Cambodia dating online
Though some young women in Phnom Penh said they would be fine meeting someone in person after chatting on the app, others were less sure.
An 18-year-old who gave her name only as Vannarin said she found the idea “scary,” though three of her friends sitting in Wat Botum park said they would consider it.
We are at the tail end of the wedding season in Cambodia, which runs from December through February, because the weather is nice and it doesn’t rain.
Many young Cambodian women look for a mate or husband at events such as the Water Festival or at religious ceremonies.
The digital platforms—which include local entrant Matchstix as well as international services like Facebook, Badoo and Tinder— are capitalizing on cultural shifts, along with technological trends.“Traditionally, most marriages were arranged and therefore most relationships were deprived of the ‘romance’ associated with the individual autonomy of choosing one’s partner,” writes anthropology academic Heidi Hoefinger in “Sex, Love, and Money in Cambodia.”Pop songs, karaoke videos, films and magazines have edged aside older cultural mores, according to Ms. “The dominant sexual culture for contemporary young people in Cambodia is filled with strong themes of romance, love, and heartache.”One business hoping to take advantage of the changing times is Australian tech company MobiMedia.
When the company launched matchmaking app Matchstix last July, they pitched it as a way for Cambodians to meet new friends, out of concern that online matchmaking for overtly romantic purposes might be too risque.“I think Cambodians are in theory very conservative, and their parents are conservative,” said marketing and operations manager Klara Grintal at MobiMedia’s astro-turfed conference room—filled with neon beanbags—in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Keng Kang I commune.“But if you go to the coffee shops, and you listen to conversations young Cambodians are having—and the kinds of messages they are exchanging—these are not very conservative at all,” she said.
Another option that is still common is being set up by their parents.
“Cambodian mates [male or female] are categorised as either traditional or modern, and are bound by strong cultural Khmer practices in terms of relationship to the opposite sex.“This year we are all about love, and dates, and romance, and so on.”But to win the hearts of Cambodia’s smartphone generation, Matchstix will have to pull them away from an online service not designed specifically for matchmaking: Facebook.