Ten superstitions Cambodians believe and maybe you don’t know

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The Khata or magical spell, used in Thailand and Cambodia for protection or charm. 

Most people around the world have superstitions even in industrialized countries where reason and science seems to be the king of home. For this reason it is not possible to measure which country or people is more superstitious than other. Probably you have secret superstitions for any reason. For example, I use to make sure that the first feet I put on earth every morning when I wake up is the right one… But if you are living in Cambodia, it is right to know about the Cambodian superstitions, because they can make you understand some of the behaviors of your friends. Here ten most common superstitions that Cambodians believe and probably you don’t know: Continue reading

Strain truck tries to cross Angkor Thom ancient door

  • Strain post by Suvarnabhumi shows a truck trying to cross one ancient gate of Angkor Thom.
  • There is not report of any accident or traffic event inside the archaeological site that would need the firefighters. 

A strain post by Suvarnabhumi Facebook page shows what it seems to be a firefighters’ truck trying to cross one of the ancient doors of Angkor Thom in Siem Reap Province. I have sent a message to Suvarnabhumi about the event. The truck seems plugged right in the gate:

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These two photos show what it seems a firefighters’ truck trying to cross one of the ancient gate of Angkor Thom, in one of the Cambodian national treasures. The Khmer sentence says: “Who in Siem Reap can say something about why this truck crossing the gate of the temple? What is the problem?

Angkor Thom, a huge ancient city from the 12th century, has 4 main gates at the end of the causeway that extend 50 meters across the mouth. It is one of the Cambodian UNESCO’s World Heritage. Suvarnabhumi seems to request more information about this strain event. How is it possible that Apsara Authority allows a truck to comes inside the archaeological site this way? If there was not another way to attend an emergency – which kind of emergency inside the temples? – it would mean also that there is not a safety project at the place. It is to me more disturbing than foreigners making naked selfish in the temples. We are looking for more information about it. If you know something, please let us know.

When a foreigner begins to be Cambodian

A passport does not define your real belonging, although it is a legal document to establish your origin. Many Cambodians born or grown in US or Australia, do not find their place in their ancestral nation, because they got already a foreign identity, so ethnic belonging does not define also your real cultural identity. As Cambodia became so international after UNTAC in 1992, when more than 15 thousand foreigners entered to the Kingdom, people from other continents integrated into the ancestral Khmer blood in many ways.

Now well, when do you know when a foreigner – or barang – starts to be a little or much Cambodian? There are some signs you can notice. Here some of them: Continue reading

40 years ago Pol Pot walked Phnom Penh

We are the end of the Khmer New Year holidays, a time of happiness and good wishes for all Cambodians and their friends. 40 years ago, on April 17, 1975, there was also a Khmer New Year celebration. But that new year, the one of the rabbit, was going to be under the Khmer Rouge social utopia: the start of the most extreme communist experiment on earth: the Democratic Kampuchea of Pol Pot.

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Cambodian Thanksgiving Day

The Khmer New Year celebrations mean also the national Thanksgiving Day, but also the Day of the Parents (Mom and Dad,) although it is not expressed that way. The thanksgiving ceremony consists in the respect to parents, elders, teachers and tutors that each Cambodia should do during the new year’s eve. The rite is called “Reawakened”, in Khmer Katinnuo (កត្តញ្ញូ). As our parents provided a lot of care for us when we were babies and defenseless, now every son and daughter should recognize their lacks in showing respect and obedience to their parents. They wash the feet and hands of the parents – in some cases it is a full bath, while the parent is sitting. Khmer people use to bow down three times before their parents, sometime on the floor, before their feet. During the ceremony some children cry in repentance for the mistakes done against their parents, sometimes in full conscious, sometimes by omissions and many times without realizing. The ceremony is done during the first day of the Khmer New Year that in this 2015 starts on April 14, but schools do the ceremony of the previous week, as they close for holidays. The King of Cambodia is also center of respect as the lovely representation of the nation and his fatherly figure.  Buddhist monks or other religious leaders, teachers and elderly in general are included in this moving ceremony.

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Cambodia ranks 50 in HP visa restriction index

  • The Cambodian passport is among of the weakest of the planet. Cambodians can enter freely to only 50 countries.
  • The strongest Southeast Asian passport is the one of Brunei, entering 150 countries, 100 more than Cambodia.
  • The Cambodian passport is the 5th strongest Southeast Asian passport after Brunei, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. Cambodia wins to Vietnam, Burma and even China.  

Henley & Partners puts Cambodia in the 50th place on its visa restriction index for 2014. It means that a Cambodian citizen can enter to just 50 countries of the world without a previous visa. The index is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom that their citizens enjoy. Cambodia wins for one place to Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Madagascar, Nigeria and Turkmenistan, whose citizens don’t need previous visa to enter to 49 countries of the planet, and it is behind for one place to Bhutan, Mongolia and Mozambique that do not need visa for 51 countries.  Continue reading