Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Can Khmer noodles ease tension?



Can Khmer noodles ease tension?

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen has told CPP members to eat Khmer noodles with CNRP supporters as an act of ‘brotherhood, because we all are Cambodian, one large family’. HUN SEN’S FACEBOOK PAGE

Can Khmer noodles ease tension?

Analysts have said that while recent calls by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Sam Rainsy to their supporters to eat Khmer noodles together may ease the situation at the local level, relations between the long-standing political rivals were still tense.

Hun Sen on Monday told members of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to go into the community on Sunday and eat Khmer noodles with supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

On Tuesday, CNRP “acting president” Sam Rainsy appealed to his supporters on Facebook to eat noodles with “neighbours” happily and without fear.

“Please brothers, sisters, nephews, invite our neighbours to eat Khmer noodles together. If they invite us to eat with them, just go ahead happily in brotherhood because we all are Cambodian, one large family,” Rainsy wrote.

Hun Sen’s calls for his supporters to eat Khmer noodles drew public attention to the 35 CNRP members and supporters summoned for questioning by the Battambang provincial court for allegedly showing support for Rainsy while gathering for the popular dish.

Political analyst Em Sovannara said that Hun Sen and Rainsy’s recent words would ease the situation at the local level.

“It is good at the community level that both rival leaders have paved the way for their followers not to become extreme. It could make them open up their hearts to communicate with each other and work together. This is a good concept that will make local supporters not be at odds with each other,” he said.

Vengefulness, vindictiveness and hatred among rival supporters would be reduced, he added.

However, Hun Sen and Rainsy were still fierce rivals whose attacks had moved beyond the political into the personal, Sovannara said.

Rainsy was keeping up his offensive against Hun Sen by raising controversial topics.

On Sunday, he claimed without any substance that Hun Sen’s son-in-law Dy Vichea, with the support of Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, was looking for a chance to take revenge on the prime minister over the death of his father Hok Lundy in a 2008 helicopter crash.

The prime minister in response called Rainsy a “dog” and “the son of a national traitor”.

“We don’t see any improvement to the situation with the two leaders that could lead to talks between them. But their recent statements could make local-level supporters friendlier with each other."

“I think this is a positive development at the local level, but it is still tense with the top leadership,” he said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said while one could only hope for the best, it would be wiser to stick to the old adage “seeing is believing” when it came to Cambodian politics. “Anything can happen out of the blue,” he said.

The spokesperson for the ruling CPP, Sok Eysan, said on Tuesday that eating noodles and showing support for the CNRP and Rainsy was illegal.

He said eating Khmer noodles in solidarity for the sake of peace and security was a common practice among Cambodian people.

“The rebel group hopes to eat noodles with the CPP, but there is no way out for the leader of the illegal rebel group. Don’t try sneaking in with the chance offered by the CPP. The CPP gives the green light only to former [CNRP] members and not leaders,” Eysan said.

Sin Rozeth, the former CNRP O’Char commune chief in Battambang province, said she had seen fewer customers at her Khmer noodle shop since receiving a court summons because people feared being accused of violating the Supreme Court verdict as she had.

“As a normal citizen, I am happy when I hear such words from the leader of the government. It also makes local CNRP members happy because in the past we have faced a lot of problems. Like at my noodle shop, staff and customers have received court summonses."

“If Hun Sen said this, we the summoned people feel better now, even if my business is worse off,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in