CAMBODIAN GREETING // “CHOM-REAP-SUA”
Growing up I was taught that greeting elders in Cambodian was very important. This might’ve been the first Cambodian word I ever learned. It is often regarded disrespectful if a Cambodian American, specially a millennial who does not recognize the importance of greeting in Cambodian to Cambodian elders.
It was a gesture of both hands formed in a prayer-like form (clasped) and head slightly bent while saying the hello greeting. (head slightly bent/bowed to the front) I remember there were times when I wouldn’t be sure if I needed to do it but then I would know when my mom whispers in my ear to bow.
Why do they know this piece?
A required tradition of respect growing up.
Where/Who did they learn it from?
My parents. (theyre from Camodia, immigrants)
What does it mean for them?
As an adult it means that I still have the ability to show respect to Cambodian elders and teach my friends their first word of Cambodian / first greeting in Cambodian.
Context of Performance:
Sitting inside friend’s room talking.
It is interesting to note that this is very similar to my Chinese-Indonesian folk-principle/custom of respecting your elders. This is more specific in that there’s a specific gesture and saying involved (where my mother only told me to respect my elders…etc.), but I feel that this is a very common principle and core of Asian cultures, or at least the East….as well as perhaps some/most of Western cultures?