… First of all I wish to offer my humble respect to our people who have all been gathering here in the inaugurating celebration of the achievements in the Buddhist temple of Chan Borei Vong. I am glad to return to the pagoda after my previous visit back in 2001 to jin with our people to bestow the best wishes upon the birthday anniversary of Samdech patriarch Teb Vong. I wish to underline that I am glad to see that after four years the pagoda has scored so many achievements under the leadership of the venerable monk Nay Chroeuk and followers. Today we have eight achievements to put into use – the roof of a temple, a concrete Buddhist hall, seven concrete residential buildings, a common residence, two Buddhist school buildings, a library, five entrances to the pagoda and the fence around the pagoda compound.
The total cost of the achievements was US$ 828,562.
… The pagoda has been in its 142nd years of age as it was first built in 1863 under the reign of Samdech Preah Norodom, after Samdech Preah Ang Duong. Due to unspecified circumstances, the pagoda has evolved with its name changing four times already. It was the second time of name change that the pagoda was called Chan Borei Vong or Blossoming in the country or the cool moon light. In between 1979 and 1984, the pagoda was called Chey Aram or the pagoda born of the victory on January 7. It was from 1984 to the present that the pagoda has reinstated its second name Chan Borei Vong. As of now we have in all a sum of more than 4 thousand pagodas throughout the country as residence of around 60,000 monks. This is in contrast to 1979 when the country started from without any pagoda or Buddhist monks left after the fall of the Khmer Rouge.
… One could come up with any sorts of evaluation to the development of the Buddhist world in relation to the secular world. However I wish to mention three of them that I think are basically important as the two – the Buddhist and the Secular worlds could never go disconnectedly. First, answering to the question why the Buddhist world develop so fast, it is because there is a strong belief in Buddhism among the people of Cambodia, as it would not be standing here if no one believes in it.
… This recalls me of a philosophy that Samdech Chea Sim, Samdech Heng Samrin and I have been putting out in response to the question how long Buddhism would last in Cambodia that Buddhism would last until the people cease their belief. Second, main reason that makes the Buddhist world develop this fast is because there is a high degree of solidarity which culminated in the spirit of resource sharing for the construction of necessary buildings for the pagoda. Third, it concludes that the living condition of the people has been made better in the secular world as they could set aside their resources for the Buddhist reconstruction efforts.
… If we were to be as poor as in 1979, could one imagine where can we make this much of money to build achievements in the pagoda of Chan Borei Vong? This clealry tells that the living conditions of our people are nothing like those in 1979. Some people said Cambodia is getting poor day after day while rebuking the Royal Government of not doing anything at all. It is unimaginable when this is said by someone — who had been living under the Khmer Rouge and had been sacked from his post as the commune head of Toek Laak (Phnom Penh) – on the count of stealing rice.
… Talking about this it reminds me of a letter sent to me from the Pagoda of Chan Borei Vong that they would not send the pagoda’s boat to the boat race ceremony in Phnom Penh as they saw that the political situation was in a difficult moment. I am grateful to their understanding especially a sentence that reads – when our parents are in hardship, children should not take to their joy. During the political stalemate I was under constant insults. As a response to the political move to work with anyone except Hun Sen, on December 29, I made clear that I would hold no talk with those politicians either. On January 18, I asked HE Hor Namhong to visit HM the King Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk if we could opt for a scenario of a two-party coalition Government. HM responded it is alright if one they could guarantee a two third majority. On January 19, on his way to Beijing, HM said it is up to you (children) if you want to have a coalition of two, and between whatever party you may choose to. It was exactly what we were waiting for.
… This gave us a conclusion that on November 5, 2003, the coalition of three was born, while on November 6, the triplets died. But there was no announcement of the death and the final ceremony was held on January 19. Some politicians – who are now in foreign countries – accused the pagoda of Chan Borei Vong to be a place from where a demonstration against HM the King would be planned and organized. The self-exiled politicians have requested for a letter of assurance from Hun Sen for their return to Cambodia. I would not move in this direction. Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranaridh said he would grant a meeting after the person sorted out with the court on existing charges. My position on this matter is of no difference.
… On count of prolongation of the political stalemate vis as vis the establishment of the Royal Government, and it was in those days that Samdech Patriarch Tep Vong went to and from Beijing to beg for HM the King not to abdicate, I was prepared to stay as a stand-by Government no matter how long it would take. However, I requested everybody to pay attention to what was then written by HM the King that “if Norodom Sihanouk passed out, Cambodia will become a republic automatically, because there was no Throne Council” at that time.
… If HM the King did abdicate at the time Cambodia could have become the Republic already in reality because prior to the existence of the Throne Council, there was a Prime Minister, the Presidents of the National Assembly and the Senate, the two Buddhist Patriarchs, a two third majority in the National Assembly, while there was no law in existence. In fact I overtly said at that time the one who would score a real loss would be the Royalists.
… On issue of poverty alleviation policy, I would tell you a discussion between three elderly persons in Battambang province. Person A asked why do we have what we have today? Person B responded it is because we have made efforts. I agree with Person B completely. As of now the strategy to reduce poverty would score a success only if there is effort made from every individual, family and village to the whole country. Then Person C said, but in the regime of Pol Pot, we did great efforts why we did not have enough to eat? To synthesize the two hypothesis we could draw out two important lessons – one, every individual has to make efforts, and two, there needs to have a correct policy from the Government side.
… Political mistakes would bring about obstruction to the people’s efforts for development. We had had so many examples of this in the recent history of Cambodia – where because of political shortcomings Lon Nol plunged the country into war, while Pol Pot created a genocide landscape for the country. As of now the Royal Government’s policy has been to help our people draw benefit as much as they possibly can from the improvement and construction of infrastructures ranging from roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, Buddhist pagodas to the imposing of no tax on land and various other items just yet.
On that occasion Samdech Hun Sen offered six tons of steel for roofing to the pagoda of Munni Sophea, Riels 7.5 million to the pagoda of Preah Put Andet, to level a school yard for the Primary School of Samraong Choeung, a school building raised above the flood level with ten classrooms to the College of Kompong Luong, to finish the construction of a concrete bridge for the People of Kompong Oh commune.