Former Prime Minister Hun Sen delved into a deeply personal retrospective, recalling seminal events that have occurred in January throughout the years that shaped not only his life but the destiny of Cambodia. He noted the need to highlight milestones from his past so that they would remain vivid in memory.

As head of the Supreme Privy Council to the King, Hun Sen’s reflections, shared in a January 1 social media post, are seen by observers as more than mere memories, but as pivotal moments that every Cambodian should be aware of and remember.

“I suffered injuries to my right shoulder in a battle on January 1, 1975. My wedding day was January 5, 1976 and Victory Day, the day the Cambodian people survived the Pol Pot regime, was January 7, 1979. This was a common achievement of our nation,” he recounted.

He noted his election as the leader of a party comprising seven members at a meeting on January 8, 1979. Later that day, he was appointed as foreign minister. 

“I was elected president of the Council of Ministers on the morning of January 14, 1985. On January 20-21, 1988, the second talks between the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and myself were held in France,” he added.

He continued that in January 1977, his wife Bun Rany was pregnant with their child, who would later be named Hun Manet, now succeeding him as the prime minister of the seventh-mandate government. 

“There are still many other events which I have not yet recalled,” he said.

Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said Hun Sen’s comments included historical facts that every citizen should be aware of. 

“I understand that the former prime minister’s comments about January’s events are historical truths essential for all Cambodians, given his extensive involvement and leadership in state affairs,” he said.

He continued that Hun Sen had brought the country comprehensive peace and an end to war, enabling the country’s participation in regional and global affairs.

“It is imperative to seek understanding of the events that concern his life,” he added.

Heang Sokha, a 75-year-old resident of Phnom Penh, said Hun Sen’s remembrance of the events is beneficial for new generations, especially regarding the civil war, to prevent its recurrence. 

“For me and those who experienced wartime, I prefer not to dwell on the events due to the immense pain and loss, including the loss of my father to starvation. We lived in thirst,” she said.

She expressed gratitude for having survived the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime and witnessing the peace in the country today, hoping that future generations would not endure similar hardships.

Chey Tech, an independent socio-economic analyst, said the summaries of significant events related to Hun Sen reflect both the personal life of the former prime minister, including his triumphs and tribulations, and the broader national movements of liberation, peace negotiations, democracy establishment and national development, all of which are critical for every Cambodian to acknowledge and understand.

“The achievements are crucial to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s [CPP] leadership, particularly that of Hun Sen. The key events he outlined serve as historical lessons that Cambodians must remember in order to appreciate the significance of peace, fundamental to the Kingdom’s socio-economic progress,” he added.