Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Influences from abroad key to Khmer culture

Influences from abroad key to Khmer culture

Dear Editor,

I read with some concern the comments from Prime Minister Hun Sen calling for Khmer artists to refrain from using "other countries' styles" in books, films and songs ("Hun Sen decries reliance on foreign styles in the arts", July 23, 2009).

I understand the wish for Khmer culture to be encouraged and preserved. No one wants Khmer culture to disappear. Outside influences from other parts of Asia have always enhanced Khmer culture. The Hindu culture of the ancient Khmer came from the Indian subcontinent. Over the centuries, Khmer culture has been influenced by China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and, more recently, Europe and America. This has spread both ways, with Khmer art influencing large parts of Southeast Asia and being widely known throughout the world.

Cambodia, like many places in the region, is a microcosm of world culture. Culture is the lifeblood of any nation, and it's the influences from abroad that have shaped it. Compared to neighbouring countries, the Cambodian government and people preserve their culture and heritage well.

But what is culture? I have been told by many Khmers that the loud music at parties and weddings is part of Cambodian culture, that karaoke, Khmer rock music and television soaps are the culture of today. Modern Khmer artists and photographers have been producing very exciting and creative work blending old and new.

It may not be to everyone's taste. But today's art and entertainment will become tomorrow's heritage. Diversity should be encouraged, not derided.

What happens in modern art today will not change the wonderful culture and art of the past.

Do we want a Cambodia that is vibrant, creative and fun? Or do we want people here to live in a museum?

Dave Perkes
Siem Reap

Send letters to: newsroom@phnompenhpost.com or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.
The views expressed above are solely the author's and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Explore the durian and rubber farms of Kampong Cham

Take a drive north of Kampong Cham, past the dirt roads and the dense greenery.

Kem Sokha talks politics, power and Hun Sen

Kem Sokha, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, sat down with The Post’s Alex Willemyns and Mech Dara to discuss his supporters’ initial disappointment with this year’s

NEC officials tally votes during a recount last week in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia’s National Election Committee last week rejected 33 of 61 complaints filed over the conduct of June 4’s commune election, according to a s

People search for their names on the voter lists at a polling station in Kampong Cham’s Veal Vong commune earlier this month.

Four years ago, when the opposition snatched Kampong Cham away from the ruling party in 2013 national elections, it hinted at a deeper shift taking