Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer

Friday, May 26, 2006

Refugee Lesson on Border Control

By Kok Sap

Present Khmer border problems brought back my refugee day memory. During those days, I had learnt that Thai unlike the counterpart Khmer royal family as they had always been in spirit to aid national rural development program especially to those who were willing to make homestead along border with either side of present Thai territory. Seldom Thai royalty does not individually hand out packs of bottle of Yuan nuoc mam or a bag of donated rice or Yuan imported instant noodles to subjects for TV cameras appetizing. Obviously, the royalty is moral and religious devoted as not disingenuous and pretentious as other words.

Other hand Thai government and societal culture was not so immune of corruption or exploitation either. However, remarkably they were so unreadily to sell their national interest for a few ounces of gold from rich refugees. They were much obliged to national policy while making tons from UNHCR already. Nevertheless, one can notice on adjacent border to Cambodia, Thai have been supportive and keen of using ethnic Khmers as opposed to kin refugees for its strategic security. Apparently, most ethnic Khmers were either brainwashed or reluctant to admit their origin and refused to help refugees. That was smart of Thai policy manipulation to prevent unwanted infiltration and grafting.

The same scenario as Cambodia became permanent home for millions of Yuan refugee. Unlike Thai, Cambodian government had not only allowed illegal foreigners to settle anywhere without control but recently signed the illegal treaties in October 2005 to give in to Yuan further advantages. Khmer royalty set stage and choreographic gestures in handing out days of groceries or clothing to poor citizens instead of secured subsidizing livelihood and poor homes along borders. That is the same for government functionaries who are voluntary hostages of illegal settlers. In lieu of enforcing national security priority, impoverish functionaries are yearned to scandalous and whimsy national laissez- faire security and yet the central government is no less excusable as well.

Nonetheless, Khmer royalty had never even stepped close to the dispute area to see for self-awareness but hide out behind concrete walls in capital city. This may seem a marginal gesture to them but it is the worldly meaning to subjects. This is where the difference why Thai royalty continues to garnish support even from people whom it has suppressed rules on for hundreds of year. This is the real down side that rural Khmer people are lack of resource, economic fluidity and worst no confidence in their royalty. The royalty is preoccupied with self-image and propelled pawning to powerful manipulators. Clearly the very national symbol is at the whims of governmental officials who are readily and complacent in greed and self-agendas.

Thereby, with a few dollar bribery, the settlers are left to roam and sack Cambodia natural and almost untouched resources for own prosperity in uncontrollable illegal activities such as logging, fishing, smuggling, prostitution, gambling, and grafting. The mid level official peddlers are in careless attitude why bother if the king is so content with people rages and outcries already. Most tycoons or wealthy class in Cambodia are not necessary Khmer descendents by birth or domicile. However, they wield unsurpassed power over poor Khmers even at the scoff of own government. This is where the scale tipping as the national security is very vulnerable under the affluent nouveau and exploitative riches. We all can see this is the root cause, not necessary done by the outsiders but the malevolence of selfish insiders from sala khum up to the royal palace.

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