Cambodian supporters of John McCain were left
upset Wednesday, as his opponent, Barack Obama, won the next US
presidency. Obama supporters, meanwhile, celebrated.
"I appreciate Barack Obama's win in the election, because he
was determined to eliminate the American and global economic crisis, and
strengthen peace in the world," said Sary Phirum, a 25-year-old university
She hoped the relationship between Cambodian and the US would improve under Obama, who spent part of
his childhood in Indonesia,
and the administration would support education and democracy, "especially the
Her support of Obama was tempered by the dejection of others
who had hoped for McCain, who has particular importance in Cambodia thanks
to his Vietnam War record and attention to Southeast Asian issues.
"I am very pitiful and regretful for John McCain's losing
the White House," said Seng Rithy, 36, a staff member at an import-export
company. "His loss of the White House is the loss of the man with experience in
politics, economy and security for the United
States and the world, because John McCain has the war experience
in the history of Vietnam,
especially the history of struggle of arms and opinion in the US senate and
Ang Chanrith, president of the advocacy group Khmer
Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights, said he was "very disappointed" at the loss of
"If John McCain had won the presidency, we think the respect
of human rights and the freedom of the Kampuchea Krom people in south Vietnam
would have been improved," he said. "John McCain has the war experience and
experience in Vietnam,
and he knows the Kampuchea Krom plight."
Hang Puthea, director of the Neutral and Impartial Committee
for Free and Fair Elections, said he would have preferred McCain.
"Barack Obama really has lower experience than John McCain,
but when Barack Obama wins the presidency, he should really use his cleverness
in political, economic and security affairs to lead the United States and the world to
peace and prosperity."
There was little lamentation among foreign Obama supporters
Wednesday, as they gathered to watch the race results at Phnom Penh's Foreign Correspondents Club.
Loud cheers and screams erupted as Obama's victory—with 338 of a needed 270
electoral votes—was announced.
"We were expecting this, but to see it actual happen is a
dream come true," said an elated Matt Grieger, an employee at a construction
company. "Moving on after eight failed years of failed economic policy [and]
the Republicans, we're now moving in the right direction, a new direction. It's
all hope and change from here."