yóm = dye
maew = a cat
kăai = sell
Literal MeaningDye a cat to sell
English ProverbMutton dressed as lamb
A scruffy feral cat has no monetary value. But if the market trader can dye its fur to make it look like an exotic or expensive breed. The cash value immediately increases, though it is still the same feral cat underneath! So this refers to making a superficial change to something in order to make it look better and so fool and defraud a customer. There is no direct equivalent in English.
tâa séu rót meu sŏng rá-wang jà dohn yóm maew kăai ná
If you buy the used car, beware the bad one because you cannot turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.