Cambodia at a glance

Spurred by the fact that weblog stimulates open discussion among people who have common interest, Cambodians take their concerned issues online to share with the world who are listening to them. Is weblog community an open space for debate? In what way can this new tool enhance the way citizens get into discussions, have their says, and learn more what's going on in their community? In this weblog post, Cambodia bloggers talked about nationalism, marriage, youth issues and Khmer boxing on podcast.

How much do foreigners know about Cambodia?
Vireak asked ‘how much do foreigners know about Cambodia?’ The 21-year-old weblogger recalled his experience in Singapore four years ago. After spending several years with other Singaporean classmates, he was more and more familiar with many weird questions they asked him about his home country.

Just recently, another Singaporean who has never been to Cambodia described to me his impression of Cambodia as a country with a lot of land mines and khmer rouge. This is all too common for many people from the so-called highly educated nations. If we read international media reports on Cambodia, there is hardly any single report not mentioning Khmer Rouge, wars, land mines and poverty. What’s in the head of those reporters is beyond my imagination.

Housework for women only?

That's a topic Sousdey and her workmate came up for a discussion. Traditionally, women are supposed to stay at home, doing all routine houseworks, while men are out for business and job. This happens in Cambodia, her home country. But what about in Australia?

“Though we are in Aust[ralia], majority of our Khmer men still believe that housework is a woman's job, majority of the men do not help around the house. I think, back in Cambodia, it may be ok to act in such manner because the husband is the sole provider for the family, but here it does not make any sense at all.”

He did something their parents dislike
Chanbopha brought a weblog post about drug abuse from Vanndett for further discussion. Kampong Cham, their home province, Vanndett witnessed a crises of a young adult whose heartbroken led him to self-destruction.

He did something their parents dislike: returning home late at night; going to cram schools no more, and then even sneaking out from his highschool and going around with boys who are considered to be deliquent. The last activity led him go too far which was the reason he started to do drug as well. He selled his motorbike for money to buy drug, and then stole his mother's jewelry and ran away with his girlfriend. They found him badly sick in another province. Could you imagine how his parents looked like finding him in such a wicked state?

Go away in a car come back in an urn
Maytel described how Cambodians migrated from rural country to the city and even to neighboring Thailand for jobs and fortunes. The weblogger campared this as a Khmer old saying that goes “go away in a car come back in an urn.” Which means that not all immigrants return home with what they really expect of having a future in a new place.

There is a saying in Khmer that goes “dtou jis lan, troloop jis jaan”. Translation: go away in a car come back in an urn. Despite widespread fear of the perils of travel realities of Cambodian life in the villages often requires the migration of the young and able bodied out of the village in search of paid employment. Many travel within the country, to work in garment factories, or to try to make a living at a moto doup driver in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. Untold numbers flock across the Thai border to work illegally. While not all these stories have happy endings, numerous have Mark Twain like qualities to them.


  • […] ThaRum VIA Global Voices: Writing over at Global Voices, ThaRum takes a look at the increasing connectedness of the growing online Cambodian community. Among a handful of thought-provoking vignettes, ThaRum links to a recent post by Vireak that asks the question, “How much do foreigners know about Cambodia?” […]

  • san thomas

    Well I was born in Cambodia but been in America since I was 4 so the things that come to mind is rice fields, alot of fruit trees(mango, I remember alittle bit of the bombings and killing cause I left during the Vietnam War, I know about the Cambodian dances and attire, but as far as the Country not much, I know it is more Americanize, with hotels, paved roads, shopping malls, but I have never seen it.

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