Do Cambodians Really Need to 'See Things the Way We Do'?

I recently read the article "Education Gap Stunts Cambodia's Renewal," Jan. 16, after visiting with Khmer refugees ("displaced persons") on the Thai-Cambodian border.

The article states, "They just aren't able to see things the way we do." This comment by an executive running Western-style job-training programs makes one wonder if Americans have learned anything from our painful and destructive experiences of the Vietnam-war era.

Yes, the Khmers may have difficulty thinking like us. They have not grown up with our wealth, power, individualism, and consumerism. They have not meddled in our politics, nor exported their ideologies to us. Instead, they have lived through colonial occupation, United States bombing, corrupt governments (first backed by our capitalist bloc, then backed by the communist bloc), the Khmer Rouge, and the near destruction of their culture and religion.

Perhaps, in time, if we send enough missionaries - Christian, free market, human rights - they will learn "to see things the way we do." What I wonder is, will we ever try to see things the way they do? B. Santikaro, Surat Thani, Thailand

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK