Psychiatric Views on the Daily News - Episode 108

Today Is Also Cambodian New Year

It is Christian Good Friday and the first night of the Jewish Passover, but did you know today marks another holiday?

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

I am quite sure that most of our readers in the United States know that today, Friday April 15th, is the Christian Good Friday and the first night of the Jewish Passover. I sure did not know that it was also the Cambodian New Year, which lasts from April 14-16 this year, until a reader told me in offering well wishes for the other holidays. Such are our cultural blind spots.

In Cambodia, it marks the end of harvest time. On the second day, today, it is time to think about the less fortunate and offer charity to the poor. Cambodia, like other countries and peoples, has sometimes reached those goals and sometimes not. There have been the glories of Angkor War, but also the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot in the late 1970s.

It is as if we have such holidays to remind us of stories where we humans over all times, places, and cultures did our worst and best toward each other and within each other. We should be reminded that we cannot just pass over our weaknesses.

Knowing human nature as we do brings psychiatry the ongoing challenge to encourage, elicit, and expand the best of us. As only 1 example, given the Cambodian New Year, let’s commit the next year to reducing the Asian-American hate that has risen once again in the United States during this pandemic time. Dedication to do so would make this a “good” Friday indeed.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.