To the Editor
Thank you for publishing your piece by Mr Chris Pritchard about Cambodia. It is a country that does not always get very much attention in the press, not even in high quality magazines like Asian Affairs.
Mr Pritchard calls the tough Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen a ‘strongman’, a ‘Teflon’ man and says ‘he certainly isn’t poised to step down’. I think we all believed that but now it looks as if Hun Sen’s youngest son Hun Many might be the one to make him end his rule sooner than people expect.
Hun Many was on a radio broadcast at the end of December on Vayo Radio’s Political and Social Forum programme, and he was speaking about his ambition to become Prime Minister of Cambodia, which he called an ‘intention’.
Of course lots of people will say it is easy for Hun Many to dream of being Prime Minister because his father has so much power in Cambodia. But I do not think Hun Many will be so much a dictator figure as his father. He was given the Gusi Peace Prize by the Philippines in 2015 for helping to encourage world peace and progress in society, and he is an inspiring youth leader who can at least handle a bit of criticism on social media.
Long Beach, California
Writing the changes
Please allow me to wish a happy (if slightly belated) new year to all your readers, in the hope that they enjoy your magazine as much as I do. Strong reporting and analysis, excellent writing, striking layout and emotive use of photographs – what more could one ask for?
Your highlighting of the shifting world we live in and how what were once accepted norms no longer fit that bill is crucial. These changes must be reflected in our leaders, be they of state, Commonwealth, church, mosque or whatever.
Keep up the good, impressive work, Asian Affairs. Words can contribute to change.
Dr Bill Wilson (Ret’d)
The possible cannot come soon enough
Some may roll their eyes at the thought of India and Pakistan turning yet another fresh page in their fraught relationship. As George Friedman notes in ‘Politics of the possible’ (AA, Jan 2015), there have been previous good intentions from both sides which have died a death.
True, there are real differences this time, among them Pakistan’s hardened, post-Peshawar attitude to fighting terrorism on its soil, and Narendra Modi’s desire to seal his premiership with the potential great coup of improved Indo-Pak relations, with all its attendant benefits.
Yet it may ultimately be the personal warmth and spirit of goodwill that seem to exist between Modi and Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif, as seen in Modi’s unplanned Christmas Day stopover in Lahore, that bring about the long-awaited detente. We live in hope.
Farewell to the finest
Culture is just as important as politics, so I was delighted by the article in January’s Asian Affairs about the late, great actor Saeed Jaffrey, who sadly passed away in November 2015.
Along with countless others, I was blown away by his splendid performance in ‘The Man Who Would be King’ all those years ago, and who could ever forget his beautiful, mellifluous voice, which made Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’ absolutely unmissable.
Although I never knew Saeed Jaffrey personally, I was fortunate enough to meet him at an event shortly after his memoirs were published in 1998. He was as charming, warm and courteous as Sir Mark Tully expressed, and seemed to take a great interest in others, in spite of his own fame. No wonder he will be missed as much for his humanity as his considerable thespian talents.
Mrs Eleanor Levinsky
Hove, East Sussex