… I have a great pleasure to have a chance to return to Takeo once again to participate with our people here in the inauguration ceremony of a new Buddhist temple in the Veluvoan pagoda. I have a great respect and appreciation for the venerable head monk and the Veluvoan pagoda’s parishioners for the supports and contribution they offered to the construction of the pagoda and temple. I am very pleased to have seen the ravaged pagoda to start growing to be esteemed once again.
… If we say Buddhism is prosperous, so are the Buddhist followers. Only if the latter is prosperous that they could help made progress in Buddhism itself. If the Buddhist followers were to be poor, they would not be able to help Buddhism at all. If the parishioners are starving, the monks will also suffer. It is a repercussion relationship. Talking about infrastructure, while the people have hard lives, they would not be able to contribute in building temples at all. Take for instance this temple cost over Riel 358 million. We also have here water pond, entrance, reception hall, school buildings and others for the inauguration today… What we have achieved here will be completely an indication of our own efforts since 1979.
… I wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation and thanks to the local authorities at all levels, the Cambodian armed forces and our people in the district of Tramkak, and the people of Takeo as a whole, for the efforts they made to overcome hardships caused by unfavourable weather in 2000, 2001 and 2002 consecutively. But this year we have a good figure of dry season rice cultivation, 97.57 % of plan or over 50,000 hectares. As I have a bird’s eye view of the dry season rice I notice a good cultivation and more is being grown closer to the water sources. I have a great respect for such an effort as our people have fulfilled this job without waiting for rain at all.
… Recalling January 07, 1979, what did we have left after the fall of the genocide? We had a situation that we have to face one side the task to reconstruct and feed our people who were living in secure areas and on another to face with wars. In those days we had lived in hardships, but worse than that we were not aware if we could live on the following days. Takeo was under Ta Mok’s control in the genocide period or is known as – the South-West Zone. He used his army to kill not only in other areas of Cambodia but people under his own control as well. With no exception, all pagodas were destroyed. Though we are 24 years away from the period of destruction, if we were to look back for a second, we would recall the lives of fears and hardships, separation of family members, because of which we would rise up to wage struggle for the salvation of our homeland.
… Once we survived, all punishments were brought to the Cambodian people to bear. And I used to mention the fact that Angkor Wat, Tonle Sap Lake, and the Mekong River were also punished. In those days we were rebuked upon making request to renovate Angkor Wat, while the Khmer Rouge was recognised at the United Nations and Angkor Wat was not with them. What an injustice it was.
… Though I could not come to meet you personally, I also have my representatives (CPP work team) and the number of school has grown close to a thousand classrooms (182 school buildings with 913 classrooms). My team does not fight each other but help one another to work on our people’s needs. We try to solve all sorts of problem. They would let big problem to me to resolve. This is better than if we have conflicts. Our ancestors left us a saying “as long as you keep the forest, you do not worry about firewood.” We could imitate the saying and revise it to “as long as we have peace, we will achieve development.” As long as peace prevails we could mobilize resources for development, whether with slow or fast pace. Like we all are witnessing today that there are numerous pagodas and school buildings. If we were to have war, they would all vanish.
… It is no different to the period between 1953 and 1970, when many had been constructed but were ravaged in the war between 1070 and 1975, and what were left from the war were finished by the genocide. We were taking a reversal course on all fronts in 1979. So I wish to appeal to our people to take patience, exercise non-violence according to the Buddhist instructions so that all of their actions will be guided by the Buddhist principles. If we were to fulfil this, I would say that we would attain a lasting peace and we would have more time for constructions and no time for weapons and wars.
… An election will soon take place and our people will have a chance to exercise their rights. What I wish to remind here is that one uses only one’s rights and not to violate on others’. We should expect no intimidations, threats and violent actions. It is our people’s rights and personal decision for whom or which party s/he votes. As long as the Buddhist instruction is followed, we would guarantee political stability which is favourable for development. I wish to declare today that I would not dare to give you all promises of doing this or that more than my “frog-leap strategy.” Some politicians have come to you with promises of all sorts – even to build you roads of concrete. They have freedom of making promises, and I think I will do whatever I can in accordance with available resources. Take for instance one is using a bicycle, but s/he promises other people with motorcycles. How could this be feasible?
… I am confident that our people are intelligent that they would not be fooled by those empty promises and could differentiate goods from bad. Our vote will be confidential and our people should not be worried by rumours that your votes will be recorded in some way. There is no need to scold as we all have the rights to vote and our votes are confidential. I think that when the campaign period comes, I will take a rest. I would not take part in the campaign like in the 1998-election. I would quietly take time to dig canals with our people. I would instruct our authority to create favourable conditions for politicians to campaign freely wherever they may go.
On that occasion, before cutting the ribbon to inaugurate officially the Veluvoan Buddhist Temple, Samdech Hun Sen offered Riel 20 million for the finishing touch of the temple and a school building with five classrooms to Veluvoan Primary School, Riel 10 million in each step for the Pagodas of Samnab and Kus to continue the constructions of temples, 52 tons of rice for the digging of a water canal in Tramkak district, a school building with five classrooms for the people in Sre Nonong commune, and a school building with five classrooms for the people in Angtasaom commune. In approval of request made by HE So Khun and HE Chan Sarun for the renovation of the road number 33 with a total length of 28 Kilometres, plus three bridges and four drainages for the people in the commune of Angtasaom, Samdech accepts in principle to let the Ministry of Rural Development to proceed.