“Toum Peang Snong Reusey” [The Bamboo shoot grows up to be bamboo] is a most popular for Cambodian people referred to children reflected their older in the future. When you “children and young people grow up, what will you want to be in future?
In the years 80s and 90s, the many of children responded variety to their parents and other old people that they want to become teachers, medical doctors, soldiers, polices, engineers and agriculturists. But at moment, this trend is more likely to change the perspective’s children want to be a star “DARA” which refer to a singer, film actor, Karaoke actor or TV commentator when they grow up rather than preferring these job options above during one or two decades in the past. While, some parents are so happy and show off their neighbors as a smart guy, and saying that they sing and dance very well as the stats “DARA” on televisions. I think that it is good that every child has ambitious different goals and change all the time. But if majority of them expected to be a star, the question would be ask why the children’s attitudes change like that? Due to influence of media, their parents or their family?
In general, Cambodian parents or family’s concept are happy if their children are upper classification in the class or won a scholarship and these parents or neighbors argued that this or that child is following their parents or uncle/aunt who are higher education or higher position in an establishment. But if these parents or children’s family always excuses to the teachers when their children study low score in the class or dropped class. This perception reflects to the children’s environment today expected to be a star when they grow up. Base on the Indochina Marketing Research surveyed on media in Cambodia found recently that almost Cambodians prefer to watch TV rather than radio or newspaper; especially CTN channel and its bench MYTV are the most and for the old men prefer kick-boxing and football but for women and young people prefer movie, concert, Karaoke, sing and dance contest and freshie.
With the same situation, there are very a low number of young people who are applying for jobs, but vast CV and application forms that young people submitted their documents to TV song, dance or freshie contests. The question would be ask, what TVs teach and direct Cambodian children and youths? And they always want to be a start “DARA”? These due to Cambodian youth are hoping less to find a job fit their education as The Ministry of Education Youth and Sports estimated that only one in nine students are able to find a career which is suitable to their background.
In my observation, TVs today are more likely to show political argument, entertainment, joking [that young people learned and imitated with using very rough words and physical abuse from the comedies] and rather than education, it is a different TV in more than 10 years ago that Mathematics and English language were taught on TVs and also a lot of Khmer culture and explore the temple in the forest. I think that TV teaching support the poor student who cannot go to private courses and remind or learn new thing or method for students after school and it was a fundamental for students who will study higher education or study abroad.
What is the government hope “Toum Peang Snong Reusey” to build the Kingdom in the future if the majority of children and young people are enjoy with TV and to be a star “DARA” than other job options. Therefore government should improve Cambodian TV channels for youths and TV programmers should learn any success of education program rather than imitate from neighbor countries.
Tong Soprach, MPH
Public Health Freelance Consultant
Phnom Penh, Cambodia