My wife and I are so happy today to join with all of you to put into official use the great hall of Buddhist residence in the pagoda of Prochumnoti or Kropoeu Ha. I am so happy that venerable Buddhist monk and head monk Nhem Sopheak, honors my presence in this inauguration of the Techo Rany Ratanak Hall of Buddhist Residence. On 9 May 2008, I was here to launch the groundbreaking to authorize numerous constructions, this hall of Buddhist residence included.
Interrelation between Secular and Buddhist Worlds
I have listened carefully to the progress report on the province of Kandal as a whole and the pagoda of Kropoeu Ha in particular. The progress has clearly indicated its appropriate development from the beginning until present. It shows that our country has travelled along various hardships. Now we can see that Buddhist pagodas, hospitals, and schools have mushroomed and taken gradual progress in tandem with overall national development illustrating inseparable relation between secular and Buddhist worlds. Should there be absence of stability in the secular world, it would be impossible to expect turmoil-free Buddhism.
After the coup that brought Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk down, war broke out in the period between 1970 and 1975. While the secular world faced with turmoil, so did Buddhism. Numerous pagodas destroyed by bombs of the Lon Nol, the American and/or the South Vietnamese forces. Some took shells from the forces on the opposite side for the Lon Nol’s soldiers were taking pagoda as shelters. It clearly indicates how instability in one affects the other, between secularism and Buddhism.
Later, in between 1975 and 1979, the regime of genocide of Pol Pot had led the country to a complete destruction of Buddhism and other faiths. In secular world, infrastructure, human resources, state, and society destroyed. Buddhism devastated to its root. Correct politics will lead to progress and incorrect ones will lead to holocaust. We had experienced that twice – once under the Lon Nol regime and another under the Pol Pot regime. When there is correct politics, we have noticed progress made by secular and Buddhist worlds together for the past 37 years under the leadership of the Cambodian People’s Party … Though stipulated outright in the Constitution that Buddhism is the state religion, the country respects rights of other faiths too. Should there be no harmonization of religion in Cambodia, we would not have expected present day progress.
Take for instance if we were to take into consideration of the construction cost of all pagodas, at an average of 300,000 USD for one, that we have more than 4,000 pagodas, the amount of money collected is huge. Actually, if you raise fund to build a bridge, there would not be that many contributions. Raising fund to build a hall of residence is indeed very attractive. This has clearly reflected faith of human being to indulge in making contribution […]
This evening, my wife and I, Samdech Pheakdei Say Chhum and Samdech Chakrey Heng Samrin, will join in the event organized by the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia to bestow the Khmer New Year wish for HM the King … This year, I must announce that I will not be welcoming the Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh. Since there will be numerous events relating to Angkor Sangkranta in Siem Reap province, I will stay in Siem Reap for three days […]
Avoid Traffic Accident, No Jack-up of Bus Fee, No Untraditional Practice
From here, since we have only six more days to get to the Khmer New Year, on behalf of the Royal Government, I would take this opportune moment to make a statement to our people in the whole country to avoid traffic accident during the Khmer New Year. We should have a wonderful time during the Khmer New Year. We should not cause trouble for family, disrespect own and others’ lives for traffic accident. I am calling on our people to respect traffic law, to drive with mutual understanding and to take no alcohol while driving.
Secondly, I am seeking understanding from owners of taxi and transport vehicles of all kinds not to jack up fee of transport. The fact that oil in the Cambodian market has gone down, they should not charge extra in this time of festivity since most of travelers will be people from rural areas who travel to and from their home villages. They should keep their charges as they are. It should reflect their gesture of better understanding of each other.
Last but not least, I am appealing to youth to exercise popular games with dignity and avoid using practices that are not Cambodian tradition, which could lead to accident – take for instance throwing water in bags, or rubbing other faces with powder. Throwing water in bags could splash in others’ eyes and s/he would fall off motorbikes and get injury. It is not our tradition. In the Khmer New Year time, we use water only when we water Buddha in pagoda. Patting others with powder could also cause problem. Sometimes it results in loss of earrings or patting powder on someone who happen to be other’s person wife or young daughters.
Prime Minister’s Concern to Secure People’s Joy
… Lastly, it is the obligation of the local authority at all levels and the armed forces to defend people during the joy of the Khmer New Year celebration. People’s joy requires high consideration. As we are welcoming the new year, our soldiers stand guarding border, military police look on security issue and they did not have chance to enjoy the event with their families. Officials in the district or provincial levels always follow up with situation in their jurisdiction. It is an obligation. I hope that local authority at every level continues to monitor situation in this event.
I may have your attention that as Prime Minister, I am never free of concern in times of major events. Take for instance, the International New Year event I always have Minister of National Defense and Commander-in-Chief with me, and sometimes even head of police and/or military police. In case of urgency, I will have them by my side and deal with whatever happens in a timely manner. It means that Prime Minister takes all the concern for people to enjoy the festivity. As you know, anything can happen in the world these days. In Europe, France and Belgium just happened to be under attacks. We cannot lose control.
… In another instance, officials and armed forces can now cash their April salary with an increment plus Riel 50,000 Khmer New Year extra. Fifty thousand Riel is not much but the Royal Government has to spend US$ six million to give this much extra to the armed forces, civil servants, retirees.