Chinese New Year 2012 in Cambodia
Currently, it is estimated that 9% of the total population (14 Million) have somehow Chinese blood in Cambodia. From year to year, because of better economic development and improved living conditions of Cambodians, more and more people celebrate Chinese New Year, including pure Khmer. In an interview in a local newspaper with a Khmer-Chen pork seller 8,000 piglets were roasted to become “Chrouk Kvai”, the most popular menu during New Year, in Phnom Penh alone. In 2011, it was about 7,000 piglets. Mong Say or dragon dance is supposed to bring luck and happiness to business entity and family. The Dragon dancing groups were trained months in advance and have full schedule during the three days of New Year and still weeks after. In Cambodia, it is a saying that: “the Chinese celebrate, the Khmer got drunk”. I think the Chinese got drunk too. It seems that Cambodians are celebrating now any New Year: Universal’s, Chinese’s and Khmer’s New Year etc. Besides, with the promotion of the business communities, the private universities, TVs, Internet and globalization; Cambodians are (in Phnom Penh and other urban areas) celebrating any event (Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Birthday etc) in this world.
This year, my wife has prepared more food and drinks for Chinese New Year too. My wife has been very busy in the last three days to prepare and cook all traditional foods for today. We have invited our father, brothers, sisters, all our nieces and friends to come and celebrate together in our house this evening. My sisters, who have own businesses, are celebrating too. They pray and hope to get better business success in the upcoming years.
In Phnom Penh, most of the shops closed, even the PM acknowledged that he would not convene Cabinets Meeting during this period since many of his Ministers will celebrate with their families, including his own wife (Bun Rany with original name Bun Sam Hieng, more a “Chinese name” than pure Cambodian one). On 18 January, The Prime Minister sent an official message congratulating all Sino-Khmers and Cambodians during this New Year. Days before New Year many people go to markets to buy necessary food/drinks, flowers and other stuff. The price is going up for goods (double or triple of normal price). The streets are crowded and caused traffic jams, especially in areas close to the markets. In many private schools, 23-26.01.12 is declared as school off days. The Education Department of the Municipality of Phnom Penh issued an official letter to urge the teachers and students to teach and go to school as usual. Recent experiences showed however, that the schools are almost empty during the three days period.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Chinese or Sino-Khmer in Cambodia and around the world and all Cambodians good luck, prosperity, healthy and happiness. We will celebrate together again our Khmer New year in three months time.