Development Policy and International Relations
At the outset, I would like to sincerely express my profound thank to POSCO TJ Park Foundation; while at the same time, I would also like to highly and truly acknowledge the KDI School of Public Policy and Management for opening the window of opportunities for me to nurture my credibilities, capabilities, and experiences and to fulfill my future plans.
(Photo: KDI School)
Since arriving at KDI school, my friends and I have a joke, “it is not a cultural shock, yet a weather shock.” Coming from tropical country located in Southeast Asia, so first arrived in Seoul for Spring semester, it was still so cold. And we could not stand with the weather while we are going out for shopping. Yet, it is still enjoyable for going out and eating Korean foods during our first week before the class starting.
Anyway, whenever I introduce myself regarding to my motherland there are always three different topics which are the most favorite things to discuss about. And my friends really want to know about that. They are our Angkor Wat Temple, the Genocide under Khmer Rouge Regime, and our Current Situation in Cambodia.
(Photo: Angkor Wat Temple)
After hearing that I’m from Cambodia for many people who know about the history of Cambodia and Angkor Wat, they usually say out loud with a big smile “That’s amazing and I love it, Angkor Wat!!!” Well, yeah… that is more than words to admire and appreciate this greatest ancient city which was constructed in the pre-industrialized period. By the way, I would also want to emphasize that this ancient temple is not only belonging to Cambodian people, yet it is the world heritage where everyone on earth are belonging to. In this regard, Cambodians are warmly welcoming all people from various corners of the world to come and visit this greatest temple. And please do not worry about the insecurity or civil war. There is no longer in Cambodia, even we are the less developing nation. I can tell you guys that you might be surprise and excited with the environment surrounding the Angkor Wat complex as it is totally natural and you will like it for sure. Furthermore, you will find it easier then other trips in other countries while there are many Cambodian people, even very small kids who are the sellers in Siem Reap in the block of tourist zones, are able to speak various foreign languages which are not just only English, but also French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese, and so on. Angkor Wat really means a lot to Cambodia and it represents the national spirit that you might see it in even our national flag as attached. (You can watch Angkor Wat: Mystery of Cambodia’s Acient Khmer Civilization)
(Photo: Cambodia National Flag)
The second thing is about the genocide under Khmer Rouge Regime from 1975 till 1979. That is the most sadness and darkness for Cambodians who have walked across this painful period. Whatsoever, this cruel killing has been ended as it had happened for 3 years 8 months and 20 days from 1975 to 1979. Nowadays, ECCC is working on these criminals in order to bring justice and the truth for Cambodian people. (If you wish to find out more about Khmer Rouge and its genocide, please access to links here) Anyway, I want to underline that this genocide is the disaster coming from the conflict of ideologies in the cold war period. I believe it still remained many difficulties for our current generation and the next generation in building this country as a modern and developed nation. From this point of view, I think Cambodia really need to have human resources development in order to reconstruct its nation more than any states in Southeast Asia region. In this sense, I am of the view that education reform is the highest priority for the government to take a set of the practical mechanisms to further develop its nation.
(Photo: Cambodian Royal Palace)
The last thing that we have discussed is the current situation in Cambodia. Since having the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991, Cambodia has its own national Constitutional law as the supreme law. (Seek more the case of Paris Peace Agreement, you can go on this link here) Therefore, complying to this law, Cambodia is adhering to the liberal and pluralist democratic principle and respect for any universal conventions on human rights. We have first national election in 1993 under the supervision of UNTAC. And till now we totally have five national elections which the fifth election just conducted on July 28th, 2013. So it seems like Cambodia is still young in term of democracy, but I believe that it is much better then some of our neighbor countries in the region. However, it does not mean that we are perfectly in the right track. The result of the election and the ongoing political deadlock that require both winning political parties to tackle with are exactly reflecting that Cambodia has a long way to go for a better improvement in terms of democratization and to avoid any unforeseen issue in the future after the national election. I believe that Cambodia still need a collective mechanism to talk for the sake of its own nation and together both parties have to do reform as it is the willingness of the population expressing via the national election result.
Seoul, Feb o7, 2014
Khov Ea Hai