Cambodian ethics

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xandreu
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Cambodian ethics

Post by xandreu »

One thing I note when I browse this forum is that many posts like to compare Khmer ethics / morals / culture to the way things are done in the west, and there's sometimes (not often) an undertone, usually not spoken outright or blatantly, but an insinuation that Khmer culture is somehow inferior to how things are done in the west.

I thought it might be a good idea to share a personal experience of mine that would put western values to shame.

When I was a teacher (of young students, between 8 and 14), if my students did well throughout the week, ie, did all their homework and generally performed well, I would allow them to relax on a Friday with a movie.

It was the only time that I would allow them to eat snacks and drink soft drinks in the classroom. I wanted to make it a relaxed atmosphere, as if they were in the cinema. Before the movie started, they were free to go to the school canteen and buy whatever snacks and drinks they wanted to eat and drink while watching the movie.

Children with a western mindset would go to the canteen, buy whatever they wanted with whatever money they had, return to the classroom and eat their own snacks that they bought themselves with their own money.

My students never, ever, did this. Instead, they would get together as a group and pool all of their money together. Some of my students never had any money whatsoever to contribute. Their parents sent them to school every day without any money at all. Others came to school with a dollar, some with two or sometimes five dollars that their parents had given them.

It didn't seem to matter to them. They would pool whatever they could into one collection. Then two students would go to the canteen with the pool of money, and return with a big box of assorted treats. Crisps, candy, nuts, chocolate, bottles of Coke, Fanta etc... you name it.

Before anyone was given anything, they'd open every single thing that was in a packet, crisps, chocolate, nuts, candy etc and empty everything into the box, so that the box was filled with all sorts of treats that people could just simply dip their hand into and help themselves.

They'd then all sit around the box and help themselves to the snacks as they watched the movie. Not once did I ever hear anyone say "You can't have any because you didn't put any money in". Not once did I ever hear anyone say "That's not fair, you're eating more than everyone else". Not once did I ever see anyone put their hand into the box and greedily try to pull out as much as their hand could manage. They would simply casually put their hand into the box from time to time and pull out whatever they managed to get, almost in a lucky dip fashion.

I would often sit and observe them as they watched the movie, fascinated that not one of them even attempted to take more than was their fair share.

The notion that everything was there to be shared, regardless of who contributed what, was as natural to them as night follows day.

I think there are some Khmer values that us westerners could learn a lot from.
Mishmash
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Re: Cambodian ethics

Post by Mishmash »

???

Nahhh - I dun believe - Relativistic Culturalism is a lie - well proved too.

Sounds a bit like commie propaganda to me from the Stalin and Mao eras- sorry

Decent people are decent people the world over.
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xandreu
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Re: Cambodian ethics

Post by xandreu »

Mishmash wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 1:19 am ???

Nahhh - I dun believe - Relativistic Culturalism is a lie - well proved too.

Sounds a bit like commie propaganda to me from the Stalin and Mao eras- sorry

Decent people are decent people the world over.
Not sure what to make of that. Care to elaborate?
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John Bingham
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Re: Cambodian ethics

Post by John Bingham »

It's a cake and candy party in a junior school. You could see it as a microcosmic study of real life but it might be more accurate if you broadened the study to include other situations. For example, if a scruffy Hay Ji kid came up would they share their candy? How about when they grow up? Will they still be so kind? Maybe.
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Mishmash
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Re: Cambodian ethics

Post by Mishmash »

xandreu wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 1:48 am
Mishmash wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 1:19 am ???

Nahhh - I dun believe - Relativistic Culturalism is a lie - well proved too.

Sounds a bit like commie propaganda to me from the Stalin and Mao eras- sorry

Decent people are decent people the world over.
Not sure what to make of that. Care to elaborate?
Ohhh - ok.

Cultural relativism is the mistaken belief that all cultures are equal.

Of course we can all learn from Afghanistan that fucking young boys dressed up as girls is good.

Or of course that shitting in the street is acceptable like India.

It's a generalization number one - and not truthful number two.

Communism and 'sharing' is not the way this world works.

In general it has led to more deaths than than the real world which is based on free enterprise and individualism.

Do you say I should work hard and share the fruits of that with a lazy person just because we share being human in common?

In short, that I hand over half of my work to some nameless 'person' in the name of 'welfare'

I'm willing to debate...
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Re: Cambodian ethics

Post by explorer »

There is good and bad in every culture.

In Cambodia people do share with friends. They do share with the poor. For example, a girl whose mother had died would get food and clothes from neighbours. Without this help from the neighbours, she might not have had enough food or clothes.

However, when some people in a family work, they give money to others who are not working. Some people become lazy, and just take for granted that others will give them money.

So sharing with those who have less is good.

Taking for granted what others give them, and becoming lazy is bad.
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Kammekor
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Re: Cambodian ethics

Post by Kammekor »

A teacher with a Western mindset wouldn't 'waste' a full day on watching video, instead he would sharpen the skills of the kids even more. :stir:
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