Monday, March 9, 2009

Selected Comments at the Graduation Ceremony of Students at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP)

05 March 08

My wife and I are so glad to join with all of the 1,448 graduates, in the presence of diplomats from friendly countries, for diploma bestowment ceremony, after my suggestion to reschedule the previously proposed date to today. It is quite simple for the understanding on the rescheduling since we had to host the visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia of the newly elect Prime Minister HE Samak Sundaravej of the Kingdom of Thailand. I think it is a fruitful visit for the benefit of the two countries.

I would like to take this opportune moment to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to the graduates' parents and superintendents for their supports and commitments to help these students to achieve their important stage in studies. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, faced with difficulties and shortages, and fierce blockade from external forces, we were able to achieve progress in the field of education, in which the RUPP plays very crucial role. The RUPP since then has recorded 12 graduations, whereas the first graduation was for students who pursued their studies in what we called the combined stream of superior pedagogy and foreign language.

We have come through various stages of hardship. An actual problem that we could not find a solution for is the echo system of the common hall, which is like that in the Olympic Stadium. A great number of graduates from the RUPP could go for further education in the National Institute for Education (NIE) after which they would become professors for universities or for education field as a whole.

I just heard siren passing by twice as I am here. I wanted my bodyguards to check whose convoy is it that has such a siren - or is it the ambulance, the fire brigade or some important persons? My convoy does not use siren and why they are making so loud noise. I have once warned that along this road where major educational institutions are located any noise making as such should not be applied. I said with an exception for ambulance, fire brigade unit, or convoy of foreign delegations, etc. Why they cannot wait till they passed this area before putting up their siren and I would suggest to the Governor of Phnom Penh to consider putting more signs prohibiting horn blowing,. Quite often the case in point has often been those with high ranks. I would urge them to reconsider their behaviors.

As for this University I have come many times. First I came when we decided to establish the RUPP during the time that the country was under sanction. As I said sanction does not work all the way. The one who would suffer from sanction were the people at large. However, a victory from very easy cause would not be as valuable as the one from a hard-won one. Take for instance we have scored peace and stability thanks to the devotion and contribution of the Cambodian leaders whereas our people could now see on TVs many life inflicting conflicts happen in many countries. All this is thanks to the freedom of press where in Cambodia we have cable TV of more than 70 channels. The new cable TV station is going to have 100 channels. This is good for people of all races who stay long and short term in the country to keep close their native counties. I thank Konrad Adenauer Foundation from Germany for assisting the RUPP in establishing and operation of the Faculty of Journalism.

It is important to note that one has more to learn although s/he finishes their study at the University already. For example, I have become a professor in my own home since my children who have finished their studies already have come to seek advice and explanation on many important subjects. For me if I do not have information, I would say I do not have food. I would like to have your attention that the country is in the stream of market economy which competition is the norm for achieving own goals. A person without education, knowledge could not be recruited for any job at all. We just propose a law on opportunity for handicaps in the public as well as private sector. But the handicaps, in order to be recruited, have to be well educated.

I would like to stress here that market economy does not have pity on anyone or anything. Only the best will get the best work and achievement. I have a story that I want you all to know. It is about uncle "Khlok" who wants to be the village head. He said one day that "the village head Kan" would stand to be the head of the village as long as he is elected. According to him this is a violation of the youth rights because this would not give a chance for the youth to become the head of the village. Then a clever young man asked uncle Khlok if he means we all will become the heads of the village. Khlok said, well I will assume that position. The youth asked but why do you say uncle Kan hinders us? So you trick us to remove uncle Kan and you (Mr. Khlok) will benefit from this removal.

I think you might find it a useful idea to listen to the story about helping each other. It was a story of a man who rows the boat with another man who is a learned man. The learned man asks the man who rows the boat if he can read or write? The man said that he cannot. The learned man said well you have lost 25% (of the opportunity) and that's why you are destined to rowing the boat. He then asks if the man has numerical knowledge. He responded no. The learned man then said again that you have lost another 25%. The boat rowing then continues. The learned man asked if the rower knows physics or other subjects. His reply was no. 75% loss was his mark given by the learned person. After a while, the rower asks the learned man if he knows how to swim. The learned man said no. The rower then says "not 25% or 75% but you have lost 100% because here the storm comes. I say good bye now."

The country has started from those who know more teach those who know less and those who do not know. We also had this belief of learning as continuing efforts. Cambodia before 1998 was not a single country but a country ruled in more than one factions. Between 1979 and 1993 alone, the country was under four controls - the Government in Phnom Penh, the Tripartite Coalition Government of Funcinpec, Son San's Khmer People National Liberation Front (KPNLF) and the Khmer Rouge. As now we have united the whole country thanks to the win-win solution, we should not be misled by "removing the head of the village" as was proposed back in 2003.

I would say the electoral results will be the factor that decides and I would not hesitate to rebuke in return no matter what rank you may be because in politics everyone is equal. If you strike a blow on someone, a return blow should be expected. The person I am talking about has claimed that he had abandoned the opportunity of being the King in favor of the current HM the King. And his queer remark "HM the King does not help him in return" is so absurd. When did this person become the King that he claims he gave it up in favor of someone else? It is an insulting remark for HM the King as well as the Throne Council who have voted for HM the King.

I just want to recall that after being tried and proven guilty, the person will have according to law to serve two-third of the jailed term before the Royal Government could consider amnesty proposal to HM the King. One should not try to turn a criminal case to politics. I warn him of the so-called "international pressure" being inflicted upon Hun Sen as I don't worry about that. He said that so and so Ambassador had a meeting with me to bring upon me the pressure. As a matter of fact the discussion was never about that person. Unfortunately no one mentions about him in the meeting with me. I just warn him not to involve HM the King or me personally in his case within his Party and/or his marriage, etc.

The forthcoming elections will proceed smoothly even if that person does not take part because his Party will contest anyway. We could not consider the case as in the 1998 election because this time his problem has nothing to do with me or HM the King but all to himself.

I have learned about the project to build a new building for use as library in adjacent to the current Hun Sen library. It is supposed to be financially sponsored by the World Bank. It has taken quite sometimes now that the construction has yet to start. I would urge speedy negotiation or we should pool our charity resources to build it on our own. I am ready for the project revival and implementation./.


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