How do Cambodians view Vietnamese?

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How do Cambodians view Vietnamese?

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While travelling in Cambodia about 10 years ago, I was surprised by how casually many would mention how evil is Vietnam. Usually it goes this way : - Vietnamese army had invaded us many times in the past - They stole the Mekong Delta and Saigon from us - Now they're taking our lands and bring criminality - etc, etc...

Looking at their history, no wonder there's some resentment. Part of actual Vietnam used to be Khmer and even most of actual Cambodia has been under vietnamese colonial rule.

And yet a bit of admiration too. "Soon Vietnam will be as develloped as Japan" told me once a very uninformed young man. "Well not anytime soon".

So basically Vietnam is as popular in Cambodia than China in Vietnam.

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I went to Phnom Penh a week ago (Sep 2018) and stayed 4 days there. I had spent 1 week Siem Riep in 2011, too.

Some of the detail in 2018 trip makes me unhappy. As I entered a popular motorbike shop near my hotel, the host and his employees seem looked down on me when they knew i am vietnamese. I searched on internet, they only need my passport to make the deal, but in real time case, they asked me addiction 700$ for insurance for their motor along with my passpost. Wtf is that? And they told me vietnamese people tend to steal their bikes, or send it to the pawn shop, so who know what would happen if i took their bike. Needless to say, i left that shop immediately, the rent cost for that bike was 6$ but they wanted to keep 700$ and my passport, wtf!

In my opinion, Cambodians view Vietnamese varies depend on who you ask the question and whether he/she is open-mind or not.

For most of cambodians don't have any any close relationship with vietnamese, they think vietnamese are wicked and a bit evil, they are afraid vietnamese will do harm to cambodia, like a brain wash story they have been told: the vietnamese's ancestors took the land of khmer's ancestors (The youngsters in the bike shop story fall in this case).

The same thing happen to some cambodians who deal business with vietnamese. They fear vietnamese will steal their jobs, their business model…., and chinese is less harmful.

Just some modern cambodians who study abroad, with real (high) education, and had established good business don't fear or hate me, vice versa, they treat me well. They are wise and they know in this life there are good vietnameses and bad vietnameses as there are good cambodians and bad cambodians. History is just history, they care more about their present life and future. If I treat them well, they will do the same.

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I remember my trip visit Angkor Watts with my big family some years ago.

Tour guide was a local girl. Pretty, very bright, very agile, and same age as me. She was very helpful. Talk a lot and help a lot to everyone. She talk about how the relationship of our countries helped her poor country. Talked about the bright future we are together. About Vietnamese visitors, Vietnamese immigrants really helped the local economy. About how grateful the Cambodians are for the Vietnamese soldiers who have helped her country away from the Pol Pot genocide, away from near annihilation. She kept talking good things about us Vietnamese.

I really liked her.

But then there’s only one thing that boggled my mind up till now. That is in between the stories, she kept repeating quite several times, the story of once, the Campodians have undertaken the series of “Cáp Yùn” (english : /`kap djun/ ?). They were the series that, the Cambodians mass arrested and killed local Vietnamese who lived there, then beheaded and throw them floating the Mekong stream down the border. It was a long time ago in the history.

I was boggling : “why is this story a part of the travel program ?”

And spelled out from such a young and pretty local girl ?

And she was a tour guide, who took responsible for making sure all the visitors satisfied on the trip ?

Such a memory i will never forget. Always keep your eyes open and your mind prudent, that is.

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Yeah many Cambodians hate Vietnamese people, Vietnam did toppled the Khmer Rouge whose plan was to kill 7 million out of Cambodia’s 8 million people, they already killed 2 million in 4 years of their rule in Cambodia, and it seemed no one was going to stop the Khmer Rouge from their killings, but then Vietnam invaded Cambodia although for other reasons Vietnamese Cambodian border clashes, and topppled the Khmer Rouge saving 5 million Cambodians, preventing Cambodia’s population from being reduced to 1 million people, and largely responsible for Cambodia for having let’s say 16 million people right now from the 5 million people who weren’t killed off by the Khmer rouge, instead of like 3 million now if the Khmer rouge had succeed in their goal of killing 7 million of the 8 million cambodians, but many Cambodians are like if it weren’t for Vietnam the Khmer Rouge would not have existed in the first place, which I think is true, but mehhhh!

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I think the Cambodian does not like us.

Mostly I think because they didn’t learn history well, they argued with me a lot but when I told about source of history or evidence, they kept run away every times and you knew they even don’t have a single evidence and some even worst, they defended the Khmer Rough?

I wanted to tell them one thing, if the current Cambodian government they have is overthrown, they will enjoy their new era like their dark time in the past.

Look at Ukraine, Libya, Syria,…as an example.

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There is a part of Cambodians who hate Vietnam, even though Vietnam has just saved Cambodia from the Pol Pot genocide, the source of this hatred can be understood:

It is the memory of the great Khmer empire, which was lost to Thailand and Vietnam.

In the 1100s, the Khmer empire (King Suryavarman II) invaded Vietnam (Dai Viet) 5 times , but all failed.

The southern provinces of Vietnam were now owned by Cambodia but lost to Vietnam largely due to the exchange of political interests. The Khmer kings ceded land to Vietnam in exchange for military patronage of the Nguyen Dynasty (Vietnamese kings 1600-1800s). So the Cambodian people should blame their past kings instead of holding a grudge against the Vietnamese people today.

Today Cambodia receives a lot of funding from China, China will pull the strings to incite Cambodian nationalism to fight against Vietnam.

Currently, Vietnam does not interfere in Cambodia because there is more work to be done in Vietnam than intervening in other countries. But dear Cambodian friends, the current Cambodian government, set up by Vietnam in 1978, can also bring it down as easily as killing a mouse (don't be sad, it's true).

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Simple answer, we hate them that’s it, but despite our hates toward them, we will not say something bad or bully their people or so on. At Cambodian’s school there are 1 or 2 pure Vietnamese and half Vietnamese but since we study at the same school, we’re all friends, we love and take care of each other.Yet, Cambodian’s anger toward Vietnamese or Vietnam country is not stoppable, there are a lot of complicated things in Cam-Viet history(at this point, I’d like readers to do some research by themselves) Imma mention some of the history: Vietnamese hurt Cambodians, they told the kings they will be our friends but in fact, they backstabbed us, they stole our land actually these kind of things also happened between Korean-Japanese or Chinese-Japanese history, there are majority of Korean who hate Japan because of their history, some trying to stop thinking about the past, there are a lot of Chinese who hate Japan because of the land problem- so all of these cases happen between Cambodia and Vietnam plus some Vietnamese are likely to deny what they’ve done to Cambodia and their school seems to distort the history(like they help us but they actually hurt, invade us) and there are many, many more things…

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I am Vietnamese and I have a lot of Cambodian friends, either from Khmer community living in South Vietnam or living in Cambodia. We all know that there has been a lot of animosity between two people, but we are trying not to be involved in it, and particularly to avoid derogatory terms like Yuon or Miên. As Thi H. Nguyen has explained, Yuon is neutral but it may be considered offensive in some contexts. Miên is not different. The term has been used widely in Vietnam since the French colonisation. There was also a slogan that read “Tình hữu nghị Việt Miên Lào” (Vietnam Cambodia Laos Friendship), but we don’t know why and when “Miên” has turned into an offensive appelation.

My Cambodian friends explained to me that it reminds them of a bad time under the rule of a king named Miên.

For our friendship and also for a better relationship between two people, we have been committed to never using those terms.

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Before my trip to Cambodia, every friend/coworker told me not to. I did enjoy my trip there and I've kept telling people Cambodians are the friendliest I've ever met. When I was walking down the street, a tuk tuk driver spoke Chinese to me and I replied in Chinese (I can speak a bit of Chinese, luckily) and he was really friendly. When I needed to go across the street, the policemen came to my rescue and ask where I'm from. After knowing the answer, he yelled it out loud to other police fellows and he literally stopped the traffic so I could follow him. I then kinda got lost. I saw an East Asian looking person so I approached him hoping that he can speak some English. He is in fact Cambodian and could not speak English enough, haha. I then said thanks and kept moving, only to see him coming back on a bike later. He offered me a ride! I was quite worried as who knows where he would take me to. But somehow I still got on the bike and was taken to the market. So yes, they were definitely really hospitable, knowing that I'm Vietnamese.

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To answer this question, one should keep in mind that education of a country regime plays an important factor on issue like this one, of the question.

The short answer is, Cambodians considers Vietnamese as “enemy of generations”, it isn’t a hatred which they would like to call for an end, the reason why we SHOULD generalizes Cambodian, because generality works, it is simply blinding yourself for if you chants the fashion mantra ““not all of them”, there must be an accurate generality to applies a group of people, the matter is, whether it is a correct one or a wrong one, initially a group of people needs to be defined by some properties, some are essential properties which qualifies the group of people as who they really are, and some are accidental properties, accidental property is the generality that we are talking about in here.

Back to the question here, the reason why Cambodian hates Vietnamese, because the Cambodian regime is too backward that, it is extremely poor and lacking resources on it’s own, and I am even talking about intellectual resource, it is very easy to brainwash people who has no productive life in their own society, especially lacking materials likes, smart phone, desktop computer and so on. For a regime which is fear of letting it’s citizen to find out both of it’s internal corruption and it’s political weakness, the easiest weapon is propaganda of hatred toward aliens, since it is a historic fact that there were a lots of conflict between Vietnam and Cambodia, Cambodian government must utilizes it to provokes it’s citizen to switch their attention of stressing toward outsider, hatred toward vietnamnese is just one of the many, and according to the Cambodian government, it is better for it’s citizen to have it than do not have it, so that they can convinces people to blames problem toward outsider. As a result, Vietnamese people is being hated by Cambodian in general, it doesn’t mean majority of Cambodian hates Vietnamese, although it could be, but it means that, it is SO EASY to come across a Cambodian who hates Vietnamese.

In a society where free speech and free press are neither encouraged nor being protected, people’s way of thinking can be easily manipulated, especially for the conceptions that I brought up on this post, such as, essential properties of a group, accidental properties of a group, and how generality works etc. people in closed society can’t easily to grasp these conceptions, what to speaks of the case in Cambodia? This also remind me how open Vietnam is, as compare to first world countries like japan, japan which’s still a close society by norms, it’s easy to come across an individual who is too backward that, he or she is unable to catches a bit of common sense from a open society, this doesn’t happen in Vietnamese society, regardless the socialist republic of Vietnam or viet kiu communities in oversea.

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