Cambodian Identity, Culture and Legacy

von Din Darathtey, Bradley J. Murg, Ou Virak, Michael Renfrew
The current state of youth identity in Cambodia is less affected by the country’s violent history than their parents’ generation. Young Cambodians today are considered to be politically active and engaged. This group, born between 1986 and 2001, dominate a large part of the population representing 50 per cent of the entire country (Pen, Hok & Eng, 2007). Socio-economic transformation has significantly influenced the dynamic of youth through: urbanization, better education, internet access and information literacy, labour migration and social fragmentation (Pen et al., 2017). It is plausible to argue that these factors expose Cambodian youth to new ideas and values, technology and diverse economic opportunity. These experiences influence their expectation and aspiration. Learn more about this in the following article.

Daly has a short bob hair with icy blue highlights. She works at one of the top three contemporary art studios based in Phnom Penh; her style shines through and her work outfits are always composed of loose colourful pantsuits and shiny dark loafers. She is an early riser. Her gym routine starts as the sun rises at 5AM and usually includes an hour of powerlifting. After coming back from the gym, she makes a quick breakfast while listening to a newly released post-rock album from her favourite Cambodian female artist. Then, off to work she goes. During her train ride to work, Daly listens to a news headlines podcast by a local media start-up called Phnom Penh Scoop. She likes their content a lot, especially a young commentator who is very good at making everything sound very relevant to people her age. It’s Friday and that means Daly has plans after work. Her colleague asked her last week to go to a photo exhibition opening at Phnom Penh Art Centre. The exhibition is an exploration of homosexuality pre and post Khmer Rouge through photography and spoken word. The artist is a 27-year-old photography student from The Royal University of Fine Arts. Afterwards, she’s going to meet her friends for dinner and then head to a live psychedelic Kse Diev concert at The Box, a famous venue for live local music in town. This band is from Kampong Cham and they are so famous that her Cambodian friend in London asked her to get a signed t-shirt for when she visits. Daly will try to be home before midnight because she has an important gathering with her family tomorrow. It will be the Day of Rememberance, celebrated nationwide, to pray for lives lost during the Khmer Rouge and to celebrate the nation’s resilience. On the day, Cambodia 2040 13 she always goes to pray at the pagoda with her family and spends time with them afterwards to hear her parents’ stories of the old times.


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Robert Hör

Robert Hoer


Robert.Hoer@kas.de +855 87 880 994



Deth Sok Udom, Bradley J. Murg, Ou Virak, Michael Renfrew


Future Forum and KAS


Phnom Penh