Who’s Listening? From Centre to Periphery. Understanding narratives on interethnic sentiment at the Cambodian border through Facilitative Listening Design
A year after our first Who’s Listening initiative showed that perceptions among residents in Phnom Penh about the border between Cambodia and Vietnam was a major concern, a second group of “Listeners” decided to confront this head-on. What was it about the border that caused such anxiety and emotion for those in faraway Phnom Penh? Bringing Facilitative Listening Design to four Cambodian provinces bordering Vietnam, a diverse group of Khmer, Indigenous, Cham/Khmer Islam, Chinese-Cambodian, and ethnic Vietnamese went into their own communities to listen and learn. What they heard does not always match with what had been shared earlier by residents in the capital. Different ethnic groups living side-by-side along the border have complex relations with their ethnic Vietnamese neighbours. Business plays a large role in connecting, but also personal relations tie people together and push them to reconsider preconceived notions and stereotypes towards “the Other”.