"Some are born great, some achieve greatness,
and some have greatness trust upon them" -- William
Election is now in season -- issues are on the table and
Election victory should observe not just a victory of
a party, but a celebration of freedom of choosing -- symbolizing an
end, as well as a beginning -- signifying renewal, as well as change
and future. The unity as nation is not simply desirable; it is
Throughout history, a leader could either raise a nation out of
harm's way, or drown in a sea of infamy. Some leaders in my time
have been viewed as both a hero and a tyrant. Their patriotism was
often unquestionable; they fought courageously to defend Cambodia
against foreign invaders, and undoubtedly have gone to battle to die
for their country.
For thousands of years men dream of their vision. They lived
believing that a dream can be achieving it by acting upon it, and
throughout history of great nations, great leaders rose to
leadership from the ordinary life, and needed or have demanded a
monument, not lacking belief in people's greatness, and their
capacity to change. That is a person of achievement.
Hun Sen was born into a peasant family in Kampong Cham Province in
1952. He received basic education from local village pagoda school,
educated by Buddhist monks, and continued secondary education at Lycée Indra Devi in Phnom Penh. Samdech Hun Sen became Prime
Minister of Cambodia in 1985 at age of 33.
There is no design for leadership. A leader should strive to protect
the dignity of his public office, and execute his duty in the
interest of the nation. Can one individual, acting alone, solve the
most significant problems? There is a tendency to create a hero, but
this requires collective solutions of people with rare gifts working
together as equals.
Leadership is intended to stand above quality and to function
passionately for the public office he is elected to hold, and to put
public interest above his own. Good leaders share certain essential
characteristics, including their excellence and ability to work
collaboratively with others pursuing national common dream instead
of egotistic ambition.
A leader should signify the heroism of those who he represents, and
must realize that he can only accomplish extraordinary things for
the country by involving people who can do things that he cannot.
Those who seek out leadership role while having no desire to be held
responsible should be avoided at all cost.
A leader must exist in a fertile relationship with his nation. A
leader finds greatness in himself and his nation, and helps others
find greatness in themselves, and pass on to later generations. A
well-respected leader leads by example, and the society will follow
The myth of an individual born to rule is deeply ingrained in
Cambodian psyche. Our contemporary views of leadership are bound
with the notions of heroism and the god-like. The distinction
between those in the authority and the ordinary is too often seemed
as inherently individual phenomenon. Yet despite the rhetoric of
collaboration, the Cambodian people continue to advocate it in a
culture in which people strive to support that state of
Visionary leaders dream of change, with the force of will to reshape
event in achieving their objective goal. Yet a visionary like Pol
Pot has resulted in catastrophic loss. Idealists may become either
saviors and villains, but one thing is certain: A vision of change
has made Cambodia what it is in the present day. So choose your
The good, the bad, and the murderer may all be in the leadership
role. Some inherited the reins of power dictating the course of
nation in their own view, and define greatness by conquest, and
murder. Their personality and ambition are no different in than that
which afflicts all human existence.
Cambodia has been through numerous regime changes, and remains a
very fragile state. Communism is gradually fading away. Socialism is
declining as an effective role model. Democracy isn't a perfect one,
but for what I have gone through it is the best among these choices.
Every great nation is built on individual citizens who demonstrate
heroism in theirs own right. Napoleon once said, when asked to
explain the lack of great statement of leadership that "to get power
you need to display absolute pettiness; to exercise power you need
to show true greatness. Such pettiness and such greatness are rarely
found in one person."
King Norodom Sihanouk
Each citizen has a part in its history. Everyone has an important
role to play in making excellence a reality. The greatest threat to
the country is that its citizens do not fulfill these roles. The
tasks that can only accomplished collaboratively, with the powerful
conviction of the individual, are the only real social obligation.
U.S. President Gerald R. Ford once said "To me, being a citizen of
the United States of America is the greatest honor and privilege in
this world." Together, a nation will continue to build upon and
enhance the high standards and commitment that are the hallmark of a
decent and hopeful society.
Choeung Ek Victim Memorial
There are many things have gone wrong in our country, and most have
to do with our own selves and our collective moral character.
Achieving excellence depends, in large part, on the support and
involvement of all citizens to build a more hopeful future. As a
nation, individual bear some blame for the country's downfall.
Many nations shared similar success of trials and errors. Leadership
has turned out to be one of important factor of all the missing
puzzles. All evidence suggests that those national successes rest on
the quality of individualist idealism and vision. And Idealism alone
requires strategic vision before reaching a common goal.
Prime Minister Hun Sen
Nation interest depends largely on private character. Individuals
should demonstrate good moral character in: Trustworthiness,
Fairness, Caring, and
Citizenship. To be a
good leader, one requires a good moral discipline and unselfishness
of exemplary character. The character of individual is as important
as anything a government does.
Fate has been kind to Cambodia, but costly, considering the numbers:
decades of war, millions killed. Lack of will to change,
self-imposed negative rhetoric, and waiting for the issue to resolve
itself (a euphemism for doing nothing) will not guarantee results.
This writing is predicated on the conviction that leadership does
matter! From village gathering, to city elites, to the halls of
government, and to each individual; one needs to assume leadership
roles. Be supportive of elected leaders and their commitment to
carry a duty to undertake his power within a lawful framework.
We should rejoice in the accomplishments of those before us, but be
always vigilant that the future is ours alone to shape. For your
future: Go to the poll and vote on your conscience!
Principles of the Nuremberg
article appeared in
the Cambodia Daily on
Tuesday, March 27, 2007 on p19.
About the Author:
Vorak, Ny is the founder of www.khmerwriter.com