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Looking out for one another

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HENG CHOVOAN

Thearith, 30, delivers bananas and banana saplings to O'Russey Market on Monday from his farm in Kandal province. Thearith, who only sells his products in Phnom Penh during New Year, says sales are down this year due to increasing competition. 

FOR many, the anticipation of seeing a difficult year end and a successful one begin can be hard to sustain amid the apprehension - both economic and social - that is spreading throughout our world.

People are anxious - from Paris to New York, Sydney to Shanghai - and in our own backyards. No one is immune. People are fearful about whether they will be able to ride out the rough times that will inevitably lie ahead, preserve their savings, maintain their businesses, educate their children, keep a roof over their heads and even feed themselves. Who will look after them?

The arrival of a new year, of course, should be a time of excitement and expectation as we prepare to unwind for a few days, see friends and family, and exchange greetings or gifts. Some among us may also resolve to be better people in the coming year.

So, how do we resolve the disparity between our apprehension and our expectation of better things in the days ahead?

Part of the answer lies in looking beyond current challenges to consider that our crucial focus must be the desire for extended peace, economic prosperity and hope for a better future together.

May this Year of the Ox ease apprehensions and restore our confidence ...

But in the midst of our New Year's celebrations - a time of devotion, sacrifice and spiritual renewal - let us also work for something more.

In Cambodia, and among our brothers and sisters in Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Sri Lanka, let us spread a message this new year of our commitment to the fundamental equality of all and freedom for all.

It is a failure to respect others that engenders so much of our social and personal disquiet.

This holds true, as well, in matters of commerce.

The values of trust, honour and reliability have simply buckled under the weight of our collective greed and led to a reluctance to belong and to contribute to our communities.

Rampant and unregulated commercialism has rocked our global trust and must be replaced by a more responsible capitalism and a closer relationship between the creation of wealth and its stewardship for the common good.

The advent of Khmer New Year gives us all an opportunity to reflect on the kind of society we want for ourselves and our children, and a motivation to work together to achieve it.

In that spirit, The Phnom Penh Post extends its best wishes to every household for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. May this Year of the Ox ease apprehensions and restore our confidence in others and in ourselves.

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