… First of all I would like to present my deep thanks and sympathy to fathers, mothers and national compatriots for being present here today. On behalf of my father and my family, may I humbly call on the souls of my great grandparents, grandparents to move from the old pagoda to this new place of respect. I have a great pleasure also to be able to return to the native village in this auspicious occasion to inaugurate the Buddhist temple, and various other achievements — the health clinic and three Bailey bridges are also included. These achievements are great pride for this area which used to be very poor. The three bridges are built at the commune of Tuol Rokar, the commune of Peam Koh Sna and at the village of Prek Andaung.
… These achievements have taken shape today while I never promised anything to the people in this area. At the same time I share the view of HE Hun Neng, my brother and the Governor of Kompong Cham, when he recalled previous achievements that were destroyed by the land erosion into the river, as they stood on the river side. The pagoda of Botum Kessar was built 175 years as of August last year, when it fell into the river. In other words the pagoda was built in 1830, even before the French arrival to Cambodia in 1860. As most of the achievements in this fallen pagoda were contributed by the Hun’s family, it tells us that the Hun’s is here for such a long time.
… In recent years, as I could recall, many pagodas built along the river bank have fallen off the shore into the river – and we have three pagodas from this area alone fell off the land into the river because of the river’s change its course. In 2003 we inaugurated the new pagoda of Khpop Tanguon for the old one fell off into the river, followed by the 2004-inauguration of the new pagoda of Prek Andaung after the fall of the old pagoda, and in 2005, we have this Botum Kessar pagoda to rebuild for the same reason. If we were to have no war for the last 35 years (from 1970) I would hope that the water course could have been diverted in such a way by modern technology to avoid causing such damages to the shores along here. It has been possible as they did in some countries to take away the silt leaving the water current to continue to flow in its original direction. We did try with limited efforts to save the city of Kompong Cham in the mid 1980s.
… I wish to take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to those contributors, near and far, to the construction of the Buddhist temple, study hall, and residences in the pagoda. These are made available without my promise. I understood that first of all our people need peace, and my actions have been conducted in search for peace. The country won independence in 1953, but this region continued to be disturbed by the group under Put Chhay (local troublemaker) until 1960. In between 1967 and 1968, we had the Khmer Rouge residing along the Tuol Sambo area. The commune head of Tuol Sambo was killed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1960s. They called one another rouge, blue or pink.
… Cambodia gained independence only to fight its own war killing people and making documentary film out of it. Unstable peace existing for 16 years recalled us of a situation here where people feared to stop peddling bicycle when called in the Rubber plant, as they were afraid of the Khmer Rouge. The central headquarter of the Khmer Rouge was then right behind this place and in 1970-71, all the Khmer Rouge leaders – Ke Pork, Pol Pot, Koy Thuon… were all present here.
… As I have mentioned about executing people and making film out of it, they were true but Mr. Ruom Rit never writes about it and all he was writing so far was just criticizing those who have made great efforts in rebuilding the country. Ruom Rit missed in his writing the stories of people like Sao Ngoy, Preap In, Chao Borei, etc. who had been executed in those days. On my way here I read in the newspaper that Mr. Ruom Rit is seriously ill and Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk would not post in his website Ruom Rit’s articles anymore. I dare mention this on my birthday because I am a kid who has been victimized by what was done by the elderly people. I was wounded five times and lost one eye because of those kinds of leaders. To let our people see what was done in the past (by those leaders), we could have all the seven TV stations replayed the film. The younger generation should not be deceived by elder ones.
… Well Ruom Rit is said to stop writing but if he were to continue writing he should narrate the story of executing Preab In at Tropeang Kroloeung. Take for instance HE Tea Banh was formerly called Tea Sangvaat, but because he was not killed from the shooting he then has been renamed to Tea Banh (shooting). What is important is he was not shot under the Khmer Rouge but the Sangkum Reastr Niyum. If Ruom Rit were to go on, I would not be reluctant to order for replay of the films on televisions. It was because of such brutal act of execution at gunpoint that contributed in part to wars.
… No one seems to have talked about it, only I Hun Sen dares bring this out. If I were to let this go on, more will continue to come. Hun Sen is accused of being a dictator but what were done wrong in the past by elder leaders were forgotten. I wish to remind that the district of Stoeung Trang has produced three Prime Ministers already for Cambodia – In Tam, Hang Thun Hak and Hun Sen. Hun Sen will not disappoint the people of Stoeung Trang like In Tam and Hang Thun Hak did. But they were lucky because they did not meet Ruom Rit as I do.
… However, we have achieved a stable peace and with it we all could rebuild this pagoda and today I have here a list of contribution of US$ 27,450 in response to the need of only US$ 16,560. The extra fund should, if I may say, be spent on building a race-boat shed. May Dr. Saat Samy draft for me how much would it cost to have twenty solar-energized bulbs here. Well to sum up this part I have built many things in many places but little or nothing in the native village. One important reason is that the money used in such reconstruction efforts are donated by charitable persons and I do not want them to blame me for channeling them to the native village’s construction. It is even more hesitant when it comes to using the national budget.
On that occasion, Samdech Hun Sen provides ten tons of cement and US$1000 with amplifying equipment and a 10 kVA generator to the pagoda of Santhor Raingsey, ten million Riel for each of the seven pagodas for their reconstruction efforts, ten computers and twenty sewing machines to the secondary school of Hun Sen-Peam Koh Sna, a school building of five classrooms to the primary school of Peam Koh Sna, and a raised building high above the flood level of ten classrooms to the primary school of Tuol Roka, which could then be used in time of flood as high ground for inundated viallages.