My open letter to American people

Dear Americans,

Greeting from Cambodia!

President Barack Obama will leave his legacy to historians and many generations to write and judge. On November 8 this year you will have your voice heard. You will go to your poll station to elect your 45th president.

Democrats in Cambodia
In 2009, you wrote a new chapter in history by having the very first African American president of the United States of America. Against all odds. The world was watching. Cambodians were also watching. I was once at Foreign Correspondent Club (FCC) in Phnom Penh; people there were watching the Democrats having a live debate on television. That was the first US election I got to know. Since then, I started to follow US politics: Democrats vs Republicans.

A Democrats Abroad event at FCC in Phnom Penh
I’ve been to the US of A twice. Your country is amazing. The combined two trips lasted four weeks. I was fortunate enough to first land in Washington Dulles International Airport. So most of my first week was to get a sense of the Capitol Hill and smell the politics. I actually went to see the White House in person. San Francisco International Airport was where I departed twice. In between DC and the Silicon Valley, I visited New York City, Atlanta, and Sacramento. And I met so many nice American people. Once had dinner at their home. Even had a home stay in Los Altos.

I described these memorable trips because I believe and think the USA is a great country, full of great people. And I only hope that in November you will elect a great president, not he-who-must-not-be-named, not he who instills fear among people.

As American author Seth Godin wrote in his book, all marketers and politicians are not liars. They just want to tell you stories you want to hear. The message of fear seems to work well. The more you want to hear, the more stories you will get. I only hope you’ll be able to resist fear. People in my home country, Cambodia, have too much of that. We went through one of the darkest histories humans can ever bear. Even now we have too many stories of fear. Traumatized. Living in the past. Not moving forward.

Thank you very much indeed for the privilege to get to know your beautiful nation and citizens. My amazing trips are something I enjoy telling friends, family, and kids.

The world is watching. Cambodians are also watching. Are you listening?

A letter from Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Tharum Bun, a Cambodian blogger