Criticism and Discrimination in Cambodia

Posted on August 26, 2011 by


Piece by Mesa Lang
Image from Eddie~S

Fat, queer, black, or short are common adjectives people in Cambodia are using to describe other people of so-called “being that type.” While in so many countries in the world, especially America, people are considering those words as serious hate crime and bullying, people in Cambodia still think that those are the right adjectives to describe those who they feel like “deserve” or “fit” into the category.

Bullying is not a topic which any institutions or government are addressing these days. People tend to feel that those who are born at the disadvantaged side are obliged to be the victim of being judged into certain category simply because those words are just the truth.

Perhaps, the most important reason why they do not care of how others would feel is because they believe that there is only one standard to define what beauty really is and being different is simply ugly. In Cambodia, for instance, beauty would include characteristics like being white, tall, and slim. Those who fall into different categories, therefore, would be considered not part of the standard and be expected to accept all the comments and criticism on what they are supposed to look like. This can result in excessive plastic surgery or, in the worst case, suicides.

Another point that contributes to the hyper-criticism and discrimination between people would be the culture of over-conservatism. The older generation likes to impose their views on how children should behave and should be rather than respecting their creativity. Something new and unique would be considered wrong with a very simple reason: “This does not work during my generation.” With this, more or less, people are likely not to accept the culture of understanding. For instance, in conservative country like Cambodia, people who are naturally born to be homosexual are considered the social virus which could make a lot of harmful result into society. Being stereotyped, they tend to assume that everyone who was born that way chose to behave that way rather than due to any other forces, especially by nature.

The government should be taking this bullying and hate speech into account. In America, the rate of suicides has been increasing as a result of bullying. It might sound idealistic, but if people could put themselves in others’ shoes, they probably know how painful it feels to be judged in certain way.