Angkor Sankranta by Everyone
Since when we welcomed the Khmer New Year last night at 8pm, it has been 12 hours and 15 minutes already. I hope that Deity Mundiadevi will take good care of us on the land of Kingdom of Cambodia. While welcoming the new deity, we also call on those that keep watch on land, forest, air, water, the temple of Angkor, the throne, etc. to work together with the new deity of this year to take good care of us. I hope the new deity will help bring down temperature of a heat wave that affects not only Cambodia but also other countries in the region for our people to enjoy the festivity.
My wife and I pray all the Royal Government’s best wishes in the Monkey year, Buddhist year 2560, for HM the King and the Queen Mother, supreme Buddhist patriarchs and monks, and our compatriots as well as our troops stationed for peacekeeping missions under the UN umbrella in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Republic of Central Africa, Lebanon and Cyprus. I also take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks to foreign ambassadors and friends for taking their times to join us in the celebration of the Angkor Sankranta this year. It is a moment that we create an environment of joy and solidarity within our national as well as international framework.
On behalf of the Royal Government, I also express my sincere appreciation for the efforts put in by the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia, with assistances provided by relevant authorities, the Siem Reap provincial authority also included, especially those youth volunteers, artists, disable children, to organize this joyfully meaningful event. We must be clear that Sankranta is by us forever. Sankranta can be organized anywhere, not only in Angkor. I need to stress on participation, without which Sankranta here could not happen.
Where Men, Real and Abstract Cultures Meet
I would make additional remark on what I have said last year about a meeting of abstract and real cultures. I wish to say that this year is a tripartite meeting of human with real and/or abstract cultures. It is a great meeting organized by men bringing in abstract culture to the land of real culture. On this point, we should think of the gratitude that former ancestors, former Kings and Queens, had done to leave us temples, on which we are celebrating today. Were there no such real cultural assets left by our ancestors, we could not have talked about Angkor Sankranta here.
According to the report by governor of Siem Reap, HE Khim Bunsong, as well as Union of the Youth Federations of Cambodia, organizing Angkor Sankranta gives value added to Siem Reap province from the first year of such celebration to this fourth one. The province has become a target that attracts tourists inside and outside the country. Over the past recent years, Siem Reap has become one of the most attractive places on earth. I hope that such meeting of men with real and/or abstract cultures, by which some twelve different programs – including Labokkatao fighting art, food and dessert making, altogether will add to the joy.
Organizing Angkor Sankranta every year also serve the topic of March 3 National Culture Day that we give a title “Youth for National Culture.” We have given the role of organizing Angkor Sankranta event to the youth assisted by national and local authorities. However, the idea and organizing skills are all those of our youths. On this remark we should give our youth encouragement so they will be able to keep on going forwards and be the ones to take over in the future.
Five Factors that Angkor Sankranta Realizes
We should ask why we could organize this event of Angkor Sankranta every year here. In Phnom Penh or elsewhere, number of people has gone down because they have been leaving for Siem Reap and other tourist destinations. We must find out reason why all this is possible? There are five reasons necessary to be clear about what have happened in the Kingdom of Cambodia:
Firstly, full peace prevails in the whole Cambodia that allows people to travel everywhere free of fear. Before 1998, Cambodia was divided with different ruling groups with different armies. People could not travel because they were afraid of mines, UXOs or armed attacks. With win-win policy that I put out and implemented, Cambodia has become a country in full again and people travel wherever they like to without fear.
Peace brought life. Peace brought us no more fear of war. Peace brought us development, better living condition, and poverty alleviation. Everyone must keep this hard-won peace. We must not forgive anyone, or group of people, to instigate and create division of or turmoil in our nation to avoid thousands or even millions of people killed like in the past between 1970 and 1975, and 1975 through to 1979, and thereafter through to 1998. We adhere to culture of forgiveness and peace but we do not forgive anyone who attempt to push Cambodia into instability or its bitter past.
I hope that our people will join me to keep peace. I hope our foreign friends, those who are here present and those who are not will understand the need that Cambodia has to keep for peace and stability. At the end of the day, it is the Cambodian people, who will suffer these harsh conditions. I hope our foreign friends reserve their understanding for measures taken by the Royal Government to prevent any possible unrest in the Cambodian society.
Secondly, aside from peace, we have now better infrastructure. The way people travel these days is different. In the former time, traveling from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, for those with limited resource, would have to take a boat trip. Traveling on land was very difficult if not impossible. They had to travel around the Tonle Sap Lake to Battambang and to Serei Saophoan to come to Siem Reap. Now we have road infrastructures that connect every destination in the whole country. Peace and stability provided us chance to develop connectivity internally and with neighboring countries […]
Thirdly, people can travel to farer destinations to be with relatives or visit tourist sites because they have better means of transports. With peace, people have chance for personal and family development. In 1979, they hardly have even bicycle to ride. Now, people have their means of transports, which clearly indicates increase of their income. They may not be brand new but good enough to bring their families where they need to be. I noticed that on the road some people have even brought their own beds to settle under trees. It is not that they do not have money to hire a room but it could be that there are not more rooms available. It is a kind of nomad traveling.
Fourthly, people have saving incomes to cover their holiday trips. From this place, I am still appealing to taxi and bus service providers not to jack up the price on our people’s need to travel. I am taking it as my duty to appeal those operators not to overcharge for their services on people who travel to and from the holiday event.
Fifthly, there has well organization by youth and relevant institutions. No event would go smoothly without organization. It was important to mobilize human resource, especially this year there has been increasing number of youth in preparing and organizing the Angkor Sankranta event.
… Heat has been unprecedented not only in Cambodia but also in many countries around. This year temperature is roughly two degrees higher. I hope it will not stop our people from enjoying the festivities. Last night Deputy Prime Minister HE Tia Banh sent me a Video clip of a joke about “physicians on duty during the Khmer New Year had a hard time dealing with heels problem from dancing” … It was a joke. However, it clearly indicates that our country is in this state. What has brought it? It was not hostility, provocation or war, but from solidarity and unity […]/.