Lonely… ‘Khmer’

Hua Hin. Visiting ‘Amazing Thailand‘ from the ‘Kingdom of Wonders.’ I got the 2010’s edition of Lonely Planet about Thailand (13th edition, January 2010) to read in my 12 hours bus travel from Sihanoukville to Bangkok. I have to recognize that I admire the work of Lonely Planet. It is real original and well documented. Then it is made upon the research of writers living or working in the country. The history of Thailand, according with this 2010 edition (p. 29-40), is a complete resume. I noticed only a great absent: Cambodia. Actually, it is a pity that the use of references is poor in the article. It is  said, for example, that a ‘modern linguistic theory and archaeological evidence‘  – which ones? – ‘suggest that the first true agriculturists in the world, perhaps also the first metal workers, spoke an early form of Thai and lived in what we know today as Thailand (p. 29).’ How can Lonely Planet say it? From where this conclusion came? 

As talking to the Dvaravati culture, it is said that the main ethnicity of the Dvaravati peoples was Mon – like Cambodians – ‘whose culture quickly declined in the 11th century under the political domination of the invading Khmers, who made their regional headquarters in Lobburi, that is today central Thailand ! But Dvaravati people were not Thai, it is clear.

In the section dedicated to culture the Khmer mention is astonishing poor. For example, Khmer people is hardly mention in ‘Other Minorities‘ (p. 53)  while there is an extensive part dedicated to Chinese and Hill Tribes. The edition seems to unknown that some Thai provinces have a meaningful presence of Thai-Khmer groups, especially in territories that were part of Cambodia, and that some Thai communities speak actually Khmer language, like the Khmer Surin in Thai provinces like Surin,SisaketBuriram and Roi Et.

The Thai civilization, so admire now by the  planet, has a great Khmer influence in its language, culture, religion, military, sport, traditions and much more. Thai people are great, courageous and original, but, as the Latin civilization recognized itself in the influence of the Greeks, so Thais should pay homage to Cambodia, from where many of their ancestors came. To ignore it, is to open the way to division and ignorance. To know it and to research, is to open the ways to love, understanding and fraternity between to brother cultures.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39xwdGtVXI) and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (http://www.colombia.co/en/culture/colombians-that-are-making-this-a-better-world.html).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: