Demagogue Democracy

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Not too long ago I would teach English to a bunch of young Cambodians. These guys would ask me lots of questions about life in Canada. And through these questions I discovered that a lot of young Cambodians have no real idea what western democratic life is like at all. In fact, here’s what they thought democracy is: you only have to work three days a week, you will make anywhere between $100 000 to $1 000 000 per year (without paying taxes), and you get lots of free stuff from the government–woo hoo!

But then I would explain the reality of high taxes, and the requirement to get government permits to do stuff on your own land which you don’t really own, and how hard people really do work, and that many people are in serious debt, and that the government is in serious debt, and the lack of real freedom for most people.

Cambodia needs liberty and freedom, yes. But, democracy being introduced into this country by a guy who’s spent much of his life in France is not what this country needs. Just imagine the culture of corruption which already exists being combined with a European style democratic nanny state. And it’s laughable to think that democracy will eliminate corruption, it’ll just allow corruption to grow, especially when more foreign aid comes pouring in as a reward for the new democracy.

Cambodia needs a government that will back off, limit its own power, reject foreign aid, and let the people prosper on their own. Cambodia needs help with this, absolutely. Help will come through non-governmental organizations and, infinitely more important, help will come from the Christian church. Cambodia will find its true freedom through local Christians and foreign missionaries working together to spread the Good News.

The Gospel is pervasive, and it penetrates every crack, every dark place of a society. The Gospel brings true freedom as it brings people under the, very undemocratic, rule of Christ. This is a very realizable goal for Cambodia. Western style humanistic democracy will be one of its greatest obstacles, even more so, I’d say, than a brutal dictatorship would be.

My prayer for Cambodia will continue to be that Jesus takes this nation as His own, and that Cambodia will worship Him alone and not fall for any false gods introduced from the west disguising themselves as freedom, or equality, or prosperity, or whatever.

Who Will Save?~Added Note

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The above picture, and others like it, is what I’m seeing floating around Facebook now.

In my last post I asked, “Who will save Cambodia?” And of course, being a Christian, my answer is God through His Son will save Cambodia. I also made mention of how we ought not to look to politicians or activists for some kind of political salvation.

It’s interesting how the apostle Paul was not an activist. He lived in a dictatorship and slavery was normal. But Paul never made it his mission to abolish slavery or incite change in the government. It wasn’t because Paul didn’t care about those things. Paul understood that the reason that our societies are such a mess is because we live in the darkness of sin.

As Christians, we need to think the same way in regards to our own societies. The gospel of Jesus Christ is what will transform whole nations. The political situation will be healed after a nation has embraced that gospel.

Paul and the other apostles were not activists and they never entered politics, but, because they stayed true to the gospel, they changed the world.

Anyways, that’s just a quick added note to my last post.

Who Will Save Cambodia?

Sam Rainsy, photo source: rfa.org
**Sam Rainsy, photo source: rfa.org**

We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.

When Sam Rainsy returned to Cambodia from exile he said, “I have come to rescue the country!”*

His party did not win and Hun Sen still has majority power (although greatly reduced**). But this is okay, because Sam Rainsy is not the savior of Cambodia.

Is Hun Sen a good guy? Well, click here to read for yourself. But I am personally happy with the election results.

If you study Cambodia’s history you will see that ever since the fall of the Khmer empire this small country has always seemed to be in the middle of someone else’s conflicts–Vietnam and Thailand, France and Thailand, the USA and Vietnam, the USA and China. And then there was that whole Khmer Rouge thing. As a result, Cambodia has not enjoyed any kind of lasting stability for hundreds of years.

For the last fifteen years or so Cambodia has had some measure of stability, more than its had in a long time. Older Cambodians support Hun Sen because they remember well the Khmer Rouge days and they are very happy with where the country is at now, and they credit this to Hun Sen as he is the one who’s been in power for the last three decades. Younger Cambodians have no memory of the Khmer Rouge days as they were born afterwards. They only see Hun Sen as a brutish thug who needs to be replaced quickly.

But at this time an abrupt radical change in the Cambodian government would only bring more instability, and most likely more violence. Those of us who are Christians know and trust who is really in charge. And in trusting God we can be patient and not foolishly rush into a humanistic kind of radicalism which sees political figures (and the UN, and the USA) as saviors.

What about Hun Sen? God will judge Hun Sen. And as the Gospel spreads, and the Cambodian people are shown the light of the truth, the condition of the government will follow what the people believe.

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:1-4

*Opposition Leader Sam Rainsy Returns to Cambodia

**Hun Sen’s Ruling Party Claims Victory

Further reading: Time to Stop the Rhetoric; Survey of Cambodian Public Opinion; Cambodia Strives for Credible Election