This past Christmas was spent with the relatives. Usually, there was karaoke, beer, food, and political talks on Cambodia. I didn't listen in much, mostly because I've heard them all and much of it was unverifiable. Nonetheless, I did catch a few words about His Majesty, Norodom Sihamoni. It wasn't good words.
Now before anyone state it, I'm not condemning negative talks against a Monarchy. I am very opposed to Thai laws restricting criticism of Royalties because it prevents any true freedom of speech. However, I will criticise nay-sayers of His Majesty. Not because I don't want people disrespecting the king, but rather because people refuse to disrespect the actual problem - the prime minister. This is Cambodia's own version of censorship. Since criticising the PM is dangerous, people deflect it on His Majesty. They say that HM lets so and so happens and isn't doing his job. Uh, hello? HM is just a figure head. The real power is with the PM, but no one outside of Cambodia has the guts to say it. (Surely, plenty of Khmer journalist based in the U.S. do, but I find their integrity rather faulty and often rather racist.)
So why are people criticising the king? Well duh he's an easy target. Sihamoni doesn't have the level of respect from Cambodian that His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej has in Thailand. Sihamoni isn't feared like Hun Sen, so whenever Hun Sen's cabinet screws up, it's much easier to mitigate the blame on the King (even easier to mitigate on a lower authority, of course.) So, what's the problem? You've got to be real. Put the blame where it belongs, not on the easiest target (that's called scapegoating don'tcha know.)