CIVIL RESISTANCE


CIVIC EDUCATION   . . .

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 [ ... ]


CIVIC EDUCATION


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  [ ... ]



How the Church Helps Black Men Flourish in America


The Atlantic | 28 February 2016

 

[excerpts]

 

Churchgoing black men are significantly less likely to participate in what the sociologist Elijah Anderson has called the “code of the street”: an ethos marked by violence, criminal activity, a live-for-the-moment mentality, and a desire to protect oneself by projecting strength. ...


Revered Calvin Butts III of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, put it one Sunday:

 

"[Most civilizations] are destroyed from within. The outward manifestations of this inner decay have been threefold. Three things that you see outwardly. One is drunkenness. . . . [or] getting high. I don’t mean a sip here and there; I mean getting high all the time. [Another is] idleness. . . . And finally, immorality. This means that strong civilizations, those that are able to endure, and withstand attacks from without [have] sobriety, industry, and clean moral living." ...


Thabiti Anyabwile, the pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C.


"People have to be strong enough personally to face the onslaught, but also have to have enough fair play and support to be strong enough."

 

 

Re the above article:


In Cambodia, both Cambodians and non-Cambodians often invoke "Khmer tradition", "Khmer culture", often negative attributes / habits, when in reality the attribute or habit is more universally part of a "code of poverty", to work off the phrase above, that just happened to be exhibited by a Cambodian or in Cambodia. It is often invoked in a knee-jerk defensive reaction to the elusive, often fast-changing culture where Cambodians are no longer in control of shaping their own identity.

 

Related, it strips a Cambodian of her agency. Once a non-Cambodian journalist, someone I do not know by name, face or reference or heard by reference, a complete stranger to me, sent a request to me on Facebook requesting that I help him publicize his writing (a book? it's been a couple of years now) which I ignored; he then wrote back with a long rant decrying how I am not "Khmer woman" because of my Christian beliefs and outspoken disposition. It was one of the very rare occasions when I blocked someone on FB. I regretted it now solely for the fact for not saving his rant for prosperity, like now to use as a verbatim example, before deleting it / blocking him.

 

- Theary, 29 Feb. 2016





. . .

 



Our impossible expectations of Hillary Clinton

 

and all women in authority

 

Deborah Tannen (I had her as a professor while at Georgetown; good to see her still there)

 

Washington Post | 19 Feb.2016

 

[excerpts]


A double bind is far worse than a straightforward damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t dilemma. It requires you to obey two mutually exclusive commands: Anything you do to fulfill one violates the other. Women running for office, as with all women in authority, are subject to these two demands: Be a good leader! Be a good woman! While the qualities expected of a good leader (be forceful, confident and, at times, angry) are similar to those we expect of a good man, they are the opposite of what we expect of a good woman (be gentle, self-deprecating and emotional, but not angry). Hence the double bind: If a candidate — or manager — talks or acts in ways expected of women, she risks being seen as underconfident or even incompetent. But if she talks or acts in ways expected of leaders, she is likely to be seen as too aggressive and will be subject to innumerable other negative judgments — and epithets — that apply only to women. ...


We develop these impressions, Lakoff notes, when people don’t talk and act as we think they should, given who they are and what we know about them. ...


The trickiest thing about the double bind is that it operates imperceptibly, like shots from a gun with a silencer.

 

 

 

. . .

 

 

 

 

Trump and the Cambodia Analogy


Theary C. Seng, 27 February 2016

 

Re: WHY MAX LUCADO BROKE HIS POLITICAL SILENCE FOR TRUMP



The title of the article sent a chill down my spine as I thought, Oh no! Et tu, Max Lucado? I grew up hearing, reading his name and quotes from authors and friends I deeply respect, even as I ashamedly have yet to read one of his 32 books. I've been baffled by Americans--and mortified by Christians!--who support Trump, and thus my deep apprehension in opening Christianity Today to read this large, front-page heading.


I guess I can try to understand in light of the Cambodian situation re illegal Vietnamese immigration in recent history flowing into the present. Vietnamese demographic and military colonialization has reduced Cambodia to a fraction of its size, with the swallowing up of its territory still in play. The current demographic colonialization continues with the assistance of a puppet regime that is Hun Sen's CPP.

 

Ours is an existential issue and at times we have reacted with repulsive ugliness. Think Lon Nol. Think the Khmer Rouge. What has not been called-out on to account, however, is the blithe, arrogant, condescending actions and reactions of the non-Cambodians in all of this, in pushing the Cambodians to be at times ultra defensive on this most tactile, life-and-death issue of existence. What is dangerous is how Cambodians' opinions and experience throughout recent history have been outright condescendingly dismissed, particularly on the matter of the inundation of Vietnamese citizens--many, the discarded of their society, including the criminal elements--into Cambodia as a matter of political strategy of annexation.

 

The matter would then come into light for the non-Cambodians after the fact when the situation is already too late to do much to counter the invidiousness.

 

Their arrogance and blitheness have blinded and continue to blind the non-Cambodians to the awaiting atrocity.

 

During the US bombings and years immediately before KR takeover, many non-Cambodians were so blinded to the rise of the Khmer Rouge because they expended all their energy, often in the most self-righteous manner, in condemning the US bombings and policy in SEAsia to see and hear what Cambodians were seeing, hearing, experiencing on the ground. Elizabeth Becker was one of the few non-Cambodians who was level-headed enough to listen to the Cambodian voices during this period. Immediately after the Khmer Rouge, many non-Cambodians dismissed refugees' account.

 

Then when this position was no longer palatable in light of the weight of the evidence (human and documentation), they all expended their energy on the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge and refused to listen to Cambodians' fear and experience on the ground re occupation, what they were seeing, hearing, experiencing by the occupying forces, to entertain the possibility what occupying forces would, could do to a country, a people as vulnerable as Cambodia, Cambodians then, especially an occupying force with a history of violent annexation and design for further annexation.

 

The impending atrocities to be committed by this occupying power with a history of violent annexation: refusing international aid for the barely surviving, ghost-like Cambodians during the famine of 1979, 1980 -- the 2 years immediately following KR regime -- the K-5 genocide, murdering and imprisoning dissenting voices, and the 10 years of occupation rule under the shroud of darkness with almost complete impunity, ZERO international scrutiny or concern.

 

And the preparation and design for colonialization after UNTAC: the Vietnamization of the military and security forces, civilianizing / "Cambodianizing", e.g. taking on Khmer names, embedding their military and political advisers into key ministries and posts, forcing through with their puppet regime unequal treaties to extract and destroy resources from the Tonle Sap, the jungles and the sea. We are now seeing, feeling, experiencing clearly the impact of these unequal treaties of "friendship".

 

I can see how the Americans and Europeans see the immigration situation as one on a steep slippery slope or sliding scale, but their situation is NO WHERE CLOSE to the danger point of the Cambodia situation. And TRUMP is definitely no answer, except a repulsive one.


Re the article: my fears were quickly put to rest even if I have only finished the first Q & A with this "America's pastor" with Christianity Today.

 

 

 

 

Currently, as of my last visit to the link, Feb. 23:

Protest sign during President Obama’s 2012 visit to Cambodia

Changed from:

Protest sign approved by Hun Sen during President Obama’s 2012 visit to Cambodia

 

Re: In Defense of the War Criminal Henry Kissinger

(Nate Thayer, 17 February 2016)


Theary Seng

Facebook, Feb. 19, 7:43 AM, Cambodia


It's too early in the morning to be provoked, but here we are. I'm very surprised to see this from a reputable journalist whose writings I've really enjoyed and appreciated for their insight and depth. Very disappointed with this one, however. I will return to this article and read it with more care because it is by Nate Thayer. But I will quickly respond to this photo as it is easy and concerned me, as I was stopped from perusing the article further.


The caption reads "Protest sign approved by Hun Sen during President Obama’s 2012 visit to Cambodia".


If "approval" means having two thugs visited me at my home (where this photo is displayed), waiting for me as I was just returning home (I think from a Kirirom trip) at 8 pm, me quietly contacting the UN Human Rights office as FYI -- they asked if I wanted them patrolling my neighborhood; I said no, as I didn't want to give credence to the intimidation; I saw the white UN SUV once passing by anyway), me quietly checking into a hotel for a night, having 30-some security chiefs waiting for me to prevent me from holding up this sign in front of the US embassy, resulting in a stand-off for almost an hour and almost had me beaten up by a group of "3rd hands" hiding in the Wat Phnom shroud. Al Jazeera told me that these 30 security chiefs only arrived after I posted a message on FB that I'll be arriving with my protest signs (the other of Khieu Samphan -- upon re-reading my account, it was Meas Muth). And what the assault along the riverfront in front of the FCC the day before... If this is "approval", I need to relearn English.


On the larger topic of Kissinger as war criminal and the Cambodians' blame game, I will need a few more cups of coffee for aid before responding. For now, suffice it to say: Yes, Kissinger is a war criminal; the US bombings were a major factor in creating the condition for the rise of the Khmer Rouge, and we Cambodians ourselves in our daily conversations blame our leaders, even as we blame unlawful intervention and invidious influences of foreigners.

 

 

 

 

. . .

 

 

 

 

LOVE FOR SALE:

Neary Kroup Lak and the Economics of Sex

 

Commentary by Theary C. Seng

First published in the Phnom Penh Post, 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

The country where Valentine’s Day

is the most dangerous day of the year

 

Washington Post | 12 February 2016

 

 

 

 

Cambodian tycoon gets light jail sentence

for attack on female TV star


Sok Bun’s savage beating of presenter known as Sasa caused outrage after video of assault was posted online

 

The Guardian | 15 February 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

អាន ជាខេមរ ភាសា

បទចំរៀង របស់ ព្រះបាទ សាឡូម៉ូន

 

 

Read the greatest love poem from antiquity:

Song of Songs (or, Song of Solomon)

 

 

 

 

 

អាន ជាខេមរ ភាសា (ជំពូក ទី១៣)

 

 

Read the complete letter that Paul wrote to the Christians in the city of Corinth in the first century in English

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sexual Misery of the Arab World

 

International New York Times

 


Kamel Daoud, a columnist for Quotidien d’Oran, is the author of the novel “The Meursault Investigation” and a contributing opinion writer. This essay was translated by John Cullen from the French.


[excerpt from this powerful commentary]


...one of the great miseries plaguing much of the so-called Arab world, and the Muslim world more generally, is its sick relationship with women.


Today sex is a great paradox in many countries of the Arab world: One acts as though it doesn’t exist, and yet it determines everything that’s unspoken. Denied, it weighs on the mind by its very concealment. ...


Women are a recurrent theme in daily discourse, because the stakes they personify — for manliness, honor, family values — are great. In some countries, they are allowed access to the public sphere only if they renounce their bodies: To let them go uncovered would be to uncover the desire that the Islamist, the conservative and the idle youth feel and want to deny. Women are seen as a source of destabilization — short skirts trigger earthquakes, some say — and are respected only when defined by a property relationship, as the wife of X or the daughter of Y.


These contradictions create unbearable tensions. Desire has no outlet, no outcome; the couple is no longer a space of intimacy, but a concern of the whole group. The sexual misery that results can descend into absurdity and hysteria. Here, too, one hopes to experience love, but the mechanisms of love — encounters, seduction, flirting — are prevented: Women are watched, we obsess over their virginity, the morality police patrols. Some even pay surgeons to repair broken hymens. ...


What long seemed like the foreign spectacles of faraway places now feels like a clash of cultures playing out on the West’s very soil. Differences once defused by distance and a sense of superiority have become an imminent threat. People in the West are discovering, with anxiety and fear, that sex in the Muslim world is sick, and that the disease is spreading to their own lands.

 

Read complete article

 

 

* * *

 

 

In celebration of BLACK HISTORY MONTH

 

Letter from a Birmingham Jail


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

[excerpts]

 

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." ...


Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program ...


But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. ...


Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. ...


In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. ...


You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.


Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.


We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."


We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. ...


Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

Read complete letter

 

 

 

 

 


In celebration of Black History Month


TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD


On February 19, Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize author of To Kill a Mockingbird, died at the age of 89.  Like countless millions, I have been greatly impacted by the book since my first reading of it as a young person to my several re-readings of it as an adult.  In tribute to Harper Lee, many media outlets posted quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird.  No amount of quotes can provide an adequate feel for the power and beauty of the book save its full reading of it.  Earlier I attempted with an allusion in a Facebook post to help make a point:

 

 


Phnom Penh, Dec. 2014

 

FRAMED BY GLASSES


For someone who's only been drunk 3 times in her life, all while with a small group of trusted friends -- the most memorable was during law school in 1998, the day Pol Pot died, for a charity event when 3 of us students took the offer to play pool with our legal writing professor on the promise of flowing alcohol on him; the other two times less memorable, while in Phnom Penh (probably alcohol poisoning or its mixture), the other New Year's Eve in Wash. DC. -- I take after the character of Mr. Dolphus Raymond of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (who was a wealthy white man who lives with his black mistress and mulatto children, pretends to be a drunk so that the citizens of Maycomb will have an explanation for his behavior, while in reality, he is simply jaded by the hypocrisy of white society and prefers living among blacks) IN A VERY NARROW SENSE, not because I'm wealthy (far from it!) or that I pretend to be a drunk (also far from it!), but rather, I, like Raymond, am jaded by the hypocrisy of Cambodian society -- particularly, against women; even more particularly, against Asian women; even, even more particularly against Khmer women, and how much even more particularly against strong, educated Khmer women (and this, not yet adding Christianity, the easy de facto target, to the mix!) -- of both locals and expats. And I let go of the defamatory stories spread about me...


But I'll tell of one: I remember a few years ago -- early 2008 when so much confusion and lies were being spread as CSD was encountering internal, political, existential problems -- a particular expat jackass emailed me, which then I showed to a few people who knew this clown with whom I had only exchanged a few greetings, about my unruly behavior of dancing on the counter of the popular Metro Cafe and shouting and screaming in my drunken state!! He has since tried to act normal on the rare occasions we run into each other, by approaching me or my group, schmoozing, as if he never wrote that email, and once when I confronted him in front of a group of friends, he nonchalantly dismissed it as all water under the bridge. I think I still have his email, which I may share...


My dear Manolyne Taylor, you better explain that those are not all our glasses ; ) !! The Burmese cigar not bad...


[post from 5 Dec. 2014, text edited/expanded 5 May 2015)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Entrapment; Prince Sirivudh

Entrapment   Theary C. Seng, 4 December 2017                     Prayers for a speedy recovery for HRH Norodom Sirivudh                             Previous BLOG | All Past BLOGs | All RAND [ ... ]


A Language in Crisis: Punctuation is the Key to Development: Commas, Word Spacing

    You're already appropriating
punctuation marks;
now use them properly     About 5-6 years ago, I started posting pages from some Khmer dictionaries where commas were used (even if very sparsely, sporadically), in particular the 7-page [ ... ]


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