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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - School is a place of learning, not a path to stardom

School is a place of learning, not a path to stardom

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Photograph: Phnom Penh Post

Wearing short jeans and a fashionable T-shirt with a white bag and a black T-strap fit, a girl is alluringly travelling down the road on her new automatic motorbike, drawing everyone’s attention.

If we looked at her, we might well suppose she was going to a party. In fact, this sexy girl is riding her trendy motorbike to a tutorial centre. Is her appearance appropriate for a student? Where would this dress code not be appropriate?

According to Pok Chandarith, a permanent member of the advisory council of Intarak Devy High school who has more than 10 years’ experience in teaching maths, a stylised appearance is very popular.

But some students turn into fashion victims and become too focused on their appearance, he warns.

Why do some students stylise themselves so much, projecting an image opposite to what they really are?

Some factors affect students who become obsessed with issues they shouldn’t even be thinking about. Their family environment has a big impact on them.

Srun Hour, a lecturer in psychology at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, says: “To steer children away from unsuitable activities, we should educate them, because this is the only time they spend with their family.”

At 15 or 16, teenagers can communicate easily. At that age, they can contribute to their community, so things can be more efficient in their environment, especially with their friends.

The causes of obsession behaviour often come from family. Parents want the best for their children, but when they push them too much, it gets overwhelming.

Some families ban their children from wearing suggestive clothes, but we have to admit that parents also enjoy such clothes and children look up to them.

There’s a Khmer proverb “Leaves never fall away from the trees.” If parents set a poor example, children will copy it.

Hour clarifies the notion of family influence, saying bad ways have negative effects on children. So parents or older family members should give their children good advice and become respectable role models.

Eung Channa, a high-school student, says: “I like to put some make-up on when I go to a party, but I would never wear sexy clothes at school because I am there to learn and my mum has always told me not to do so.”

A good education and proper advice give children the kind of help they need to stay on the right track.

Kay Sovannary, a mother of four, told us how she manages her family: “I tell my children who are in high school to try hard and avoid make-up or sexy clothes because they’re just students, not superstars. Books and pens are the most important things for them.”

Decking oneself out won’t be of any help in our studies. Family is also one of the most important factors to encourage children to stay on the right track.

In order to be good sons and good students, we should follow our parents’ advice, study hard and not get distracted.

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