" Killing fields of Cambodia, not the only injustice for Cambodian victims only; but, it's for the whole humanity." A survivor

CAMBODIA: Fathers betrayal passed down to sons

Sam Sary,the Whipper    Photo:AEFEKThe story gives an interesting pattern of behavior between fathers versus fathers then sons versus sons. May be the Samsara cycle of Karma from fathers to sons.
The relevance rang up in 1994 when Sam Raingsy, son of Sam Sary, was a minister of finance and had a fall out with Norodom Rannridh, Sihanouk’s son, the premier of Cambodia post 30 year war.
The twist of fate seems running from past to present generation. The apparent political drama between Sam Raingsy and his estranged father went in circular motion with Sihanouk in the center. Both became monk after failures in personal politics.
Other hand the same goes for Sihanouk and Rannridh, his estranged son’s betrayal against his own deranged politics.

CAMBODIA: Sam the Whipper
Time- 21/7/1958
In 1955, at the first nationwide beauty contest ever staged in the remote Indo-Chinese kingdom of Cambodia, Vice Premier Sam Sary was more than an interested spectator. The judges could choose only one winner, but Sary, a suave, Paris-educated ladies’ man, picked two. In no time at all, the judges’ first choice, coffee-skinned, sarong-clad Tep Kanary, was installed in Sary’s household. Later he added Iv Eng Seng, who was only an also-ran with judges, to his collection.

Hero in Trouble. In Cambodia, this was all right with everybody. Besides, Sam Sary was somebody special. As a delegate to the Geneva Conference that ended the Indo-Chinese war in 1954, Sam Sary had become a hero by leading the fight to prevent partition of Cambodia between Communists and nonCommunists. Prince Norodom Sihanouk, the King who resigned to become Cambodia’s Premier, rewarded his longtime friend and admirer (Sary is the Prince’s biographer) by promoting Sary to the vice-premiership.

Then trouble became “Sad Sam” Sary’s middle name (TIME, June 10, 1957). Last summer powerful political enemies complained that Sary was granting profitable import licenses to the wrong people, i.e., someone other than Sary’s accusers. Tears in eyes, Sary crawled before Sihanouk on hands and knees and asked to be relieved of his job. Tears in eyes, Sihanouk let him go. In remorse, Sary shaved his head and eyebrows, entered a Buddhist monastery.

In January of this year Sary was packed off into gilded exile as Cambodia’s Ambassador to Britain. Sary’s entourage: his formidable No. 1 wife, *(Thioun) Em, a plump suffragette, and their five children, ranging in age from 8 to 18; Tep Kanary, the young beauty queen, Sam’s No. 2 wife and No. 1 mistress; the other beauty, Iv Eng Seng, was either No. 3 wife or No. 2 mistress. To get around British sensibilities, Iv Eng Seng was listed as a governess. Whose business was it that she was also pregnant? Sam Sary called on Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace and presented his credentials.

Switch of String. Last month the idyllic arrangement came to an abrupt end. Iv Eng Seng fled from the embassy with her month-old baby boy to a London nursing home and complained that Sary had severely beaten her “for minor mistakes.” Nonsense, replied Ambassador Sary gallantly: “I corrected her by hitting her with a Cambodian string whip. I never hit her on the face, always across the back and the thighs—a common sort of punishment in my country.”
Besides, said Sary, warming to his subject, he had every right under Cambodian law (he meant Cambodian custom) to whip the girl, because the embassy is “Cambodia in London.” Ambassador Sary got off a protest to the British Foreign Office, objecting to Iv Eng Seng’s complaints. Iv Eng Seng applied to Home Minister Richard A. (“Rab”) Butler, asking for asylum.

Disturbed over the bad name Sad Sam Sary was giving Cambodia, the government back in Phnom Penh, which is in the control of Sary’s rivals, whipped off a note of its own, retracting Sary’s protest to the Foreign Office as “null and void,” and noting: “The government considers that the infliction of corporal punishment on a maid, which is an offense under Cambodian law, is unworthy and incompatible with the functions of a representative abroad of the Head of State.”
Ambassador Sary wired back: “I maintain my protest and won’t let my country be insulted.”

The Cambodian government accused him of “grave disobedience,” ordered his recall, and issued a public explanation in Phnom Penh that “Sam Sary, helped by his wife (Thioun Em), savagely beat his pregnant concubine.” Complained Political Rival Sim Var: “Not only does he beat his concubine, but he tells the British press that this is customary in Cambodia, and now the British think we are a country of savages.”

As Sary went back home to crawl on his knees before Cambodia’s statuesque queen, a 35-year-old London barrister named John Averill—who was guided, he said, by a special vision from his Egyptian spirit, Ra-Men-Ra—stepped forward to rescue the governess in distress. He proposed and promptly married Iv Eng Seng. Averill is an ardent member of the “School of Universal Philosophy and Healing.” whose credo is no smoking, no meat eating, and no sex.

Related story: CAMBODIA:Tearful Times
Time 10/6/1957
Past the mint-and custard-colored roofs of Pnompenh’s lacquered palaces, a black Lincoln limousine sped south, bound for the rambling Cambodian seaside resort of Kep, 90 miles away by the green waters of the Gulf of Siam. Inside the big car, lonely and unhappy, sat cherub-faced Norodom Sihanouk, who gave up his throne to serve as Premier and had already resigned the premiership three times in less than two years. Behind him in Pnompenh Prince Sihanouk left with his father, King Suramarit, a statement of his intention to resign for the fourth time.

Whether or not he holds office, 34-year-old Prince Sihanouk will go right on running his country’s affairs. He has no other choice, for there is no one else in Cambodia’s scantily schooled and politically unsophisticated 4,500,000 populace who is up to the job. To Cambodians, Sihanouk is the government, and the government is Sihanouk.

Back to Work. A basically soft and kind young man, a devout Buddhist who abhors seeing any of his people suffering, Sihanouk has been through many changes of heart. The whole world cheered the way his representatives at the 1954 Geneva Conference withstood Communist attempts to subvert Cambodia by treaty. Then he fell under Nehru’s spell, and hinted darkly that U.S. aid ($120 million in three years) was being used as a device to take over Cambodia. He welcomed Chou En-lai to Pnompenh last November —but then became alarmed at the Communists’ evident strength in Cambodia’s economically powerful Chinese community. Recently, shocked by Russian intervention in Hungary, Sihanouk told his people that Communism is servitude, added: “Polish and Hungarian people have preferred to shed their blood.”

Sihanouk took back the premiership of his country only eight weeks ago, after sacking dutiful Premier San Yun in a welter of malicious and unproved charges that San Yun had been doling out valuable import licenses, mostly for high-priced consumer goods, to assorted ministers’ wives, political chairwarmers, and some ladies closely related to the royal family itself.

Sihanouk then appointed his longtime friend and adviser Sam Sary as special economic counselor to the government, with the personal rank of Prime Minister. But Sam Sary, even with his special rank, still approached the real Prime Minister, Sihanouk, only on his hands and knees. Sam Sary instituted a new economic policy of liberalized imports, but they, too, came under fire. Rival ministers whispered in Sihanouk’s ear that Sam Sary was being paid off by Chinese merchants, accused him of accepting diamond-studded platinum wristwatches and other bribes.

Off to the Monastery. Angrily, Sihanouk summoned a meeting of the Central Committee of his Sangkum Party, which controls all 91 seats in the National Assembly. Sihanouk listened, near to tears, while official after official accused Sam Sary of giving import licenses to the wrong people, i.e., someone else. The criticisms, said Sihanouk, were “unjustified.” Nevertheless, because they could “be construed as casting a shadow over the reputation of the Sangkum Party,” His Royal Highness forthwith annulled all import licenses.

Sad Sam Sary crawled up to Sihanouk on his hands and knees and asked to be relieved of his economic responsibilities. Distressed to see his friend in this state, Sihanouk acceded to the request. Sam Sary sadly crawled away, had his head and eyebrows shaved, and betook himself to a Buddhist monastery. Sihanouk was so upset himself that he burst into tears.

While Sam Sary meditated in his monastery, Sihanouk’s father, King Norodom Suramarit, held on to his son’s resignation as Premier, hoping he would reconsider. Last week Sihanouk did. He motored back to Phnom Penh, categorically denied there had ever been a government crisis, then set to work setting up a “National Investigation Commission” to combat Cambodia’s galloping corruption.


Written by Kham

04/11/2009 at 11:28 pm

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