Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Customs of Cambodia (By Chou Ta-Kuan)

36) Supernatural Phenomenon
I heard that there was a savage who committed incest with his sister. This incestuous act caused their skins to attach to each other for 3 days and nights. They eventually died. An acquaintance of mine surnamed Shih, who has lived in this country for 35 years, told me that he witnessed this strange phenomenon with his own eyes twice. It is said that the power of the Supreme Beings in this country is very effective in punishing bad deeds.

37) Bathing
The climate in Cambodia is very hot. So, people bathe several times each day to cope with the heat. They even take bath at night. There are no bathrooms, tanks, or containers of any kind for taking bath. Each home has to dig a pond in which people would bathe. If a private pond were not doable, several households would cooperate to dig up a communal pond where everyone would have access to it. People bathe completely naked even in communal ponds. Nobody seems to bother about modesty. However, if adults are in the ponds, youngsters must wait for their turn and vice versa. For those who are of the same ages, they could commingle in the ponds freely. People use their left hands to cover their private parts as they enter the ponds.
Occasionally (every 5 or 6 days), hordes of ladies of the city would go to bathe in the river outside the city. Once they arrive at the river, they would take off their clothes and go into the river by the hundreds. Even ladies of the court and women of high statuses participate in this nudist gathering.
Every time, when such gathering occurs, there are always Chinese men hanging around the area to peak at the scene. I heard that some of these men even sneak into the river to take advantage of the gathering. The water in the river is always warm. It only gets a bit cold during pre-dawn hours.

38) Immigration
When ships arrive in Cambodia, many sailors, especially those from China, get very excited. Because, in this country, there are minimal needs for clothes, rice and wife are easy to get, houses are easy to build, utilities are easy to find, and trades are easy to conduct, a lot of foreigners have come to settle here.

39) The Armies
Cambodian armies wear neither body armors nor shirts (uniforms). They carry spears in their right hands and shields in their left. There are no artillery nor bows and arrows. I heard that during a recent war with Siam, the villagers were recruited to march into battlefields as brute forces without any battle planning.

No comments: