It may sound weird as it’s natural for people to listen to romantic songs – and of course it’s not only just for Cambodian people. What I’m trying to say is the themes of most Khmer romantic songs are usually sad though it’s all about love, grief, joy, reverence and fondness (compared to English songs).
I admit this is the first question coming to my thought that brought me to set up this blog. I’ve written and researched once but the answer doesn’t seem to be clear so I decided not to do anything till I found common-sense answers. Thus, if you are reading this post, you are knowing my answers right now.
Speaking of my mind, one of the reasons I came up with this question is because my Aussie-raised husband who was the one asked this question to me. Big thanks to him anyway. The second reason is I’ve passed my teenager hood and looked back to why I used to listen to love songs that much at that time. As of now, I seem to have less interest in romantic songs – it could be because I’m now mature, married and having kid I reckon.
Alright! Now let’s have a look at the answers. First, the majority numbers of Cambodians, who fonds of love songs, is high. Don’t get me wrong! Everyone else (aside from just Cambodians) do fond of love songs and I agree it’s natural for humans. In this sense, I don’t think it’s a cultural phenomenon. We Cambodians (Asian) are loving people. In term of saying that, let’s have a glance at the population data below.
Since after Khmer Rouge regime, the number of population was extremely low and majority were women and children. Thus, the country has to build up its population again. Thanks to Laura Mam (also more info about her) who addressed that Cambodians are busy people since then because we are busy making babies, and as you can see from data that the number keep booming. I also remember that there were no contraceptions at all – My great-grandparents would have 10 -14 kids and passing down to my grandparents who had 12 kids including their 6 step-children and now down to my parents who have 4 kids. Additionally, we are also caring people – we don’t only have good and strong relationship with partners and children, but also a caring respect toward elderly and look after them as well. Compared to Western World, we don’t leave our parents or elderly in aged care facilities (I know we don’t have one but at the same time it’s not great running this business over there, either). Being at home and unite with family is the happiness and best expectation of Khmer elderlies. Therefore, the bonds of love toward each generation are attached and stronger.
To my assumption, second is the strong influence from China. We Khmer live in the same continent of Asia – we have the sharing cultural conceptions and are even historically related to China. The musical format of Chinese is about emotional expression in romantic songs.
The last reason I believe in is the common influence and quiet revolution of sad (romantic) songs. According to Quiet Revolution, the sad songs are immersing people’s feeling by freeing their in-real-life emotions and it speaks out louder in different forms of emotion. Rather than just being sad, romantic (sad) songs is a reflection of our own feelings which give us comfort, pleasure, reminders, strengths to overcome, changing our hormonal balance, and even soothes you to be calm.
In general, love songs (or romantic songs) seems to get the hearts of all Cambodians in every way addressing all types of relationship and love between couples, children and/or parents. When you fall in love with these, the rhythms echo your heart and they keep touching your moods.