The preceding article was also published on KI-Media, a blog by an overseas Khmer and a Khmer from Cambodia. The comments made there were for the most part strident, abusive, insulting, and mostly beside the point. KI-Media is obviously a platform of opponents of the current government, and supports Sam Rainsy. I am wondering whether they do themselves or the opposition movement a favor by allowing those crude people to populate their forum. Convincing the majority of the people that it is best if they voted for their party of choice, not by having what is generally called a mob rant and rave overseas, can only bring about change in Cambodia.
Most of the readers have not read my article thoroughly, or didn’t understand what is being expressed. It was not supposed to be a scientific study into the psychology of the Khmer mind, but rather a personal reflection on the possible causes for those animosities. It is clear that they are deep-rooted and must stem from the traditional hostilities between these S. E. Asian countries, in which, unfortunately, the Khmer Kingdom, Republic, or State more often than not came out the loser.
Animosities between peoples of the world abound. The fate of the human race has been shaped by wars throughout its history, whether it was Sumerian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Roman, French, German, English, Russian, to name a few among countless more, or Khmer. So their history is not singular in its characteristics. Khmer people tend to think that Westerners are unable to understand their feelings or their mind. Europeans and Americans wrote many of the history books on Cambodia. There are quite a few Western scholars of Asian cultures and traditions as well as politics. People who study a culture are quite capable of seeing things in their proper context.
From my knowledge of recent history, there are only four or five events that deeply scarred the mentality of an entire people or ethnic group, the Stalin purges, the Holocaust, the Pol Pot Killing Fields, the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, and the Rwandan genocide. Now a sixth may be added in Darfur. It is tragic that a small country like Cambodia has to be among the victims of almost unparalleled human cruelty.
But recent history may have contributed more to this aversion in the older generation’s minds, especially in overseas Khmer who fled the country and had to go through refugee camps, mostly in Thailand, where their treatment wasn’t always how humans should treat others in need, to put it mildly. So the article didn’t mean to disparage any overseas Khmer, adding insult to injury, so to speak; and it didn’t. I completely sympathize with any refugee, whether Khmer or Vietnamese (and there were also many Vietnamese who fled the Communists). And it is not a whole-sale condemnation of overseas Khmer either.
But just as the Jewish people as a whole have forgiven the post-war Germans their atrocities against humanity, it is time for the Khmer people to turn to another page in history and forgive, if not forget, the past. Buddhism speaks of Karma. Seeking good Karma is the right thing to do now.
If it is the current government people do not agree with there is only one way to get rid of it - by a vote at the polls. Ultimately, it would stand to reason that overseas Khmer, if they really do want to bring about change, they should put their money where their mouth is. Go back to Cambodia, work constructively in the rebuilding of the country, and strengthen the democratic system by being an active part of it. It won’t happen overnight, as real change always comes slowly. But it will eventually happen.
For those who need a closer look at the Vietnamese invasion again, here is the link to a concise, un-refuted description.
And for those who doubt that Wikipedia is a reliable source, a comparison has established Wikipedia to be more accurate than the Encyclopedia Britannica.