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

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol