The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has responded to rising concerns about inappropriate “immoral” activities taking place during traditional wedding ceremonies. 

It noted that recent images and videos, which depicted women in traditional costumes dancing provocatively and even straddling the groom-to-be, were primarily sourced from Cambodians living abroad.

Sum Map, ministry spokesman, highlighted ongoing efforts to educate performers about traditional protocols through seminars, announcements and other measures. 

However, he warned that issues often arise from individuals who exploit these events for personal gain. 

“The recent events that have circulated on social media involve Cambodian people living in a neighbouring country, not local people. They would not engage in such activities,” Map told The Post.

In a bid to preserve the integrity of Cambodian traditions, the ministry issued a stern warning on June 7, sharing the concerns of the Ethical Council of Artists about the spread of inappropriate behaviour at these events, often shared via social media.

“The council has identified a worrying trend where some performers, through excessive gestures and a lack of traditional knowledge, undermine the sanctity of our national traditions,” said the ministry's statement. 

The council called on all artists to align their performances with Cambodia's noble traditions and cease any activities that could be deemed immoral.

In an effort to address these issues, the council plans to collaborate with relevant authorities to educate and regulate performing arts groups. 

“The artist’s council will cooperate with the relevant authorities to summon any group which performs in an inappropriate way. We will educate them and regulate their activities. If these immoral acts continue, legal measures will be taken in accordance with the principles in force," said the ministry.

The council has also issued a plea to parents, urging them to select performers for their children's weddings that will uphold societal values. 

“The council calls for the public to refrain from sharing obscene content on social media, which we believe degrades cultural standards,” said a statement from the council.

Prominent TV host and wedding artist, Duong Sokea, known for his traditional haircut ceremonies, voiced his support for the ministry's stance. 

As a dedicated artist, Sokea emphasised the importance of maintaining dignity and respect in traditional performances. 

“As an artist who loves Khmer culture, I would never perform the traditional haircut ceremony in an immoral manner, either through my words or actions, even though I claim no right to judge the recent activities that were posted to social media,” he said.

Sokea pointed out that in the past, Khmer people’s ancestors respected and valued each other without physical contact.

He believes that modern performances can be fun and engaging without crossing ethical boundaries. 

"We should consider how much fun we can have without crossing the line,” Sokea added. 

He stressed the importance of creating a joyful atmosphere while upholding ethics, while urging young artists to remain dignified and respectful in their performances.

He also called on parents to be proactive and warn performers about the importance of maintaining decorum at their children's weddings. 

"Do not have so much fun that you forget your limits and do not be so creative that it becomes excessive," he advised.

The Ministry expressed gratitude to all Cambodians who have supported efforts to preserve the country's cultural heritage.