Selected Comments Samdech Techo Hun Sen, at the opening ceremony of Angkor Sankranta 2023 and the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the opening of Angkor Sankranta [Unofficial Translation]


​(1) Angkor Sankranta initiates the Cambodian’s understanding, love and promoting of culture, civilization, traditions and valuable traditions of Cambodia

[…] I am pleased to once again attend the opening of Angkor Sankranta 2023, the 10th anniversary of the inauguration of this major cultural event. The event is meant to inspire the Cambodian people, especially the next generation to understand, love and promote the culture, civilization, traditions and valuable traditions of Cambodia in order to maintain national identity and create national pride […]

(2) Angkor Sankranta creates a triangular meeting among people, intangible culture and tangible culture

[…] Angkor Sankranta has created a reunion of people and intangible heritage, intangible and tangible […] welcome and congratulations to the Bokator that has just been listed as the World Heritage […], and is a creation of a good situation to revive the place that used to be quiet to become an attractive place for tourists as well. In addition to the triangular meeting between people with intangible and tangible cultures, the president of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia said that there will be a fourth meeting – a meeting between women and men […] this year has created a situation in which we are able to organize not only the Angkor Sankranta in Siem Reap, but national Sankranta has been organized everywhere in the Kingdom of Cambodia, from the provincial level, district, commune and educational institutions […] people are happy despite the economic impacts affecting us caused by Covid-19 and due to some external factors […]

(3) Six factors make the preparation of Angkor Sankranta possible

I think we have six factors that lead to the preparation of Angkor Sankranta this year […] (firstly) we have peace prevailing in the country […] peace, political stability are the main factors that provide opportunities for the people to enjoy the event […] secondly, leading to reopening the country and the celebration of new year – Angkor Sankranta, we have been able to control Covid-19. It is not a serious case […] thirdly, the country has infrastructural connectivity that we have built a lot of roads […] people can travel from one place to another […] fourthly, our people have the means of transportation whether it be their personal transportation means or hired ones […] fifthly, although a little difficult, people have saved for traveling […] and sixthly, the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia, according to its initiatives and activities, has done this (organizing Sankranta event) a good job […]

(4) Nearly 4 million paper hearts folded by people from 4 to 80 years old, breaking the world record

The largest number if origami hearts in the world is what impressed me. I got this number (here of paper heart) of 3, 917, 805, which is a lot. It can be said that the Cambodian people are interested and supportive of this process. We have broken the record for the largest number of hearts (previously held) by the United Kingdom at just over 50,000. Previously, we (thought of) trying to achieve only one million hearts, and did not expect that we came close to almost 4 million hearts. This (demonstrates determined) participation. According to the report, those involved in folding the heart paper ranged in age from 4 to 80 years old. This effort can be considered as devotion of love and the participation of our people. (Thus) one can understand the meaning of the heart. It’s not a coincidence that I think it’s one of the deepest thoughts of young people […]

(5) Recommendation of Goh Chok Tong in 1994 to launch a direct flight is right

There are many other things that I will not repeat, as the Governor of Siem Reap and the President of the Union of Youth Federations have already made their reports. I want to highlight a little bit about the development of Siem Reap. A few years ago, in 2014 or 2015, I had received the advice of former Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, who then said to me in 1994 that “if I were His Excellency Hun Sen, I would open Siem Reap to direct flights to transport tourists here”. This is definitely the right recommendation […] whether the decision to open skies or direct flights in Siem Reap is right or wrong one can make an observation. If we did not open direct flights to Siem Reap, no one would invest billions of dollars in hotels like today. This is because tourists would come and go back to sleep in Phnom Penh. We would have few tourists who will be coming to Siem Reap. When we opened direct flights here, investors came in and hundreds of hotels were built […]

(6) During Covid-19 Investment in Urban Infrastructure and Siem Reap River Improvement

The government had made major investment, at the time when Covid-19 declined tourists’ arrivals. The Royal Government has invested in infrastructure in the city building 38 roads, and the river of Siem Reap […] through the investment of a large airport in Siem Reap, probably no later than October, we will open, which is to say that it is a process that we can reach to a possibility to receive large aircraft flying directly from other countries to Siem Reap […] in the future, the Siem Reap airport will also make the province a tourist attraction […]

(7) Siem Reap – the rising north star as the third economic pole will contribute to solving difficulties and incomes

I have declared Siem Reap to be our rising North Star. As the third economic hub, Siem Reap will become more attractive not only to tourists but also to some industrial sectors. I expect that this development will contribute to solving the difficulties and incomes for our people. At the same time, we have also worked to protect our historical heritage by mobilizing people in illegal locations – whose residences are in location in violation of the UNESCO principles – to set up new residences in the Pak Snaeng and Run Ta Ek areas, where we are now working to put infrastructures in place […]

(8) United States and the United Kingdom actively bring back Cambodian lost cultural heritages

[…] I would take this opportunity to thank all the foreign friends who are present here for having contributed to the conservation of Angkor Wat, as well as other existing temples in Cambodia. I would like to thank the US Ambassador (Patrick) Murphy and his wife here, as well as the British Ambassador, who in the past have been active in restoring the stolen cultural heritage that has been traded or looted to the United States or to the United Kingdom. It is my hope that more countries will join the work of bringing lost cultural assets back to Cambodia with the efforts of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts to actively work with external partners – the United States being one of the leading countries in the field […] hopefully other countries will join us to bring them back together […]

(9) War broke up the family/descendants of the God; Peace reunites the family of God

I would like to inform you that during the war and the genocidal regime, even the divine family was torn apart. The day before, I went to a ceremony to receive with a trembling heart those antiquities artifacts, and I was shocked to learn that the Shiva and his two sons, who had been separated during the war, had returned. It is Skanda. Shiva has two sons. Such was a war. Even the lineage of the gods is divided. Peace brings the gods together. This is the true value of peace. If peace is lost, even the descendants of the gods are separated, speaking in a way […] when there is peace, the families of the gods come together in the shade of peace of our day […]./.