

Besides, in the economic point of view, there is an unbearable monopoly of the vietnamese company Sokimex in the oil importation and in other numerous products as the drugs. Sokimex also has the monopoly for the preparation of the police and army uniforms. By that way Sokimex is now equipped with a treasury’s war of several billions of US dollars. There is also a gigantic vietnamese bank Canadia chairing by a Cambodian coming from Canada to camouflage its vietnamese management. Cambodians of Canada know him very well.

So, Vietnam uses Hok Lundy - Hun Sen clan to make everything to hinder the Cambodian's lower and middle-class from developing. So, the lower and the middle-class, by necessity, are obliged to fight against this dictatorial regime. They do not do openly, but by all means for their arrangement, including the domestic and other liaisons.

On the other hand the hairdressers, the dressmakers, the bicycle technicians, motorcycles, cars, motors of any kinds, televisions and other electronic devices form mainly by self-taught and by some rare private schools. There is now a development of certain number of these Cambodian companies in any kind, particularly in the city and in Phnom Penh.

In fact, managers are generally educated persons at certain level. It is what explains that in Phnom Penh for example, during the elections, the Hok Lundy - Hun Sen clan obtains only a third of votes. That in spite of murders, frauds and other various intimidations.

Also let us note that about more than 250 000 workers and especially the factory workers mainly textile industries. It is the first time in Cambodia where there are so many factory workers. The salary of these workers represents 200 millions US dollars a year. This sum is completely injected and well absorbed in the Cambodian economy. On the other hand these workers men and women spent several times a year with their family in the villages. They are vectors of spreading ideas from the cities. So our farmers in the village stay in touch permanently with the capital where factories are concentrated. On another side, to defend their interests these workers know that their forces now are living in their unity of trade unions. It is a new shape of the struggle in the current Cambodian society.

Let us remind that our provinces of the northeastern and eastern are being economically connected to Vietnam. Japan builds a highway connecting all the Northeast of our country: Kraties, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri to the vietnamese port Danang. This highway is built by vietnamese companies and using particularly the vietnamese engineers. The hydroelectric dams are also constructed by vietnamese companies and the electricity’s production is totally managed by vietnamese companies. Also, our eastern provinces, in particular Svay Rieng is already supplied by vietnamese electricity at a double price of what it costs in Vietnam. The Hok Lundy clan is organizing to integrate of these provinces to Vietnam administratively. The Hok Lundy - Hun Sen clan has just signed the integration of our telecommunication systems with those of Vietnam.

All this without the slightest protest of our politicians; why this collusive silence ?

(To be followed…)

Notes : Cet article est disponible en français sur demande.
Lewis Mumford, in « La Cité à travers l’histoire », Editions du Seuil, Paris 1964, page 59.
[2] « The Minority of Cambodian in Cochinchina » (La Minorité Cambodgienne de Cochinchine), by Louis Malleret, Bulletin de la Société des Etudes Indochinoises, Tome XXI, 1er semestre 1946.
[3] In « Le Mal Cambodgien » of Marie Alexandrine Martin, Edition Hachette, Paris 1989, page 60.
[4] During the « International Junior Science Olympiad » (IJSO), held in Jogjakarta (Java Island, Indonesia), 4-13 December 2005, Cambodia presented 6 candidates. There were about 200 candidates come from at least 25 countries of all the continents, except Canada, USA, Japan, France, England, Germany and Australia. Cambodia received 6 medals: Dy Kuchsa (Golden medal), Huoy Channaren (Bronze medal), Hun Vanasola (Bronze medal), Mom Charya (silver medal), Ty Sovisal (silver medal), and Say Buntha (Bronze medal).