Khmer Language: "The nature of the language itself reflects this; pronouns are not neutral but express the status of the speaker and the person addressed. -to eat show the relationship between the person who is speaking and the person who is being addressed or referenced." - Unknown

 

CAMBODIA 101
[Proud to be born Khmer]

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THE RHETORIC CONTINUES..

 

Cambodian-Made

Cambodians are fond of condemning western morality – alcoholism, nudity, premarital sex and homosexuality often being cited as examples.

But Cambodian do not have a monopoly on morality and ethic as it comes to see and accept thing as they are in their true nature.

Everything Cambodian touches, feels, looks, speaks and loves, makes you Cambodian, because Cambodian alone choose it. What Cambodian accepts may be inconceivable. It is not certain; either Modernization or Khmerization -A term often times used interchangeably to differentiate Cambodian from other cultures and races. IT'S NOT KHMER! THIS IS CAMBODIA!

 

 

One lesson in history is that unity is formed from within and is difficult to impose from the outside.

Cambodia-Thailand-Vietnam has a border-dispute-trade-love-hate relationship.

According to The US International Trade Commission, Thailand exported $1.4 billion worth of goods to Cambodia compared to $49 million exported to Thailand in 2007.

India’s exports to Cambodia totaled $31 million in 2007, while Cambodia's exports to India totaled $500,000. Is it trade deficit?

We are accustomed to feed ourselves too much of foreign goods, we begin to feel that those counties are in needs of our micro-household-economy of fourteen millions population.

The rhetoric of “Proud to Be Born Khmer” gave birth every time there is a border-conflict between Cambodia-Thai-Vietnam. Again, the rhetoric coincided with the recent Border-Preah Vihear Temple conflicts between the Cambodia-Thai.

If it is not in their interest; it’s not Cambodia. It is obvious that Cambodian deals and solves problem base on reality at hand, from driving to settling traffic depute. But every good and evil is sanctioned by the custom that one created.

Khmer Pride

Most Cambodians are self-proud. Criticism has no room to grow. They do not like people to tell them any other ways. It has to be done in the Cambodian context or else. Most like to place emphasis on value of custom and culture. This is Cambodia!

Research: There are three places to begin: Book Store and library. It tells you about the author of the book, who and which nationality and subject of the book, and which subject is most read. Private establishments like the restaurant and coffee shop.

Listen to the topic of conversations, which topic is most talk about. Last one is the government halls, look, listen and watch how people work. This will help you complete your entire thesis on any given subject on Cambodia.

Which Direction?

MINISTRY & Institution: Most government and private institutions adopted and named their institutions after the west, while most credentials and titles are given after the French, because it offers and sounds a much higher in rank. Secretary projects the lowest in rank much like a person who serves tea and water in office. President is most preferred rank in office.

Mico-Economy: Cambodia is a nation of bargain. At the local and city shopping outlets you may find Chinese, American songs and movies, and domestic products from neighboring Thailand and Vietnamese are flushed in Cambodian's flee market to the government halls. Most convinced themselves that the Thai-Vietnamese are in needs of the Cambodian-mico-household-economy of fourteen millions population.

Economic Assassin: Cambodia is an agriculture country by nature, but you won’t find the Chinese farming, only dark-skin Khmer. Culture invading and Economic assassin has been a major dispute and defeat war since anyone could remember. The Chinese has always dominates the market and city, and dictates the consumer price index on buy and sale.

National Currency: The Vietnamese Dong dominates the east, while the Thai Baht is on the west. Khmer Riel is good for domestic exchange, civil servant salary, city beggar and parking attendant. The US Dollar is everywhere and everything.

anything foreign: The list of French-word is long. Uses by both intellects and farmers, in the street and in the government: Relo is an Extension Cord. Tele is a Remote Control, Om Poul is a Light bulb and among others. Cambodian is occupied with everything else more important. Anything insignificant and cheap is synonymous with Khmer.

In many aspects, “some invented, other imported”. Cambodian markets are full of product pirating, domestically and internationally. Make in Cambodia?

Metropolitan City: Phnom Penh is one convenient city; all in one place. You may find school and beer garden sharing the same street in the neighborhood and pagoda next door to casino. One may find Rue, St. Street and Plov in Khmer (Road) on the same street. How’s convenient!

Proud To Be Born Khmer: Rhetoric is everywhere. Ironically, foreign influence can be felt throughout the country, some places could be mistaken for US, with only US$ in uses. European and American pop songs, and most prices and business transaction are often quote in US$.

Facial Look: Had a high forehead, a sign of intelligence, and long ears, indicating longevity. Slim and skinny and dark-skin person projects an image of poor from rural and lack of food to eat.

White-Skin Vs. Dark-Skin: In the street of Phnom Penh, one may spot a bleached-out girl on a motorbike 100 meters out. White skin projects an image of an easy life, never exposes to the scorching heat and hardship. Having a long-nail is also showing that a person never experiences manual labor.

TV Program: Cambodian TVs has adopted the English names for their TVs programs: Lady Corner, A1 Concert, Modern Concert, Hit Concert, Morning Reports, Khmer The Best, Woman Talk, World Concert, Top Hits and Woman Talks, respectively in English.

Publication: In Styles, Beauty, You & I”, Men Magazine, Ladies, Khmer Celebrity, Top and among others. All cover magazine spelled out in Khmer words. Foreigners do not read these magazines or tune in to Khmer TVs and Radios stations. What and who do they want to target commercially?

TV Hosts: if one listens carefully, one may learn French and English at the same time. Commercials aired half-French-half-English. On stage, the host always instructs the audience to clap if they like what they see and hear. Comedy show is about having costume and acts as Charlie Chaplin look-alike with Adolf Hitler’s mustache and hit one another with empty water bottle, and calling each other’s name: A (in French)

Theater: By 2010, most theaters in Phnom Penh established in the 50s and 60s, either closed down or have converted into Private Clubs. Khmer movies have no place in Cambodian society. Most Cambodian prefers western-made over their counterparts. At home, Cambodians glue their eyes on Chinese-Thai-Korean-made sequels.

Youths are inspired by American pop culture: Hollywood made movies, American Idol and MTVs. Most pop artists are copycat of Korean, American, Chinese, and Thai artists. Most songs is about lost love and cheating.

On Air: One may dedicate a song to all members of the family by each individual‘s name and to the boss, the ministry he works for, his rank and the position he holds. The name of the ministry he works for is important.

Talk Show: Host is most likely repeat the question over to the guest or panel on the show. It is not quite certain that callers to the radio station are screened prior to coming on air, because some callers have no idea which show or topic is on. The host never tells callers to turn off the radio, but rather instructed callers to lower the volume to prevent the echo (Kon) between phone and radio.

Address: E0 (Ground Floor) Majority of business in Cambodia start, work and live on the ground floor. One may never find the right address, if the owner feels the house number does not bring them: Hong Suy (good luck) Speak French? Because E0 is said in French! –means Ground Floor

MSG: It is everything! MSG commercial comes with a full-length of song about the MSG you use. Imagine if the commercial air on TV and Radio charges in second like those in the west, each commercial would have cost 100 times over if not more.

Oil Commercial: Having your car submerged in rain-flood-water in city the nigh before, has nothing to do with the oil you had put into your car engine. But the commercial dramatized a story that car had problem staring the next day, because of the motor oil used.

Driving School: Some driving schools in Phnom Penh aired their commercial features the CAMARY-A Slam (1997-1999) to attract the students with their late model car. Test drive in A-Slam has nothing to do with the driving test.

Temporary Sticker: Having a Yellow Temporary Sticker longer on the windshield means that you just purchased the vehicle and commercially in resale value. Driving with US-State license plate still attached to it is quite common. Preferably, CALIFORNIA!

License Place: Cambodian in general is custom-made and loves number, particularly number 8 and 9, or anything adds up to 8 or 9. It is a fact of life, people would pay hundred of dollars, even in thousands for four repeated number. Phone number is also a lucrative business. Phone shop auctions off good number to the highest bidder.

As member of ASAEN Nation, Cambodian license uses Latin number; not Khmer. With only four-digit on the plate, most memorize the number and recognize the vehicle by heart, especially if it is rare and expensive models. # Square number is always standout from the crowd. License plate itself can be custom-made on the side road with styles and colors, relatively dirt cheap. In Khmer is called: Ka Lib) roughly means sophisticated or elite.

Number Matter: Number is matter for most Cambodians. Phone number can be auctioned off for hundreds of dollars or even in thousands. Phone number in six digit increment of 8 could be sold for thousands of dollars. In Khmer it is called: Ka Ray (# Square). Most Khmer Richie bear the number in # Square: 1111, 2222, 3333, 4444, 5555, 6666, 7777, 8888, 9999, or anything added up to 8 or 9 respectively. # Square Number projects wealth and power!

Socializing: It is somewhat primitive, but progress. Most topics are: politics, scams, promotion, land deal, gossip and drink. One is betting on another to drink more. Bottom-Up is almost applied to everyone sharing the table. Driving is also a favorite topic, one is claiming to have driven faster than the other, reaching a certain destination on a certain time; not speed limit. 40 and 50 age group dominates by the war drama and their struggles under the French and the American. Bottoms-Up!

Happy Hour: Beer Gardens are everywhere ready to serve, eat, drink and break into song and dance. Alcohol and liquor can be bought off the streets and at the local markets. Children are roaming the Nigh Club selling roses. Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Business practice: Most sellers will convince you that the two-size-oversize shoe will fit you. Most employed scary tactics, if you don’t find in my store; no one has it. Referral is almost impossible, because they are afraid of loosing a sale and show weakness.

Invention: There is no doubt that anything foreign influence Cambodian, from the language we speak to the products we buy and use. Automobile is one obvious invention in the twentieth century that has great impact on Cambodian. It offers such amenities as comfort and luxury; and everything else the West-American. Today is the dollar trend.

Simply imagine not having automobile, cell phone, laptop and the technology. What Cambodian will leave with?

The Conviction: As we move toward this extraordinary time, the mythology of the events consciously or not, is reengaging, the rulebook has been rewritten for the development of our war-ruin country. Our rhetoric "Proud to be born Khmer" Are we? -Acts on it accordingly!

The Rhetoric will continue!..| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |..

About the Author: Vorak, Ny is the founder of www.khmerwriter.com

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