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thought dressing in the national manner was "out of date," he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