My wife and I are very happy to have been invited to participate, at the end of the Month of Chet of the Buddhist Calendar of 2550, in the inauguration of the Buddhist temple just a fortnight after the Khmer New Year of the Dog. It is in deed our honor that we have been invited for this event. As usual it is worth recalling a bit about history relating to this pagoda. According to our study, the pagoda is here for the past 400 years already. It was started at the time of Sdech Kan or Preah Srey Raja. The second phase of the pagoda development was in the period of King Jaya Jeddha in between 1618 and 1828 and the third stage of development was at the time when King Ang Duong, in between 1840 and 1859 made his effort in putting an end to foreign occupation of Cambodia.
The old royal palace or Venag Chas was then built in 1841 by Preah Baat Ang Duong and later there was a Buddhist pagoda named after the palace – Wat Veang Chas. The construction of the pagoda though started in 1863, which was under six successive head monks already. The pagoda came to its stall of development at the time of war and the destruction caused by the regime of genocide. This is an indeed a tragedy that should not be overlooked and that was caused by politicians of the previous time, which war and destruction prevailed while creating poverty and separation of families all over the country. One should refrain from these political mistakes as it would cause problems not only of insecurity for the people but also destruction to all religions in Cambodia – Buddhism is one of the three existing religions in Cambodia, together with Christianity and Muslim.
In the period of Sdech Kan in between 1512 and 1524, we should also learn the political mistake that was caused at that time because of the state personality cult. It proved very unacceptable that because of his frightful dream, the King ordered the killing and this should be a lesson for the Cambodian people to remember. The country was because of that instance divided into different areas of controls. As of now I am giving my support to the compilation of the Sdech Kan historical records by Dr. Ros Chantrabot where some of the findings will be sent to printer soon. It would be a document that focuses its study on the period of Punnhea Yaat and the time when Cambodia was divided into three areas of controls – one area ruled by Preah Srey Raja, one area ruled by Preah Dhammar Raja and the last one was ruled by Soriyotay. The publication of historical findings aims at giving the younger generations of Khmer to understand fully well their own history in those specified periods.
We should not be afraid to get exposed to history as some people should. We should not be afraid of the truth recorded by history and should not be afraid to confront them. One should ask question as to why there was this record keeping about Sdech Kan. Maybe in the past scholars were afraid to do any research on Sdech Kan because they might be afraid of being sentenced to death. As of now I am not and we should not be afraid of conducting the research into this matter to find out the root cause in Sdech Kan issue – was it Sdech Kan or Preah Srey Sokunbat who deliberately started the conflict. There was a leading fact that prompted us questions on why people under the Srey Sokunbot’s rule supported Sdech Kan in dethroning him? And what Sdech Kan did in his control? I am startled by his achievements since he was at that time son of the Buddhist monks’ laborers (people whose life is to serve the Buddhist pagoda for generation).
I noted that in this pagoda the statue of Sdech Kan has been built and it deserves a respect from all. The event proves to us all that we all are born to be the same and it was not true at all that some people are born to be respected people and some are not. Some days ago I did a little study on the Buddhist literature of Kabel Maha Brahma on the fact that why he beheaded himself after he failed in a bet with Dhammarbal Kumar (it is a Buddhist literature as to why there are seven Devodas for each seven year of the Khmer New Year).
Though many achievements have been scored in the whole country since January 7, 1979, but it is worth noting that developments in the Buddhist and the secular world are inseparable. If the people are facing famine, the monks would also be starving. On the contrary, if the parishioners are well off, so would be the monks. In time of speedy globalization, the Buddhist pagodas are the best places for preservation of our culture and it is a good example indeed when the people of Cambodia protected their cultural heritage, especially the Khmer characters when the French colony tried to Romanize the Khmer alphabets. The French could not do it in Cambodia as they did in Vietnam. Again it is the best place and a critical role for them to play in preserving the Khmer culture once again against the influence of globalization and influx of foreign cultures.
As far as good deed is concerned and I used to appreciate the efforts made by the Head monk Nay Chrek in providing relief to people affected by flood in 2000. But on TV programs of three different TV Stations, my wife has sponsored a show of life in difficulties and some of the people in desperate condition live not far from the pagoda. So I think this situation should have the attention of those who practice Buddhism and helping them is in a complete conformity with the Buddhist teaching – performing good deed.
When I declare my plan to develop northward of Phnom Penh city I provided already a road and HE Lim Kean Hor for Water Resources also led his team to build 162 water damns of 79,278 kilometers, among many other things. I have many of water pumps placing along the river – Hun Sen 10 and 43 in the commune of Kompong Oh and 20 in Koh Chen. According to the forecast of flood level, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology predicts that there would be flood as high as the year 2000 but would not be destructive as the one in 2000. I would urge us all to be prepared though for the situation. We also had the Tamork water reservoir built with the financial assistance of the Republic of Korea and will finish asphalting the dike with the Japanese assistance before long. I also take this opportunity to urge our monks not to bestow high feng shui for those with more than one wife. As far as school building is concerned, my wife and I have provided 2168 classrooms…
On that occasion Samdech provides the pagoda of Angserei Suosdei a sum of 20 million Riel, a six-classroom building to the Priamary School of Prek Phneo, a six-classroom building for the college of Teb Pranom, and a road renovation for the people of Samraong commune in the Kandal’s district of Punnhealoeu.