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



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: [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

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American

  • Nearly 2,000 detained for Phnom Penh curfew breach

    Nearly 2,000 people were detained in the capital for violating the curfew imposed by the government and Phnom Penh Municipal Administration. Municipal police spokesman San Sokseyha told The Post on May 16 that people were detained in two phases. In phase one, the government locked down Phnom

  • Jab drive announced for two more Phnom Penh districts

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration on May 15 announced a first-dose novel-coronavirus vaccination campaign for Boeung Keng Kang and Sen Sok districts from May 18-31, and a follow-up second-shot drive from June 1-15. Twenty vaccination sites have been set up in a combined 13 communes across both