Jul 25, 2013

Holiday in Cambodia: a leader returns to fuel unrealistic hope

For the first time since 1979, there is a real feeling in Cambodia that dictator Hun Sen can be thrown out.

Michael Sainsbury — Freelance correspondent in Asia and <em>Little Red Blog</em> Editor

Michael Sainsbury

Freelance correspondent in Asia and Little Red Blog Editor

It’s been impossible to escape the loudspeaker-driven hubbub of wildly enthusiastic electioneering across one of south-east Asia’s two economically forgotten nations this week.

Among the shrieking and flag waving of the mostly youthful populace of Cambodia was a mixture of hope and fear. With two-thirds of the country under 30 there’s been a certain party atmosphere of simple, relentless chanting demanding “change” and “win” amid the delirious waving of flags by a crowd decked out in hats and shirts emblazoned with the “sunrise” logo of the Cambodian National Rescue Party. The united opposition front, the biggest effort in decades to unseat iron-fisted 60-year-old Prime Minister Hun Sen in decades, was formed through the Sam Rainsy Party, headed by the veteran one-time finance minister who has long been a favourite of the West, and the Human Rights Party, headed by Kem Sokha.

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20 thoughts on “Holiday in Cambodia: a leader returns to fuel unrealistic hope

  1. paddy

    Thanks for that Michael.
    Both fascinating and more than a bit depressing.

  2. Lehan Ramsay

    What did you do to this, Sir, that it was so dull that nobody actually read it all. Paddy. Don’t like it if you didn’t get through it. You are encouraging the kind of journalism that sends a person to drink. I have had to have a beer.

  3. Lehan Ramsay

    I am sorry but it is “dreadful”.

  4. Lehan Ramsay

    Come along now.

  5. Lehan Ramsay

    Right then Mister Amnesty.

  6. Lehan Ramsay

    Firstly nobody is commenting here for a number of reasons but one of them is because WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH THEM THEN? Did you mention a currently-playing television program in the first paragraph so that they could bond with it? Is there a deft political reference or comparison? Are these Cambodianss getting on boats?

    You can see the problem here.

  7. Lehan Ramsay

    Next. If nobody is managing to read to the end of your article you might want to look at the picture at the top YES SIR YOU HAVE BEEN SABOTAGED, SAVAGELY UNDER-MINED.

    Drone STory Man ARE YOU READING ME here. Why do the American Militaries talk incessantly and with sexual undertones about Drones? Because people NO LONGER accept them talking like that about LAND MINES.

  8. Lehan Ramsay


  9. Lehan Ramsay

    But Asia. Should we be talking about Asia. Were the “Asians” upset when we couldn’t stop talking about that yellow sculpture in Melbourne? Were the Soviets upset by Blue Poles? Were the Irish in Victoria upset by the Ern O’Malley scandal? Are we upset that the Committee for Global Cultural Awards is having their telephony tapped? Does the fearsome Whales Balloon make us fear for our mammaries?

  10. Lehan Ramsay

    Well there is one event of the asia that has left an indelible image on our psychy and now in a time of such deliberations about our refugees it is perhaps a moment to discuss cannibalism. Those men and women who crashed in that aeroplane on the mountain top and ate each other, one by one, one terrify made-for-tv-scene by made-for-tv-scene, it was terrible. Terrible.

    There is only one thing, really, that we find more disturbing than cannibalism, and that’s a word that strikes absolute shock, absolute horror into the hearts of all of us. It is a word that will start a fight in a bar faster than an empty glass, a word that in a moment can divide a nation. A word that can evacuate a beach, that can emulate a cold, rocky incline.


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