About 200 young people gathered to celebrate Valentine’s Day at the National Blood Transfusion Centre yesterday during an event presided over by the Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng under the theme of “Give Blood, Give Love”.
Mr Bun Heng said at the blood donation campaign that he was happy to see so many young people taking part, which showed increased understanding of the need for blood donations.
“February 14 is a day that youths consider as Valentine’s Day or Loving Day, and you all as youths joined in donating blood which is a kind of sharing love for all victims who need blood, which saves their lives,” he said.
Sok Po, director of the National Blood Transfusion Centre, said the campaign was aimed at raising awareness of blood donations and hopefully creating a habit of it amongst youth.
“This is to connect Valentine’s Day to charity activities in society and encourage youths to join in social activity,” he said, adding that the transfusion centre has been holding the Valentine’s Day blood campaign since 2003.
In 2018, 487 people donated blood on Valentine’s Day, he noted. Last year, his centre received 83,982 units of blood which was an increase on 2017.
Kim Chanleap, 19, a student from CEO Institute, said it was the second time she had donated blood on Valentine’s Day to help people.
“I want to distribute my blood, even though it is not much, but it helps our people who really need it,” she said.
Ms Chanleap said she wanted to share her love by donating blood to everyone. She added that she would come again next year.
According to a research on the impact of Valentine’s Day on young people entitled “Love and Sexual Relationships a Decade Later” by researcher Tong Soprach, only 42.5 percent of those surveyed were genuinely interested in Valentine’s Day this year.
He added that 44 percent of respondents preferred to go to malls and cinemas, as opposed to karaoke lounges and guesthouses, to celebrate the day. He said young people were less likely to have pre-marital sex in these family-friendly venues.
However, gift-giving had decreased by nearly two thirds from 56.3 percent in 2009 to 21.6 percent this year.
Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday reminded young people to avoid acts violating Khmer traditions and customs.
“Today, I don’t want to talk about any political issues, but I want to say to grandchildren who just became teenagers: You all have to know what you should do and what you should not do on this Valentine’s Day,” he said on his Facebook page. “This does not mean I am interfering in young people’s affairs, but misconduct of Khmer culture is not a matter of being young.”
“Most grandchildren know and contemplate that they do not behave in ways contrary to Khmer tradition,” he added. “This research makes me happy.”