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  [ ... ]


A wise appointment. I don't know personally Betsy DeVos but I have a soft spot for the Grand Rapids and Calvin College community. I met her mom briefly at my godfather's funeral (Wally's former girlfriend) and her father-in-law Richard DeVos when both of us were speakers at a Christian conference in Michigan in 2006.

- Theary, 23 November 2016



Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education pick,

is a billionaire with deep ties

to the Christian Reformed community


Washington Post | 23 November 2016




The Apprentice

Obama Is Planning to Give Trump Some Extra Tutoring



When the Decent Drapery of Life


Is Rudely Torn Off


Peter Wehner / New York Times | 10 Nov. 2016


To say that Donald Trump’s victory was a shock may qualify as the understatement of the century. The polls were wrong. The experts were wrong. I was wrong. Almost everyone was wrong — including those in the Trump campaign who expected to lose.

His victory wasn’t just a surprise; it was an event of gigantic dimensions, its radiating effects incalculable. Mr. Trump’s win ranks among the most unlikely and stunning elections in American history. Regardless of how the Trump presidency turns out, this race will be studied a century from now.

For those of us who have been vehement critics of Mr. Trump, this is a rather challenging moment. Starting on Jan. 20, he will be the only president we have. He now has a democratic legitimacy we may regret but cannot deny, and there is such a thing as democratic grace. To those who are tempted only to rage and attack and lament what has occurred, a word of counsel to them, and to myself: We need to give Mr. Trump the chance to rise to the moment, as unlikely as we think that may be.

At the same time, we can’t possibly erase the history of the last 17 months — the words he said, the things he did, the conspiracy theories he wove, the ignorance, volatility and cruelty he showed — and our concerns aren’t going to evaporate now that he’s about to be in charge of the nuclear triad that during the campaign he didn’t even know existed.

I believed, and still believe, that he is a man with a disordered personality and authoritarian tendencies. My job is to give him a chance to prove me wrong; his job is to prove me wrong.

Among my worries is that Mr. Trump’s victory will validate his style of politics, his serrated rhetoric. The way he mistreats people will be normalized. This election has brought us to dark places. Rather than this approach being repudiated it will, for many, become a model. “All the decent drapery of life is to be rudely torn off,” in the words of Edmund Burke.

If the Trump campaign foreshadows his presidency, America under Trump will be fundamentally different than it has been — coarser, less temperate and civilized, more inward and resentful. The Republican Party will fundamentally change, from a conservative party to one that champions European-style ethnic nationalism. (The Democratic Party, whose members were certain Hillary Clinton would win, will be convulsed as it enters a period of intense recrimination.)

A few hours after Mr. Trump was declared the winner, I received a note from a friend of mine, the distinguished Christian writer Philip Yancey, who told me, “I’m surprised and befuddled, but not scared, thanks to the checks-and-balances strength of American democracy. I tremble, though, to think what an unpredictable leader offers to a world in growing crisis.” He added, “Some say God moves in mysterious ways. I say, God grants humans the freedom to move in even more mysterious ways.

What happened on Nov. 8th was a mystery that may lead to calamity. I hope to God it won’t.

Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, served in the last three Republican administrations and is a contributing opinion writer.





I've really come to appreciate Ed Stetzer's wisdom in these CT columns.


American Politics

Turned Upside Down


Evangelicals made Trump’s candidacy; now they need to help remake his presidency.


Ed Stetzer and Amy Whitfield / Christianity Today









The Conservative Case


for Voting for Clinton:


Why support a candidate who rejects your preferences and offends your opinions? Don’t do it for her—do it for the republic, and the Constitution.

The most powerful piece yet, an 11th hour appeal that sends chills down my spine reading it because of its urgency and significance. PLEASE READ, carefully and slowly to absorb the gravity of the matter. - Theary, 3 Nov. 2016







Repository of Ideas Reaches 1M


Five and one-half years later, 1,000,000 divided by unique visitors per day.

Living in an already deeply Nietzschean world where at best truth is a "will to power", I was very conscious in 2010 to have this site be a repository to salvage the work of the Center for Social Development of the 3+ years under my leadership as forces were fiercely attempting to make truth fungible.

Since, it has been a repository for my ideas, thoughts and advocacy in general.

- Theary, 3 November 2016




Responding to so-called foreign experts on Cambodia

Commentary by Theary C. Seng

31 October 2016


Re: Ex-Prime Minister Pen Sovann dies at 80 (Phnom Penh Post | 31 October 2016)


“Hun Sen ‘reading the charges’ against Pen Sovann is ludicrous. Hun Sen did not yet have such an exalted position,” wrote historian Michael Vickery in 2005, describing Sovann as one of the least reliable Cambodian political figures for providing accurate accounts of his past.

For his part, Sovann said in his July 2002 interview that it was Hun Sen behind his arrest, and that the reason for his exile to Hanoi – which ended with the October 1991 Paris Peace Accords – was that he stood up to the Vietnamese officials who installed him.

“Hun Sen and Say Phouthang led Vietnamese troops and the A-21 [police unit] to arrest me,” Sovann said. “They surrounded my house with 12 tanks and about 900 troops. They handcuffed me, covered my face with a black cloth, threw me in a car and drove off.

“First, they said I created a free market, which was against communist guidelines. Second, they accused me of discrimination and standing as a nationalist for not wanting Vietnamese to live in Cambodia,” he said. “The third was that I did not respect the orders given by the Vietnamese.”


Michael Vickery is beyond 'ludicrous'! Yes, this is the same Marxist Michael Vickery who couldn't believe any Cambodian -- called my great uncle and other refugees liars -- then or in 2005. I'm once again stunned at the outright dismissal by so-called foreign experts on Cambodia for their ludicrous, outright wilful, creative, fictitious statements on Cambodia -- Marxist or otherwise.

Re the Vickery's quote above: Remember at this time, Hun Sen was foreign minister propped up by Vietnam met daily with the Vietnamese ambassador in Phnom Penh to receive instructions from Hanoi, according to Johns Hopkins professor Stephen Morris who had rare access to Soviet archives to Vietnamese occupation in Cambodia.

But not only foes but friends of democracy, rule of law and human rights like Evan Gottesman, a person I know and hung out with on several occasions in the 1990s, the author of “Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge,” outright dismissed the existence of the K5 genocide, as a matter of wilful opinion and not based on evidence, a great shame for a lawyer!, for he even acknowledges in the preface to his book which is predominately a documentary review of “minutes of meetings” that Vietnam allowed to be left behind. Whereas, “[m]any of the highest-level Party documents, in particular Politburo documents, are still inaccessible,” for “Vietnamese authorities took many Cambodian Communist Party documents to Vietnam in 1989, when they withdrew from the country.”

Unsurprisingly, the book offers scant or no information on the K-5 genocide -- well, to the contrary, he outright dismissed its existence in one sentence! -- and other atrocities committed in the throes of occupation under this other closed communist power.

Remember Johns Hopkins Prof. Morris in Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia in its preface cautions us that “some of the important primary sources are compromised” and those “made available have not come from free scholarly access to open archives but were released after careful scrutiny by Vietnamese communist leaders, who have a vital interest in the kind of history that will be written.”


See Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia

Evan Gottesman to his credit acknowledges Hun Sen 'there with Vietnamese authorities to read the charges, which included “narrow-minded nationalism” and a tax on Vietnamese airplanes' but demeans Sovann's patriotism as "narrow-minded nationalism" and the reason for the arrest for going against "a tax on Vietnamese airplanes" -- HUH? Didn't he remember his own preface caution?! Or read Prof. Morris's book which was published 5-6 years before his book?!







Le Duc Tho

Theary Seng's conversation with Relative

25 October 2016

Close Male Relative: I met Le Thuc Tho once. In 1979. I was a translator, personal assistant to the Minister of Education Chan Van. It was when all the ministers stayed in one place every night for at least a couple of months in a military base near where the Ministry of Education is now, behind Hun Sen's current residence near the Independence Monument.

Theary: Really? All the Khmer ministers propped up by Vietnam didn't sleep with their family at night but stayed together at a particular location?

Relative: Yes, for security reason, but only for several months.

Theary: Le Duc Tho was quite something; he refused the Nobel Peace Prize given to him and Kissinger. And this senior diplomat who was the chief negotiator with Kissinger in Paris was the political commander of Cambodia during occupation.

Relative: The Vietnamese expert who was the deputy Minister of Education Nguyen Hu Dung (with a "Y" sound, rather than the "D" sound when there's a slash across the D) -- deputy to the Vietnamese Minister of Education who was this beautiful Vietnamese woman, from France, she spoke flawless French, Nguyen Thi Binh -- he told a group of us that at one Paris meeting, after Kissinger and Le Duc Tho shook hands, Kissinger immediately took out his handkerchief and wiped his hands. At the next Paris meeting, after Kissinger and Le Duc Tho shook hands, Le Duc Tho immediately wiped his butt with that hand.

Theary: Tell me more about the Vietnamese experts.

Relative: At our Ministry of Education at the old location [where PUC is now located near Malis Restaurant] Vietnamese experts came every day -- the deputy Minister of Education Nguyen (Hu Dung, I think) and several other Cabinet members. At night, they all stayed together with the Khmer ministers at the military base near the Independence Monument behind Hun Sen's house. They'd would return to Vietnam for several days and come back for several days, constantly moving back and forth.

Relative: The Khmer ministers would make passionate, lengthy speeches thinking their Vietnamese experts are listening and taking their words to heart. So naive. I know. I was the translator. They'd speak for lengthy periods of time and MAYBE one word or phrase of theirs would make it into the official document, controlled by the Vietnamese.





Georgetown University, 1991-95


Vanity Fair, 24 Oct. 2016


When I first saw Bradley Cooper for the first time (with Scarlett J.) in a film ages ago, I kept thinking where do I know him from? Only a few years ago did a good friend from our close-knit Christian Fellowship of Georgetown University, Soren, solve the mystery for me when we were catching up at the International Prison Fellowship Quadrennial in Ontario, Canada:

Do you remember Bradley Cooper from our Georgetown days? Well, he's now this famous Hollywood star. Remember when the three of us met up at the Tombs?

The Tombs is this underground restaurant popular among students and tourists. It must have been in 1993 or 1994 because Bradley and Soren who were close college friends were two years behind me as I started Georgetown in 1991.

- Theary, 28 Oct. 2016




King Felipe of Spain


The King and Queen of Spain were my graduation speakers at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, some 300 (or 500?) us, May 1995. Their son Felipe, to be King with this abdication, was doing his Masters in the Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. Even though I was a senior, we had one class/seminar on development together of some 20 people, taught by an adjunct professor who worked at the World Bank, and a couple of study groups of several people for this seminar. He rode his bicycle around campus, always so down-to-earth, despite the secret service standing at library elevator during our study group sessions.

Theary, 2 June 2014




I am in Shanghai for the day and many of the websites I daily go to are blocked by the communist government:

- Gmail,

- Google,

- Facebook,

- (I think any site with the word "blog" in it),

- New York Times,

- VOA,

- RFA.


From Cambodia, this is what I read:


Sam Rainsy Officially Exiled From Cambodia


The order was disseminated in a letter dated October 18 from Sok Phal, chief of the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, and followed a letter from the Council of Ministers a week earlier asking General Phal to prevent Mr. Rainsy from returning by air.

The latest letter tells officials at the country’s three international airports and international border checkpoints to remain vigilant and immediately report any information about Mr. Rainsy returning to the country.

“Also take legal action to stop this individual from coming into Cambodia, taking other action if necessary for serious and highly effective implementation,” it said.

Gen. Phal could not be reached on Sunday. His directive was issued about a week after being instructed by the Council of Ministers to prevent Mr. Rainsy from returning to Cambodia by air.

In that letter, dated October 12, airlines were told not to let Mr. Rainsy board flights to Cambodia; airports were told to send airplanes back to their origin if he was on board; and officials were told to take any necessary measures to get the opposition leader out of the country if he managed to get off a plane.


Its Real Exile Now, says Rainsy


Sam Rainsy is the only person Hun Sen and Vietnam fear.

- Theary, 24 Oct. 2016




Sam Rainsy's Unique Role


Unfortunately, in Cambodia at this moment in time, there's no other No. 1 man besides Sam Rainsy. Many, many, many courageous leaders I like and respect, but no other man comes remotely close to replacing Sam Rainsy as the chief of the democracy movement.

Hence, we need him alive; we need him to have the mobility and agility to do the work needed during this challenging time, be it overseas or inside the country. The strong and growing support of the international community did not come by chance but to a large degree due to his effective lobbying.

Courage is one important characteristic, which Sam Rainsy shares with countless Cambodians.

It would be laughable and easily dismissed as rubbish some of the comments calling him a "coward" if they didn't come from voices I normally thought normal. One only needs to review his political activities in darker periods to know how indeed laughable and rubbish these sentiments are.

Courage, yes! But this is the not the distinguishing trait. What makes Sam Rainsy stand out is his unique, rare combination of top leadership skills and qualifications, recognized not only within the limited Cambodian society but internationally.'

Let's keep perspective amid the seemingly overwhelming challenge before us.


- Theary, Kirirom, 13 Oct. 2016






MEMORY, Language, History



The Mystery Why You Can't Remember Being a Baby

BBC Future | 26 July 2016




Sleep's memory role discovered


BBC News | 5 June 2014





How to speak the language of thought


BBC | 18 August 2014





10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices

Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12


Huffington Post | 6 March 2014



Laser Scans Unveil a Network of Ancient Cities in Cambodia

New York Times | 20 September 2016

The unquiet past: Seven decades on from the defeat of Japan, memories of war still divide East Asia

The Economist





Photos 1 | 2

What a difference a day makes! From a one-hour meticulous Kirirom manicure/pedicure costing a total $1.25 (one US dollar and twenty-five cents) to a suite in a Balinese resort. "Examining the Rights Impact of the ASEAN Economic Community"


Here, Conrad Bali. Very nice. We HRRC (Human Rights Resource Center) got a good deal with this resort to host the participants of the Summer Institute (mostly govt officials of the 10 ASEAN members).


I remember another stay at Bali a few years back for ANSA-EAP Board meeting where we each stayed at a private 2-story condo with a personal pool, with a complimentary discount to fit our budget from the owner who was a friend of ANSA-EAP board member.


Over 15 years ago I worked as a short-term consultant for the International Republican Institute and stayed at The Oriental Bangkok with a Mercedes taxi pick-up from and to the airport (which completely confused the chauffeur to learn I was from Cambodia!). IRI got a deal. But because of perception, it had to change hotel to a lesser one but paying higher price without the discount deal.


I'm posting these photos for several reasons, one is GRATITUDE for the comfort and beauty.


I remember a time pre-Khmer Unicode for Facebook when I'd travel internationally 2-3 times a month for a period of 4=5 years straight, often staying in suites similar to this one, smaller room if in Europe but still a 4 or 5-star hotel (one trip, one full month in a Berlin hotel). But I'd be sooo exhausted to appreciate the comfort afforded me and be internally complaining of missing home (a simple rented apt without hot water) and of missing work that was piling up whenever I was away from the office.


All to say, this now is nice. Living in the moment. With appreciation.


- Theary, Bali, 12 August 2016











False Grand Narrative of Racism


The Vietnamization of Kampuchea:

A New Model of Colonialism

Indochina Report (October 1984)


Part II: Vietnamization of the Economic Framework (continued)

The Unequal Exchange

It is within this new institutional framework that the Vietnamese are asserting their hold over the economy and future of Kampuchea. Fisheries, rubber and rice are the three main sectors affected by what should be termed the Unequal Exchange between Vietnam and Kampuchea.



Re the ongoing Vietnamization of Cambodia, I am reminded of William Faulkner's quote:


“The past is never dead. It's not even past.”

It's stunning how we -- both Cambodians and non-Cambodians -- have allowed the fictitious grand narrative of racism, SOLELY based on the use of the word "Yuon"


To overshadow, to hijack, to shroud, to erase genocide and other mass crimes against humanity committed by Vietnam and its puppet (Hun Sen's CPP) on Cambodians and Cambodia.




"How does a lie come to be widely taken as the truth?" asks the NYT editorial board

"The answer is disturbingly simple: Repeat it over and over again. When faced with facts that contradict the lie, repeat it louder."

This is how the grand false narrative of a single word "Yuon" as derogatory came to define the Khmer as racist.


- Theary, 18 March 2016, updated 20 Sept. 2016






Orwell’s “1984” and Trump’s America


New Yorker | 27 January 2017


And so, rereading Orwell, one is reminded of what Orwell got right about this kind of brute authoritarianism—and that was essentially that it rests on lies told so often, and so repeatedly, that fighting the lie becomes not simply more dangerous but more exhausting than repeating it. Orwell saw, to his credit, that the act of falsifying reality is only secondarily a way of changing perceptions. It is, above all, a way of asserting power.






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Theary's BLOG

Caroline Kennedy Delegation to Palace; Love; I support CNRM; New Year Video Message; Challenges are Opportunities; Free James!; Proportionality; Wolves in Sheep's Clothing; Entrapment; Prince Sirivudh

Kennedy-Niinami Delegation to Khemarin Palace 11 February 2018   Click to watch TVK clip of royal audience with the King and Queen Mother     Prime Minister Son Sann, Jacqueline Kennedy, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, Princess Norodom Mo [ ... ]

January 7; Kramanation; 47; Kampot Vegetable Sellers; No more selfies; Facebook Profile Name Change

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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