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Started: Wed / 13 / August / 2547 / 2003

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Cambodian Attitude in the Daily Life

How to Sleep, Walk, Stand, Sit, and Speak
Every culture trains its children to become good members of society in order to insure harmony, peace, and stability. Cambodian parents teach their children how to sleep, walk, stand, sit, and speak. For the parents, the values below capture the essence of a well-mannered Cambodian.

How to Sleep
· You must wake up before sunrise or you are lazy.
· Sleeping places in the home are determined according to status. (Cambodian families often live in one or two rooms, and everyone sleeps on the same bed, a large slatted wooden platform about eight- or ten-feet square. The parents sleep at the "head" end and the youngest children sleep at the "foot.")


How to Walk
· Tell people where you are going and when you are coming back. (This is important to show respect to others and to keep them from being embarrassed if someone asks and they don't know where you are.)
· If someone of higher status is passing you, bend lower (from the waist) than that person.
· Don't make sounds with your skirt when you walk.
· Don't wear shoes or hats when you enter a house or temple.
· Close doors softly when you go through them.
· When you meet someone on the street, ask where they are going.
· When you get into the temple you have to take off your hat and take your shoes off before go to the holy alter or get on Preah Vihea and Koth.

How to Stand
· Stand with your arms crossed at the waist. (Arms at the side means you are signaling that you are strong. Hands on the hips or arms behind your back or across the chest means you are rich, powerful, threatening, or disrespectful of other people.)

How to Sit
· Sit with your legs straight down. (Crossing legs shows disrespect.)
· Never put your feet on a table or show the soles of your feet to others.
· Men can sit on the floor in the lotus position while eating.
· Women must sit on the floor with legs aside.

How to Speak
· You must speak softly and gently.
· Show feelings only at home.
· Children have no right to speak unless spoken to.
· A guest is polite and doesn't talk unless spoken to.
· Let others talk more than you.
· There should be limited talking at meals. Speak only if spoken to.
· If you speak with anger or emotion or express feelings, you will not be respected. You are behaving like an immature and uneducated child.
· Patience is a virtue. (Parents make a comparison between a gasoline fire which ignites quickly and burns to nothing, and a charcoal fire which is difficult to start but cannot easily be extinguished and becomes more intense.)
· Do not make aggressive movements or gestures--such as making a fist, pounding the table, or throwing something--while speaking.
· Moderated feelings are best, i.e., those that are neither very happy or very angry or sad.
· Giving criticism or discussing an individual's problems must not be done in public. (That person will lose face, want revenge, and will be unable to accept your idea.) If you must give criticism, do so in private and indirectly. Talk around the issue, ask for information about the issue, and then let the individual reach her own conclusion in her own time and way.
· Speak the right words by not telling lie, harsh words, gossip and wicked words.
· If you speak to Buddhist monks you have to call them Preah Dekjakun or Dekun. If you reply yes to the monks you have to use the word "kyom Kona or Kona".

How to Eat
· Men can eat a lot but must not eat fast.
· Women can eat only a small amount.
· Take food only when asked or directed to.
· Use the communal spoon. Not using it indicates you are insincere or not part of the group.
· People of high rank do not expect to have to get their own food (especially at a buffet). They are often seated in a private or special place and served by others to show status and respect.
· All guests must be served water or another drink even if they come for only a short visit. Give a drink rather than ask what they want which is impolite. If asked, they are obligated to choose the least expensive drink.
· If guests come during a meal, they must be invited to eat.

How to Greet
· Offer a traditional greeting with hands in front of face, palms together, in prayer-like fashion.
· Men can shake hands with men.
· Men should not shake hands with Khmer women unless they offer their hand.
· Men should not hug, kiss, or touch the body of a Khmer woman while greeting her. (She will lose respect and feel embarrassed.)
· Men should not look women directly in the eye. (They may become confused, feel uncomfortable, nervous, shy, and not respected.)
· Men should not give "strong" visual attention to other men.
· If monks visit your home come down or get out from your home to greet and invite them get into your home. Serving him with soft drink (by not asking) before sit down to respect and start to talk with monks.

How to Dress
· Formality is very important for respect in the office and at important occasions, when teaching, or when being welcomed as a guest.
· Men wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and shoes. No T-shirts and sandals.
· Women should avoid skirts above the knees and sleeveless or low-cut blouses.
· Shorts are not appropriate in public or when a guest.
· The goal in dressing is to blend in with others, not to stand out.
· Men's hair should be short. If you go to temple always use Khmer traditional dresses.

Other Cambodian Culture, DO'S and DON'TS.

- Do not rub or touch a Cambodian's head. it is consider the most important part of the body.
- Don't use your feet to point at someone.
- Don't walk over a person's feet.
- Respect cambodian elders (they are older than and had more experiences in life than).
- Dont' start to eat when you are a guest at the dinner table before your host has taken a bite.
- Cambodians holding hands is considered friendship and not gays.
- Don't burp while eating.
- Don't pick your teeth while eating.
- When you walk between two cambodians talking, bow a little as you across them (it is really rude to walk straight through them without bowing a little).
- Always greet your guest by a drink or place fruit or snacks for them if they are coming over to your home.
- When you are the bride and groom, at your wedding both families greet and welcome their friends and everyone.
- When you are engaged or married, sit bending your knees on the side and look down and not straight at your family in law (the parents) because it is respectful to do.
- When you sit, women must sit knees bent and legs to the side.
- It is honourable for a woman to be able to cook meal and do everything in kitchen.

- When you get into Temple you have to take off you hat, drive bicycle or motorcycle slowing.
- you have to take take off your shoes befor getting into Preah Vihea or get up/get into monk's Kuthi.
- You have to sompeah when you speak or listen to the monks.
- You have to reply monks by use the word "kyom konaa" or "konaa
- You have to call monks "Preah Dekjakun or Dekjakun"
- You have to dress close most of your body when you go to temple. By not use much lipstick, much powder or most jewelry.
- If you are young, have to brave to speak with monks, because monks always not self-centered with you and they will try to teach you how to speak and act politely.
- When you are sitting in front of monks or old ages you have to sit bending you knees(bot jerng). Not sit on place which higher than them.
- When you across monk by the way you have to take off your hat.