Monthly Archives: November 2015

Youths must condemn any young male who abused/killed his girlfriend!

Unofficial Translation from The Phnom Penh Post’s Khmer edition
TUESDAY, 24 NOVEMPBER 2015,
TONG SOPRACH

យុវជនត្រូវតែហ៊ានចេញមុខថ្កោលទោសយុវជនណា ដែលហ៊ានប្រើហិង្សាលើមិត្តស្រី!

The perpetrator who was English teacher stabbed to death his girlfriend and colleague. PHOTO: NATIONAL POLICE

The perpetrator who was English teacher stabbed to death his girlfriend and colleague. PHOTO: NATIONAL POLICE

The White-Ribbon Campaign for 16 days, November 25 to December 10, is a symbol of the elimination of the abuses in all forms against women and children. This includes physical, emotional, sexual and economic which involved in the division of incomes, cultures and status in both public and private daily life.

Gender-based violence, committed by both men and women, seem to be worsening as people today tend to bad-tempered and express their anger through violence, which undoubtedly lead to physical abuses. According to the researches and case studies, men are so much more likely to use to violence against women and girls; this concept is in the 19th recommendation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). While the general view sees gender-based violence as the consequence of poverty, this tendency are spreading to the rich, the educated, and the higher position. The main cause of the violence is triangle love or love affairs, which is also linked to jealousy that a married man involved in love another woman.

Based on the National Survey on Women’s Health and Life Experience in Cambodia found that 21 percent of women who interviewed had suffered physical or sexual violence or both by an intimate partner. While, 8.1 percent of young women who age 15-24 responded that they had experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence within the past 12 months (WHO, 2015).

Currently, Gender-based violence resulted from triangle love or love affair is widespread among young people, even those who are educated, which has emerged to be a big concern. It takes many forms of abuse, such as acid attack, torture, murder, rape, and gang rape. Just in the previous week, there were three cases of gender-based violence perpetrated by young males. Case 1: a young man who worked as an ESL teacher in BELTEI International School branch in Takmao stabbed his fiancée to death because she who teaches the same school wanted to finish their relationship and she accused the perpetrator of having secret love with another girl. Case 2: In Sankat Sanke of Phnom Penh, a young man who employed at a tourism company confined and tortured his girlfriend, who is a medical student. Case 3: A young female factory worker was gang-raped by 4 of her co-workers that one of them as her boyfriend in Oudong District, Kampong Speu province. These three cases were reported by varies local daily newspapers.

Do these young men imitate the older people, who use violence on their wife and lovers, which they see on the news or Facebook? Have they experienced or witnessed violence in their own family relationships? With such increasing trend, why do the Cambodian youths not publicly condemn those young men who used brutal violence against his girlfriend? In general, some youths express their anger and criticism toward the violence in their rough Facebook posts and comments while many others do nothing, different from Indian youth who have organized demonstrations to oppose to, condemn and demand the severe punishment on a group of men who gang-raped and abuse a female medical student to death on the public bus in 2012 (BBC).

Meanwhile, PM Hun Sen, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, as well as many NGOs who deal with women’s rights, have not reacted to or made any statement to oppose to ferocity from young men on their lovers. Yet, they made the statement to condemn the violence on celebrity, for example, the case of Miss. Sasa suffered from violence by Oknha Sok Bun, as if they have so much to do with it. (The PPPost & Asiaconrespondence.com). However, they did literally nothing to those who killed, torture or gang-rape their lovers, not even a single condemn letter. Apparently, the Ministry and those women or youth organizations, along with youth federation and networks, have not been doing much in preventing gender-based violence.

Why then does the 8th committee of the National Assembly responsible for women’s affairs never invite the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to present the development of Women’s and girls’ welfare and roles in the society? Have the National Action Plan for the Prevention of Violence Against Women (NAPVAW, 2014-2018) properly responded to the actual situation of women? We cannot just let the situation go out of hand, like the Roka commune case in Battambang province, where the Minister of Health struggled explained after HIV transmitted was already spread all over the commune. Undoubtedly, that was too late. Similarly, participating in the annual White-Ribbon Campaign does not help much once per year. Without follow-up campaigns, the awareness of women’s issues was almost forgotten.

This is a dangerous problem, which is popular among young people, who may imitate it from their peers. Women become more and more afraid as men tend to be more and more ferocious, even if they are educated. This is because of interchange between conservation to modernization which lead to impact from premarital sex (Soprach, 2008) and to jealous and violence among young people.

Hence young people should think about the future; especially, the decisions in involved in sex with their partner, the roots cause of the problem lead to violence. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs should increase more gender budget in 2016 in wide dissemination of the laws related to violence against women in a comprehensive response to key strategy in the 4-year plan (NAPVAW, 2014-2018). However, women’s and youth’s organizations should organized vigorous campaign against the youth’s actions on his girlfriend.

Tong Soprach is a social-affairs columnist for the Post’s Khmer edition.

Comments: soprach.tong@phnompenhpost.com

Tom & Jerry Series 9: In principle, violence against humanity must be avoided

Unofficial Translation from The Phnom Penh Post’s Khmer edition
TUESDAY, 17 NOVEMPBER 2015,
TONG SOPRACH

This local context “*”:
*Tom refers to Hun Sen, Prime Minister, Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
* Tom’s partner refers to Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister, Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) and Minister of Interior.
*Jerry refers to Sam Rainsy, house minority leader at the National Assembly and Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) President.
* Jerry’s Partner refers to Kem Sokha, First Vice-president (Stepped down last month) at the National Assembly and CNRP Vice-president.

ឆ្មា និងកណ្ដុរវគ្គទី ៩: ជាគោលការណ៍ត្រូវបញ្ចៀសអំពើឃោរឃៅប្រឆាំងនឹងមនុស្សជាតិឲ្យបាន

An episode of Tom & Jerry cartoon which used their tricks. PHOTO SUPPLIED

An episode of Tom & Jerry cartoon which used their tricks. PHOTO SUPPLIED

“If CPP lost 2018 national election, a war would break out” Hun Sen repeatedly threatened to the opposition party CNRP and to general publics. This is to create fear among Cambodian people and resemble to Tom & Jerry cartoon of which both protagonists are trapping each other in one occasion and becoming friends in another sometimes.

“When it flooded, Fish eat Ants and When it dried, Ants eat Fish” Khmer saying: This slogan had been used by Tom mocking Jerry while they are in friendship atmosphere. Tom urges Jerry not to take up hateful revenge as it has happened before in Khmer tragic history but Tom only responds with a smile. Both Tom’s and Jerry’s color painting at sub-national level, meanwhile, are still whispering one another for the blue or red colors, which occasionally lead to fighting.

However, some of Jerry’s groups personally affiliated are expecting to make Tom’s group paying the price when the situation is suitable. This is an alarming message as a piece of match could be ignited a flame as violence suddenly flares up. In Egypt, violence could be omnipresent as a result of a young peddler self inflamed due to his personal abuses from the authority.

In light of the recent violent incident in Egypt, what roles Tom & Jerry could play in relation to Responsibility To Protect (R2P) human atrocity?

Apart from the messages hidden the encouragement to intensify violence at present time, in fact there are also act of violence fuelled by anger pending to explode when there is anything as an excuse and the social hatreds are deteriorated. The unsolved small bad problems become worse such as an accident between car and motorbike. When it happened, people are gathering, rounding up and assaulting the car driver or looting the driver’s personal belongings. This is because many drivers involved in traffic accidents are mostly “Hit-and-Run”.

There have been many other problems, which emerge to be government plague such as the big gaps between the powerful and the ordinary, the rich and the poor, corruptions, nepotism, marriage ties, abuses of power from authority and investors on innocent citizens such as eviction from their properties for lands grabbing, forest illegal logging and including assassinations. These incidents are happening every day.

These evil deeds, little by little, lead Cambodia to face major crime against humanity such as the genocide committed by Khmer Rouge, murdering more than 2 million own people and families separations during 1975-1979 period. In fact this tragedy was a consequence of social class conflicts within Khmers caused by abuses and exploitation committed by the rich and the bureaucrat respectively on the poor and the lower class people where there were no effective measures to settle anger and violence. The terrible tragedy was unforgettable from Cambodians at present time and it will be ready to explode again by just a stick of match.

Khmer leaders have been too proud of themselves citing self exaggerated that no one but themselves who were extraordinary, only their regimes could best develop prosperity, this is to include the leadership of the PM Hun Sen who often reiterates his grateful peace settlement with Khmer Rouge successfully and Hun Sen vows to avoid the repetition of Khmer Rouge regime, prevent and fight against violence in Cambodia in response to the 2005 UN resolution Responsibility To Protect (R2P) and during last year 10th International forum under ” Cambodia Taking the Leading Role in the Responsibility To Protect (R2P)” agenda for Asia-Pacific Region in ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh.

In fact the level of Cambodia response to the R2P principle is unclear. Assault incidents in late October, two Jerry men sustained serious injuries by Tom mobs, which Tom justified as the retaliation to the protests of his visits to New York and Paris and also motivated the ousted of the first NA Vice President by Jerry’s partner.

Jerry was extremely furious and verbally attacked Tom by resembling his actions as Fascist. A few days later, three assault suspects had turned themselves in confessing to their acts and Jerry apologized Tom for accusing Tom as Fascist. Hence Tom’s partner appealed to all authorities to protect Jerry group’s safety in order to lure Jerry group to continue their National Assembly sitting and proceed with the culture of dialogue. While the two members of parliament were hospitalized, Jerry’s the two injury members also urged to investigate and uncover who were behind their notorious attacks.

Although the leaping frog game played by Tom & Jerry has led to violence creating feuds between the two Parties and despite Jerry’s team was physically injured but politically momentum had gained. Both rival teams were together making public joint statement to prevent violence from national to sub-national levels describing the violence of this sort are affecting badly to local and international especially in the eyes of big investors. They would be hesitating to invest in Cambodia because of the non-fundamental security reasons. They would think that the Parliamentarians with full immunity are no exception from being attacked, so what about them?

In general the perceptions of both Tom & Jerry are focusing and preparing for 2018 general elections, that why they are striving to undermine each other from 2015 now on. They are attempting to challenge each other as Tom is making effort to defend his championship belt while Jerry is a potential challenger. Tom is accusing Jerry who faked their electorates visits as an election campaign and discrediting him, thus Jerry is charging back to Tom by saying Tom is using the same tactics again and again in public despite the events were long past.

Yet the 5 yearly championship rematch between Tom & Jerry, in democratic regime, it is normal for parliamentarians to visit their electorates and highlight the government wrong doings but not as an election campaign as it was not yet permitted by the NEC guidelines for 2018 elections. Though Tom is publicly self- proclaimed of what had been realized compared to his counterpart, delivering threatening messages which fuel violence as a catalyst to an atrocity against humanity.

In summary, in Cambodia, Tom & Jerry extravaganza should be exercised for the sake of public security and interest. The culture of dialogue should be especially continued to apply by all hierarchic levels to be Responsible To Prevent (R2P) violence, which could trigger human catastrophe as Cambodia had promised before International communities to fight and prevent violence in response to the Global Peace Treaty.

Tong Soprach is a social-affairs columnist for the Post’s Khmer edition.

Comments: soprach.tong@phnompenhpost.com

Tom & Jerry Series 8: From dialogue, Joint dinner now fighting

Unofficial Translation from The Phnom Penh Post’s Khmer edition
TUESDAY, 3 NOVEMPBER 2015,
TONG SOPRACH

This local context “*”:
*Tom refers to Hun Sen, Prime Minister, Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
* Tom’s partner refers to Sar Kheng, Deputy Prime Minister, Cambodian People’s Party    (CPP) and Minister of Interior.
*Jerry refers to Sam Rainsy, house minority leader at the National Assembly and Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) President.
* Jerry’s Partner refers to Kem Sokha, First Vice-president (Stepped down last week) at the National Assembly and CNRP Vice-president.

ឆ្មា & កណ្ដុរ វគ្គ៨៖ ចេញពីវគ្គសន្ទនា វគ្គបាយជាមួយគ្នា ចូលដល់វគ្គវ៉ៃគ្នាម្ដង

Tom & Jerry cartoon is full of tricks and fun for many children

Tom & Jerry cartoon is full of tricks and fun for many children

“The culture of dialogue started without any agenda such as the presence of the participants, the regular meeting monthly or bi-monthly and the requirement for the leaders of CPP and CNRP to meet and listen to one another’s problem, and put the political problems on the table to be solved for the benefit of the whole nation. Better than the Tom and Jerry still set fire on and poking one another. Who exactly does not make enough commitment to maintaining this dialogue culture? Tom or Jerry?

So far, Tom has always been bragging about himself being the pioneer of the dialogue culture, which is aimed to lessen the tension while Jerry assures us that he will maintain this culture too. Yet, in practice, only Jerry and Tom’s partner appear at the meeting, and the cunning cat still considers himself the superior and takes advantage of the dialogue. Still, when Tom and Jerry met in a joint dinner, it was Tom who said that Jerry exploited the meeting for political benefit. Irregular meeting between the two caused both of them to say harsh things on the microphone sometimes on the personal basis rather than the parties’ political tactics.

Tom’s main target is Jerry’s partner, and although Jerry advises his partner not to act so fast, Tom is still launching the attack in public, including the threat to dismiss Jerry’s partner, who has not said even a single word until now. The attacks seem to increase the popularity of Jerry’s partner, locally and abroad. Jerry’s partner has become more well-known while he has not done anything interest but just mocking Tom in order to make him angry so that he [Tom] will use harsh words, like he [Tom] often does.

The dispute between Tom and Jerry reached the peak when there was a demonstration against Tom’s visit in France, when banners demanding the resignation of Tom were raised. Though angry as he was, Tom dare not attack Jerry’s protester on the front hole, and instead chose the back hole is the only option to prevent the disgrace. Tom already warned that if there was a demonstration abroad by Jerry’s group, there would be one in the country too.

Apparently, that was true. Just one day after the demonstration in France, a play was presented, starred by Tom’s kinsman, many of which are the government officials and even the so-called neutral force [military]. This demonstration is not only opportunistic but also violent as two of Jerry’s kinsman [CNRP parliamentarians] were seriously injured while the angry Jerry compared Tom’s ruling to Fascist while Tom himself with his innocent face appeared on national TV and claimed that he did not have any sort of involvement in the demonstration, and created a investigating committee to arrest the assaulters, yet it would be surely going round and round, or maybe the assaulters were promoted to higher position in the government.

Eventually, just last weekend, Tom and his clan worked together to dismiss Jerry’s partner from his post, but still, Jerry’s partner has ignored it as that post was not what they desired. Furthermore, the violence from Tom’s clan on Jerry’s clan has ruined the recent seven-point joint statement made by Tom and Jerry which urged them to continue using dialogue culture and prevent the use of rough or bad words and threat, either verbal or gestural, and promote the mutual respect between the two.

Nevertheless, Tom has never shown any heed on the pressure from whomever or whichever country. He even violated the 1991 Paris Peace Accords and the other bi-party agreements, including the one which was aimed to lessen the tension on 22 July 2014. Why should he care since he got all the power in his hand, legitimately? Will there be any more agreements that provide Tom with power in the future? Can the dialogue culture go on since violence already burst out? How can the effort to improve dialogue culture be possible while Tom seems to mind every sensitive feature, even the criticism which is a part of the freedom of speech?

Based the theory of peace building, when the use of dialogue is no longer effective, Mediation shall be next step as the last resort, and the third neutral state/third person will be chosen as the mediator. But who or which country should be the mediator? For example, Indonesia was the host and the mediator, and her Minister of Foreign Affair, HE Ali Alatas, was the coordinator in the mediation between the four conflicting Cambodian parties at the end of the 80s before reaching the 1991 Paris Peace Accords.

Or shall the dialogue that has clear structure and regulation go on? Or should Tom and Jerry be invited to join Mediation and Build Peace training course for them to understand its concepts and practices in conflict resolution? They seem not to understand the dialogue and peace-building process. The real peace does not only mean the end of civil war, just like what Tom always claims. How will the author to develop our Tom & Jerry? Or will it end now?

In conclusion, the violence among Tom and Jerry has brought no good to the country and Cambodian people but instead benefit the political figure in the 2018 General Election. It is a feature that tells the world that “Cambodia, the Kingdom of Violence”.

Tong Soprach is a social-affairs columnist for the Post’s Khmer edition.

Comments: soprach.tong@phnompenhpost.com

Is the downfall of the showbiz due to superstars’ “super pride”?

Unofficial Translation from The Phnom Penh Post’s Khmer edition
TUESDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER 2015,
TONG SOPRACH

តើការធ្លាក់ចុះវិស័យសិល្បៈមកពីតារាៗមោទនភាពហួសហេតុពេក?

Singer woman, OU Raksmey has a scandal in involving child sexual trafficking at the Phnom Penh Municipality Court recently. Photo: HONG MINA

Singer woman, OU Raksmey has a scandal in involving child sexual trafficking at the Phnom Penh Municipality Court recently. Photo: HONG MINA

On the pages of the newspapers and magazines in Cambodia lies the article about showbiz celebrities’ scandals: brawls, traffic accidents, love affairs, frauds and so on. Firstly, all of them have shown their importance and popularity by doing their best through any possible means: songs, TV shows, Karaoke and movie in order to rise to fame “Dara Dara” pop stars as singers, actors or actresses, and hosts or hostesses on media.

Yet, when they achieved their goals, most of these superstars’ attitudes changed. They tend to become arrogant, boosting their egos and demanding respect from everyone, even their friends and relatives. The female gives too much importance to their appearance and sexiness, spending riches on stylish clothes and make-up to attract rich man to become “Srey Tata” (Young women who sponsored by rich man/high ranking officers; especially, the rich old man/high ranking officers who involved in sexual relationship). Some of them are under supported by the general of police or military senior officials.

The high ranking officials or/and rich men, especially, Oknha (a title bestowed by the King or the Head of the Government of Cambodia to the individual who financially contributes to the development of the countries or the society) called “TaTa” have been paying attention to the young girl, beautiful rising female star. If they are pleased with any of them, they will contact them through any measures. They will spend large sums of money and luxury materials on luring those superstars and satisfying needs for their sexual desire.

Many female celebrities have been working secretly in prostitution or caliber/elite indirect sex worker, which is concealed by various pictures to be legal; for example beauty salon, such as Mikaza Beauty Salon, which Chae Mom owner was charged with prostitution recently, for using her salon secretly as sex service provider between “Dara Dara” female and rich man. Many attempt to rise to fame just to be in this sexual state.

These activities respond to the PSI research report in 2002, which stated the concern of HIV/AIDS transmission from Tata and Srey Tata / Dara female. Having an affair with rich and powerful figures, some female superstars grow their arrogance, showing inappropriate and superior behaviors. This kind of relationship rarely exists among male celebrities, but they tend to do the same when they befriend or have the other sorts of relationships with rich or powerful individuals in the society.

Meanwhile, the rising stars in Cambodian showbiz have not displayed much innovation or creativity in their work; they just adopt from or imitate foreign superstars. Instead, they spend time on parties, night clubs, KTV, argument and sometimes violence. Occasionally, they caused violence and gun violence when they are involved in argument.

Furthermore, some have been involved in hit-and-run accidents, frauds, gambling, drug abuses and so on. Some even become bigheads, showing no respect or acting superior to their fans. Many of them, nevertheless, get away with the deviances, which are the deadly poison to the society as if they had a special impunity. Their act outside is not supportive of Cambodian showbiz.

The assault case on Ms Sasa, which was interfered by the Prime Minister Hun Sen last week and the press conference in which Mr. Eun Sophin, a producer and the father of Miss. Phin Sodalis, a movie star, publicly showed his anger and his desire to hurt Pen Chamrong, also a movie star, who has been in relationship with his daughter. These are the examples of the increasing trend of violence among showbiz celebrities.

Many superstars are so hated by the audiences and viewer that they have to change the channel whenever they appear on TV. Their improper behaviors and attitudes have consequences not only on their career but also the Cambodian showbiz since only a few people will pay for the tickets to see their movies or buy their albums.

The showbiz celebrities in the other countries are enhancing their talent and building up their good reputation, either inside or outside their works. They attempt to be the model citizen through contributing to charities and being goodwill ambassadors. As Angelina Jolie, who has helped countless orphans and abused women, is a very good example of model superstars.

On the contrary, Cambodian showbiz celebrities rarely contribute much for the goods of the society as the whole. They show off what they have to one another, obsessing with their prides and egos. In their movies or dramas, they act unnaturally; walking and talking slowly just like those in the movies in the year 80s, which undoubtedly, bore most of the viewers and audiences.

The comedians, in addition, display rude and vulgar action and use improper languages or sexual verbal abuse, showing a disgrace to comedy and immoral behaviors, which are useless to current social development.

These misbehavior are resulted from those star’s lack of education and poor respect for their profession. Many of Khmer superstars had received little formal education. In interviews, some female superstars admitted that they used to be pedestrians, small flower seller or sugarcane juice sellers. Obviously, the recruitments are based only on appearance; talents are not as important as beauty, good figure, sexiness and the good “relationship” including sexual relationship with the producers or directors.
The misbehaviors and the low-quality performances are the main reasons for the downfall of Khmer culture and Cambodian showbiz. Additionally, this sector has not received much attention from the government since the University of Fine Art near the Old Stadium was sold, and the new one built in the suburban area of Phnom Penh Thmey, where it is often flooded during the rainy season.

Few students want to go and study there while it is surrounded by gangsters who are causing trouble every day. Apparently, there is a rumor that the other school of fine art next to the Royal Palace will suffer the similar fate.

The government, moreover, is not capable of protecting the copyright of the authors/songwriters, whose works have been copied and exploited for personal gains. With these parasites in the society, how can they make a living? How could the authorities use the laws to settle this?

Apart from that, during the Prime Time (from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.), most of the channels broadcast foreign dramas, especially Thai dramas. Some of those Thai dramas are based on Khmer original literatures or movies such as Rithisen Neang Kangrey, Orn Euy Srey Orn, and Moranak Meada, which are being broadcasted on TV5.

That is, how can we improve the sophistication and significance of our culture and civilization when we will see foreign dramas and movies almost on every channel? Worried by this, a group of producers, directors, and superstars working in showbiz, including older actresses Ms. Dy Saveth and Ms. Chan Daraty had a meeting in the previous week to complain against the broadcasting of foreign movies and dramas during the prime time and demanded for the broadcasting of Khmer movies and dramas instead.

Nonetheless, the producers and the veterans in showbiz, who have had high education and long years of experience, have not instructed their young colleagues about morale and discipline in their works. This may be the case because those Dara Dara do not have their specific boss and manager who might assist them in attaining this goal.

In general, the civilization of a nation shall be recognized through their art and performances. What could the others see in our civilization and culture while our producers, artists, and actors/actresses have achieved nothing? What is the proof of the greatness in our culture? Our tourism is based on visits to such beautiful restorations of Khmer Buddhism at Angkor Wat. Wouldn’t it be great if they were also encouraged by movies, theater and arts. We are in need of expanding our appreciation for our own people and visitors by showing off our theatrical arts and museums demonstrating our cultural achievements.

The showbiz tendency in Cambodia is opposite to that in the Republic of Korea (South Korea), which has developed itself from the unknown to the global level. Most of the artists and superstars went to art colleges, and their performances, although having some part adapted from those of Western superstars, are lively, graceful and innovative while their origination is still maintained. For instance, Gangnam Style, sung and performed by PSY, received the most views on YouTube and was popularized not only in South Korea but all over the globe. Even Mr. Ban Ki moon, the Secretary-General of the Secretariat of the United Nations and some famous professional footballers do this Gangnam Style dance.

In the meantime, Korean movies and dramas have been popularized in many Asian countries, especially Thailand, where a number of teenagers, both male and female, love dressing and styling like Korean Superstars.

Besides, the leakages of scandals or public fighting caused by Korean showbiz celebrities are so rare due to the high attention from the government and the high moral standard of their superstars, which are also the factor which lead to the rapid development of their art and showbiz.

Tong Soprach is a social-affairs columnist for the Post’s Khmer edition.

Comments: soprach.tong@phnompenhpost.com