Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, at the closing ceremony of the 2023 stocktaking and direction setting for 2024 of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs [Unofficial Translation]

CMF:

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(1) No single standard that applies to every countries

I would like to clarify the points made by the Minister (for Women’s Affairs) about the implementation of some measures […] related to the female acters. As in the case of a few nephews who were arrested in connection with over-acting in advertising on social media about some products. Of course, (we observe) the rights and freedoms of the people, the rights of women included, but we also have an obligation to preserve and protect social, cultural and traditional values, especially those of the Cambodian women. No matter how much our country develops in the future, I think our identity must not be lost. Globalization is indeed the standard for materials, study, market prices, and some other values altogether […] but in the world, there is no a single standard that can be applied to every countries, and there must be a respect for the basic values […]

2) Implement the rights and freedoms of individuals to keep the identity of Cambodian women

In Cambodia, the rights and freedoms of individuals need to be upheld, but not beyond bounds, especially not to lose the identity of the Cambodian women. I used to live abroad. Some countries say that if you want to get attention, you want to become famous, you got to do a lot of crazy things. Now, the evolution of social media and the rewards one can get from the more views one gets will make money (has indulged that trend). Sometimes people forget the boundaries, do whatever it takes to get more views to get credit. Do not forget some of those people who gave you credits are living in other countries. They value different things. They have a different culture from ours. We want our compatriots compete to get views by being innovative in creating contents. I often watch some jokes on the website, they are humorous still without having to go beyond the moral boundaries […] no need to talk or act dirty to sell the products, they all are the same […]

(3) Respect the rights and freedoms on the one hand, but the social and cultural values on the other

Therefore, if s/he goes beyond the boundaries, we have to give them orientation. Not that this is a punishment but a form of direction, a message that alert them that they have crossed the line, and a message to let others know that you have crossed the lin. If we ignore their misconducts, who is to blame? If the Royal Government (does not tell whether their actions are wrong) and if the mass do not help (those perpetrators do not know where the line is). In the past (about the performance/acting) beyond this line, I noticed that our people have taken the liberty to tell them not to act/perform this or that way. There was a case that before the Ministry (of Women’s Affairs) filed a complaint to detain people, the mass had brought to the Ministry’s attention their opinions as to why the state institution did not take actions and where would the value of the culture and of the Cambodian women be? That then led to posing the question – what is the government’s responsibility? Well, Rights and freedoms is on one side, but social values and cultural values, and the rights and freedoms of many Cambodians, who request the Ministry to take educational measures to a certain level (is on the other) […]

(4) The Ministry of Women’s Affairs to continue its role in protecting social values, implementing oriented educational measures on a regular basis

(If) educational measures does not work, (what do we do) to respond to the needs of the majority of people, especially women who have participated in protecting (women’s values) through expression as well as requests for guidance to educate children […] personally speaking, I think such value has to be maintained. If we do not alert him/her, those individuals may not know if what s/he is doing is not appropriate. In which case, while everyone is competing thinking of doing good, s/he is actually doing bad instead. What our society will be like then. The other day I suggested that the Ministry of Cults reexamine the religious values that we need to protect. If (there are conducts that) are groundless and affecting the social environment, social, religious, and cultural values, what should we do? One may ask if (alerting and orientating in this case) is a suppression disrespect for individual rights and/or freedoms? It was because we appreciate personal value that we tell people what wrong they did and what right they should be doing (for the sake of the common good) […] I encourage the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to continue (its role in protecting) social values […] we must implement educational measures, guidance, and orientation a regular basis […]

(5) School, family and society should educate about values

The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which launched five phases of Neary Rattanak program (already), and now the 6th phase is undergoing with other education and training, in collaboration with partners in all fields […] the world is moving fast, our society is moving fast, the evolution of our youth is fast. We are not forbidden to think of and absorb new ideas […] but we must instill the value in the body first […] a person needs to be well informed to decide what is right and what is wrong […] through education, training and provision of values in school, in the family and in society […]

(6) Together preserve cultural/national identity from generation to generation

[…] Let’s work together to uphold the law, to maintain stability and social order, and to respect our cultural traditions. No matter where you go, (no one would) tell that you are a different race […] therefore, we must work together to preserve cultural identity from generation to generation […] the Cambodian women values, cultural values, and virtues are what we (have) for thousands of years already, […] we (shall continue) to take care of them for thousands of years to come […] if this generation loses their identity, when they become parents, their children will lose more […]

(7) Continue to preserve the values of the Cambodian women, cultural values, and virtues for thousands of years to come

The other day, I gave (guidance) to the Ministry of Education, (Youth and Sports) on making efforts to ensure that every school, especially international schools, make it a requirement for the Cambodian children to learn the Khmer language. The Ministry of Education has been implementing this directive. We do not forbid children from learning knowing English, but it would be absurd that the Cambodian children studying in Cambodia up to grade 12 do not know how to write and read Khmer. The need to know their own culture and arts. Protection of women’s rights is an important task and of great necessity. We have been keeping the value of the Cambodian women, the value of culture, and the value of virtue for thousands of years […] our culture (has) been around for a long time. In this regard, we (continue) to take care of it for thousands of years to come. I thank and encourage the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the relevant ministries for taking care of the values of our women and society […]

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(8) Equal opportunities without discrimination in seizing skills and opportunities

Having seen (one of the skill trainings) programs of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, I was very surprised when visiting the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ICT), where there was a demonstration of the ability and principles of robotics and AI. (The most exciting thing) is the number of women who are IT professionals. Yesterday, I met with two female grade-A students (who) are going to take up this skill. It means that in Cambodia there is no gender discrimination, and people have equal rights, equal efforts in acquiring skills. We have women driving tanks in the army. Our troops deployed to maintain peace (within the framework of the United Nations) now include more women. We must continue to promote and provide equal opportunities in acquiring (skills and opportunities) without discrimination […]

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(The prepared text:) Fifth. In order to improve the Work-Life Balance, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs must pay attention to and conduct collaborative studies with public and private partners on social benefits that recognize the value of domestic work and care for family members. Both prepare the necessary measures to reduce the workload of women and girls and provide more life options for women.

(The elaboration:) for this work, I would like the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to cooperate with the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training to set up community nurseries and kindergartens where there are factories to help alleviate the burden when the mothers have to return to work after delivery to keep them at ease and able to perform well in their jobs […]

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(The prepared text:) 8th. In order to maintain harmony in the family and work efficiency, I ask the Ministry of Interior to examine the possibility of appointing a woman as the Deputy Governor of the Capital, Province, Municipality, District and Khan Board of Governors, with provision of employment opportunities at the local level closest to her family.

(The elaboration:) I entrust this task to His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Sar Sokha to review the preparation […] previously, our law allows only two terms (appointments), after which we had to relocate (them to a different district) […] (but, whatever we are doing now, please) give priority for them to working around/near the geographical location for convenience […]./.

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