Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the 8th meeting with wisemen-women [Unofficial Translation]

CNV:

(1) About 20 years ago, there was this crisis of lacking wisemen-women

[…] Maybe all of you, or maybe some of you, remember that about 20 years ago I declared a crisis of wisemen-women and for cultural extinction in connection with the Chapey Dang Veng (two strings guitar like music instrument) and Ayai (monologue or dialogue singing with music) issues […] when this emergency was declared, the Ministry of Cults and Religions, which was still involved in the training of priests, organized this training and revisited our traditions. The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has been working to promote the training of Chapey Dang Veng, Ayai and other areas […] the role of Buddhism in relation to society may be a topic for discussion today. Broadly speaking, we can say that religion plays a role with society, or in other words, “religion and the state.” The relationship between the Buddhist and the secular world is all subjective […]

(2) Political Science Thesis – Mutual interests between religion and society/state

Cambodia is not only a country of Buddhists. We have Islam, Christianity and other religions. We can talk about the role of religion with the state or religion with society as a continuous relationship […] fortunately, I received a report that my dissertation was available at the library. I sent for it. I looked into the thesis and find what I wrote more than 30 years ago when I defended my doctoral dissertation in political science. I am talking about the relationship between religion and society, religion with the state, and their mutual benefits […] we can say that relation between religion and the state, or in a narrower way, between Buddhism and the secular world is inseparable […] (therefore) we are working together to create a religion again after all religions in Cambodia were dissolved by the Pol Pot regime […] now there are more than 50,000 monks. It is a large number, compared to the medical force, where we have only 20,000 or 30,000 […] the number is almost 50% of the total number of troops in the country […]

(3) The dialectical relationship between the secular and the Buddhist worlds – once the secular is in crisis, the Buddhist world is too

[…] When the secular world faced a crisis, the Buddhist world also experienced a crisis […] In 1970, when the coup began, the engine of the state was shaken and disintegrated into the engine of war. At the same time, the entire Cambodian people suffered the consequences of this war. Buddhism, like other religions, suffered the same fate […] We need to see the dialectical relationship between the secular and the Buddhist worlds. When the secular world faced a crisis, the Buddhist world experienced the same crisis […] In the crisis from 1970 to 1975, the bomb did not know the pagoda, did not know the monks. During the Pol Pot era […] the monks were disrobed and killed, the monks were forced to leave the pagoda […]

(4) The Buddhist world benefits from the progress of society

When a nation has a crisis, which we call a secular world or a state has a crisis, it creates a crisis in every way, in which religion also suffers. But when our country was liberated and after the liberation, the country gradually got rich. When the Buddhist parishioners are doing prosperous business, the Buddhist sector benefits from the progress of society […] in a year that people grow good crops, the monks not only have delicious food, but the wisemen-women also received suffixes to build achievements in the temple […] I should remind you of the relationship between Buddhism and society, or more broadly, religion and the state in which […] the state benefited from Buddhism. What does the state benefit from Buddhism and other religions? All religions discipline people to do good deeds. Those good deeds help the state in governing society. If people do good deeds everywhere, then […] the state benefits. If people do a lot of evil deeds, the state will suffer […]

(5) Five major tasks that the CPP government has done in the sixth term in office

[…] We are now at the end of the sixth legislative term […] what has the CPP government fulfilled? […] Firstly, we have maintained peace, political stability, despite attempts to overthrow (the government), such as the proclamation to arrest Hun Sen on November 9, to have the armed forces turn their guns on the government, demanding that the King steps down, abandon the monarchy, overthrow the throne, […] we still maintain political stability. But do not neglect these subversives.

Secondly, […] I thank you wisemen-women as well as the people all over the country for keeping Covid-19 under control. We are among the countries that have succeeded in governing the battlefield, but we have not yet won the Covid-19 war [ …]

Thirdly, […] although Covid-19 has hit us hard, causing economic recession in negative area, down to – 3.1% in 2020, we had revived the economy to 3% in 2021, and 5.2 percent in 2022. At the same time, the lives of our people have been stabilized, despite some declining incomes […] we have released more than US$ 1 billion to help the poor. We will continue to release the monthly budget of more than US$ 40 million for the victims of Covid-19 and of inflation […]

Fourthly, we organized successfully the 2022 election of the commune/sangkat councilors, with many parties participating, with remarkably high voters’ turn out […] I thank the people in advance that you will accept the continuing leadership of the Cambodian People’s Party on July 23, 2023 […]

As for the fifth point […] last year, we did a good job as the host of ASEAN summits and related summits […] and in 2021, we chaired the Asia-Europe Meeting […] online […]

The works we have done in the past is not small […] we have failed no projects – we continue to build roads, bridges, canals, hospitals and schools. We are not a bankrupt state, but an economically resilient one […]

(6) Five major tasks to do for wisemen-women

Now what do we do? I would like to suggest some things. Firstly, let’s join together to maintain peace, political stability, security, and social order. This is very important and very big. Religion cannot survive in war and religion must live with peace. We say “sports in peace” and only 27 days away we are going to celebrate the opening of the SEA Games, which will have more than 10,000 athletes from different countries to compete in Phnom Penh along with many spectators. We are talking about “sports living in peace”, but speaking in broader term, everything has to live with peace, without peace it is impossible to survive […] peace can only be maintained through the role of the CPP. No party can keep the peace, even if there will be those who promise money to people in the future […] some, even without a house himself/herself promised people a concrete house […]

The second point I want to make (as a work to be done) is related to the Ministry of Cults and Religions, who must continue to organize training courses on the roles and responsibilities and ethics of Khmer wisemen-women to meet the needs of Buddhist rituals across the country […]

Thirdly, the wisemen-women must cooperate with the Buddhist monks and authorities at all levels to perform their duties well in accordance with their roles, responsibilities and legal documents in order to contribute to the support of Buddhism, which is an important basis for social development […]

Fourthly, the wisemen-women must strengthen the maintenance of ethics, the dignity in its role, and must cleverly find procedures to address all the needs of the clients […]

Fifthly, the wisemen-women must fulfill her duties well, be worthy to be the leader of the Buddhist ceremony, train, explain, and be a respectable person, as well as participate in preserving the cultural heritage of Buddhism and Khmer traditions and customs in a stable and highly civilized manner […]

(7) The King and Buddhist temples play important roles in preserving the traditions

Our kings and Buddhist monasteries play an important role in preserving the traditions of our nation. The French came to rule Cambodia, but we were able to keep our traditions, our rules in the royal palace, and in the Buddhist temples. Our temples play an important role in maintaining (our traditions and language) […] the French did not Romanize the Khmer language. They could not do it. The Khmers retain their literature and language clearly, which is the strength of the Constitutional monarchy in Cambodia, with Buddhism as a strong support of its preserved national culture […]

For instance, on the 2nd of March (2023), I asked all the pagodas to have traditional music bands […] I think that the philanthropists can help so that reach pagoda possesses one band. It does not cost much and doing that would give children a chance to learn those instruments. Now we have more than 5,000 pagodas. Let us say there are 4,000 pagodas, we will have 4,000 traditional music bands, and in each band would have at least six musicians […]

(8) The government asks for credit refinancing, but based on that, having money people must be repaying

Let me clarify a little bit. Yesterday, I said in the Cabinet meeting on the issue of calling for microfinance not to confiscate, not to arrest the people in need, but I would like to emphasize that not based on what I said people who had money refused to pay. Well, then the interest is heavier. If you have money, pay it back. In terms of banking and finance, they helped a lot. Yesterday I also ordered that whoever mobilized people not to pay back the bank is the target of the confiscation […] in the past, there were corrupt groups, some political parties too, promised that if they won, they would not let those people pay back. It the person who said so owed the banks money, I am asking the banks to confiscate from him/her so that s/he would not be able to cause more damages. The government asks for credit restructuring for those who owe the banks and understands the difficulty of repaying it. It can take some time, but not based on that problem, even with money, you do not pay back the debt […]./.

 

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