“If I did not get a gift from my loved one, I would feel depressed and upset,” says Seng Sreypich, 20, the owner of a photographer’s studio in Phnom Penh.
“I always get gifts from friends, particularly on Christmas Day. This makes me feel really happy.”
Exchanging gifts on Christmas Day seems to be a norm for Cambodian youths. Young people choose this day to declare their love to their ladylove on that particular day.
“In X’mas day, I buy present for my parent and my love only,” says Lim Koun, 18 years old, an Asia-Europe University student.
He also claims that he will enclose his gift with a letter that includes some sweet words.
“I always save money a month before the Christmas day coming in order for buying gifts,” Lim Koun, Ms. ImVolrthea, 17 years old, ArmicanIntercon School student.
She also claims that the process of her saving is that she has been trying to save up a little every day for Christmas day.
“I did not know that my son was going to buy gifts for someone,” says SrengLeng, 56, a father of a boy who plans to buy a gift for his girl friend.
“Even if I know that he is going to buy a gift for his friend, I will be happy because he is good friend to everyone.”
However, many teenagers do not really care about Christmas because they may not have love ones to take care of or are not currently involved in any relationship.
“To me, giving present in Christmas day is a common thing,” says PounPolenit, 17, a Baktouk High School student. “In my group, exchanging presents isn’t part of our culture.”
“I never get even a gift because I do not like this event”.
“I strongly dislike this new trend of giving gift because I am afraid that men used gift to cheat women by all means,” says Sengchanthy, 55.
“If I know that my niece have a boyfriend at school, I will try to stop her because I think relationships while studying have no benefit and can impact results at school”.
We also notice that most students also get be ready to buy gift people they love. According to a Khmer literature lecturer, LoukTida, “Students are preparing themselves for Christmas and play truant, and use study time to look for gifts.”
In contrast, she also raised some good points about this year’s students saying that “in 2012, students do not care so much about it, but study as there are approximately 70 percent hardworking students.”
Beside the criticism and admiration, she also gave some advice to all young people especially girls:
“As a Khmer women, please do not see a little gift as that priceless thing and forget everything down to your own virginity because when something bad happens, we, women, are the only persons who will have no value.”
In addition, she compared a woman as a cake every man wanted. The second she yields, she will be an outcast.
As mentioned above, exchanging gifts on Christmas Day should not be celebrated like young people do, because it affects their study and encourages lechery. Moreover, young people who are mostly female studying in high school can easily be cheated by their male friends. The gift can be a means boys could very well use to deceive girls since they may have bad intentions.