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please don't ask for something as hearing no offends

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:31 pm
by curiosity
Hi folks,

I just saw this sign at a clinic a few days ago that said "please don't ask for credit as hearing no offends" in Khmer as well as in English. I have had similar experiences with several Khmer people. They ask me for something and when I decline, they are obviously offended. That can mean the cold shoulder plus the occasional glare, but it can also mean a "payback" of some sort. Do you have similar experiences? How do you say no in a way that does not offend Khmer people?

Re: please don't ask for something as hearing no offends

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:10 pm
by Duncan
curiosity wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:31 pm
Hi folks,

I just saw this sign at a clinic a few days ago that said "please don't ask for credit as hearing no offends" in Khmer as well as in English. I have had similar experiences with several Khmer people. They ask me for something and when I decline, they are obviously offended. That can mean the cold shoulder plus the occasional glare, but it can also mean a "payback" of some sort. Do you have similar experiences? How do you say no in a way that does not offend Khmer people?
While tapping your ear.

soam dtoah k'nyom t'long.


Image

Re: please don't ask for something as hearing no offends

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:26 pm
by Kammekor
There's a truth in it.

Cambodian in general don't expect a no if the ask a favor starting with 'som' (សូម), it's common to at at least politely confirm when someone does a favor that way.

Re: please don't ask for something as hearing no offends

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:49 pm
by explorer
curiosity wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:31 pm
I just saw this sign at a clinic a few days ago that said "please don't ask for credit as hearing no offends" in Khmer as well as in English. I have had similar experiences with several Khmer people. They ask me for something and when I decline, they are obviously offended. That can mean the cold shoulder plus the occasional glare, but it can also mean a "payback" of some sort. Do you have similar experiences? How do you say no in a way that does not offend Khmer people?
When you say not to unreasonable people, dont be concerned about them feeling bad.

If you do give in to unreasonable people, they think they are clever and you are stupid.

If they feel bad, but respect you, that is a good outcome.

Re: please don't ask for something as hearing no offends

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:19 pm
by StroppyChops
The "being offended when told no" is just one of the many expressions of how many Khmer bastardise the notion of "face."

A woman recently assaulted me verbally and then physically in front of her neighbours (because I was taking her slaves away) and while negotiating settlement later, she wanted to factor in "saving face" that she'd lost by assaulting me. Absolutely accepted that she attacked me without provocation, but I was somehow responsible for her standing in front of her neighbours. I'm surprised it hasn't appeared on FB yet. Obviously a much bigger story, but this bit stands on it's own merit.

Re: please don't ask for something as hearing no offends

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:16 pm
by siliconlife
As Explorer mentions above, it all depends on the relationship. Close Cambodian friends have no problem with me politely saying no and apologising to them.

In general otherwise, I find that making a joke instead of saying a direct "no" works well. In other situations, offering a compromise may be appropriate. There's always the "Well, it depends, let's hope so!" as well (a lie, or a "lie"? Depends on how you look at the culture). And in certain other situations, just jump on your moto and ride off as fast as possible.

Re: please don't ask for something as hearing no offends

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:14 am
by Tarndog
It helps to support the verbal 'no' with appropriate body language. Continuing to make eye contact after telling them no is probably least effective, as they may try exposing your generosity by staring at you and giving you those sad eyes and pouting lips.

Just get on with your business. Everybody has feelings, let them deal with their own.

Re: please don't ask for something as hearing no offends

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:00 am
by explorer
Dont even be concerned about them feeling bad. Dont apologize.

Just do the right thing.

If you take the tough approach, and just say no, you will get a lot more respect than trying to make them happy. You are also helping them to learn that their behaviour is unreasonable.