Extract from "The Khmer Lands of Vietnam Environment, Cosmology and Sovereignty" - KNT Diary

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Extract from "The Khmer Lands of Vietnam Environment, Cosmology and Sovereignty"

The 68th Anniversary of the Lost of Khmer Lands to Vietnam (June 4, 1949-June 4, 2017)

Having a pile of books in your room is useless unless you read them. Here's extract of a groundbreaking book to be read specifically in commemorating the day the Khmer Krom annexed by the French to Vietnam...

Smugness mingles with desperations in Vietnamese official and middle class urban depictions of the Khmer as primitive and backward, and as possessing a low cultural level and a culture that is unsuited to modern realities. Among Khmers themselves the discourse of crisis is even more pronounced. Khmers would point to a host of indicators that they are marginalised, poor and unable to succeed in Vietnamese schooling. They are over-represented in badly paid and low skilled jobs in the agrarian sector and under-represented in political life.

[...] many Khmers considered the current [Vietnamese] government to be opposed to the emergence of an enlightened, confident and prosperous Khmer-speaking population under its watch. Yet the government of Cambodia was deemed an equally poor champion of their interests.
[...] although Khmers in Vietnam contemporaneously were becoming increasingly influent in Vietnamese, they continue to inhabit a cultural world that is strikingly different to that of their Vietnamese-identifying neighbours. They possess an incredibly rich store of stories about the origins and properties of natural phenomena, the meaning of place names, and a host of Khmer legendary figures and events. These stories testify to a rich imaginative life and an ever-replenishing poetic and spiritual connection to the land and the waters of their region.
Philip Taylor (2014), The Khmer Lands of Vietnam Environment, Cosmology and Sovereignty, Singapore: NUS Press.

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