Dear friends and colleagues,
I see that this short message I composed right after returning from my 2-week visit in Australia contains an error which I have fixed, thanks to one of you.
Please use this corrected if you wish to circulate the message.
Best wishes to all,
A very moving visit with Cambodian-Australians to celebrate Khmer New Year as well as listening to what our compatriots have to say about democracy in Cambodia.
The first wave of Cambodian refugees reached Australia around the early 1980’s, with a few who went there as students.
Among those early refugees where those families I met and assisted when working in Khoa-I-Dang camp and the camps along the Cambodian/Thai border. Many sweet memories, many hours trying to catch up with our lives in the past two decades or more.
I am very moved by the determination of each family in building a new life in their new home. Australian social security system and other public services give the refugee community the needed support and hope.
I am also very moved by our people’s close relationship with their relatives back in Cambodia. They have not and will not let go their Khmer heritage.
Surely, our people in Australia are benefiting from the true sense of democracy in Australia and that freedom that comes with democracy is what we discussed at each gathering.
I was very encouraged to see how connected Cambodian-Australians, like Cambodians outside of Cambodia are connected to news back home. All this thanks to independent media.
The Sam Rainsy Party in Australia is solid and growing.