​You can say that again! - 2002's quotable quotes | Phnom Penh Post

You can say that again! - 2002's quotable quotes


Publication date
20 December 2002 | 07:00 ICT

Reporter : Post Staff

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"The CPP is worried that its strength will be undermined if dual nationalities

inside the party feel they have the right to speak out or talk to people outside

it ... Expelling members ensures others are loyal to the party." - An anonymous

CPP source on the reasons behind the sacking of a fourth CPP senator, Keo San, on

January 4.

"If you do not make a contribution in three months, you face being fired.

I am sorry. I put the blame on you because I want to strengthen the party."-

Fun-cinpec's president Prince Norodom Ranariddh demands financial loyalty from his

legislators one month before the party's disastrous performance in the commune elections.

"Take the example of the most recent fires. After we came back to the station,

my friend asked me, 'How much money did you make?'. Even my relatives said this year

must have been a very good one for me." - Phnom Penh fire chief Suon Sopheak

on the widespread perception that the fire brigade is corrupt.

"The candle light can burn us and cut down the number of our supporters when

we are weak." - Ranariddh refers to the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) symbol,

a burning candle, as he acknowledges the SRP is eroding his party's voter base.

"Whether I should vote is not important, because no political party is going

to improve our living conditions. But if the King had his own political party then

I would vote. We are beer girls and we will remain beer girls." - Lin Pesey,

a Phnom Penh beer girl, on the relevance of the commune elections.


"If you hear there is a road blocked by a group of men with guns, don't go

down the road. Just make a note of it - that's good enough." - The Asia Foundation

elections advisor Tim Meis-burger has some advice for international observers.

"Some people say the election was free but not fair. I say the election was

free and fair enough. From country to country, elections are different. If you don't

understand this, please go and learn more. International standards exist only in

sport." - Hun Sen's reply on February 7 to commune election observers, who said

the elections were not entirely free and fair.

"The only electoral policy that Funcinpec had was not to antagonize the CPP.

If the CPP stood for the status quo, the SRP represented change. As for Funcinpec,

it was neither here nor there." - Political analyst Dr Lao Mong Hay comments

on why the royalists did so badly in the commune elections.

"What we need to reconsider is the conditions of our coalition. So far it

has been only the CPP that has benefited from what was supposed to be a mutually

beneficial agreement." - Funcinpec senator Kem Sokha gives his assessment. He

resigned from the party in October after a car crash that he said was an assassination


"The manner in which it was done suggests an attempt to provoke Hun Sen."

- A Phnom Penh-based diplomat on the UN's handling of its decision to quit the KR

tribunal process on February 8.

"God forbid, if one day Rainsy disappears from the political scene, the party

would probably collapse like a house of cards." - A political

observer criticizes

the SRP for relying too heavily on its dominant personality.



"You would scarcely know from a light reading of his biography, but virtually

his entire career during the Democratic Kampu-chea regime seemed to be focused on

killing people." - US academic Craig Etcheson, in reviewing the autobiography

of the late KR commander Ke Pok, finds much of its content devoid of truth.

"We cannot allow them all to fly ... they will die." - A senior official

at the country's aviation authority, the SSCA, voices concern over operating licenses

being issued to airlines due to "political interference from the top".

"I want to tell everyone exactly who killed my husband, and if someone wants

to come and take my life, please take it. If I try to hide what happened then the

killers will carry on doing this forever." - Soy Tha, widow of Funcinpec candidate

Thon Phally, laments the death of her husband who was shot dead during the run-up

to February's commune elections. The two men she identifies as the killers are subsequently

acquitted of the crime.

"If there is one bad apple, it doesn't mean the whole barrel is rotten. Across

the whole board in every country you are going to find something like this. The fact

that you're able to find it says something." - Pact representative Kurt MacLeod,

after the Cambodian Institute of Human Rights (CIHR) is investigated for fraud and

misuse of funds.


"We denounce the impunity in Cambodia. It just shows that the judiciary has

no credibility whatsoever." - Five years after a deadly grenade attack on a

rally of the Khmer Nation Party (now the SRP), Sam Rainsy criticizes the lack of

action in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

"Those who cut the bridge are responsible for linking it again." - Hun

Sen advisor Om Yen-tieng spells out the role that the UN should take in getting the

KR trial back on track.

"The sad thing is that you have a lot of real orphans here, but you also

have a lot of unscrupulous, indeed criminal, people who acquire children by illicit

means, and everyone, including the parents is taken advantage of." - US Ambassador

Kent Weide-mann on the 'endemic' incidence of child trafficking, which accounts for

some of the country's children available for adoption overseas.

"The Year of the Horse will bring thieving, robbery and chaos. The people

do not respect the King, students do not respect their teachers, and the people do

not respect government officials." - Phnom Penh seer Kouch Ngoun Seng has some

grim news as Cambodia rings in the Khmer New Year on April 14.


Still in the news: King Sihanouk kept the country guessing with abdication rumors.

"In a private conversation with me, the King said he is concerned that the

monarchy is seen by some as no longer serving the needs of the country, and could

be abolished in favor of a republic." - A Palace insider tells of King Sihanouk's

worries at the lack of a law to regulate the Throne Council, which appoints the next


"Both the United Nations and the Cambodian government are abrogating their

responsibility to us, the victims, and also to the perpetrators. They are failing

us. They are failing the truth." - DC-Cam director Youk Chhang lambastes both

sides for the KR tribunal impasse.

"Don't make bad karma. Don't steal things. Don't rape someone's wife."

- Sek Yi, believed to be 119-years-old and with around 500 living descendants, explains

the secret of his long life.

"As we say in Cambodia, it is not correct to cut the head to fit the hat,

or to cut the feet to fit the shoes." - Prum Sokha, sec-retary of state at the

Ministry of Interior, tells a decentralization conference on May 6-7 why the country

must choose its own model.

"If I were Hun Sen, I would keep playing golf." - Rana-riddh when asked

by reporters May 22 what the Prime Minister likely thinks about Funcinpec's woes,

including the formation of a new royalist party by Ranariddh's half-brother.

"Prince Ranariddh asked me to leave the position of Interior Minister, and

I accept that. I am happy to leave [my post] and I respect Prince Ranariddh as the

party chief." - You Hokry tells reporters on May 23 that he will stay on until

a replacement is found and approved by the National Assembly. That has not yet happened.


"Now we wait like the bamboo stems wait to fill with rain. I don't know which

day the rain will come, just as I don't know which day the second kit will come into

my hands." - Demobilization blues strike ex-Captain Sath Som On as he waits

for his final payout package six months on.

"If there is [a confrontation], please use your teeth to bite each other.

Don't take the govern-ment's weapons for fighting." - Hun Sen warns political

parties not to use the armed forces to settle internal bickering.

"Sometimes I want to fight [the Vietnamese] instead of being patient with

them. I will not allow anyone to take our land, not even that amounting to one hand's

length." - The patience of Svay Rieng's governor, Hun Neng, wears thin over

a border dispute.


A year to forget: Funcinpec's Norodom Ranariddh and party members July 11.

Where has the money gone? Protestors ask donors before the June meeting.

"We will explain to the people why they are poor: We will show that it is

not due to sinning in a previous life." - The SRP's Meng Rita on establishing

village councils to attract votes.

"Prevalence of peace, political stability and understanding, democratic principles

and practices taking firm roots..." - Hun Sen highlights the last decade's achievements

at the annual donors' meeting.

"We want to break the dam. [It] may have cost a billion dollars, but the

lives of Cambodians are worth more than that." - A villager speaks out as problems

with Vietnam's Yali Falls dam continue.

"The King will stay on as long as possible to provide shade for the nation."

- Opposition MP Son Chhay after meeting with the King to discuss his proposed draft

law to regulate the Throne Council.




"There are many people around the prince who please him to serve their own

interests and if the party gets into severe problems these people will either return

to the US or join the CPP." - Senior Funcinpec official accuses Ranariddh of

stifling debate and surrounding himself with supporters who lack loyalty.

"If I had the support of about 98 percent of the votes like the CPP, I would

not be afraid of drafting a law acceptable to all political parties, civil society

and the international community." - The leader of the newly formed Chakrapong

Khmer Spirit Party, Prince Norodom Chak-rapong, criticizes the National Election


"I have changed my idea quickly because I launched and tested it, and it

got a bad reaction." - Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara decides not to remove

homeless people from the city's streets before the ASEAN meeting in November.


"In today's Cambodia anything goes, and this episode shows convincingly that

Hun Sen and the CPP want to keep the King quiet." - Ambassador Julio Jeldres,

the King's official biographer, on the lack of respect he says is being shown to

the King.

"[The senior leaders] may not have killed people directly, but they gave

orders to others to do so." - Former Tuol Sleng guard Chim Theang, calling for

senior KR to be held responsible for the killings, rather than low-level cadres.

"It doesn't matter whether we love each other or not. It is the same as in

a marriage - we cannot choose a good or bad wife." - Ranariddh believes the

CPP and Funcinpec will continue their alliance after the next election.

"The problem is not only tourists. We want to protect children whatever nationality

the offender is." - Laurence Gray of NGO World Vision tries to ensure the focus

on pedophiles includes local offenders.


"My plan was not to have these developments to please ASEAN's leaders - [the

meeting] happens to have coincided with our plans." - CHEA Sophara says beautifying

Phnom Penh is an ongoing mission and not related to the ASEAN summit.

"I think that Cambodian journalists who want to release articles about the

corruption of the powerful risk ending up like pigs going to slaughter." - Chey

Makara, one of two journalists working for Chakraval who were arrested and detained

on September 21 after publishing two articles on smuggling.

"The time has come here to end impunity for the most heinous crimes. Victims

cannot wait any longer." - Gianfranco Dell'Alba, an Italian member of the European

parliament, appealing to the international community and the government to reach

agreement over the genocide tribunal.


"I am strongly against rice Christianity. I do not want people to buy other

peoples' faith. The hit and run missionaries leave Cambodia after they try to buy

peoples' faith, and we are left behind to suffer." - The chairman of a Cambodian

Christian group reflects on anti-Christian sentiment. That comes after a Buddhist

group distributes letters warning of imminent religious war.

"Unfortunately justice is not the same for people who are rich and powerful,

and people who are poor and weak. The law should apply to everybody in the same way,

but it does not." - Peter Leuprecht, the UN's special representative for human

rights in Cambodia, lists the most pressing human rights issues in Cambodia.

"The companies pretend to have timber resources that don't exist any more.

So will the World Bank end up with having ghost soldiers cutting down ghost trees?"

- Global Witness's Marcus Hardtke draws comparisons between corruption in the demobilization

program, and the allegation that logging companies have stuffed logged-out coupes

with trees to make them appear economically viable.

"It is frightening to think that 20 people can rape a women at the same time,

and consider this a fun, bonding experience between males." - Luke Bearup, a

research coordinator for local NGO Gender and Development for Cambodia, on the alarming

statistics taken from a survey on youth attitudes.


"We are not hopeful about what we discussed with the government, because

based on what DFW says, they never talk about people's livelihoods. They always say

development, investment, development, investment. They always focus on the concessionaire."

- Villager Pich Pun isn't hopeful that the government will change plans that critics

say will leave communities without viable forests.

"Our military assets are obsolete. The airforce has only one or two helicopters

that can fly, all our attack aircraft are grounded, and our ships are filled with

holes." - Brigadier-General Suon Sam-nang tells the Post if there were terrorist

activities here, the country would be unable to deal with them.

"The CPP and Funcinpec are like an aircraft. If the wing on one side is broken,

the plane will crash." -

PM Hun Sen endorses the coalition with Funcinpec.

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