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

More about Cambodian mentality

Dear volunteers, I would like to give you some recommendations and notes to work with Cambodian people, especially with students and staff.

The Cambodian culture and traditions is difficult to understand for Western people, so it is necessary to know some principles that would help you to coordinate your work with them.

I appreciate very much your contribution and I am sure that Cambodia need the transference of knowledge, skill and ethics if it wants to develop its society. At the same time, we need to protect and promote the best of the Cambodian culture and traditions. Continue reading

Good wishes during the Khmer New Year 2556

It is the first week of the Cambodian year 2556. Unlike Thailand that uses the Theravada Buddhist calendar every where, from the press to official documents, Cambodia seems more attach to the Gregorian Christian calendar. During the new year eve – last April 13 – I got several messages wishing a new Khmer year 2012!  Continue reading

A Cambodian wedding

A Cambodian wedding, following the Buddhist rituals, takes three days and three nights. It costs to the bridegroom family about 3,000 US dollars as February 2011 and that is maybe the minimum number, but arranges can be done between the two families. If you are a foreigner willing to married a Cambodian lady, international standards will be followed :) The wedding ceremonies include religious moments like the blessing of the Buddhist bonzis, singers and musicians are contracted, there is a big dinner party, moments for the families, moments for the friends and guest are expected to let a money contribution inside the envelop they received as invitation. Have you been in a Cambodian wedding? How was it? Have you married a Cambodian? How is a Cambodian wedding in another religion? Are you a foreign woman and married a Cambodian man?

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese new year in Cambodia

Although Cambodia follows the Buddhist calendar and new year is scheduled for April, the presence of the Sino-Khmer communities make that the country stops also to celebrate the Chinese new year that in 2011 enters into the Year of the Rabbit. Several Cambodians refuse to celebrate it, seeing it as a foreign festivity. But it is undenniable that Chinese elements belong also to the Cambodian culture. At the same time, Vietnames new year matches with the Chinese and, once more, Viet-Khmer families join the ‘party’. Continue reading