Cambodia: Cultural Differences.

Hello, it’s been a couple of days  in Cambodia and I have to say I am loving it. I love the extremes of the culture. On the first day we went around Phnom Penh, went through the markets and explored the city. We went to a shadow puppet show at the National Arts Museum performed by Cambodian Living Arts and it was fantastic. Something I have leant about life in a developing country is that people can live through some horrible situations and still be as happy as myself. Its changed my perspective on how I want to live my life in Australia.

Throughout this trip we went to the movies and watched “The Killing Fields”. This film is about the events that took place in Cambodia in 1975 – 1979, during  the Khmer Rouge regime. As a foreigner I was so shocked at the genocide and the fact that I didn’t know about it before starting to learn about Cambodian history. This horrible part of history has been hidden and personally I think this appalling. This regime started after the Cambodian Civil War (1970-1975) and throughout their 4 years in power, Cambodian people were subjected to torture, starvation, illness and mass labour. Yale University estimates 1.7 to 2.5 million deaths out of a population of 8 million people; that’s a percentage of 21.25 to 31.25. (http://www.yale.edu/cgp/, 2015).

On the second day here Jessie and I met the people we would be working with at Cambodian Living Arts (CLA). That experience was so exciting and vastly different than I had expected. That day we got to work and during the day we both started to realise how much knowledge we have about technology. We have been asked to help with their Social Media Sites (SMS) and to teach the members and students how to use Microsoft Word and Excel. We were both happy to do this, and on reflection it was interesting to see these cultural difference in practice.

This cultural difference is based on the fact that Jessie and I, in Australia use technology on a daily basis including computers and Iphones to their full capacity. In comparison, Cambodian Living Arts have requested us to create lesson plans for the groups on basic functions of word and excel. It wasn’t until they told us to teach the members what a keyboard, monitors and mouse were, that I realised how little interaction the members have with computers. This is something Jessie and I both learnt very early on in our lives.

1 Comment


  1. Thanks for your post Chris. Sounds like you and Jessie are up for a challenge through your work at CLA – looking forward to hearing how it goes!

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