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Why don’t young people nowadays have the habit of saluting?

Youth forum
Why don’t young people nowadays have the habit of saluting?

Heng Tonny, 20, a second-year student at the University of Health Science

“It seems to me young people don’t salute because they feel shy. They’re afraid other people may think they’re inferior when they salute people of the same age and the same status. Another important factor is the influence of foreign culture. Some young people just shake hands when they meet older people.  Parental involvement is another reason. Some parents don’t teach their children how to show respect when they meet people. I always practise it with my parents; whenever I go to school or leave the house, I solute them.”

Kao Raksmey, 19, a first-year information technology student at the Setec Institute
“As far as I can see, it depends on the circumstances. Young people consider saluting an old-fashioned tradition in a modern world. Because they watch many movies from Europe and Korea, some young Cambodians – and I’m a good example – have adopted a lot of foreign habits.  Many young people probably think saluting is pointless, especially with their friends. I have never done it with my friends, because I’m afraid I will be mocked or considered too conservative.  Quite honestly, I feel very self-conscious when I salute. I have never done it with my parents, and hardly ever with older people.”

Kol Sokun, 20, a cashier at NagaWorld
“Because of globalisation and the development of technology, young people today absorb influences from foreign cultures. Some behave, or show respect, in a different way from older Khmer people. Some just nod their heads or say hello when they meet people who are older than them. Being a Khmer daughter, I always do it when I meet older people. When I visit my relatives in the provinces, I do it. But when I meet people of my own age, I don’t do it.  I just speak, or behave, in a way that expresses my greeting.”

Nhean Sosithya, 24, an accounting assistant at Online ISP
“From my point of view, there are two main reasons why young people ignore the tradition of saluting. First, it’s because of foreign influences; young people don’t like saluting because they don’t see actors doing it in movies. Second, they may think it’s not necessary to salute, because when they meet people, they just say hello or display greeting behaviour. I usually salute people I haven’t met before, older people – regardless of whether they are in a lower position than I am – and my professors.”

Rin Sovannaroath, 17, a grade 12 student at the Belti Institute
“I think it’s because of the foreign influence. Foreigners just shake hands or hug each other as a form of greeting, and young Cambodians copy this behaviour. Another reason is that many of them haven’t got into the habit of saluting because their parents never told them about it. Occasionally, when I attend a big party where there are lots of older guests and older brothers and sisters, I do it. But I never do it with my friends.”

Choun Channa



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