Some young Phnom Penh monks are showing a degree of community spirit and concern
for their brother monks that is upsetting their superiors.
They have been providing answers and assistance to monks who have been sitting exams
at Norodom School in Phnom Penh.
And they have not been too subtle about it. A favored trick has been for a young,
and presumably agile, monk to shin up a tree adjacent to the examination room and
hurl the answers which are wrapped round a rock into the classroom.
A security guard from the Ministry of Cults and Religion cautioned the Post reporter
to keep a constant eye skywards while walking in the school grounds to avoid being
hit by answers that fell short of the target.
"You must be careful of the rocks," he said and then added cheating was
down about 70 percent on previous years.
A small group of monks, about 20 years old, were outside the school when the Post
arrived. There was a polite but tense discussion going on between them and another
monk who had just left the exam. "Did you throw it in," the monk asked
the group. "No" they answered, blaming the monk in the tree for the failure.
More discussion ensued and they decided to swap the monk in the tree for one with
a better aim.
When asked what they were doing one of the monks replied: "we are trying to
help the monks inside because Pali is a very difficult subject."
Under-secretary of State for the Ministry of Religion Dok Narin said he was concerned
about the situation and would be launching an investigation saying people who indulged
in such activities should not be monks.
He said monks who hung onto walls or climbed trees to facilitate cheating demeaned
religion in the eyes of the people.
But it was not only the aerial monks that were causing concern. Another group tried
to force their way into the school but were turned back by the security guard. They
then unleashed a barrage of abuse and foul language at the man.
Narin agreed that these monks were unruly and not suitable for ordination.
He said that they wanted to tighten up the examination procedures so that the monks
who cheated could not eclipse those who studied hard.