I am so happy to be able to join with HE Kumamaru Yuji, Japanese Ambassador, in this ceremony to put into official use a number of buildings in the referral hospital of the province of Preah Sihanouk. Please allow me to seek your understanding for being late. I wished to have come since yesterday to benefit a rest at the beach but my wife engaged with other activity that we could not make it.
Japanese Assistance to the People of Cambodia
Today we are working together to put into official use a number of buildings, reportedly five in all – emergency ward, maternity ward, general ward, administrative ward and support services ward. The cost of construction is USD 15 million. According to the report, the hospital, built in 1952, same age as I am, though was renovated many times, has now been improved with the Japanese assistance. The Japanese Ambassador just mentioned about how much Japan had so far provided financial support for the Cambodian blue water seaport, which plays very important role in the country’s development. I used to refer to it as head of the dragon whose tail placed at the three-angle section of our country at Stoeng Treng and Ratanakiri provinces at the border with Laos. The blue water seaport provides Cambodia with opportunity for the country to do trade with other countries.
Along with new buildings, we will be receiving today some 91 medical items for treatment and related works by hospital for our people. I would take this opportune moment to express my sincere appreciation and thank for the Government and people of Japan for providing assistance for this hospital. I thank the companies in charge of construction and consultancy for making efforts to fulfill this task successfully. I thank the Ministry of Health as well as the local authority for paying attention and resolving problems and related institutions […]
Today we have new buildings and we must understand that it was not that simple to get a project like this going. The Japanese taxpayers contributed their parts to the Japanese Government and they latter provides the money to Cambodia for the construction of this hospital. I think I need to repeat again about this fact so that the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Government of Japan are not misunderstood and dishonored. If they wanted to know how much or how the money is spent on this project, they should ask the Japanese Ambassador or the Head of JICA here. In Cambodia, case of people blaming one another goes endlessly. They said (we in the Royal Government are) corrupted and wasted foreign assistance. In fact, all I know was cutting the ribbon to inaugurate it. Bidding also did not happen in Cambodia. They did it in Tokyo and only Japanese company allowed for bidding it. Some people knew about this but pretended to not knowing and some politicians have even slandered.
It may have been tenth time now that MC mentioned about the “Kingdom of Japan.” MC, provincial governor, minister have it all wrong. Japan or Malaysia, though the countries have Kings, they are referred to as Japan or Malaysia. Please upgrade your knowledge as we are now in an integrated world and knowledge era.
On Comments about Physicians
I have something to say about physicians. We heard complaints from some people whose comments dishonored our physicians or medical staff. Though we accept that there are rooms for improvements, we also must be clear that comments that 99 out of 100 Cambodian physicians are immoral or unethical is not acceptable. Personally, I am thankful of and appreciating the physicians who have made efforts so far. They work around the clock like the armed forces. It is obvious that most of our physicians are ethically and professionally responsible and sacrificed to help our patients.
There may be a small number of physicians who could have conducted unethically however to give a ratio of one good against 99 bad is unreasonable for about 20,000 medical staff. The comment had gone that far to call for a revolution among physicians. It is an insult. We understand that some physicians could have been unethical – using rough terms and even placing money above all else, but I am appealing to our physicians to help explain to one another and should not allow one or two bad staff dishonor the whole hospital. The best way to handle this is to educate peers, to see the problem and manage it together.
There was a time when I was in the Preah Sihanouk province, perhaps in 2007, one person claimed himself as analyst said on TV that 75% of Cambodian income went into loss. You may ask yourself if 75% of what you earned went into waste by any reasons, would your family be able to survive. What the person compared and stated was extreme. Some had even discredited those who studied inside the country. Whatever reason maybe, we must continue to strengthen medical staff ethics and we have a committee to do this work. We have modern equipments, technology and knowledge, but without virtue we would not be able to change.
Look, it is because there is a lack of virtue in technology that the world is facing danger these days. Why am I saying like that? Who produces nuclear (weapons)? Would it be just any one to be able to do it? Possessing technology and knowhow without a virtue clearly causes the world trouble. Take for instance, terrorists. Would they not know anything at all? They learned and knew how to use technology as normal men did. They steered the planes into buildings in New York.
I hope that there will be changes in our behaviors from inappropriate to appropriate. There was a term I used before “physicians become massagers.” It was not a disgrace to say that. In 1980s, we established a medical network to communal level and we did not have enough supply of medicines. With nothing to give to the patients, our physicians in those days resorted to coin rubbing (Gua Sha) to help their patients. To help rub their patients with a coin in time of no supply of medicine was our physicians’ effort to help patients with care. Now we have better means. What would be important is to pay attention and take serious ethical for and professional responsibility with patients.
Preah Sihanouk Province – A Passage for Economic Growth
We have made the province of Preah Sihanouk from one with just a few families to be one becoming a passage of the country’s economic growth since there is a blue water seaport here, busy tourist destination with millions of tourists coming in from inside and outside the country. A matter of fact, internal tourists do spend a lot of money, not less than foreign tourists do. In March 1979, I was here as head of a commission to resolve goods that were jammed in the port. I stayed at the former palace and there was no electricity. There was a small generator and we had not enough gas for it. We slept listening to owls. Now Preah Sihanouk province is not that desperate anymore./.