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Human mindset

The Editor,

In his article "Don't change the Constitution, implement it" (Post,

March 8 - 21, 1996) following my article advocating the case for Queen Monineath

to take the Throne and a Constitutional amendment to open the way for her succession,

Prof. Raoul Jennar described "the way Cambodian leaders and citizens deal with

regulations, especially when they limit their own or restrict their personal interests"

as "Khmer mindset of getting around the rules."

I would suggest Prof. Jennar do more research on the issue.

In fact the French, our colonial masters, did not bother even to amend our succession

rules. They simply ignored them completely when they put our present Venerated King

on the Throne on 25 April, 1941. Who could claim that he was not a good monarch from

that time until his overthrow by Lon Nol?

Prof. Jennar should look into Thai succession rules too. These rules were changed

from elective ones to the present hereditary ones.

It seems that getting around rules or the ability to do it stems from power.

The world would be better off and would be more peaceful, if the powerful were to

abide by rules they or their predecessors had agreed upon.

This is not Khmer but human mindset.

Perhaps one could say that Cambodians are now developing a Khmer mindset when democracy

and human rights have enabled simple and powerless citizens such as myself and Chea

Vannath together with independent newspapers such as the Phnom Penh Post to contribute

to debates on an issue which is normally settled by the powerful with no participation

of the powerless.

- Dr Lao Mong Hay, Executive Director, The Khmer Institute of Democracy.

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