The role of social networking site Facebook in facilitating protest actions has been affirmed in the Tunisia and Egypt uprisings; governments in many countries, including China, are wary of the political activities of their citizens on Facebook. But in Cambodia, Facebook is not yet considered a threat by the government.
Politicians led by Prime Minister Hun Sen (who has been in power since 1985) have created their own Facebook pages where they interact with Cambodian citizens and netizens.
There is however, a newer and interesting Facebook trend in the country: Cambodians are creating songs about Facebook. For example, 'Facebook ends love‘, uploaded to YouTube by user lotusresortandspa on March 11, 2011.
The pop music industry has produced a number of songs related to Facebook. Cambodia Khmer Magazine, though claiming not to be a fan of the material, is impressed that many Cambodians are thoroughly enjoying these ‘Facebook songs.'
Below are examples of the songs uploaded onto YouTube (all in Khmer):
- ‘Facebook disturbs my love'
- ‘Facebook ends love'
- ‘Start having Facebook, love exists'
- ‘Facebook friend! My girlfriend kicked me out
- ‘Tear drop when surfing on Facebook'
- ‘Tear sent via Facebook'
- ‘Suffered by Facebook'
- ‘A night with Facebook'
- ‘Facebook waits love'
Khmerbird is surprised about the emergence of these songs, but expressed his agreement with some of the songs that blamed Facebook for the breakdown of relationships. In his article, ‘The effect of Facebook has been written in Cambodian songs,‘ he writes:
It seems a bit surprise when I hear the song but it might be true somehow.
Khmerbird cites a song by Khemarak Sereymon, titled ‘Facebook disturbs my love' and explains its message:
He stated in the song that since there’s Facebook, his girlfriend seems not to take care of him like before. He felt like he is totally abandoned. His girlfriend spent her time to connect with different people via Facebook. This of course could cause a serious effect in the relationship.
In Cambodia, there are only about 250,000 Facebook users accounting for 1.73% penetration rate in the country, according to socialbakers.com. But with politicians endorsing Facebook and artists creating songs about the popular social networking site, Facebook will definitely attract more users in Cambodia.
Written by Sopheap Chak and originally posted to Global Voices.