The Post seemed to get overexcited by the anticorruption razz-matazz held a few weeks
ago. It edited and published in the latest edition the Prime Minister's how-it-can-be-done
speech that was so faultless that it could easily cure any insomniac's problem. The
Post screamed over the rooftop with a double-page spread alerting readers to the
out-of-control corruption and appealed all to join in the fight.
Relax. It is unlikely that the Post would get, in the words of the Gecko, the "Global
As an expat, the Post would be forgiven for an apparent lack of an appreciation of
the local thinking on corruption. The Khmer equivalent to corruption is puok rolouy,
which refers to something rotting and giving off a foul smell. This explains why
many people, including some expats, prefer to breathe through their mouth when coming
across those who are "rotten."
Nevertheless, the local thinking is this: anything that rots will eventually fall
off by itself. No action is necessary; time will fix it. Cambodians have been through
the process so many times that they now feel at ease and wait in pain for the next
There may be a slight side effect, however. Every time the rotten go, the whole country
turns upside down. But, again, the people are used to it, and their ability to "accommodate"
and suffer enduringly is second to none.
Ung Bun-Ang - Senator, Sam Rainsy Party