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Growing green space in Phnom Penh


Public parks in Phnom Penh are increasing in popularity amongst the young and old.

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Nowadays, they are fast becoming a central hang-out spot for Cambodians, with people enjoying the natural scenery nearly every evening.

Sarika Somnieng, a staff member for ACLEDA bank, said she goes to the public park almost every-day after work for the fresh air.

She added that while having trees in a public park keeps the air fresh, they also make the area more inviting  so users can relax and chat with friends - all the while, feeling safe.

“I always sit with my friends and have fun with them at the park near National University of Management. It’s the usual place we go. I go there at least three times a week,” Sarika said.

Walking in a public park can be enjoyed by all ages. It has become a popular place to actively participate in exercise or aerobics.

As a result of creating public parks, the country looks more attractive, has healthier people, and it is also beneficial for the environment.

Nhim Channa, 22, an English teacher from Hamp Ton International school, said she enjoys being around lots of people; going to a green park is the best place for her to release stress.

“Nowadays, public parks are looking very beautiful and inviting. And there is a green park located near our house,” she said.

From time to time, public parks are decorated with colourful lights to draw peoples attention - especially young Cambodians, who tend to use the parks frequently.

There are, however, some people that dislike  public parks because of the open display of affection that couples show towards each other, which does not reflect society’s traditional customs or the Khmer culture.

Hong Mouy, 21, a third-year bank student at Norton University, said she does not like going to the park because she thinks it’s a waste time.

She also added that whenever she drives near some public parks, she usually sees couples showing affection towards each other, and she doesn’t agree that it should be seen.

Hong Mouy said that the park is a public place, so it is fine to use it as a place to release stress; but she is put off by couples showing affection.

“When I saw them kissing each other in public like that, it made me not want to go back.”

In a speech relating to youth development earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Assembly-Senate Relations Men Som Orn said youth should not show romantic affiliations toward each other in public areas, despite whether the two are boyfriend and girlfriend.

She said romantic actions in public are not valued by society and it lowers social moralities.

She suggested that young lovers should find a safe, private place to spend time together, so that is does not disrupt others.

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