Having been destroyed by war over two decades, Cambodia is now experiencing numerous
untold social problems ranging from dearth of food to breakdown of morality.
All these problems are no doubt the consequences of war. Those who have borne the
brunt are the innocent people who are victims of political and ideological differences
pursued by the leaders.
At present, Cambodia is having peace and relatively political stability for the first
time in three decades. But the country, nevertheless, continues to be perceived,
especially in the foreign media, as a country full of violence, lawlessness, corruption
and so on. Some foreign tourists are of the opinion that Cambodia is still not a
safe place to visit right now.
Cambodians, who are among the most unfortunate people living on earth, have suffered
enough in the last 30 years. They deserve a better opportunity than this.
But, alas, they are still condemned to poverty and overwork. According to the latest
report of the World Bank, almost half of the Cambodians are living below the poverty
It is time for the Royal Government, which has been self-named as the "Economic
Government", to tackle the problems to better the condition of the people (alleviation
To do this, the Government should deal directly with corruption and law violation,
which are widely prevalent in the country and a hindrance to development. It is well
accepted that there could be no real development as long as the country is corruption-ridden
and does not have the rule of law.
All these bad practices have gone to such an extent that they scare away potential
foreign investors and tourists, who could otherwise help boost our slow-growing economy.
So it is the challenge for the top leaders of the country, especially Samdech Hun
Sen, to undertake.
Cambodian people, including myself, firmly believe that Samdech can do it. And now
it is the best chance the country has ever had since peace is dawning on the country.
Therefore, Samdech does not need to contemplate fighting the war any more, but poverty
If Samdech could really tackle these problems and help the people out of poverty,
his name will go down in history as a great hero and the people will never forget
I am really sorry to hear that some high-ranking officials are allegedly involved
in corrupt practices, which have almost become a chronic disease. These VIPs are
perhaps betraying their own ideals and objectives, which they had presumably cherished
as students. It is now not too late for them to reconsider and correct themselves
where they have gone wrong.
In the mean time, it is vital to preserve the forest, which has been extensively
logged. According to a Global Witness report, if the logging activities continue,
within five years Cambodia will become a desert in southeast Asia.
It is understood that when the forest is unduly cut down, there will not be any sustainable
development in the country besides natural disasters.
It is ironic that we Buddhists, who are supposed to be friendly towards nature, are
doing the opposite. The Buddha has reminded us that those who preserve forest and
do reforestation will accumulate merit day and night (Aramaropa vannaropa ye jana
... punnam niccam vaddhati). Therefore, we as Buddhists should follow his teachings.
Hereby, it is hoped that the leaders of Cambodia would put the policies right, regarding
corruption, deforestation, law violation ... etc and lead the nation to prosperity
and reputation, so that they will be worthy of respect by the Cambodian people
- Bhikkhu Aggadhiro, Khy Sovanratana, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka