Heng Krishna, 27, is studying political science at People’s Friendship University of Russia in Moscow, but he has not yet told his parents. He said that he told his mother that he is studying law, because she would not let him study politics.
Politics is a serious word for a family who suffered from civil war for three decades. Consequently, Krishna’s family prohibits its members from getting involved.
However, Krishna said that he has loved politics since he was young and wanted to be a politician. When he was in high school, he said that he always discussed politics, history and other social issues with his friends. For Krishna, politics refers to the art of leadership and control of a country and the participation of the people in government in order to achieve success.
Krishna first arrived in Russia in 2006 to pursue his Bachelor’s degree. After graduating, he decided to stay in Moscow to pursue his master’s. He is now president of the Khmer Students Group in Russia.
Some people think that Russia is a communist country like Vietnam or China, but Krishna does not think so. He said that although it is not as democratic as the United States or countries in the European Union, it is still better than Cambodia’s democracy, adding that youths and citizens are proud to speak up and criticise the government in public. However, Krishna said that hard work is the most important part of studying politics.
“Whether you study politics in Moscow or in Washington is not important, but try to study hard. That is the best way to success.”
Money, however, is a challenge because the scholarship money is not enough to cover all expenses, and goods are much more expensive in Russia than in Cambodia. Therefore, Krishna must work part time as an assistant lecturer of Khmer politics and language at a university in Moscow.
Although Heng Krishna lives in Moscow, he always cares about Cambodia’s situation by reading news and talks with his friends.
With parliamentary elections being held on July 28, Krishna said that youths are more active in politics than the last election because they are better educated, have access to more information, and use social media to speak out.
“Cambodian youths should go to vote if they want to make a positive change. To develop their knowledge and skills, they should read books as much as possible. Read while others read, and still read while others sleep.”