In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen gave his comments on some recent issues relating to educational development, and political developments, while informing our people that Samdech is going to visit the Socialist Republic of Vietnam aimed at signing a treaty on border issue.
… Yesterday was October 5, the national day for the commemoration of mentors or teachers. In Khmer language, teachers or Kru (Gurus) bear a deep meaning as our culture consider them second only to parents – and it was in that understanding that I have proposed to celebrate October 5th – the national teachers’ day as an expression of our gratefulness. The teachers’ job is a responsible one, second only to parents. This development though was not like under the Khmer Rouge regime where the majority of teachers and intellectuals were massacred. As of now, the teachers’ training programs since 1979 have produced a sum of 300,000 teachers from this place, which was formerly known as the Faculty of Pedagogy (FP) and later the National Institute for Education (NIE), in which about 5 thousand teachers of bachelor degree + one year of pedagogical training.
… I wish to have your attention that when you return to your educational institution, you may encounter with those of your teachers from primary school, while you have become a senior educational staff with a degree of bachelor + one year of pedagogical training. I wish that none of you will dismay them with your higher level of education and training, because it was thanks to them that you have your day today.
… Talking about education and its facilities reminds me of a primary school with just three classrooms in the commune where I was born. I was under age for school those days but I always followed my brothers to school. What I remembered most was whenever there was a strong wind teachers would send the students to stay outside the classrooms for fear of collapsing. It is one small example to justify the claim that teachers are second to the parents. When I was going to school, the old and dilapidated school was replaced by a new building but not in concrete as we would have it today. It was a contribution by parents in wood etc. for the building of the classrooms. In those days my father went to cut bamboos and gave them to school to wall the classrooms. But you do not see that anymore in the present day, though there would be some left.
… It is impossible to compare the present day to that of the past in 1950’s or 1960’s, when there was only about one million students, as of now we have up to 3.5 millions to begin with. The increment indicates also development in health care, science and technology. Take for instance this place was called Boung (lake) Reang before because it was a lake. As of later the lake was filled with soil so that construction of the city began. When we are trying to do the same now, there have some people saying that we blocked the water systems. It is absurd because in Phnom Penh as we all know has been made up of many lakes that were filled with soil with buildings in replacement. Take for instance we lave the Boeung (lake) Prolit, Boeung reang, boeung tumpun, Boeung Kak, Boeung Salaang, Boeung Trabek, Boeung Keng Kang, etc. that were parts of the current capital and were before lakes that were filled with soil in those days. Why it is wrong now to do the same? Studies must be conducted to figure out the water reservoirs and their peripheral systems so as to prevent our capital from flood.
… Now it is different from before that student of these days go to good school buildings and more will come as I have given the order to build more in the past few days in Kompong Speu, Svay Rieng, etc. Another distinctive remark is that students in the war zone in the past had to dig out their trenches at the side of their classrooms in preparation for eventual fighting and/or bombardment. Wars in many countries have refrained from destroying schools, infrastructural base, pagodas, religious crusades, hospitals, bridges, roads, but how unfortunate we had been, the war in Cambodia destroyed everything. But we now are at peace and our people could move freely.
… Maybe I should make one more differentiation that these days, students do not have to learn to insult like when I was in school. The school in those days was under the Government control and there were groups defined to be betrayal to the national interests like Khmer Rouge, Khmer Blue, Khmer White, Khmer Pink, etc. In between 1970 and 1975, teachers had to tell students to insult those leaders in the liberated zones – Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, blaming this and that a Viet Cong, a Viet Minh, or a Khmer Rouge. In return those under the liberation front controlled area were instructed to insult Lon Nol, Sarimatak, Cheng Heng, In Tam as the traitors. The situation, however, has changed from the end of 1998.
… Maybe I should recall a story in 1996. We had then a re-integration of Khmer Rouge forces in the Oral mountain area (of Kompong Speu) into the national fold, following various other integrations in Samlot, Tasanh, etc. People in those areas were told to call us A Yong (a puppet), so they invited us “Yong child, come sit here.” Children called us “Pu Yang or uncle puppet” because they do not know what to call us differently. Though we still have some places surrounded by mines but it was not like what the Human Right Commissioner of the United Nations has said about the situation in Banteay Mean Chey province at all. I told him he should replace me as Prime Minister since he claims to love Cambodia and Cambodian more than I do.
… I said recently in the UN General Assembly and I noted that the General Secretary of the United Nations also was amused about it that “I do not expect a good remark on human rights in Cambodia from the commission because having done so would make those guys jobless.” I argued a case of the United Nations Transitional Authority for Cambodia (UNTAC) negligence of implementation of the Article 17 of the Paris Peace Agreement, because UNTAC left Cambodia in a situation where there were two control areas with one of them was under the control of the Khmer Rouge’s remnants. The UNTAC head Yasushi Akashi left Cambodia at 22:30 while General John Sanderson left at 24:00 for fear of muddling in further.
… They said it was a success story in Cambodia but when he went to Bosnia, the situation was not like Cambodia. In 1998 we had resolved the problem all by ourselves. Let me advise you that former diplomat to Cambodia David Chandler in between 1960-1962 kept a chronology of events till 1999 with great care and it has been translated into Khmer already. I hope the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports discusses on what should and should not be included in the educational textbooks on Cambodia’s history. I would judge that what he had written justified the fact about 80% already. History must be told in its whole truth.
… Talking about teachers, I wish to see that some one write a script about teachers and their feelings. I have heard people writing scripts about “feeling of mother, feeling of father” and presented them in movies. Why should we not have one for the teachers? The Royal Government of Cambodia would thank them very much if s/he is willing to take up this task. With our goal to make every child pass their nine year education, we have so many tasks to fulfill – we have to build school where there has been land, we have to provide teaching staff where there is schools but insufficient staffing, we have to upgrade some schools from primary to secondary schools, from secondary to high school.
… Having come to this I would like to note a different approach in education compared to that in the past. In the old days female children would not go far in their education because parents would ask them to drop school for fear of being abused, or for staying home to help with houseworks. Again I think maybe we should have another script on the feeling or life of a Bong Srey (An Elder Sister). Having dropped out of school and taking care of younger ones and houseworks, her whole life had been a dissatisfied but devoting one. Concerning the recruitment of teachers, this year, according to the need we have witnessed, about 5000 will be selected, and NIE should recruit a sum of another 500 for new school year. We have the need for many more teachers. The number of students has increased to about 3.5 million, and will increase everyday. As of this year, despite the fact that I could not afford to send teachers to visit the national heritage of Angkor Wat, I still have saved some for the NIE. I would give one hundred thousand Riel (about 25 US$) per person to visit Angkor Wat.
… Some people criticize the Phnom Penh Municipality for building a curved road. I would ask why it is a problem. Let’s go and see a road behind my house, and I pose similar question why was not it built straight? Anyone here gets the right answer would be rewarded. It was not built by me but I took it as a reply to those who blamed me or the Phnom Penh Municipality. We discovered already the person who said that Hun Sen signed a treaty giving Koh Tral to Vietnam. I wish to declare that I am to take this matter to the court. It will not be a civil but a criminal case since it not only insulted but instigated a damage of the national interest. I was born in 1952 and Cochinchina lost to Vietnam in 1949, but I was the one to blame. I would not retreat in face of such a silly accusation and I will take this matter to the criminal court on charge of instigation, disturbance, and intention of using it as a political tool. For the sake of social justice we have to take up the legal action, if the person bears French nationality, the case must be brought to the French court and I am claiming for financial compensation and a jail term. With political intention, the person accused me of selling national property or state land.
… I have no right whatsoever to give land to anyone but I reserve the right to get the resolution of the French Governor General implemented without mistake in demarcation on actual boundaries. Do you see this as a profit or loss? The permanent team of the Council of Ministers already met, and the Permanent Secretary of the National Assembly also prepared, I will lead a delegation on October 10, 2005 to Vietnam. The French can be a witness on issue of the Koh Tral on who gave it a signature, Hun Sen or the French? Take the case of Koh Thom, Chrey Thom in Kandal province, there was a decision of the French Governor General and that of Samdech Norodom Sihanouk in 1942. Samdech Norodom Sihanouk was accused of selling land to Vietnam, but up to now those lands claimed to be sold are still Cambodian. Anyone remember in between 1970 and 1972, Neak Loeung was then called Saigoin Moi because the eastern side of the Mekong at the point of Neak Loeung was under the control of the Viet Minh, but now it is still the Neak Loeung of Cambodia. It is said that the mountain of Den (Phnom Den) disappeared already, whereas it is still there.
… As I said if the Cambodian land is lost to anyone, it would not be people in France or elsewhere to claim it, but those who actually reside in the place. We have seven points to discuss about the border issue with Vietnam, and six have already been resolved. Let me confirm to you that the map that we brought back from the United Nations and the one we are going to sign with Vietnam is not different. The Constitution also states that we have to use the 1/100,000 map published by the Indochina Geographic Group in between 1953 and 1963-1969. Only when the Constitution is nullified would what we are actually doing be abolished. The signing in my coming visit to Vietnam would in the end improve our people’s access to water in all places where the border is defined between water lines. We would do the same with Lao, take for instance at the River Lpeo, when I brought the issue up with Laos since May 2004.
… As far as this matter is concerned Cambodia wishes to reiterate two of its rights, first to move the border lines in areas of water division to the deepest depth of the river, second a correction has to be made in accordance with the resolution of the French Governor General. As for Koh Vai (or Vai Island), when Vietnam was controlled by three forces in the war – Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the Provisional Government of South Vietnam, who recognized the border with Cambodia, except the Republic of Vietnam that fought and occupied Koh Vai. The US armed forces in Cambodia did nothing to help Lon Nol but to help the South Vietnamese Government instead. The Brevie line is what we continue to argue to be the border line in the sea. It was done so under Samdech Preah Norodom as well. Why whatever Hun Sen did could not be right. A final agreement will be in place only when the demarcation and markers are all finalized.