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Come back to help?

Dear Editor,

What has just happened to Prince Norodom Sirivudh in Cambodia has sent a major

shock wave for those who have been following Cambodian affairs.

It is absolutely and outrageously sensational! What else could have surprised us

more from the Kingdom?

Cambodia's political stability is the single most important aspect for that nation's

social, economic and environmental improvement or development. With many cases of

political instability within the last two years, everything that the world community

and the Khmer themselves have done and is now working very hard for is in serious

jeopardy.

Let's forget the idea of "Western Democracy." Let's just focus on "Khmer

Democracy." Then again, what is a "Khmer Democracy?" Is it a dictatorship

and a chaotic system where those in power are always right about everything and the

rest are wrong? If it is as what happened in the last two decades, then the Khmer

might as well bring Pol Pol (Saloth Sar) and his gang back from the border (Thailand)

to Phnom Penh and let them finished the job. They are much, much more confident,

experienced, and certainly more efficient in doing it.

At this juncture, it is a bleak future prospect for Cambodia and her people following

a euphoric hope for peace, reconciliation and prosperity.

Personally, I am in a process of deciding whether to commit two years of my life

to help with the improvement and development of Cambodia, in the area of environmental

conservation and social intervention. It will be two years of many sacrifices, such

as being away from my family, love ones, friends, a career, and a safe and comfortable

life in the U.S. Whatever for? It is for Cambodia and her people, and, of course,

for my sanity as well. Why? It is simply because, as a native Khmer, I care. It certainly

won't be my first time. I never learnt from my bitter past experience in Cambodia.

If a famous Prince, a well-respected-high ranking politician, the King's half-brother,

the First Prime Minister's uncle got thrown in T3 prison (Cambodia's most infamous),

all by the accusation of an unknown or perhaps unethical Khmer reporter/calendar

salesman (who has much to gain), it could happen to anyone.

I don't believe that something such as this could have happened in any other place

in the world, with the exception of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

I am beginning to question my sanity of wanting to return to assist Cambodia, a place

where my family and friends simply referred to as the "Pit" or "Black

Hole" - a place to stay away from.

I don't really care about Khmers' politics, but I couldn't force myself to overlook

recent political development in the Kingdom. It appears to be "deja-vu"

all over again. It is not logical; it's frightening and it's insane.

When one has been burned once under this type of system in the past, one tends not

to ever forget it. Perhaps my family and friends are all a lot smarter than I thought

they were.

Perhaps I am not as wise for wanting to come back to help Cambodia once again. Perhaps

I ought to think twice about writing this letter. Who knows, I may be targeted for

expressing my opinion about Cambodia. Then again, it won't be the first time either.

All Khmer (anywhere in the world) should have gotten used to this kind of thing by

now. Yet, this fact alone doesn't make it any easier for anyone.

It's the reality in Cambodia as Princess Christine Alfsen Norodom put it best: "We

are not dealing with rational people." It will take a while before the Khmer

learn to be wiser and more rational. Twenty-five years of warfare, internal conflicts,

and "hardball" politics took their toll on all Khmer morale and dignity.

The Khmer need time to recover.

I too have had a lot to consider before I decided to step on Cambodia's soil, no

matter how noble my heart may be for my native homeland and her still suffering people.

- Ronnie Yimsut, Oregon, USA.

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