Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Balancing tradition with the right to choose

Balancing tradition with the right to choose

Balancing tradition with the right to choose

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the recent prostitution debate between Chansokhy Anhaouy and Sara Bradford.

Balancing the protection of national culture with the right to live is a discussion that will continue for hundreds of years.

Prostitution is not part of Cambodian tradition, which emphasises family values and the importance of preserving virginity. The high cost of living in Cambodia, however, raises the question: What alternatives are there for the poor and unemployed?

I spend less than US$50 a year on medical expenses in Canada and France, but my neighbours, relatives and friends in Cambodia have to pay thousands of dollars in the event of a medical emergency or accident.

School exams in Canada and France are free, but in Cambodia they can cost high school students hundreds of dollars every year if those students need extra classes to get a good grade.

The cost of a passport is less than $60 in many rich countries, where they last 10 years and have many pages. In Cambodia, a passport costs $125 and has to be renewed after three years.

Cambodia has $4 billion in foreign debts, dwindling exports and poor infrastructure, and more than 70 percent of people earn less than $2 per day. At the same time, some government officials have more than five luxury cars.

Cambodian women, however, receive little education and are often discriminated against in the workplace and socially. As a conservative Cambodian woman, I don't support prostitution, but we must find more ways of providing food, shelter, health care, education and job opportunities for poor people before punishing them further.

Ana Nov
Phnom Penh

Send letters to: [email protected] 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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman