Cambodians to march against rising hemlines on schoolgirls' skirts

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thu, 25 Mar 2010

Phnom Penh - Teachers and students from schools in the capital plan to march this weekend in an effort to persuade the government to ban creeping hemlines on schoolgirls' skirts, local media reported Thursday.

The Khmer Teachers' Association said the protest, which will involve around 300 teachers and students, would help to protect local culture from foreign influences.

"I want to improve and retain the Khmer culture that we had many years ago - some Khmer women have changed their manner by copying other cultures and wearing short skirts or sexy clothes in schools and public places," the body's director Sean Bunheang said.

He told the Phnom Penh Post newspaper that such influences could destroy Cambodian culture, and wants the Ministry of Education to ban schoolgirls from wearing skirts that sit above the knee.

He said the ministry ought to take measures against students who continue to dress contrary to custom.

"I see that some female students don't wear the Khmer student uniform," he added. "It seems like a Western uniform."

Ouch Sophorn, a 23-year-old male English literature student, said he noticed many female students wearing short skirts.

"We always turn back to see them," he admitted. "I like to see them wearing short skirts, but I wouldn't want my sister or my girlfriends to do that. I think it is not our tradition."

An official at the Ministry of Education said existing rules decreed that female students should wear skirts that hang below the knee, adding that he approved of the march since it would remind students to dress appropriately.


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