They both wear eyeglasses, which one should I vote for?
Actually, the story happened almost five years ago in Angkor Borei district, Takeo province during my visit to my brother-in-law. I was very happy every vocation during my study abroad because I could visit my family and our country. And the memory of the visit is written down in my dairy, but it is never publicized. Yet this one is very funny for it does reflect the way some people judge thing in our motherland.
Psychologically, in Cambodia to wear glasses is to give another value to the person himself. People are viewed and valued differently sometimes by the glasses they wear, particularly, the sunglasses and the eyeglasses. To wear the sunglasses, one is viewed as socialized, civilized, sexy, and yet sometime he is viewed as the blind or even a gangster. The eyeglass has somehow different value. It is viewed as the symbol of the educated, intellectual, gentleness, and politeness.
Taking the opportunity of my visit to my brother in-law, I also traveled around to see the daily life of the people in the district and to share my political idea with the local people. I hired a boat from Angkor Borie dock and traveled to Bakdai Khmer-Youn border accompanied by a police and my friends. It cost 32000 Riel for a round trip. We had some stops to talk with the people along our way in Praekda and Bakdai villages in Koktlok Commune. Their living standard is visibly hard and poor. The rich family has a zincs house with the size of 5m x 6m and the 90% of the houses are 3x4m size cottage covered with palm tree or thatched roof. Remarkably, we had a nice conversation with a family. We talked things ranging from daily life to politics. Now let’s go straight to the point of the topic.
Ps: How many parties participated in the commune election?
Woman: Two parties- The CPP and the Funcinpec
PS: Do you know who are the leaders of those parties?
Woman: Yes, Samdech Hun Sen and Prince Norodom Ranarith the son of Samdech Auv.
PS: Which party did you vote for?
She was quiet and smiled, and then she spoke in a low voice, “It is secret.”
But you can know later who she voted for. Then I continued: Do you know Sam Rainsy Party (SRP)?
Woman: I heard it.
PS: Do you know who the leader of SRP is?
Then, I told her the name of SRP’s leader. And we explained her about SRP’s political platform. She listened to us with interest. Then I continued the question. Have you seen Hun Sen and Prince Norodom Ranarith?
Woman: Yes, I see them on TV. I watched TV at that house. She pointed to the house about 100m away.
PS: So you never see Sam Rainsy, right?
Woman: No, I never see him.
During that time, SRP was not as strong and widely well-known as it is today not only in the commune but even in the district level regarding to Angkor Borei.
PS: Do you want to see his picture?
Then I took a picture of Mr. Sam Rainsy from the SRP’s leaflet that one of my friends had it with him to show her. Surprisingly, she shouted, “Oh! He wears eyeglasses just like Sam Dech Hun Sen.” Then she continued, “According to your explanation and his picture; I think he is really good, too. So which one should I vote for because they both wear eyeglasses?” We all laughed and paused for a while!
Psychologically, I immediately understood her decision making value. So I continued to convince her by telling her a story that happened before that when I took a motor taxi in Phnom Penh from my house, Bueng Kengkang II, to riverside. At that time, I had a very good conversation with the motor taxi driver as well. We talked mostly about politics and we found out that we had some memories in common, i.e., we participated in the 1998 demonstration and we witnessed the brutality of the Hun Sen police. But it was even more interesting when he answered one of my questions that if Sam Rainsy and Hun Sen had something in common. He told me that they did have the commonness such as they both are brave, stubborn and to my surprise is that he added that they both wear eyeglasses. I put doubt about this why he thought that it is characteristically important for these leaders. Then I asked him with wonder why they wore glasses. He personally and distinguishingly answered that Sam Rainsy wears eyeglasses because he is an intellectual. He is well-educated and gentle. As for Hun Sen he wears eyeglasses because he is blind.
So this is the story! What do you think?