GENERAL INFORMATION

Here you can find some general information about Cambodia, to give you a quick image of the country. This will only provide a brief summary of the most important things in Cambodia. People who take an interest in the research can relate the outcomes with this general information to get a better overview of the country and be up to date right away.

Demographics

The location where we were going to implement our plan was in Cambodia. Cambodia is a country in the South East of Asia. The capital of the country is Phnom Penh, but our project should have taken place in another major city called Siem Reap. It is one of those places where it is pretty difficult to get bored, because it is an ever-evolving city. Siem Reap is a relatively small and also new city. There are a lot of daily activities that are offered, but also there is a variety in cuisine, accommodations , ways to travel etc. The biggest attraction in the area are the (historical) Temples of Angkor. The most famous temples of the world will be found in this area. Another interesting thing is the population. Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap province. This is divided into 12 administrative districts. These districts are subdivided into 100 communes were around 179.000 families live. Despite the big amount of tourist dollars that are coming in the capital, the city still is one of the most poor provinces in Cambodia (Introduction to Siem Reap, 2017).


Culture (clothing)

When you look at the culture of Cambodia, the people don't want to embarrass each other and will therefore avoid confrontations, especially in public. This also means that the people take criticism as a personal insult. These things are mostly negative emotions , but also the positive emotions are subtle. When we look at culture, we also include clothing. Woman who work on the land were a Sampot but also men were this kind of clothing. Simply put, this is a sampot is a wrap skirt made of cotton that goes all the way to the ankles. Besides the sampot, the people were protection from the sun. They were a hat or a krama. A krama is an red with white cotton cloth, which they use to protect their heads. These kramas will be also used to carry children or to do groceries with (Koningaap, n.d.). 

Sompot and Krama
Sompot and Krama

Language

In Cambodia people speak a specific language. The national language of the country is Khmer. Most people also speak English very well, because they were educated in school. In the big cities like Siem Reap, the communication in English goes fine (Taal Cambodja, n.d.).


Religion / believes

In Cambodia there is a mix of religions and believes. The religious influences that took place in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka had the greatest influence on Cambodia. Cambodia was initially influenced by Hinduism which later passed into Buddhism. Many temples around Angkor Wat still show scenes from Hinduism and Buddhism and are clearly recognizable. Some temples are Hindu and others Buddhist around Angkor Wat. The oldest temples are often Hindu, the younger Buddhist (Religie en geloof in Cambodja, n.d.).

These days Buddhism is the main belief in Cambodia, but Islam and Christianity still play a small role. Many descendants of the Champas in southern Vietnam are Muslims. Due to the arrival of the French, you will also find a significant percentage of Christians in Cambodia (Religie en geloof in Cambodja, n.d.).

In addition to the regular beliefs, there are still a small number of followers of the Coa Dai faith. Most mountain peoples in the north and north-east of Cambodia are animists and believe in ancestor worship and spirits (spirituality) (Religie en geloof in Cambodja, n.d.).


Economy

The Khmer rouge period was disastrous for the Cambodian economy. Everything that had been built up before the Khmer rouge period was demolished in one go. Reconstruction could not be started again until 1979, but there weren't enough educated people. In the mid 90s there came some light in the economic darkness (Cambodja Economie, n.d.).

Now, Cambodia has an open market economy. The economy is highly dependent on several aspects. For example, the agriculture, tourism and textile industry. Most of the people work for agricultural industry. The last few years, the Cambodian economy became more important at the Asian market. Children from poor families from the countryside, are send to the cities like Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. They have to look for a job over there. The poor families are very desperate for money because they're so poor. Agriculture need the boys and girls are often not able to find another job than in textile factories (Economie van Cambodja, n.d.).


Politics

Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy with, like the Netherlands, a parliamentary system. The members of the political parties in Cambodia are democratically by elections elected. Parliamentary elections are held every 5 years. The Cambodian parliament, which is in Phnom Penh, consists of two rooms. The king is the head of the state, while the prime minister is the head of the government. The king mainly has a representative and ceremonial task, while the prime minister has an executive function with parliament (Politiek in Cambodja, n.d.).


History

When you go through background information, you also come across the history of Cambodia. There is not much to find about the early history, but there is a lot you can read about the fact that Cambodia was a part of the Khmer empire, between the 9th and 14th century. The most historic temples were built during this period. Halfway through the 19th century the French came to power and made Cambodia part of Indochina (Wikipedia-bijdragers, 2020).

Pol Pot
Pol Pot

In 1953 Cambodia became independent. During the second Indochina War, Cambodia was severely hit by American bombing. This lead to more than half a million civilians who were killed during these bombings. After the Vietnam War in 1975 on the 17th of april the Khmer Rouge takes power under the leadership of Saloth Sar, better known as Pol Pot. It is estimated that between 800.000 and 3.000.000 innocent civilians were murdered during this reign of terror (Cambodja, n.d.).


Sources

Cambodja Economie. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://www.landenweb.nl/cambodja/economie/

Economie van Cambodja. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://www.mijncambodja.nl/informatie/algemeen/economie-van-cambodja/

Introduction to Siem Reap. (2017, December 31). Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://www.siemreap.net/visit/about-siem-reap/info/introduction-to-siem-reap/

Koningaap. (n.d.). Cultuur Cambodja. Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://koningaap.nl/cambodja-reizen/cultuur-cambodja

Landenwijzer. (n.d.). Cambodja. Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://www.landenwijzer.nl/azie/cambodja/

Politiek in Cambodja. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://www.mijncambodja.nl/informatie/algemeen/politiek-in-cambodja/

Taal Cambodja. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://www.azie.nl/cambodja/reisgid/taal-cambodja/

Wikipedia-bijdragers. (2020, February 28). Pol Pot. Retrieved May 11, 2020, from https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol_Pot