Nyobay Social Politics

Cambodian Political Deadlock: A Trend or An Excuse?

Since the election on 28 July 2013—when we witnessed a changing trend among Cambodians in political sphere which political debate and question on political parties for a concrete policy was raised and never so in the history—the uncertainty of how political resolution around the election result has continued. The problem continued at the controversy of the election result at which both preliminarily result and now the official result was maintained that the ruling party, the Cambodian People Party (CPP), won 68 seats while the joined opposition party—merged between the Human Rights Party and Sam Rainsy Party—now known as the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) disputed on the result that it won only 55 seats and the later also demand a joint independent investigation body to investigate on reported election irregularities.

Following the first peaceful mass demonstration organized by the CNRP on 7th September 2013—that majority of public was fear of clash might happen while the transitional government has deployed numerous military officials with full of crackdown equipment and weapons; and yet thank to both sides for peaceful actions to make the demonstration went through peacefully at the end—the trend of mass demonstration is going to be continued as the official election result was announced a day after of demonstration as it had scheduled. The opposition party also declared to boycott the first national assembly meeting if the problem is not settled. Such move is to prevent a new government for 5th mandate be formed legally while the ruling party and the affiliated National Election Committee (NEC) claimed they could continue to form the government although there is boycott from the opposition members.

There are many analysis and suggestion by individuals and civil society regarding this political deadlock; however, the problem still remains. Thus the question is why: Is it a trend that Cambodians should face with power division or an excuse by either politicians to solve it?

I rather view the current political deadlock as the excuse by both sides of parties. The one who claimed to win the votes of people but dare not to address the problem properly and has failed to show enough effort toward resolution. The other side, opposition party, has also played an excuse around this political deadlock. The opposition party should aware already that the nature of the election arbitration body, which is NEC and the party leaders, had once discussed to boycott joining election since beginning and yet, they ended up to join this battlefield while the top leader claimed the method of boycott at the end when the election result would not satisfy them—the now move that the party has taken.

Having said so, I did not mean the election itself has been well organized nor I accepted the election result, but I could see room that both sides could talk and seek resolution together without playing the same game that an ordinary citizens could predict. Probably the game has already been settled secretly or not, yet the parties’ need to aware the power of people now has changed and any steps would be taken, the citizens are watching.

For any positive steps for either sides are going to take now would give a plus for them as for CPP would restore the trust from the public that lose confident in them (CPP shall not view with the current slight wining as the victory, but they shall review the huge decline of vote considering with much resource and effort it has made during the previous mandate and during election propaganda) and for the CNRP to work on promise it has made and to maintain the support it shall gain. The parties has make a remarkable change in history of political debate when the policy was used as the battle field and reduced the individualism attack and we has witnessed the affecting trend on government policies in transparency lately. Thus, it would be more beneficial for people if the opposition party would agree the current intake, without losing this opportunity, but negotiate for more involvement in legislative and executive body to make a long-term effect with proper reform.

Anyway, in this digital society, the parties need to be aware that they could not easily manipulate people as they used to do in the name of people interest, it is the time when people are caring to make their own interest work.

Human Rights and Peace Campaign Social Politics

Transformation Thinkers Conference: Lessons Learned

Transformation Thinkers Conference: Lessons Learned ? Bertelsmann Future Challenges.

Transformation Thinkers Conference: Lessons Learned

The?Berlin Wall and?ThePianist (2002), a biographical war drama film were? my primary sources of information about Germany since 2003, derived? from my bachelors study in International Relations- war and genocide being my points of reference.

This time my trip to the Transformation Thinkers Conference in Berlin, organized by the Berteslsmann Stiftung and the German development agency?Deutsche Gesellschaftf?r Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) from 2 to 8 September 2012 reminded me of my ?own experience of the reference points. Most foreigners I met outside or inside Cambodia(when I mentioned my country) would point to the?Killing Field or Khmer Rouge Regimea ?Holocaust experience.

Exposure? to Germany once the conference was over, goes beyond this memory. The journey ran from the term ?transformation? ?to the ?democracy? doctrine with the controversial debate of whether democracy really is the best theory to impose on any nation once the Transformation Index BTI 2012 was introduced.

Presention of one of indicator of Transformation Index BTI

Presention of one of indicatorsthe of Transformation Index BTI 2012 at the Transformation Thinkers Conference, Photo by the author (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Transformation in this sense is seen as an influential tool for thinkers and ?invited guest speakers (some of who are former Prime Ministers or key diplomats), to reflect on past experiences and what could have been done better.?This is one of the ?reasons why the Transformation Index was launched as a lesson learned from ?three key transformation processes: political transformation, economic transformation, and transformation management.

Dr. Hauke Hartmann of the Bertelsmann-Stiftung presented 
Trasformation Management part of the BTI Index 2012

Dr. Hauke Hartmann of the Bertelsmann-Stiftung presented the Trasformation Management part of the BTI Index 2012, Photo by the author (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Political and Economic Transformation Index

Political and Economic Transformation of BTI 2012, presented at the Transformation Thinkers Conference, Photo by the author (CC BY-ND 2.0).

There were many questions raised by Transformation Thinkers 2012 on the index methodology, ranging from leading questions of the index. For example the indicator of statelessness covering the monopoly on the use of force, state identity, no interference of religious dogmas and basic administration?to the credibility and neutrality of the ?country which was responsible for analyzing and measuring each indicator of the index. Since most indicators seemingly posit on benchmarks of democracy, rating? authoritarian regimes is questionable. Thus the index apparently is seen as?a paradox, where democracy is the value that everyone should adopt, similar to the way the?UN adopted the Democracy Day, held every?15th September, asserting that democracy is a universal value.

This index was a controversial ?subject among the Transformation Thinkers 2012 participants coming from diverse regions. But it was well fitted for ?its purpose- as a shared transformation management recommendation, where each nation reflects its economic and political processes so that ?better country management and leadership can be established. Simply put, for example, the Arab Spring case was picked up as a lesson learned, through a panel discussion, reflecting one year later, on how the country management has been transformed.

Arab Spring Revisit

The Arab Spring Revisit Session reflected on lessons, challenges and regional respercussions, Key input by Prof. Wolfgang Merkel, Comparative Political Science and Democracy Research. Photo by the author (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Besides the useful insight on the Transformation Index and democracy dialogue, this confernce offered me a unique workshop experience, given its format and venue set up. The new approach of how to get participants better acquaintedy by mapping out participants based ?on the regions they belonged ?to with a specific note of what defines oneself was interesting. Also, each participant could take back lessons learned on the establishment and maintenance of social organizations?the ?what? and ?how? of political management, political goals and the capability to implement them?by playing a simulation game called simulation society (SIMSOC). An interesting reflection from this game was the reality of how society is functioning in the real world where proper communication and shared values are key elements in shaping society as we envision it. Additionally, the key lesson ?to be avoided from this game was self-assumption, which may somehow lead to misinterpretation of ?other individuals or the community?s behavior, ultimately resulting in conflict.

Transformation Thinkers Map

The Regional Map of Transformation Thinkers Participants 2012. Photo by the author (CC BY-ND 2.0).


The Map of Transformation Thinkers 2012 at the Transformation Thinkers Conference in Berlin, Germany. Photo by the author (CC BY-ND 2.0).


Open Space at Transformation Thinkers Conference

Getting to know one another at the Open Space at the Transformation Thinkers Conference 2012. Photo by the author (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Attending this conference, inspired some participants ?to localize the transformation dynamic so that its importance as reflected in the Index could be exchanged and discussed further? in the local context. If this is can be localized and made to inspire people, it somehow will not only raise local people?s awareness but also encourage more participation from informed citizens in democratic processes.

Human Rights and Peace Campaign Movie Review Social Politics

Burma VJ: people power vs repressive military junta

The world were quickly aware of the historical and dramatic days of September 2007 in Burma where the Saffron Revolution unexpectedly began after 19 year silence. We all mobilized and joint the solidarity cause for Burma. A group of Cambodian rights activists, net-citizens, and ordinary people wearing red-shirt gathered to protest in front of Burmese Embassy of Cambodia for the same solidarity cause for Burma by condemning the violence that had claimed the lives of demonstrators including monks.

Thanks to digital technology and a number of reporters who risk their life to make information reached the world so that we all could be aware of the event and solidarity cause could be mobilized.

Through Burma VJ, it is hardly to deny the role of media in democratization and social movement. Even worst, the role of media is more crucial, though it bears more risks, in a closed country, such the case of Burma. Though the role of media in the film acted a bit beyond its professionalism, once the reporters apparently guided and advised the demonstration forces, it could be understood that media in such sociopolitical context has its tendency and agenda for their country?s freedom.

Once we have watched the film, we would agree that the film is deserved its Award of Best Documentary Feature, not because of geopolitics or film production, but the natural and its way of reporting from a CLOSED COUNTRY.

Make your own judgment by watching it: