Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the Closing of the Third National Sports/Games and First National Para Games Events [Unofficial Translation]

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On this occasion, I would like to address the Buddhist monks and people across the country in addition to the prepared text that I have sent to the Cambodian people. On behalf of the Royal Government, I would like to mention three important points related to our national pride.

Firstly, as we are “drinking water, we must be thinking of the water source.” We should be deeply grateful to our ancestors of all generations who have worked hard to leave a legacy for our younger generation. If our ancestors did not leave us anything, we would not have anything to inscribe in the World Heritage List, both tangible and intangible. This is the first point that I would like to emphasize to the Buddhist monks and our compatriots in addition to the letter that I just issued about two hours ago.

Secondly, we thank all the players/sportspersons who have worked hard to raise (cultural/sports human) capital since the liberation in 1979. They tried to stand up and raise (related human) capital because everything was destroyed during the Pol Pot era. There was no better way than to look for the surviving human capitals – all the arts, sports and other areas. Some have survived so far and some have died. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to those who have died and to pay tribute to the players/sportspersons and coaches who strived to maintain this national identity by gradually pushing until we take this martial art (of Kun Lbokator or commonly known as Bokator) into the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. That is our main pride.

The presence of Bokator at Angkor Sankranta every year in the past has really shown us how speedy it is to gain inscription of this martial art (in the World Heritage List) by UNESCO. I would also like to confirm to my compatriots all over the country that during the Khmer New Year in April 2023, we will celebrate the Angkor Sankranta again. At that time, I strongly hoped that Bokator would become an important symbol of the gathering at Angkor Sankranta.

Thirdly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts as well as the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia for their efforts to promote this work. Prior to the ASEAN Summit, I had already received a report on the approval by UNESCO in Paris, but we could not do anything for the procedure. We have to wait for about three weeks. It was until only 20 hours ago that the committee rang the bell to accept the “Kun Lbokator or Bokator” as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Since 2008, until now, it has been more than a decade and a half that we have (consistently) inscribed artifacts, temples and asset as world human heritages – both tangible and intangible. I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and all relevant actors who have worked hard for the good of our country. Hopefully we will be able to inscribe more of our ancestral wealth […]

I would also like to confirm that in 2023, I will participate in the game of chess. Let me register from now. Weather winning or losing the game, as a veteran chess player, I would be able to at least be in company of the main competitors.