Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday hit back at accusations by unnamed “analysts” that the recent widespread power outages across the Kingdom were a “pretext” for the government to build further hydroelectric dams.
He said those who espoused such allegations should have the electricity to their homes cut off. “This [allegation] is too much. Those saying it should be careful not to be killed by lightning,” he said.
The prime minister was speaking at the inauguration of a water treatment facility in Kampot province, where he defended his use of language. He said he only used common speech or slang and did not use language as bad as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
“When we speak like this, they said we are a dictator and use bad language. But I want to stress that I have never used bad language like the president of the Philippines. The president of the Philippines even insults people with words [such as] ‘son of a whore’. Even the president of the US was called the son of a whore by the president of the Philippines. I don’t use language that bad."
“He has insulted others with strong language. The deputy secretary-general and secretary-general of the UN were also called sons of whores by him. I do not go that far. I just use slang, which we commonly use,” he said.
The then US President Barack Obama was called a son of a whore by Duterte in 2016 over criticism of the violent Philippine drugs crackdown. UN Human Rights experts were also threatened that they would be thrown to crocodiles over their criticism of the operation.
Duterte has used the same phrase against Pope Francis, and even God.
Kin Phea, the director general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia said there were two reasons why Hun Sen used the language he sometimes did.
He said the first was that Hun Sen used the everyday speech of ordinary people because he was born into a farming family. He said Hun Sen also used such language when targeting individuals whose deeds went against national interests.
“Some people would not understand when good words are used because of their character. So [Hun Sen] uses the language they deserve,” he said.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said when a man’s words are consistent with his intentions or thoughts and with his deeds, it can be said he is frank. But when they are not, it can be said he is dishonest.
“Bad words reflect badly on a man’s character and personality just as a man’s word, according to a Khmer saying, are his worth, as the tusks of an elephant are its worth."
“Bad words, whether better or worse than other people’s, are nonetheless bad all the same. More importantly, bad words are destabilising, sow discord and harm the social harmony so wanted in our post-war society,” he said.