Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nationalism is Good; Blind Nationalism is Bad

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Op-Ed by Chanda Chhay

Ignorance of history is a sad fact. But, twisting history to satisfy a political goal is a foolish act. With utmost due respect to Thai people in general, it is unbelievable and outright disgusting to see and hear Thai politicians and political activists barking all kind of nonsense concerning the Khmer Temple of Preah Vihear.

Without listing every detail of who is accusing whom of violating whose national sovereignty, the entire conflict over a parcel of land near Preah Vihear Temple could be summed up as a case of a grown man trying to steal a candy from a kid and accusing the kid of stealing the candy from him. What is so repulsive about this affair is that the whole world knew that the candy is rightfully belonged to the innocent kid.

It is unfortunate and truly sad to see some Thai politicians and leaders behaving like thugs. The whole country should seriously re-examine itself whether it is worth it to lose its honor and integrity within the international community over a desperately hopeless campaign to grab a piece of land which should belong to the sacred ground of Preah Vihear. In this information age, people are much better informed than anyone could have guessed. Along with information, the factual truth will always come out regardless of the efforts to twist or hide it.

Based on the often neglected historical facts, the majority of Thai and Cambodian people have many things in common, culturally. For example, the Thai language, as we know it, is a derivative of the Khmer, the Mon, and the Sanskrit languages. The royal court etiquettes, which are the grace of the Thai nation, are a replica of the Cambodian tradition. These are some of the factual realities. Whether we like them or not, they are here to stay with us for as long as we care to learn the truth. As for those Thais, who continue to fabricate facts with fictions, this myopic action will lead to nothing but humiliation. The fiasco of Thai’s objection over the Preah Vihear’s registration as World Heritage site should serve as a good lesson for moving beyond irrational nationalism.

When King Rama Kamhaeng, and some of his successors, adapted and modified the Khmer language and customs to bestow upon his subjects, the idea of seeing the descendants of his beloved subjects behaving like ingrates toward their cultural benefactor was probably beyond his wildest imagination. Unfortunately, animal behaviors in human beings always prevail when rational thinking is being replaced by blind ambition.

The images of a Thai woman lying in the middle of the road to block a convoy of Thai trouble-makers and a man whose face was cover in blood after an altercation with the trouble-makers spoke volumes of how the local people think: People on both sides of the borders want to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors. Any government or politician that fails to see this simple truth is a disgrace to the nation.

Prasat Preah Vihear and the Buddhist temple in its premise are, first and foremost, the sanctuary of the gods. Second, they are the cultural sanctuary of humankind. For armed soldiers to trample on these sacred sites is not only an affront to humankind but also a disgrace and a despicable act on the part of the instigator.

Chanda Chhay
Washington, DC (USA)

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good writing Chanda Chhay.
Thanks,

Anonymous said...

A nice piece of opinion. One thing I would want to suggest is that you should say the cany belongs to "an old woman" instead of "a kid". Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is what's Thai has said"Franco treaty without the french is No evidence,Fool.You got anything else???".

Yes!!!We have more Evidence,Back to Thai fool;Ask your parents and Every ancient temple written in Khmer language.Also Khmer people live in that region,I don't understand Preah Vihear been there for long Century why don't Thai try to restore the temple.Now we are Khmer put our Holy ruin ancient temple( Preah Vihear) for the World Hertage,If Thai do not agree with this Verdict International court;Thai Government need to go to Inernational Court to Solve this matter,Good luck...May God heal your brain tumor.

Anonymous said...

How can the candy belongs to the kid when he used the French colonial gangs to still it from the grown man? Moreover, the kid hasn't got a drop of proof that the candy belong to him.

Anonymous said...

Blind Nationalism and Patriotism is in every Monkey's blood in Cambodia. That is why they are the smallest country in the region.

Anonymous said...

The Monkey has turned into King Konng..we will not lose another drop of land.

Anonymous said...

These Siam monkeys are drugged, do you really think that Cambodia will scrap the 1907 Treaty because of you???

You guys are really ignorant, this is a Treaty between the French and your king. Only war can cancel this document.

You guys should stop dreaming.

khmer surin said...

Well said Chanda, you have fuck them up right in the brain.

Anonymous said...

7:12, the 1907 treaty is a French's Treaty. Are you French or Khmer?

Anonymous said...

Let me response to a earlier Thai poster, and I hope you come back for a good discussion:
Q: How can the candy belongs to the kid when he used the French colonial gangs to still it from the grown man?
A:There are hundred more candies that the grown man still hid after stealing from the kid years before that (For Example, Sakeow, Sisaket, Bourirom, Surin.) The French only took back a candy and gave to the kid to stop him from getting mad on the grown man.
Q: Morever, the kid hasn't got a drop of proof that the candy belong to him.
A: We have been discussed for days, yet you chose to ignore that. This could represent how ignorant and blind you are. The ICJ's decision to give Preah Vihear temple to us was based on 1904 and 1907 Siam- French treaties. In the treaties, the 4.6km2 area belonged to Cambodia. Isn't that a drop of proof that the candy belong to the kid?

Anonymous said...

Nonsense, Sakeow, Sisaket, Bourirom, and Surin candy belong to the Grown man in those districts. No one has stole anything from them. The French colonial has no business to steal their candies and give it to the hungry kids in Cambodia.

As for ICJ verdict. It is a corrupted and unlawful verdict. Defeated French's treaty is no base to steal candy from the Grown mand in Thailand and give it the greedy kids in Cambodia. You need proof of ownership. Where is it?

Blog By Khmer said...

Chanda, great writingI would like to post on my site.
thank you !

Vanak.
PP

Anonymous said...

THAI: Nonsense, Sakeow, Sisaket, Bourirom, and Surin candy belong to the Grown man in those districts.
Khmer: Sakeow, Sisaket, Bourirom,Surin, and dozen more provinces belonged to Cambodia. The 1904 and 1907 treaties were signed by your king in return for the previous provinces the grown man robbed from the kid years before the treaties. How could you're so ignorant? If you wan't to represent your people in this discussion, you should educate yourself more. Don't make yourself look idiot when you disccused with the Khmers.
THAI-As for ICJ verdict. It is a corrupted and unlawful verdict.
Khmer- Funny. Anything works against you is unlawful. Majority of the ICJ members voted in favor of Cambodia based on the legal documents, not just the unilateral map drawn by you arrogant people. The treaties signed by your king is unlawful, so your king must be a most idiot person on the planet. Can you say your former king was stupid to sign?

Anonymous said...

Siam thieves, don't try to make your guys being Siam to Thai. Don't forget the Cambodia (Khmer Empire. In Southeast Asia, there was no Siam land even a pinch of finger. Take over to study the history.

Anonymous said...

People in Srah Keo, Sisaket, Borei Ram and Surin are speaking Khmer language, but no one in Cambodia speaks Siam, except official working time with Siam company who come to suck the Khmer blood by many figures.

Anonymous said...

I would say Mr. Chenda Chhay is a nationalist. I wish I can contact with him via e-mail becuase I am a journalist and I wish to have his comment for my paper. Please everybody who know his e-mail, let me know.

Thanks,
Hean Padhi