Cambodia

    What’s Happening in Cambodia? VOA Speaks with Activist and Analyst Ou Virak

    What’s Happening in Cambodia? VOA Speaks with Activist and Analyst Ou Viraki
    X
    09 January 2014
    In recent weeks the Cambodia government has cracked down on striking garment workers demanding a doubling of the minimum wage, as well as political opposition groups who accuse the ruling party of rigging the last election. VOA has the interview.
    Rick ValenzuelaVOA
    In recent weeks the Cambodia government has cracked down on striking garment workers demanding a doubling of the minimum wage, as well as political opposition groups who accuse the ruling party of rigging the last election. Gatherings of protesters are now banned after clashes with police last week left four people dead and many more wounded. For insight into the significance of the conflict and the challenge it poses to Cambodia’s longtime leader Hun Sen, Rick Valenzuela spoke with Ou Virak. The longtime human rights activist and political analyst is President of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, an independent group working to promote civil and political rights in Cambodia.

    Q: When was the last time there was this much outspoken dissent?

    “Never seen before in the history of Cambodia, believe it or not. Particularly if you look at, Cambodia was either under the monarchy, absolute monarchy, French colony, even after that the brief periods of peace was not one of democracy, of real democracy. There's a lot of crushing of dissent as well duing the 60s, 70s, and then we have the Khmer Rouge, the genocide regime, another communist state, another communist regime, 1993 elections that was brought by the U.N. was not sufficient. There's a lot of fear, there's a lot of violence, and because of that there's not a lot of people willing to take to the streets. So this is actually very historical, and the fact that, I think, massive amount of people taking to the streets in such a level, such enthusiasm, cheerful, there's a lot of positives to be taken from the past few months.”

    Q: Why now, what is this moment? Why is there less fear?

    “Well for one, it's just demographic shift. We have the post-Khmer Rouge generation. These are people who were born in the 1980s, who haven't lived much through the communist days. Many of these young people are more willing to challenge authority, willing to speak their mind. And young people are more ambitious."

    “But also I think that the demographic shift is also posing a challenge for the opposition, because the two main parties, the ruling Cambodian People's Party as well as the Cambodia National Rescue Party the opposition, both are generally ruled by old men. And they are out of touch with all these new developments. They got into politics a few decades ago. They treat the population in the same manner. There's a lot of animosity between the two leaderships but nobody seems to be discussing solutions, and a way forward, and developing this country, and looking at policies that make sense.”

    Q: On the opposite side of that, how about the state's efforts to control dissent?

    "It's a new challenge. This government  has not been challenged in such a massive scale for the past, at least, 10-15 years or so. If you look at it, it's arguably ever. This government, particularly Hun Sen, has been in power for decades. He knows how to fight wars, he knows how to be in armed battles, but he doesn't know how to respond to peaceful marches of regular people, regular citizens. "

    Q: Cambodia’s culture is one that holds deep respect for elders. Isn’t it natural for the leaders of groups to be older?

    "I think it needs to be addressed and we need to be honest. We have old men leading the parties. We have old men leading unions that are composed of mainly young women workers. I think that needs to be addressed."

    You May Like

    Cambodian Journalists to Receive Training in the US

    The US-based International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) said 25 Cambodians would receive online training from May to June before 15 participants would be selected to visit the states. More

    Ruling Party Ramps Up Pressure With Opposition Leader Summons

    Kem Sokha is due to attend the court on May 11 over a separate defamation case filed by former CNRP activist Thy Sovanntha. More

    Alleged Mistress Is Also a Victim, Rights Worker Says

    Thida Khus, head of NGO Silaka, said she felt sympathetic towards Khom Chandaraty, Sokha’s alleged mistress at the heart of an Anti-Corruption Unit investigation. More

    40th Anniversary of Khmer Rouge Takeover

    Click on the photo to go to special page.

    Click on the photo to go to special page.

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Cambodia Laying Tracks for Transport Futurei
    X
    29 April 2016
    After more than a decade, Cambodia's railway service has resumed passenger services from the capital, Phnom Penh, to the beach resort town of Sihanoukville. VOA Khmer's Sou Pichchinda narrates.

    English with Mani & Mori

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Save Face (Movie: Just Go With It)i
    X
    03 November 2014
    You can say, "I can't believe he's not accepting responsibility for his mistakes. To 'save face' he continues to make excuses for himself." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish or www.khmer.voanews.com/maniandmori. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
    Video

    Video Save Face (Movie: Just Go With It)

    You can say, "I can't believe he's not accepting responsibility for his mistakes. To 'save face' he continues to make excuses for himself." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
    Video

    Video You've Got To Be Kidding (Movie: Bedtime Stories)

    You can say, "What? You lost your passport? So, you're stranded in a foreign country, where you don't speak the language and you don't know anyone? You've got to be kidding me, right?" What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish.
    Video

    Video All Thumbs (Movie: Minority Report)

    You can say, "I was 'all thumbs' this morning when trying to tie this tie - I kept making mistakes and just couldn't figure a way to pull it together." What does it mean? Watch here.
    Video

    Video Carry Out (Movie: Jane Eyre)

    You can say, "He has many strong qualities as a leader and under his leadership I think he will successfully 'carry out' the new mission and vision for this company." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish.
    Video

    Video A Wake Up Call (Movie: Limitless)

    You can say, "The visit to the doctor was definitely 'a wake up call' for him. The heavy drinking, smoking, and partying every night needs to stop." What does it mean? For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
    See more >>>