Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A matter of morals



A matter of morals

A matter of morals

Dear Editor,

The governor of Phnom Penh seems to have stirred up quite a hornet's nest in suggesting that girls under the age of 16 should be subject to a curfew after 9pm. Yet perhaps this proposal is worth further consideration, at least in certain zones.

Anyone can see there has been a growth in entertainment facilities aimed at a young Cambodian clientele in recent months. When facilities attract young men, they also, by their very nature, attract girls too, some of whom are quite young, even though they may look older. The definition of a child can vary from country to country, but it is generally accepted that anyone under the age of 16 is a child and will therefore be subject to special conditions and restrictions on their movement. For example, many countries insist that children should go to school rather than work or roam the streets and place responsibility squarely with parents to make sure this happens.

An extreme libertarian may object to any restriction, suggesting it is an abuse of human rights, but I think most people would take the view that, given the vulnerability of children, it is a wise move. It is also a common view that boys, although they may be vulnerable too, are not vulnerable to the same degree or in the same way as girls in and around certain kinds of places. The idea of providing more activities for children is a sensible one and much needed, but it would not deal with the issue the governor raises.

On the whole, the curfew proposal appears to be aimed at protection rather than taking an authoritarian stance on morals. There will be grey areas, of course, and these would need to be considered before any directive was issued. A curfew would not address the daytime situation outlined by Borei Sylyvann (Letters, September 2), but it would at least send a message that the matter was being taken seriously. I am sure some girls, anxious for the bright lights, will bridle at the idea, but the right time to sing "K'nyom ayoo dop bram moi" is on a 16th birthday.

Michael Hansen
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

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Phnom Penh underpass opens to ease traffic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced a temporary opening of the 488m underpass at the Chaom Chao roundabout in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district, which was recently completed to connect traffic from National Road 4 to Russian Federation Blvd. The move is to reduce

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • ‘No chance Cambodia booted out of ASEAN’

    A group of former and current Cambodian diplomats on Tuesday fired back at retired Singaporean diplomat Bihalari Kausikan after he proposed that ASEAN dismiss Cambodia and Laos from the bloc. In an open letter, the Cambodian diplomats said Kausikan’s remarks were made from a

  • Show evidence of Chinese military base, critics told

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday said he had had enough of certain countries and opposition groups claiming Cambodia had allowed China to base its military in Cambodia and dared critics to show clear evidence. Hun Sen made the remarks while presiding over a groudbreaking