Cambodia Report

Essay by Seanx120High School, 10th grade March 2005

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Cambodia is a small country located in Southeast Asia. The countries Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam border it on three sides and the Gulf of Thailand borders it on the fourth. Buddhism is the predominant religion in Cambodia. It is a home of many ancient statues, such as the Tower of Bayon, in Angkor Thom. The education in Cambodia is poor, as the students only have to go to school from the ages of six to twelve. There is a high percentage of adult illiteracy. Only the rich can afford to send their children to the one university in the country. There is a severe shortage of textbooks, laboratories, and equipment. Cambodia's modern-day culture has its roots in the 1st to 6th centuries in a state referred to as Funan, know as the oldest Indianised state in Southeast Asia. It is from this period that evolved Cambodia's language, part of the Mon-khmer family, which contains elements of Sanskrit, its ancient religion of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Historians have noted, for example, that Cambodians can be distinguished from their neighbours by their clothing - checkered scarves known as karmas are worn instead of straw hats. Cambodia's population stands at 12 million, of which the Khmer make up 90%. Other groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai and Burmese and various ethnic hill tribes, many of the latter living in the mountainous regions to the north and southwest. The Khmer account for 80 percent of agricultural workers, while the Vietnamese and Chinese dominate the business sector. The state religion of Theravada Buddhism was first introduced to Cambodia during the days of the great Angkor kingdom and prospered.