In November 2018, Hun Many, a lawmaker and president of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia, introduced the three-Cs initiative, which aims to help carry Cambodia into a brighter future. In an exclusive interview with Khmer Times, he explains what the three-Cs initiative is and how it can aid the Kingdom.
KT: What does three-Cs stand for? Can you tell us how significant the concept is for Cambodia’s future?
Mr Many: First, please allow me to clarify. Three-Cs is not an ideology or a doctrine. It is a mindset which we hope will become our shared vision for the future of Cambodia, no matter how different we or our values are. Three-Cs is the centre of the future, based on what we have today and what we are going to have and build for further development.
The first C stands for ‘Cambodia-ness’. The purpose behind its formulation is to encourage our young Cambodians to study our history – including both the good and bad periods – and our culture, in order to lead to the building of trust and their sense of national pride. Each aspect we go through will show how we can stand strong to contribute to the development and prosperity of the nation.
‘Cambodia-ness’ is not nationalism, which has been exploited by politicians throughout history. Instead, it implies pride of Cambodians’ capability and our rich culture. With this, the Kingdom of Cambodia is ready to face all kinds of responsibilities as an equal member of the international community.
The second C is ‘competency’ for Cambodia’s human capital. This is a very important resource for the country’s future; not only for its national defence or economic development, but also for competitiveness and capacity building. We have to work hard to keep improving human capital. Our slogan – ‘we believe Cambodia can do it’ – is a wake-up call for our young people to prepare themselves for globalisation and industrialisation. The level of our competitiveness on the international scene depends on how substantially our people can improve their competency.
Last but not least, the last C is for ‘compassion’. We want our people to be genuinely compassionate, not only because of religious faith, meaning that in the future, Cambodians will not only be highly competent, but will also be willing to help one another. In fact, compassion has existed in Cambodian culture and tradition since a very long time ago. We are a nation of diligence and good morals.
KT: Who came up with the idea for three-Cs in the first place? And what inspired the formulation of this concept?
Mr Many: The concept is a result of a discussion with my team, which is made up of young Cambodian people. Instead of me making the decision alone, we all agreed on a concept. There were many inspirations leading to the creation of the three-Cs. However, the concept is the first in our history.
Through the study of history, we can learn about our past leaders – how they fought and struggled for the country, and how they united the nation after frictions. Samdech Techo Hun Sen’s Win-Win policy, for example, is a great lesson of an achievement. However, we believe that the study should also focus on the dark periods and tragedies in our history in order to prevent them from reoccurring.
KT: Have you ever sought advice from your father, Prime Minister Hun Sen, on the three-Cs? Or has he given input concerning the concept?
Mr Many: I have never asked for any advice from him directly. But as his son, I have had opportunities to observe him fulfil his job as both a father and a prime minister. He had a huge influence on the formulation of the three-Cs. When he started fighting to liberate the country, he had two goals in mind. First, he did not want to see Cambodians suffer any longer. Second, he wanted to develop the country. Under his leadership today, the government prioritises the people’s wellness and the country’s development. Many successes have been achieved by Cambodia in the last 25 years. This proves that having final objectives and clarified principles to follow are a great start to something bigger.
KT: Out of the three-Cs, which C is the most important?
Mr Many: They are equally important for the building of a great foundation for a better Cambodian future. National pride prevents Cambodians from underestimating or losing hope in the country – which results from comparing Cambodia to other countries with different cultures and histories. Meanwhile, a people has to keep improving its overall competency to increase their competitiveness and promote the country’s development. Finally, every country needs compassionate people. None of these three constituents shall be overlooked.
KT: Some experts say Cambodia is a ‘fragment of broken glass’. Do you think the three-Cs will be the glue that fixes it?
Mr Many: We believe and really hope so. The UYFC is committed to spreading this message to all Cambodians so that they can understand it and be united by this mindset. We have to admit that it is not easy, but we do not have any other alternative to national reconciliation. The Win-Win policy, formulated by Samdech Prime Minister, united the national [after the civil war], but we look forward to the building of Cambodia as a country with shared perspectives among its people. All Cambodians, no matter who they are, have to be united in what they should do and achieve. The future, a destiny that no one can reject, depends on all generations of Cambodians.
KT: If we had to describe Cambodia’s history in a form of a metaphor, it would be the Cha-Cha dance: one step forward, one stop backwards, and repeat. How do you think that could be changed?
Mr Many: My ambition is to solve it by using the three-Cs. We have to admit that all of us have our differences, including our political points of view.
But, we should put a limit on our feelings, and analyse everything, including Samdech Techo’s policies, based on critical thinking. We should limit our reaction to political parties’ policies and focus on contributing to our shared visions and goals. We have to bear in mind that we should not compete against one another, but instead compete with other countries for the benefit of our own nation.
KT: How is the UYFC going to spread the message of the three-Cs?
Mr Many: Like what I have mentioned, it is not simple. Through our visit to local universities, local youth federations and media, we are doing our best and we strongly hope that the message will reach the people and make them think about it.
We want three-Cs to evolve from an individual mindset to a shared mindset. If we can reach a scenario where each of us refers to the three-Cs in our daily decision-making process, it will mean that we have built a people who can demonstrate great competence and compassion, as well as national consciousness.
KT: Supposing that you’ve gained the support of Cambodians and the Cambodian People’s Party to become prime minister one day, would you include the three-Cs as one of your ruling principles?
Mr Many: Being a prime minister, for me and others, is the greatest honour in serving the country. It requires great responsibility and leadership skills. I have not thought about it yet, since I have had only about six years of [political] experience. For now, I only hope that the three-Cs will become a shared mindset and vision, which can contribute to our journey to a better future. However, I believe that a country’s leader needs clear objectives and fundamental principles to rule wisely.
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