Opinion on “The Development of Cambodia” by Dr. Jeremy Rappleye, Associate Professor at Kyoto University, Japan, and edited by Dr. Un Leang, Dean of Faculty of Social Science and Humanity at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and member of the Board of Directors at Cambodia Development Center
Today, it is quite easy to dismiss academic philosophy and theory of development as ‘out of touch’ with the real world. Many will argue that what contemporary Cambodia needs is more science, more technology and greater Westernization to ‘catch-up’ with the developed world. But what all of these organizations fail to understand is that any ‘development’ that does not fit into the cultural, historical and social context of Cambodia will fail.
This opinion article highlights a development aspect in Cambodia for consideration. As Nietzsche demands, we must seek to create new values. Creating new values for Cambodia begins by building them in synthesis with and creative response to Western philosophy and social theory. Once this indigenous Cambodian philosophy and social theory is built, it can then become the basis for Cambodian development (as opposed to the current wholesale Westernization of Cambodia’s development). It will take time, but only when indigenous philosophy and social theory fully emerge can “Cambodian thinking serves Cambodia”.
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