A Writer's Journey - Blogging Reflection
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There is yet another controversy surrounding the Cambodian New Year parade in Long Beach. In 2005, it was because the chosen date happened to be April 17, which marked the 30th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge victory. People who opposed the date protested, held candle vigils and attended the city council meetings to request a date change. Even though, I did not protest the chosen date, I attended the meeting to listen to the opposition and tried to understand their views. The discussions that took place during the conflict were heated and many things could have been handled differently. The community was divided on the issue but the people who opposed the date organized themselves and made their point known. In the end, it was resolved and the community was able to come together to celebrate New Year and made the parade a success.
This year, the controversy is surrounding the invitation that was given to Sok An, a corrupted official in the Hun Sen government, to attend the parade by a delegation from Long Beach visiting Phnom Penh recently. The delegation included representatives from Cambodia Town Inc., Long Beach Sister Cities, the Cambodian Coordinating Council and the Cambodia New Year Parade.
The article can be read on the Press Telegram Website:
It was also posted in KI-Media and you can also read the comment on it:
I first read about it on http://www.myp1t.com/forum/posts/id_913/page_last/ and it is also being discussed.
Some years ago, after I was over my initial shock that there are Cambodian-Americans who supported the Hun Sen government, I tried to understand why. One of the answers is that it was a lesser evil than the Khmer Rouge regime, but evil is evil whether something else is more evil than it. I also noticed that some of the supporters have relatives in Cambodia who are government officials or rich individuals who greatly benefit from a government that exploits the poor. There are also those who values power and wealth at all cost whether it was obtained through corruption or exploitation. They are opportunists who will turn a blind eye to the suffering of others as long as they benefit. They support high-ranking officials in Cambodia and brag about staying at five-star hotel and how they know people with big mansion who are driven around Cambodia in limousine with bodyguards surrounding them at all times. It never occurred to them that those individuals are the destroyers of Cambodia and many of us do not admire who they know and what they do in Cambodia when we see them as blood-sucking leech.
As for the present conflict in Long Beach, it is providing the Cambodian community an opportunity to voice their opinions and inform our so-called community leaders who they represent. As individuals, if they support the Hun Sen government and want to kowtow or kneel down in front of Hun Sen and their cronies, they have the right to do it. They should do it in the privacy of their own house or when they are visiting Cambodia. In term of inviting them to the parade, this should be a community decision. These representatives should have taken the time to understand the people they represent and know how many of us would appreciate (or not appreciate) seeing members of Hun Sen government at our event. The community leaders may know someone personally and think the person is an inspirational figure, but the greater community may not and in those instance, they should also refrain from forcing these so-called inspirational figure on us.
The invitation has been given but with the petitions being circulated, we will know too how many of us do not want Sok An to be at our event. After seeing the result of the petition, I hope these leaders will amend their actions and listen to the people they represent.
I would be surprised if there is a higher number of people who would condone having Sok An at the parade. We’ll find out. For those who oppose, please sign the petition.