Lim Kacnika last week ask for pointers on how to ‘sampeh’ (join hand together and bow to respect) correctly. This week LIFT brings her some tips.
The ‘sampeh’ gesture, with palms together in a manner of prayer, in Cambodia is divided into different levels. There are five levels of ‘sampeh’: putting palms together at chest level is showing respect to friends; putting palms at the mouth level is a way to show respect elders; putting palms at the nose level is showing respect parents or teachers; putting palms at eyebrow level is how you show respect to the king; and finally, putting palms at forehead level is reserved to show respect to monks.
Miss Sodhachivy Chumvan called Belle, a dancer and a dancing instructor at Royal University of Fine Arts, offers advice to Lim Kacnika.
“Because foreign culture flowed into Cambodia, Cambodian youths now feel uneasy to ‘sampeh’ elders,” said Belle, saying that Western’s greetings, such as merely saying “hello” or just waving has become the norm because it is more convenient.
Belle says that to utilise “sampeh” properly requires practice as well as a commitment not to be shy.
She said, “One should not be shy when executing a ‘sampeh’, and also never think it’s down to respect other people first. ‘Sampeh’ gesture is very gentle and polite,” she added,“Once he or she starts to do ‘sampeh’ to their surrounding people, day by day, they will get used to it.”
She stressed that “’sampeh’ can be started from home to respect their parents, or from school to respect teachers. Then they will feel more comfortable to ‘sampeh.’ to other people.”
Belle hope that the government and Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts will pay more attention on promoting “sampeh” through book publishing or TV broadcasting programs in order to preserve the sampeh and encourage every Cambodian to use it every day.