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,Sisaket, Buriram 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.