Selected Comments at the Meeting to Commemorate Registration of the Sambor Prey Kuk Temple as One of the World Heritages

[Unofficial Translation]


Is This Not The Real Hun Sen?

Before I proceed to our main topic today, please allow me to ask our youngsters here if this is not the real Hun Sen. They said that Hun Sen was now in emergency in hospital in France or in Hong Kong, after the hospital in Singapore was unable to save. Here I am. Am I not the real Hun Sen? I do not mean to slap anyone in the face. I just wanted us to be clear that there should not be any fake or ill-willed intention in our society. We are indeed so happy that today we are here together to celebrate our joy and congratulation on the registration of our Sambor Prey Kuk temple as one of the world heritages. It is a new event. Please allow me to express my sincere thanks to Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, especially the presences here of representatives of the UNESCO, Ambassadors and representatives of international organizations to the Kingdom of Cambodia. I am offering my welcome also to the presence of our people, here and from everywhere, for their time to watch and follow live broadcast of this event on radio, TVs, as well as online.

Sambor Prey Kuk’s Registration Dignifies National Pride

I would take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to our compatriots – monks, students, political parties, civil society, etc. – for taking parts in expressing their joy and congratulations on 10 July 2017 from their establishments by making sounds from gongs and/or drums to hail the registration of the Sambor Prey Kuk as a world heritage. I have also noted messages delivered illustrating well our pride as citizens of the Kingdom of Culture […]

I am taking this moment to express my appreciation and thanks for the media coverage throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia for their effort to publicize about our heritages. From here today, we have observed that the media coverage is also wide and live to the whole country and to the world of the event … My special thank goes to Bayon TV for this live coverage and to CNC for its round table discussion of to raise people’s awareness of our heritages. They have exchanged ideas on even what would be the correct spelling and meaning of the temple’s name. We shall go on doing that. It was also a good thing that CNC invited economists to give their opinions on possible socio-economic impacts from this registration of the temple.

10-July – Sambor Prey Kuk Temple Becomes World Heritage

While expressing my sincere thanks and appreciation for the competent delegation led by Lok Chumteav Phoung Sakona, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts, to take over the job started by Samdech Vibol Panha Sok An, for convincing concerned international organizations to approve the RGC’s request (to register the Sambor Prey Kuk temple as a world heritage). What we have achieved has made us very proud today as Cambodians, and of the heritages left by our ancestors. I hope that along with senior people present here, our youngsters and youth will continue to uplift their spirits of affection of our national culture.

Please allow me on this instance declare that we are setting 10 July every year as the day that we celebrate remembrance of the Sambor Prey Kuk’s registration as one of the world heritages. […] It is in this meaning, we are taking this time to remind ourselves of the sacrifices and brilliant leadership in the field of culture and diplomacy before we could register the Preah Vihear temple as one of the world heritage of the late Samdech Vibol Panha Sok An, who have led that important campaign. We must all remember. Let us meditate for 5 seconds in his memory […]

Be Grateful Children to Defend Arts, Culture, Letters, Custom – Concrete & Abstract

What we need to ask now is why do we have to do these jobs? If our country was one covered with sand, or with killings, we may not need to carry out such tasks. As we know, our country has so many temples built and left for us by former Kings and heroic ancestors. We must be grateful to them and be grateful children to defend them. We must not harm them and we must protect them. We have already sought successful registration of three concrete objects and other abstract ones. Lok Chumteav Phoung Sakona just mentioned them in her report. I could not recall them all here but we already have registered the genocidal museum of Tuol Sleng, the game of string pulling, etc.

We have more works to do. It does not end here. We still have the temples of Koh Ker, Banteay Chhmar, the mountain of Kulen, etc. It is the Cambodian citizens’ role, or the task to carry out by the Cambodian children. Our ancestors and Kings made so much efforts and sacrifices to lead the country and to build and leave us those temples. We, the younger generations, must do the best we can to protect them. We must all be grateful children […]

Cultural Heritages Interacts Socio-Economically

… We must see clearly that cultural heritages and/or arts are not items on their own without relation to socio-economic field. As you can see that thanks to our efforts, we have now received more than five million tourists a year compared to none before. They came partly to see those temples left by our ancestors. It is a knot of many strings together. Our cultural heritages certainly interact on socio-economic condition. A fair share of our economic growth came from tourism, which creates jobs and businesses in our country. We must not underestimate tourism. Some countries have made it their objective goals for economic growth and job creations.

In our country, tourism has close relation with culture and its feedback was not only defending and conserving, and developing our culture, it provided us economic growth, works for our people, and contributed to reducing people’s poverty. Our children to come must make efforts to protect, conserve, and develop own culture. The 3-March Culture Day celebrated every year by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts bears such significant impacts. We must not overlook its importance. We must work harder to expand its interaction along with our efforts to defend and develop the country.

There arises another question now as to why do we achieve successes in our efforts and gather today to celebrate this success. Please allow me to stress a number of points relating to this question.

Point 1 – Peace Brings About Success in the Registration of Sambor Prey Kuk

Firstly, we have peace and national unity, in absence of war and past division. This point is very important and our people must remember it. That we have finally achieved peace and national unity for the first time in dozens or even hundreds of years, we are blessed with such opportune moments. Formerly, our former King, Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, paid his high attention on this matter. It was unfortunate that there was a coup that brought him down for what they called “change.” That “change” had brought about immeasurable suffering and killings. The country had no chance of embarking on development. The country came under bombardment, shelling, and destruction of all forms. It never advanced. Thanks to our joint efforts, the Paris Peace Agreement had finally played a very important role in the Cambodian peace processes. Later, we had this win-win political solution or policy that brought about unity of the country and ability to work on this task (of protecting, conserving, and developing our culture) […]

Point 2 – Having Supports from HM the Kings

Secondly, HM the King, and the late Samdech Preah Borom Ratanakaod, always supports fully our working process. This morning I have led our delegation who had worked hard in Poland for this wonderful achievement, to see and report to HM the King, who himself used to be Ambassador to UNESCO. This point is very important in speeding up our effort to earn the registration of the temple of Sambor Prey Kuk. I wish to take this opportune moment to express from here our gratitude to HM the King and the Queen Mother for their considerations and supports to actions taken by the Royal Government on culture. We wish them the best of health, longevity, and to stay as cool shade for our children […]

Point 3 – Clear Policies on Culture and Arts of the Ruling Party

Thirdly, this achievement is possible thanks to the correct and clear policies of the Royal Government of the ruling party on culture and arts. Political party that is ruling a country must carry out both domestic and external policies. We have made this country rising from ashes. We have secured its place of equal right and footing among other countries. This point is important for our people to see about leadership. Which party has this competent ability to do all these? When one underestimate the policy for culture, and did not share their word of joy for the registration of Sambor Prey Kuk as a world heritage, would any of those people fit to rule or lead the country? […]

Point 4 – Internal and External Cohesive Mechanism

Fourthly, we have a mechanism that is implementing our tasks in tandem internally and externally. Let me thank Minister Phuong Sakona and our delegation once again. We appreciate efforts of the Ministry of Culture, and related institutions, sub-national authorities concerned, especially the province of Kompong Thom, the armed forces, for taking parts to implement national policies on culture and arts. We must remember that we cannot cheat UNESCO or ICOMOS on this. A cohesive mechanism that combines both internal and external efforts has been the core of this achievement […] internal effort is a determined factor, while external one is its complementary support. We cannot call on foreign assistance if we could not fulfill the required conditions.

Point 5 – People’s Support and Trust in the Ruling Party

Fifthly, we have the support of our people through their votes for the Cambodian People’s Party to rule the country ever. In the fourth term, we had registered the temple of Preah Vihear, while we led the campaign for the elections in 2008. In the fifth legislative term, we have ensured once again another success in registering the temple of Sambor Pry Kuk as world heritage. This has indeed clarified people’s support for the ruling party, the Cambodian People’s Party that is leading the Royal Government. I am taking this moment to thank our people everywhere for voting the Cambodian People’s Party all along […]

Point 6 – Correct Foreign Policies

Sixthly, we have and implement correct foreign policy leading to enjoying supports from friends and international organizations … mainly UNESCO, to register our concrete and abstract objects as world heritages, but also to provide us with technical and financial assistance for the sake of repairing, and conserving, human resource development also included. I would take this solemn occasion to express my sincere thanks to Lok Chumteav Irina Bokova for approval, twice already, in supports for our registration requests […] HE Phoung Sakona also mentioned in her report that back in the meeting in Poland, in ASEAN, we have the supports of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, who sat in the committee itself. A correct foreign policy has brought about contributions from various concerned actors […]

Whether ICC of Angkor Will Cover Sam Bor Prey Kuk

I would take this time to speak to related ambassadors. Days already that I have been discussing with HE Phoung Sakona from the time when she left Poland in relation to whether we should set up another ICC (International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of Historic Site of Angkor or ICC-Angkor). We agreed that there would be too many ICC. This morning we have reported to HM the King that we are considering to expand the coverage area of ICC-Angkor, led by Japan and France, to Sambor Prey Kuk.

We will continue the discussion with UNESCO, as well as the ICC-Angkor co-chair countries – Japan and France. In days, I will meet with incoming French Ambassador, and I will also have chance to meet the Japanese Ambassador about my future visit to Japan from 6 to 9 August. I would raise this issue with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about expanding ICC-Angkor to cover also the Sambor Prey Kuk […]

Appeal 1 – Please Join Together to Safeguard Peace

I am appealing to our people that (1) they join to protect our hard-won peace. Let us have peace for all, and all defends peace. Peace and development has their interrelatedness. We had a history of losing peace, whereby temples and millions of our people suffered from it. Let us all not underestimate the gravity of this issue. We cannot ask for forgiveness from bombs and/or bullets that we had encountered in the past. We cannot ask for understanding from those who shoot at us. We cannot ask for term with killers of Pol Pot regime. This was our history. We must not in the time to come ask for understanding from those who, through the so-called color revolution, would not hesitate to swallow us. We must be strong and overcoming obstacles in our advancement to keep peace and guarantee development.

Appeal 2 – Take Parts in Defending National Culture – Concrete and Abstract

Secondly, I am appealing to our people to take parts in the movement to protect national culture, concrete and abstract. Let us not kill the hen to quench your hunger. Let us keep the hen and take its eggs and chicks. It will be a long-term interest. In this point, I am asking our people to safeguard our cultural objects such as temple and other culturally protected areas that I have compared them to a hen […] our ancestors had done their parts to build and leave us these invaluable objects, it is our turn to gratefully respect and keep them […]

Point 7 – Further the Conservation and Development

Seventhly, let us follow our master plan in development and conservation, and recommendations that we have agreed upon with our partners, and mainly those from UNESCO. We must make efforts to ensure that there will be no rejection for every requests that we have asked for world heritage registration […]

Point 8 – Strengthening Infrastructure – Roads and Services

Eighthly, we must improve our infrastructure for the betterment of tourism development in the region, and mainly concerned roads and services. I am asking the Ministry of Economy and Finance to work with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, the authority of Sambor Prey Kuk, to review the road construction plan in and around […] there may not be sufficient consideration on road infrastructure in response to forthcoming and might-be intensively growing tourism activities at Sambor Prey Kuk. Let us all work together.

Finally, I am calling on UNESCO and our foreign friends to continue to support the Kingdom of Cambodia. I wish to say that there may have been some unintentional mistakes. It was like a child who broke the glass from trying to drink water from it. We may not try to kill the kids. We must advise him. I hope that we will have to make further efforts not only for the temple of Sambor Prey Kuk, but on various others … We will take it step after step and wherever we can, according to our national budget and infrastructural assistance, to make sure that (transportations) would not be disturbing the temple […]

… I would continue no further. I will share the joy with all of you. Since I do not know how to sing but I will take the podium and sing with you all our national pride song “Origination of Khmer” …/.