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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Call for return to old values

Call for return to old values

T HE "forgotten art" of Khmer language "politeness" was just one of the notions

the Ministry of Culture and Arts tried to foster in its two-day cultural show at

the Chatomuk theater on March 31.

The ministry was "very concerned" that

Cambodian youth had forgotten good Khmer custom and tradition, Culture and Arts

Minister Nut Narang said.

Foreign domination and 25 years of war had

driven Khmer culture into "devastation," he said.

The show exhibited

Khmer antiques, language and land heritage, literature, beliefs, customs,

traditions, art and architecture.

About 1000 participant from the

University of Royal Fine Arts, various ministries including the Interior,

National Defense and Environment, and provincial chiefs


Princess Bopha Devi presided, and guests included US Ambassador

Charles Twining and Phnom Penh major Chhim Seakleng.

Narang said the

exhibition was to recall the grammar, politeness and custom of the written and

oral word, of religion and the sense of nationality "which seemed to have been

forgotten." He said Cambodian youth had not been well advised about good Khmer

custom and tradition.

"Some people did not know much about Khmer culture

or seem not to be interested in it," he said.

"Most of Khmer youth

consider the foreign culture more highly than their own."

In some

traditional Khmer ceremonies youths dressed in the same way as foreigners. They

thought dressing in the national manner was "out of date," he


Youths even used impolite words, mimicking the foreigner, he


He said even the age-old ways of building houses and temples had

been lost.

Cambodians did not traditionally eat food that was spicy,

sweet or cooked with coconut. "It is the Thai way," he said.


exhibition was glittered by traditional Khmer music, dancing and a night




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