… Today I have a great pleasure to return to the district of Prey Chhor for participating with all of our people and monks to inaugurate the Buddhist temple in the pagoda of Tropeang Ampil. The pagoda is already 94 years old as it was first built in 1909 before it was destroyed by the Pol Pot genocide regime. Our people have tried their best with bare hands to reconstruct the pagoda. Monks were disrobed and forced to hard labour and most of them were killed. The Pol Pot genocide could only destroy Buddhist pagodas and kill Buddhist monks, and other religions, but they could never take it away from our people’s hearts and minds. After January 07, 1979, we could therefore restore Buddhism, as well as Islam and Christianity, quickly.
… The venerable head monk is blind but with his vision nothing could hinder him from mobilizing our Buddhist parishioners, near and far, to perform positive actions as achievements for the society. This is a strong and clear message to other handicaps in Cambodia as well as in the world that one could be handicapped physically but not mentally and this is what I used to say to all handicaps that they should not be hopeless and be disappointed. His venerable head monk is blind but his mind is clear and bright that he could mobilize fund to almost 400 million Riel for the construction of the pagoda. HE Chieng Am just now said in his report that in the province of Kompong Cham there are up to the moment 397 school buildings of 2029 classrooms built by my personal resources and I would offer to build three more today to make them in all 400 school buildings.
… From my helicopter I have seen roofs of schools and Buddhist temples, rural roads and more importantly water in the fields, which some are ploughed and being ploughed and some are under rice seedlings already. I think HE Chan Sarun shares my opinion that we will have a good rice harvest though the royal oxen picked on rice only 30% and up to 90% on bean. Some people said the royal oxen are afraid of SARS that is why they ate bean and there had been a rumour that a boy had SARS in Cambodia. It was just a rumour and if I do not wear mask yet, you could rest assure that we are safe. But it is true that SARS has caused negative impacts on economies in the region and Cambodia’s tourism has lost its income in a size of 20 million dollars a month. This has also caused slight problem in the Riel currency exchange rate. SARS impact has to this day been a great impact on economy than terrorism. But Cambodia has not got a single case of SARS yet.
… Days ago I narrated a story of owner of a ship and owner of a sailboat. In Kompot I told a story of Mr. Chev and Mr. Klork. But in Prey Chhor (Standing Forest) today I should tell a story that is relating to forest. Long ago there was a village that fell into famine. Three men decided to leave the village and one man decided to continue to keep on living in the village. After making great efforts to overcome all difficulties, the man who stayed behind had made a safe and good life. Some years later, the three returned. Once in the village the three saw a huge tree with a spirit house standing by. There were beehives on the tree from where the man who stayed in the village always picked off. His way of collecting beehives had been difficult as he had to pray the spirit “I collect the bees for sharing with people in the village.” And normally he picked only one or two full honey beehives. The rest would be kept for other days. One day the three men who left the village came by. One of them said “why don’t we just push the beehives down with a stick?” The second person said “Isn’t it easier to just fell the tree down to get the hives?” and the third one said “why don’t we just burn the spirit house first and chop the tree’s branches to get the hives?” The spirit who listened to conversation was very angry that finally he was to get destroyed. He then told the bees to give the three men a bite.
… We could use the above story to compare with our present life. When Pol Pot killed us, no one stepped out and fought him. When Pol Pot was no longer there, many came out to light and started discussing about human rights. What on earth is human right? Is not it starting with the guarantee of the right to life, to education, etc. In that time none of the human rights were guaranteed. Some people shook hands with me but stepped on my feet. On April 27, he wrote to offer his official thanks to me, but three days later he attacked me. I think I would let the attack to go on because our people would soon recognize who caused the problem. I would warn that Hun Sen has not got just one specified person in mind. I have more options open for me. So far Hun Sen has closed the door for others and left it open only for one person. If my hand is shaken while my foot is stepped on, I do not think I could go on shaking hands. We also have had in mind who could enjoy the choice but we would not say it until we are sure of what is going to happen.
Samdech Hun Sen offered on that occasion 47 million Riel and a set of amplifying equipment plus a generator to the pagoda of Tropeang Ampil, five million Riel each to the pagodas of Kralaong, Sraong, Prasat, Phnom Khsach, Choutanaram, Svayprey, Botum Tayoeuk Khnong, Kompong Samnanh, Chumpu Sathea, O Tathok, and the Khcheay Mosque, 19 million Riel to the pagoda of Khvet Thom, a school building of six classrooms to the College of Sreng Kim, a school building of five classrooms, a photocopier, two 14″ colour TVs, and two VCRs to the Junior College of Hun Sen-Prey Totoeung, a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Koh Kaphem, and 66 tons of rice for labour to the people of Tropeang Preah commune.