Editorial | Articles about Cambodia | Khmer

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cambodia and Christmas

News of Cambodia N 0750-E

Khemara Jati
Montreal, Quebec
December 23rd, 2007

Now the culture also is globalized. The Christian calendar is universally adopted. Christmas is now celebrated almost everywhere around the world. Christmas is meant of celebrating the Jesus Christ birthday. Since the antiquity, the solstice winter day, by December 21st, is considered as the day while the revival sun resumes its forces when the day is lengthening. The megalithic monuments in England as well as Stonehenge (35 000 years before J.C.) and as Newgrange (3 500 years before J.C.) in Ireland or Abou Simbel (1 500 years Before J.C.) in Egypt are built so that at the time of the solstice winter, the sun rays cross the same line through those monuments.

Christmas and its origin

So since the time memorial, people were anxious to keep this day when the days begin to stretch out. People celebrated this day the flourish of the nature and springtime for the agriculture. It was thus a heathen holiday of oriental origin. Constantin, the first Christian Roman emperor asked the pope Libere, in the year 354, to adopt the December 25th as the Christ birthday. He gives to this holiday the name of « Birth (in Latin: natale) of the Sun » because, as we saw, the sun seems to resume life and days starts to lengthen again. It is also a period when there are no more works in the fields.

The Church in Roma adopted now this very popular custom which had been imperative in the civil calendar by giving a new meaning : the Native of the Rescuer. The Bible mentions that the Christ is the « Sun of Justice » and as « The Light of the World ». Christmas is a derived word of « Natale ». Let us note that Corsica people continue to call Christmas, Natale. By choosing this day of December 25th, Constantin makes coincide the same day the religious celebration and heathen holiday allowing all the people to be delighted at the same time.

Since the ancient time, in the North of Europe, the patriarch of the community distributed in this day gifts to the wise children and the punishments to the nasty children. The spruce was considered as a source of life. It can resist better to the colds of the winter. The Santa was invented by an American in 1868 and drawn by Thomas Nast for Harper Magazine. He is dressed in green or in red? It was Coca Cola which transformed into red and white adopted universally nowadays.

Cambodia and Christmas

Yesterday on December 22nd, some Cambodians of Montreal take advantage of this special holiday celebrating Christmas with a Cambodia whose name is Sok coming from Cambodia for a short visit in Canada. During the Christmas Eve, we asked to our fellow countryman questions that we already rose to the Sam Rainsy Party. We reproduce those questions below:

1) Now the city of Siem Reap and a big part of our western provinces use the electricity provided from Thailand. So our western provinces are already dependent on Thailand in electrical energy. Does not Thailand already have an enormous means of making pressure on Cambodia? A country depending in electrical energy of a foreign country, can it be independent? Is there any developed country in the world be political independents in that condition?

2) The World Bank declares financing the electric line's construction with high tension from Vietnam to feed electricity in our provinces of the Northeast and the East. In these conditions can Cambodia be independent from Vietnam?

3) Vietnam is going to build two hydroelectric power in our provinces of the Northeast. Is not it another unbearable dependence vis-à-vis of our Eastern neighbor?

4) Japan is helping Vietnam to build highways connecting our provinces of the Northeast with the East vietnamese port to sell our wealth of this region by a Vietnamese port. Is it in the Cambodian national interests?

5) The USA intends to build a highway with three ways in each direction between Prey Nokor and Phnom Penh, while we need such a highway between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. Why this new facility granted to the vietnamese settlers to come even more numerous into Cambodia?

6) The development Centers build on our borders. The good roads are build of these Centers towards our neighbors but only the bad roads of these Centers towards Phnom Penh. Are these Centers going to use Cambodians as administrators, engineers and technicians? The productions of these Centers are they going to develop our port of Sihanoukville or on the contrary they are not going to enrich the ports of Prey Nokor and Bangkok? With the using of massive Vietnamese and Thai as administrators, engineers and technicians?

7) Are all these constructions be build with engineers, technicians and the others who are none of them are not Cambodian at all? Does it explain that 300 000 graduated Cambodian are always living under unemployed?


Now, with the threat to cut off the electricity supplying Siem Reap ville, Thailand can impose its domination on all the West of Cambodia. So all the Western part of our country is already subjected under Bangkok domination. For example, Thailand opposes to the construction of one of the safety road allowing Preah Vihear to receive tourist from the Cambodian side. Until now this road remains always little feasible, in spite of Hun Sen promises. It is necessary to remind that the construction of this road cost to Chea Sophara to lose his position. As consequence we all know that Preah Vihear is already practically on Thai territory.

All our province of Koh Kong including our coastal islands and in the wide, a big part of our province of Battambang and the Western part of our province of Pursat situated on the West of Pursat city are already, largely, integrated economically and culturally into Thailand. Many families already send their children to study in Thailand and learn Thai language. Soon, with the construction of the railway Poipet-Sisophon, the integration of this region into Thailand will be even more. Then, maybe, we shall have one safety road between Sisophon and Siem Reap ville. Already at Poipet, Sok mentions that there is nowhere the slightest poster into cambodian language. The construction of the railway Battambang - Phnom Penh - Sihanoukville will never be realized.

About the situation in the East, Sok, our Cambodian on visit in Montreal, tells us that the situation is identical as in the western side. The question is to know where exactly the border between Thailand and Vietnam will be drawn. The maritime border between our two neighbors, are already decided and signed in August, 1997. There are also negotiations between Vietnam and Thailand to divide our hydrocarbon's wealth. According to Sok, never there will be an oil refinery in Cambodia, nor of electric stations using our gas or our petroleum. The Vietnamese and Thai companies will appropriate all our resources in hydrocarbons, will transform them into electricity and will resell back to Cambodians with high profits: profits on the sale of our hydrocarbons, profits on the sale to the Cambodians of the gasoline and the electricity, the profits in using of their companies, their engineers and their technicians. The Cambodian engineers and technicians formed in foreign languages and mainly of low level live always in the unemployment, with the exception of some rare exceptions those who manage to go to study in foreign universities.

Sok also points out that our rice produced on the West part of the country is sold to Thai and that our rice in the East is sold to Vietnam. This year about two million tons of Cambodian rice sold out to our two neighbors. But the Cambodian rice is kept for the domestic consumption at our neighbor’s countries. Because the Cambodian rice is the better quality than the Thai rice and the Vietnamese rice. It allows to these two countries to export two million tons of more Thai and Vietnamese rice. Then our neighbors sell back to Cambodians cracks of their rice to us in return.

Sok also clearly mentions that our politicians and the reporters of any newspaper in Cambodia, are not interested any more of going to visit our fellow countrymen on our borders, neither in the East nor on the West. Why?

Conclusion :

It is curious and unbelievable that our politicians ignore these aspects of the policy driven by Hun Sen which is leading our Nation to the disappearance very soon. So the western part of Cambodian people will live under the same fate as of our brothers living in the current Thailand and known under the name of Cambodians of Surin? While in the Eastern part, the Cambodian people will undergo to share their fate with the Cambodians of Kampuchea Krom? With as future, their total and definitive disappearance as Chams, if Cambodians unaware in following blindly our politicians. Have we already forgotten Sirik Matak's letter? The fate of the Hmongs? The fate of our sisters, brothers and fellow countrymen of the Kampuchea Krom who had fought for the Frenchmen, then for the Americans, and then for the Vietnamese communists and recently for the Vietnamese pro-US? The interests of major powers can change abruptly and turn of 180 degrees. For example the USA and Hanoi were enemy and fought against each other, now they are friends. After the Hanoi's victory, Hmongs and Cambodians of Kampuchea Krom who fought for the Americans were massacred by the Vietnamese communists. Washington closes eyes. Does the independence of Cambodia is interesting any major powers?

Fortunately, in Cambodia, as Sok mentioned, our fellow countrymen understands indeed the situation, which is contrary to the blindness of our politicians. They know, for example, that the last chance of our nation held in our culture where the writing culture is the essential part to assure and insure her perpetuity.

« Aksar Rolut, Cheat Roleay » is an unforgettable will bequeathed by our ancestors.

By the last word, we wish good courage and determination all those who work in very difficult conditions to develop and diffuse books in our language.

Merry Christmas to all, with a particular thought to the poor Cambodian children who, at best, manage to collect some garbage for the rests of foods thrown by the rich.

Below the Sirik Matak's letter.

Sirik Matak’s Letter to US embassador :

(April 13 (?), 1975)
Excellence and dear friend,
I thank you very sincerely for your letter and for your offer to leading us towards the freedom. Regrettably! I may not leave in a so cowardly way.
As for you and your big country, I would never believe a single moment that you would abandon people who chose freedom. You refused us your protection; we cannot do anything. You leave and I wish that you and your country find the happiness under the sky.
But, remind that, if I die here, in my country which I love, to bad indeed, because we were all born and we have to die one day. I committed only one mistake, it was to believe you and to believe the Americans.
Please accept, Excellence, my dear friend, my loyal and friendly feelings.
Sirik Matak

By Khemara Jati : khemarajati@sympatico.ca
For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/khemarajati?hl=fr


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