It is indeed the second time that I have come here to preside over the graduation ceremony – and my previous presence was in 2002. It is four years now that I have come again to preside over the graduation for the 8 and 9 batches of 1755 students of KNG Institute. It is important to know that – after your graduation here, whether long or short term study you have – that study is an action that you have to gather on a long term basis and its progress could be achieved only according to your efforts. In this token of event I wish to represent the Royal Government to offer my appreciation to your efforts made in the study here. It is also important to convey thanks to parents who have provided facilities you may need and carried out any work they may do for the sake of your studying.
Upon receiving certificates today I wish that you continue to study so that you can go all the way to meet the market’s increasing demand as well as to cope up with fast growing production and technology. You all have more time on your side and gathering knowledge and experience is indeed a long-term response in your life to work. I wish to take this opportunity to express to KNG Institute the appreciation of efforts it made over the past 6 years in providing training of various kind of expertise for our people – take for instance agricultural technology… I wish to see more non-governmental organization would see this as a good example. We should learn to grow and not to trigger rifles. It would be fine if we do not compete with other in rifle shooting but I would accept the idea to practice playing football or volleyball.
I am glad to see that our youngsters have been making efforts in looking for opportunity to education and I am glad to see that will contribute to the betterment of human resources – not for working in the Government but anywhere that deems to be suited. We need knowledge and know-how because we could not afford to be practicing economy depending on nature alone as for the most part of our economy would depend mainly on economy of goods or in other marketing work. Bartering re-emerged right after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, had been a practice – the one with scarf exchanged it with something from another person. Now we operated in cash not in the form of bartering. I value the effort of the leadership of NKG Institute because they know how to manage with the feeding of students – whereas I contributed only one ton of rice and one million Riel per month for their poor ones – by seeking helps from various others like HE Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, HE Hok Lundy and HE Kep Chutema…
It is good to see that the management knows how to sustain their existence and activities, while also making further progress. I used to say that to set up something is easy but to sustain it is difficult. Once they had 54 students in dormitory I provided a million riel and a ton of rice while it has grown to 117 I provided two tons of rice and two million riel accordingly. I understand their problems as they have separated themselves from their beloved but poor families in the provinces to seek for education. It is indeed important to give our respect in this sense to our Buddhist monks for their generous assistance – because when I was a pagoda boy I had similar difficulties. There is no way that I would forget such a situation and I would continue to share what I have with those poor students. I have done so with a number of organizations.
None of our people died of hunger like in Africa though we were poor in 1979. Some of you may now be 22 or 23 years old and you should know how difficult your parents had been under the regime of Pol Pot. Now the Royal Government would not leave anyone to die of hunger. Cambodia used to have lots of orphans and some of them who have survived so far do not even know their parents’ identities or their native birth date or place. However, Cambodia possesses a culture of sharing difficulties and saving one another. We collected those kids and placed them in the orphans named after the rose – Rose I, Rose II… so as to make them feel the best possible that they are no orphans. On 14 January 1985, I was made Prime Minister and there were drought and flood in various parts of the country from the previous year and I said before the Parliament – Devada had me on a test. We all came up with a slogan “no one would be left to die from hunger without our knowledge and efforts to resolve.” This was said first of all in the district of Kompong Trabek of Prey Veng province.
The idea has been reiterated in 2000 as the country suffered a big flood, when I cut short my trip to New York and returned to the country. The relief operation lasted 56 days and I wish to give a remark here that when our people really had difficulties they could not afford to come seek help in Phnom Penh. It was because of this that I never provided relief assistance to those coming to stand protesting under the trees in Phnom Penh. It is worth noting that those with demand for helps near the Royal Palace could stay up to three months for helps.
On June 28, 2006, the Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University would confer me an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education for Locality Development and I would accept it not for my own honor alone but to all of our teachers and students and those who have contributed to the construction of schools in the whole Kingdom of Cambodia. I may reiterate the three words some people said about the Royal Government – to make our people afraid, hungry and uneducated. How do we make the country afraid? We have destroyed over twenty thousand rifles for our people’s safety. Peace now prevails physically as well as mentally./.