When you look at this sentence above, you find it no longer surprising, I guess. Our country has been ranked as one of the most corrupt countries by Economic Intelligence Unit and Forbes Magazine, famous in the US. I was told our prime minister did react so angrily at the statements by those media outlets. But generally speaking, corruption is so rampant in this war-torn country– Do the wars we had had for years teach people to be corrupt? And what really is ‘corruption’ by definition? Corruption is impairement of intergrity and all kinds of value– pushed by greed and negative feelings– for one’s own self or group…
We had better look at the psychological studies of people’s mind after they have gone through so much of war inside the country. From Nokor Phnom to Chenla, from Chenla to Angkor Era— meanwhile, there were infightings between royal siblings for the throne and wars with neighbouring countries– until Phnom Penh existed– we experienced chaos caused by Vietnam-US war, which resulted in the Khmer Rouge regime–well, not to mention the 90 years Cambodia spent being colonized by France.
What if you heard your country would go into war? How would you feel? And what if you expeirenced war yourself? Wars torment human beings, not only destroy infrastructure. Wars leave bad mental impacts on people like we see today. After the Khmer Rouge regime collapsed, its legacy is quite big. The victims, more or less, live with trauma. Some can cope with this, some cannot. What kind of trauma is this? Look at your parents or any relatives who have survived. They are scared; they always tell us to be smarter than others so we can survive– or they say things that relate to the past of the KR regime. Honestly, my parents, especially, my mother has this kind of trauma, which she is living with.
What does corruption have to do with wars and all these? It’s useful to draw some points out of this. Corruption is deeply rooted in Cambodia, as everyone knows. Some know this; some ignore or even turn their nose at this– but how can we do to eradicate this? Corruption has many things to do with greed, a lawless state or failture to obey the law, fear and wrong choices of life paths.
Between POVERTY and CORRUPTION, which one comes first?
Poverty -> corruption …………..or corruption -> poverty……..
They both in fact complement each other. But in my point of view, a lack of certain education and moral value, greed and fears of anything bad that will happen to people again like wars are big contributors to corruption. I’ve seen poor people who are making honest livings. But I’ve seen ‘fears, greed and wrong choices of life path’ in corrupt people. Of course, even people who get more than 10 years worth of education at school can be corrupt. This is because they are told that to have money is to have everything. The old generation plays the influential role in shaping youngster’s mind. Most of them have gone through wars– most of them have encountered so much fear— and at this stage, wars teach them that they have to be cleverer than others to survive— so we can observe our family life’s present state– a lot of parents teach their children to always be smart, not to be wise and useful in society– “Take whatever you can get” is a piece of their advice– or if not,”Don’t play with fire.” “Look at other family; they can become rich quickly, what about you?” ..blah..blah..blah…
Finally, at least I now have a clearer picture of the position of the corruption in our society. We cannot blame anyone– It’s the responsibility of every individual… Wars and sheer greed of survival and desire to be important among others only sharpen corruption tools— We cannot stop every evil that exists in the world– but first stop the evil within ourselves, as we say this simply. I read about a woman who refused to resort to all sorts of corruption– she was stopped for no reason by African police who demanded to pay as a punishment– she didn’t.. she cried and said she had not money– she waited with paitence and hope in her mind she would never spend money on another act of corruption.
With persistence not to fall into traps of corruption, we do contribute a lot– The nationals must feel sad about this ranking of Cambodia as such– or we can say, “Who cares?” .. But well, who cares for us if we don’t care for ourselves?… Without corruption, human rights value will be increased– it’s people who matter, not money or the material things– it’s people who need to live and to be saved–not material things or wealth– it’s people who need to be cared for, not the property.