Say "Cambodia," and two associations often come to mind: the lost glories of Angkor, and the horrors of the Khmer Rouge. Any understanding of Cambodia today, however, must embrace these opposites, as well as the changing attitudes within the country caused by something of a demographic revolution—today, close to seventy percent of Cambodians are under thirty.
In the past, Cambodia was the center of the Khmer empire. For six hundred years it ruled much of what is now Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand from its capital at Angkor. The ruins of the Khmer palaces, temples, and cities testify to its power, wealth, high culture, and engineering prowess, while their subsequent abandonment and long obscurity provide a sobering example of civilization's fragility. Today, Cambodia is negotiating its rich and complex past with the challenges of modernity in a globalized world.
Culture Smart! Cambodia is for all those who want to do more than just scratch the surface of this fascinating country. Thoroughly updated, this new edition will enrich your understanding of the land and its people. It explains the key values, attitudes, customs, and traditions that you need to be aware of and provides practical tips and vital information on how to make the most of your time in Cambodia.
When being hosted for a meal remember to leave something in your bowl or on your plate to indicate that your appetite has been satisfied. When eating with chopsticks, never leave them in the bowl with the ends pointing upward as this resembles the incense sticks that are burned for the dead. Instead, place them at the side of your plate or bowl!