|Hun Sen, Cambodia's prime minister, in 2012. (TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)|
“Most of them are good people and are not doing alcohol, drugs or racing vehicles.”
School of Vice's note: Well observed Dear Leader, but surely this is more than can be said for so many members of your own clans and cronies? One of your nephews [Mr Hun To] is reportedly involved in international drug-trafficking; and this very same nephew killed an innocent person with his reckless driving; your Minister of Information is a well-known alcoholic ["Mr Whiskey"!]. Not that I have anything against alcoholics or whiskey and such expensive spirits, but aren't these public figures and relatives setting rather poor examples for others? And just what exactly do you mean by 'good people'? Those yes-men and sycophants who fill most posts in your regime and administration? Who rob the poor to enrich themselves and see fit to shoot and maim or kill defenceless civilians with guaranteed impunity? In short, do you mean they are all "good people" doing wonderful things just like you have been doing to Cambodia's dwindling forests, unopposed border encroachments, unchecked influx of foreign settlers and immigrants, selling off state assets to foreign companies and turning the entire country into an ecological killing zone? No?
Patrick Winn - December 16, 2012 - Global Post
Cambodia's strongman premier is not known for his poignant appeals for tolerance.
Here's a quote, cited by Human Rights Watch, that reflects his take on dissenters in Cambodia: “I not only weaken the opposition, I’m going to make them dead ... and if anyone is strong enough to try to hold a demonstration, I will beat all those dogs and put them in a cage.”
And yet, the tough-talking prime minister has come out with a welcome -- but awkwardly worded -- statement encouraging Cambodian society to accept homosexuals.
As the Associated Press reports, he publicly stated that "there should be no discrimination against them just because of their destiny ... most of them are good people and are not doing alcohol, drugs or racing vehicles."
This is all the more confounding given his take, in 2007, on his adopted daughter's lesbian coupling. According to China's Xinhua outlet, he kicked her out of the house and worried aloud that her "girls" would bring bombs and poison to his home.
So has Hun Sen had a change of heart?
Was he just looking to score political correctness points last week on United Nations' Human Rights Day -- a day that might otherwise draw attention to his dismal human rights record?
And might he show some of that tenderness towards his Cambodian detractors who are locked up for daring to criticize his rule?