… First of all I would like to express my affection for our Buddhist monks and people in the district of Chumkiri. May I seek your understanding from all of you on the fact that since the time I, as Prime Minister of the former State of Cambodia, decided to establish this district of Chumkiri from the Chhouk district, my visits and achievements to this district has been infrequent. Some weeks ago I went to Aoral district of Kompong Speu province that was established relatively same time as this district of Chumkiri. I also sought people’s understanding of my infrequent presence.
… I wish to thank the venerable monks for allowing me to take this honor to inaugurate on their behalf a number of achievements – a Buddhist Primary School. The school took shape at the contribution made by HE Saom Chen, HE Lim Keanhor, HE Nay Pena, HE Meas Sophea, HE Pen Siman, HE Saom Kimsuor, and some oversea Cambodians in the United States. My wife has also contributed a sum of Riels 7,600,000 as well. Achievements that we are going to inaugurate today include the Buddhist Primary School, and the road and dike O Preal, which is the most strategic construction for people in Tro Peang Reang, Chumpu Voan and Svay Anchib communes. These achievements cost US$ 4 million. A water pond has also been dug with food for work that I have provided through HE Saom Chen.
… Well as you all have noticed that HE Nay Pena, Saom Chen, Saom Kimsuor, Saleh Sen – who are all members of the (CPP) operational team in this province are absent. This does not mean that they do not want to come see you all but, as Members of Parliament, they are required at the National Assembly to complete the quorum so that the session that has been canceled four times already could go on. Despite the fact that the four MP are not here, HE Saom Chen, who is responsible for the assistance given to this district has called me by phone and requested for some more achievements for the district. I also thought that I should in fact have done more than I did.
… On behalf of the Royal Government I wish to express my sincere thanks and warm appreciation for the efforts made by various institutions and charitable persons, and the local authorities to make these achievements possible. The fact that a mass of people participating in this event today has clarified their consideration on me, personally, and my colleagues, and also on the new achievements. I have said to HE Governor of the province after I stepped out of the helicopter that he is in fact very lucky to become the Governor of Kompot for the time being. I have come to Kompot five times already since 2000 – including trips at the flooding time with my wife. Just as I left the city of Phnom Penh by helicopter I have noticed that not many areas of our country have sufficient water for rice cultivation. This situation has indeed caused us great concerns.
… If we were to put the speed of cultivation in comparison with last year, up to this moment the province has transplanted rice only 7.8% or 11,000 hectares out of 143,000 hectares. Drought has delayed the cultivation of early season rice, which at this time some people could have harvested some of them and started preparing land for the second stage of cultivation already. This year some places do not have early season rice to harvest and also people have to save their seedlings. If drought were to go on for the whole of August, we may have to take a different approach towards solving this issue. As we are making wishes for the rain to come, we also do not want the flood to go high quickly as well. It is correct that HE Governor expressed his concern that the flood might come in September. So too much water or less of it is either a problem.
… In Kompot we also have a number of dikes – take for instance the dike of Malich, which has been damaged. We have to seek for funding to start mending them – like dike of O Khley, dike of the area of Phnom Domrei, and dike of O Kranhoung. Having gone through this situation, we are in the process of identifying and making use of water resources on and under the ground. We could not solely depend on water from the sky. As Cambodia is experiencing drought, some countries in Europe are experiencing floods. Cambodia is not alone in experiencing these calamities. Some has earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, storms, floods and/or droughts. Though Cambodia is affected by protracted drought, the flood in the Mekong River is approaching and also water from various valleys would also approach the national road 4 and Kompong Speu province. It is a great concern of the Royal Government.
… However, I think that there is no other solution that could be better than the very effort made by our people in each village, commune and in the whole country. Poverty has not got wings to fly away as these achievements in this area today would not have happened through magic. I do not know if it is true that in the past ones could magic up a palace or dike by firing an arrow. It may just be a fairy tale. Of all the achievements we have had so far – like Angkor Wat and various other temples/castles — if we were to not build them we would not have them on our land. Our ancestors have devoted labor, intellect, time and energy for them to be built, and not through magic. It is also true in the world that no achievements could have taken shape if there were no scientific research, or human and technological efforts.
… Perhaps what is more important is that achievements could not be realized only by making promises or blaming others. Usually, those who could not make things happen often claiming record by blaming. Take for instance I have tried very hard to build schools for education of our children. What I have got from those who do not build schools is to be blamed as corrupted. In face of this, should I or should I not build schools… I have been thinking that if this group were to have a chance to take power in their own hands, they would do no different from what Pol Pot did. Pol Pot said those who lived under tiled roofs belonged to the exploiting class. But achievements have taken place also because our people are sharing their resources.
… By the end of this year we will have two important events. There will be an event that Prime Minister of Cambodia and the President of Cambodian Red Cross will be invited to attend. The event will have various world famous stars and singers coming to Angkor Wat for a variety performance. The money generated from the event will be given to the Cambodian Red Cross or channeled for use in humanitarian purpose. Would they call this corruption? Well as it is said that let’s walk on and not beware of dog’s barking.
… Throughout Kompot province, I have contributed in all 80 school buildings or 400 classrooms. As for Chumkiri district, only two schools have been offered so far. I agreed to build school buildings according to the district request. Our children of this generation are lucky as they mostly study now in concrete school building. For people of fifty years old, and above, and those who sit behind me on this forum, only a small number had a chance to go to school or to study in real school building. There were rarely any concrete schools. They had to move from place to place to look for schooling facility. I left my parents when I was 13 years old in search of study. This memory has been carved into a song describing about life as a pagoda boy (child living by the monks). Even prior to that time, without being monk for a certain period of time, man would have had difficult time in asking the girls’ hand.
… Later on our country fell into war and those who were born after 1970s or in late 1960s did not have chance to go to school. Only a small number of places provided chance for education, while most of the places could not do so because of bombardments and fighting. When it came to the Pol Pot time of three years, eighth months and twenty days, the whole schooling system – in rural as well as urban areas — was destroyed. Since 1979 we had started all over again. Those who know more taught those who know less, and those who know less taught those who do not know anything. We have made houses, monk’s residences, and classrooms. We used charcoal as chalk. Although we still have more requirements to address in area of education, now at least we have concrete buildings for our students.
… What has been a disappointed move these days is the fact that children miss schools. Parents spend times working to make a living while children shirk schools. We may ask for more parental guidance from our people for their children. They are the ones who have more time being with them, aside from a few hours in school. We have to apply a theory of combining school, family and society together for a win-win outcome. Otherwise we would suffer a lose-lose situation where, teachers, parents and the children themselves lose because the last became criminal. Aside from this I also appeal that the monks of about 4000 Buddhist pagodas throughout the country should provide further instruction for our people to behave themselves in a sinless way.
… In all as I used to say drop by drop the bucket is full — or the frog-leap strategy — we will realize one achievement after another. So we all have to help each other as we have proven that we can do it today…