Lessons Everywhere - Cambodia

Wednesday 23 Oct

Even insects can teach us about culture!

Rob and Deb share that how a community relates to even the smallest creatures is a fascinating study of culture:
“Anthropomorphism is the crediting of human traits, emotions and thoughts into creatures that are not human. Insects play an important role in Khmer culture so it isn’t surprising that they are given human traits like some of the stories we grew up with in Australia. 

The difference, however, is in how Khmer culture sees characteristics in insects compared to Australian culture. Let us take termites and cicadas as an examples. Our experiences with termites have been very influenced by the harm they do when they sneakily enter a house, eat the timber and cause expensive damage. 

Before coming to Cambodia, we probably wouldn’t find it easy to think of any admirable traits of termites. Cicadas on the other hand are impressive in the way they make a loud sound from their small bodies. Coming from a Western culture we learn to think and express ourselves as individuals. This is different to the communal culture of the Khmer. The Khmer look at how termites cooperate together in community and appreciate how these tiny insects are able to build a termite mound more than two metres tall! Cicadas on the other hand, are proud and noisy ‘lone-rangers’ that want to be seen and heard.”   « Back to News