Prime Minister Hun Sen boasted on Sunday of having almost 5 million “likes” on his Facebook page and 68,000 “likes” on a photo of him by the Mekong River, before endorsing U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s remarks that it was a mistake to topple the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
At an awards ceremony at his office building for the “I Am a Role Model” youth leadership program, Mr. Hun Sen delivered a quick lesson on the ins and outs of being a Facebook star.
“I just want to teach technology for a little bit. What is a post ‘like’? What is a page ‘like’?” Mr. Hun Sen asked, before explaining that users get “likes” for their pages as well as for each post they make.
“Every day you do posts, and sometimes you get 2,000 [likes] and sometimes you get 1,000,” he said.
“Recently, I playfully posted a photo…wearing a shirt. I had gone to sit at a place from before the 1970 coup—that place was along the Mekong River in Kratie—to remember memories of being single.”
“There were 68,000 [likes]. You look at my post ‘likes.’ My post ‘likes’ are many, like this. That’s why the total page ‘likes’ are many too,” he said, scoffing at suggestions that he had purchased “likes” from so-called click farms abroad, mainly in India. “Where did I buy them? Where is this place to buy them?”
In May 2013, opposition leader Sam Rainsy boasted of having more “likes” on his page than Mr. Hun Sen, prompting the premier to send a message to “all teenagers who participate in these Facebook forums” claiming that he had no official account on the site.
Yet when his page reached 1 million “likes” in September, Mr. Hun Sen announced it was, in fact, his page and began actively using it to reach out to citizens and compete with Mr. Rainsy for social media dominance.
“As of today, that person loses by 2 million ‘likes’ to me,” Mr. Hun Sen said. “I’ve played my page for less than a year, but I have 4.88 million [likes], and with just more than 100,000 more it would reach 5 million.”
“There are more than 15 million post ‘likes’ for me. And how much do you actually have?” he asked.
Changing tack, the prime minister then called on countries such as the U.S. not to interfere in the politics of smaller nations or remove strongman leaders, saying it inevitably led to war and destruction.
“Please look at the Middle East after there was foreign interference that created color revolutions—especially in Libya, Syria, Egypt and Iraq, by toppling Saddam Hussein, who was toppled by the U.S.” Mr. Hun Sen said.
“This is the result of doing politics wrong, and the one who was wrong is the U.S. And now even Donald Trump, who is the candidate for the Republican Party, has also come out to claim that it was a mistake to topple Saddam Hussein by killing him,” he said.
“Following that, has Iraq had peace? No. And now some places are being occupied by ISIS,” he added, referring to the Islamic State militant group.
© 2016, All rights reserved.