Where I go for AGGREGATED news on Cambodia, plus...   . . .           On Dec 26-29, 1979 [by now, Cambodia under one full year of Vietnamese occupation], the musician Paul McCartney and Kurt Waldheim, the Secre [ ... ]


Has Science Discovered God?     Click to watch this FASCINATING, MIND-BLOGGING video with breathtaking images and you learn science in the process!   Read transcript             God in the Cosmos
Veritas Forum at Yale University  [ ... ]



Reading together




Plato's most famous work and one of the most important books ever written on the subject of philosophy and political theory, "The Republic" is a fictional dialogue between Socrates and other various Athenians and foreigners which examines the meaning of justice.

Written in approximately 380 BC [+ 2015 = 2,395 years ago!], "The Republic" also discusses Plato's "Theory of Forms", the nature of the philosopher, the conflict between philosophy and poetry, and the immortality of the soul.

An essential read for any student of philosophy or political science, "The Republic" is a monumental work of antiquity, which forms the foundation for much of our modern policy.


- Amazon



Several reasons lead me now to share my thoughts on and recommendation for this classic The Republic by Plato.


First, at a recent regional conference, I met a very amiable high-ranking official who with contained enthusiasm showed me the stack of political science books in the English language he had purchased en route at the airport bookstore.  "I always make a point of purchasing books related to politics whenever I travel." In his post, he travels often.


His English proficiency came from his one-year study in Australia on scholarship given out by the embassy based in Phnom Penh.

Second, surrounding the July 2013 elections, many conversations abuzzed and numerous local articles in the Khmer language quoted politicians quoting and referencing a "Samkok" character from a Chinese film series dubbed in Khmer shown on television as their political model.

Third, over the years of living in Cambodia and even growing up with my Cambodian relatives in the United States, I picked up countless philosophical musings offered by Cambodians as profound new concepts that no one but they, as Cambodians who have lived through a certain number of experiences of particular endurance, can possibly understand.


No matter that I am also a Cambodian who has endured a certain number and length of experiences.  And no matter, that I have read broadly and even more intensely in my formal education on these subject matters.


In all, I am reminded of Solomon's wisdom, that there's nothing new under the sun and that many wise men and women have come before us who have thought deeply, systematically about and articulated these ideas of which our immature musings are dusty, dim, grainy reflections, oftentimes incoherent.


I first encountered The Republic in 1991, my first year at Georgetown University's Philosophy 101 course (24 years ago!).

We will go through the 10 books which make up The Republic, book by book each Saturday (beginning today, this Monday!)


Here, to whet your appetite, we start with the famous Allegory of the Cave.  (Do read both versions.)


- Theary Seng, 26 October 2015


Another version






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Click here or on image to read John Stott's response

Click here to listen to the full lecture and Q&A with John Stott at Harvard University







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Official border maps


of Article 2 of the Constitution found at UN



Constitution, Article 2: The territorial sovereignty of the Kingdom of Cambodia absolutely shall not be violated in its border that has been determined in the map 1/100,000 established between years 1933-1953 and that has been recognized internationally between the years 1963-1969.


CNRP Parliamentarian Um Sam An at UN with official map of Art. 2, 7 October 2015


Message of CNRP Um Sam An about UN maps with English translation by me.



RFA Chun Chanboth's interview of Sok Touch, Um Sam An, Ny Chariya (with English transcript by me)




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My new Vietnamese sister who loves Jesus, Huyen (Teresa) Nguyen on her way to England to do her Masters in Education (English), one year of formal instruction, one year of working. She heard I was heading to Chicago and asked whether I am going there to get married?! What else do you fly into Chicago for?!?! - Facebook post, 3 Feb. 2015


Image of God

[Latin: Imago Dei]



Genesis 1:27 | លោកុប្បត្តិ ១៖២៧


So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

ព្រះជាម្ចាស់​ បាន​បង្កើត ​មនុស្ស ជា​តំណាង​ របស់ ​ព្រះអង្គ; ព្រះអង្គ​ បាន​បង្កើត​គេ​ ឲ្យ​មាន ​លក្ខណៈ ដូច​ព្រះជាម្ចាស់; ព្រះអង្គ​ បាន​បង្កើត​គេ ​ជា​បុរស និងជា​ស្ត្រី។





“Is Jesus Christ Truth for the 21st Century?”

John Stott

Veritas Forum at Harvard University

Q&A (53:10)


TIME's 100 most influential persons, 2005


Do we, or can we, recognize the image of God in human beings who are not believers in Jesus Christ?


The image of God stamped upon human beings consists in a cluster of faculties which distinguish human beings from the animal creation.


And with great rapidity, I can mention five:

1. Our capacity for rational thought, to do what you and I are doing at this very moment, to step outside ourselves. With this extraordinary faculty of self-consciousness or self-awareness, we can step outside ourselves and look at ourselves and evaluate ourselves and ask, Who am I? It’s an extraordinary capacity.


As far as we know, no animal is self-conscious in that way. All animals have a brain of some rudimentary kind. But we are able to think, to reason, to argue as we have been doing tonight.

2. Our capacity for moral choice. We are aware of a moral order that is above and beyond us to which we feel a certain obligation so that if we go against its dictate, we feel a certain sense of shame. You may remember Mark Twain’s little adages, here’s one: Man is the only animal that blushes, and the only animal that needs to. So, there we have this sense of shame, this sense of a moral order.

3. Our capacity for artistic creativity. See, if God is the creator and He made us in His own image, He made us creative, too. So we paint, we draw, we make music, and we write poetry, and we are artistic creatures.

4. Our capacity for social relationships. All animals mate, of course, and reproduce their kinds and care for their young in different ways. But LOVE, I want to argue, is unique to human beings. Love is the greatest thing in the world and everybody knows that; even unbelievers know that love is the greatest thing in the world. Living is loving. And without love we disintegrate and die.


We, followers of Jesus Christ, think (I say, humbly, but definitely) that we know why love is the greatest thing in the world; it is because God is love. And when God who is love in His innermost being made us in His own image and likeness, He gave us capacity to love and to be loved. And there is nothing more Godlike than our love, the capacity to love.

5. Our capacity for worship, to recognize transcendent reality.

Now, all those five things are to be found in, what you called, unbelievers, people who are not followers of Jesus Christ. They, too, can think; they have a moral sense; they are artistically creative; they are able to love; and they have a sense of the transcendent.


Now these five capacities may come into action more when we are RE-created in the image of God, when we come to Christ. But nevertheless, they are to be seen in all human beings.






Human Dignity / Intrinsic Worth




We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

U.S. Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776


Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate. When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this Nation was built.

- Justice Thomas dissenting in Obergefell

Preamble. Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…

Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948

Georgetown: What do you make of the fact that there are plenty of secular and Christian organizations addressing trafficking but almost no Buddhist organizations?

In the Christian faith there’s the whole idea that the image of God is an innate value. You don’t allow the image of God to be crushed, or to be abused, or to be raped, or to be in tattered clothing, or to be found in an undignified form.


Theary C. Seng, Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, 17 Sept. 2010

I want to draw two inferences from the fact of a Creator:

1. Intrinsic worth. It gives you intrinsic worth. Not extrinsic worth: it’s not conveyed by government; it’s not given by culture; it’s not brought to you by some social theory. You are intrinsically a worthy human being.

A man tries to trip Jesus up: Is it alright to pay taxes to Caesar? Jesus said to him, Have you got a coin? The man gave Jesus the coin and Jesus looked at it and said, Whose image do you see on there? The man looked at it and says, I see Caesar’s. Jesus: Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. And give to God that which is God’s.


The man should have had a comeback question. He should have said, What belongs to God? And Jesus would have said to him, Whose image is on you?


No other worldview would have answered that question that way.


No religious worldview or secularist worldview would give you that definition of what it means to be human. You and I are fashioned in the “imago Dei”, the image of God, with our capacity for moral reasoning and moral categories in which we dabble.

The man comes back with a second question: Which is the greatest commandment? He tried to pitch law against law; he couldn’t win out in God against Caesar. He tried in Jesus against Moses.


Moses had given 613 laws; David reduced them to 15; Isaiah reduced them to 6; Micah to 3.


I’d have thought Jesus would reduce them to one. He didn’t; he reduced them to two: Do you know what the greatest commandment? That you should love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength and all your mind. And the second is like unto it: you should love your neighbor as yourself. On these two hang all of the laws and the prophets.


They are inextricably bound; you cannot have the one without the entailment of the second. You are created in the image of God. And you love your neighbor as yourself. The Ten Commandments, if it were to be reduced to one word, it would be SACRED…. I have no right to violate you as my neighbor because you are created in the image of God.


This is the imperative of the Judeo-Christian worldview. One, that you are made in the image of God. Two, your neighbor has that same privilege.

- Ravi Zacharias, What does it mean to be Human? (18:25)




Freedom / Free will



"Can't she see what's going to happen?" Calvin asked.

"Oh, not in this kind of thing." Mrs. Whatsit sounded surprised at his question. "If we knew ahead of time what was going to happen we'd be—we'd be like the people on Camazotz, with no lives of our own, with everything all planned and done for us. How can I explain it to you? Oh, I know. In your language you have a form of poetry called the sonnet."

"Yes, yes," Calvin said impatiently. "What's that got to do with the Happy Medium?"

"Kindly pay me the courtesy of listening to me." Mrs. Whatsit's voice was stern, and for a moment Calvin stopped pawing the ground like a nervous colt. "It is a very strict form of poetry, is it not?"


"There are fourteen lines, I believe, all in iambic pentameter. That's a very strict rhythm or meter, yes?"

"Yes." Calvin nodded.

"And each line has to end with a rigid rhyme pattern. And if the poet does not do it exactly this way, it is not a sonnet, is it?"


"But within this strict form the poet has complete freedom to say whatever he wants, doesn't he?"


"Yes." Calvin nodded again.

"So," Mrs. Whatsit said.

"So what?"

"Oh, do not be stupid, boy!" Mrs. Whatsit scolded. "You know perfectly well what I am driving at!"

"You mean you're comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?"

"Yes." Mrs. Whatsit said. "You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you."

- Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

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Theary C. Seng, 11 January 2012
Chaktomuk Theatre, Phnom Penh, January 2010

January 7 is indeed a significant day for survivors of the Khmer Rouge. It arrested the macabre convulsions that would have swallowed all of us into a hellish hole if the [ ... ]


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