Saturday, April 12, 2008

Khmer Chnam Thmey Tevada this year is a sign of chang!

Every year, there is new face of new Tevada for Khmer New Year celebration. This year, new face of Tevada is a good sign for new capable and long-sighted vision leader for Cambodia. Importantly, it is not only New Year celebration, but it is also coinciding with the election season leading to the absolute victory for Cambodian peoples to choose their new capable leader.

Long-sighted vision leader refers to the one who projects their political leadership by changing from "power-thirsty" to "nation-building", and from "power for self-interests" to "power for Cambodian citizens", especially from "short-sighted of self-projecting" to "long-sighted of peoples-projecting".

Since the decline of tribal and feudal political system led by Khmer kings (god-kings) in Angkorean period, Cambodia has experienced only the leadership of colonialism and struggling to encounter the aura of W1, W2, and cold war.

We, Cambodians, have never experienced genuine political mechanism which can survive our nation for long term sustainability under any long-sighted political leader or political founding Father/Mothers.

Just look at few examples in America political history, how their founding Fathers/Mothers have projected for their nation for the long term strength and sustainability.

Challenge One:
The Founding Fathers believed that all men are self-centered sinners. So how can “evil” men govern themselves?

By the way, it is important to know that the belief that all men are greedy, evil creatures is a fundamental assumption underlying American government and political philosophy. It explains a lot about Americans, then and now. Since they assume the worst in everyone, they become what they assume, and so consider everyone who differs with them to be a terrorist (or a communist, or an atheist, or a European--depending on who are the popular sinners of the time).

So anyway, the first main challenge facing the American founders was how to have a government of men over men since all men are self-centered sinners.

The design solution was brilliant:

Design Solution One:
First, assume there is something called "political power." Then "separate" the power necessary for governance into three "branches". Then give specific pieces of power to each of three “independent” yet overlapping branches of government so that “selfish power will balance selfish power,” and thus create social good. An extremely clever solution to a knotty philosophical or religious problem.

Challenge Two:
How can the thirteen colonies, now newly sovereign nations and with little experience of community among themselves at all, be persuaded to join into a closer political union?

Design Solution Two:
"Divide” “power” between the states and the central government. That division of power is now called "federalism" and was another clever solution to a perplexing problem of the time.

Challenge Three:
But how could the populous newly sovereign states be convinced to share power equally with the smaller, less-populated states?

Design Solution Three:
Create a national assembly--a Congress--that is composed of two “Houses,” one in which the states have equal representation regardless of their population, and the other where the states are represented roughly according to their population size. Require that all legislation pass both houses before it can become law. Again, a great solution to a thorny problem.

Design Challenge Four:
Since there was no king, and kings were all that was known as chief executive officers of nations, what should be done?

Design Solution Four:
Since there was no such thing as a "prime minister" at that time, the American Founders invented a kingly position that they called "the president". He was to be the "best man" in the nation and would serve as head of state for four or five years unless elected again.

Design Challenge Five:
But that solution immediately brought up another problem: how can a single “president” be chosen for the entire nation? Since the colonies forming the union had no history of political unity and there were no means for creating a national political dialogue at that time (and no great faith in “the people” anyway), how could the voters in the widely separated new states possibly know who was nationally the “best man” to choose for president?

Design Solution Five:
The American founders reckoned that the people could not know who the best man nationally was, but the people would know who their local “best man” was. So the Founders stipulated that the people would choose their local best man, and these local best men from each state would go to Washington in the winter, after the crops were in, to choose, after discussion, the national “best man” for president and the second best man for vice president.

These challengings and solutions are ubiquitous occurred in every government. Each government has designed their political system and leadership solely depends on their place, tradition, wisdom and political will to sustain and strength their long term political leadership. Their founding Fathers/Mothers had clear purposes and long-sighted vision of political leadership to safeguard as well as to civilize or advance their nation.

Cambodia doesn't require to design challenging political system like America as their country is more complicate than us, we just think simply that how poverty and justice can be remedied, is it depending on the willingness to tackle rampant corruption or not? How can we solve chronic disease of corruption and injustice? We might think simply to strengthen "the rule of law"; how can we strengthen the rule of law, we have to institutionalize three main organs of national institutes (assembly, judiciary, and executive) to work independently. How can we achieve this? If the nepotism and favoritism have been widely practiced inside current government led by the same party and same leader?

Political leaders require political will; and for the genuine liberty and sustainable advancement, Cambodian peoples have to think about themselves and make a historical change.

Happy Khmer New Year!!!


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