A Change of Guard

សូមស្តាប់វិទ្យុសង្គ្រោះជាតិ Please read more Khmer news and listen to CNRP Radio at National Rescue Party. សូមស្តាប់វីទ្យុខ្មែរប៉ុស្តិ៍/Khmer Post Radio.
Follow Khmerization on Facebook/តាមដានខ្មែរូបនីយកម្មតាម Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/khmerization.khmerican

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Khmer Culture And The Thai People

Reaksmei Kampuchea newspaper
30th December, 2008
Translated from Khmer by Khmerization

The Thai people have copied Khmer culture, adopted and practised it as a new culture to build a brand new society on the lands of the ex-Khmer territories and developed Thailand into a more advanced and prosperous country than Cambodia, which is the original owner of the culture and the lands.

Who are the Khmers? What is the Khmer culture? Who are the Thais? Where did they come from?

Khmer are peace-loving people who never fight one another. They are a people who were born and lived in the Golden Peninsula (Chroy Sovannaphum) since a long time ago.

According to the evidence from the pre-historic sites of Spean Neak Bridge at a reservoir northwest of Cambodia, it show that the Khmer people lived in the areas since 5000 years before the Christian Era. The Khmer people practised Khmer culture, which was a culture that taught Khmer people to behave appropriately, to become law-abiding citizens. It is a culture that teaches people to always respect elders, especially their parents, their teachers and older people.

The culture Khmer is the Khmer language, Khmer literature, ancestors worshipping, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Khmer traditions and Khmer arts etc. Khmer culture teaches Khmer to be intelligent and sow the seed of a hard working Khmer race. Khmer culture educate Khmer to be a dignified race, the first settlers in the territories of Nokor Phnom (Funan in Chinese). At the beginning of the first century of the Christian Era, Khmer culture was the most civilised culture during the Angkorian Era of 802-1431 AD. The Khmer people speak Khmer language which was the oldest language of the Khmer-Mon family in the region. During the Funan Era, the Khmer language was the most developed language due to the integration of the two languages of ancient Khmer language and the Sanskrit language of India.

Khmer have created the system of writing in the 7th century AD, which was evidenced by the first stone inscription in 611 AD at Angkor Borei in Takeo province. This system of Khmer writing, which was a source of Khmer values, have helped develop a more advanced culture until this present day which is the Khmer cultural assets including Khmer literature, traditions and arts. This culture has helped built many fine Khmer ancient temples, including the temple of Angkor Wat which was built in the 12th century and the Preah Vihear temple which was built in 911 AD.

Who are the Thai? Where did they come from?

The proper answer is very easy and that is the Thai people were wanderers who have moved to settle on the former Khmer territories. According to Mr. Henri Parc Monde (spelling?), a French author who wrote a book titled “Angkor” published by a Phnom Penh bookstore in 1960, wrote in page 9 that “The Thai people, who have a T’ai bloodline, came from southern China to settle in the Khmer territories, influenced by Khmer civilisation and have considered Khmers as their masters, but the T’ai people didn’t wait too long before usurping against their masters, the Khmers, through wars and at the end they have conquered the whole of Khmer territories.”

Mr. Dolfin Miniere (spelling?), another French author who wrote the “History of Cambodia” which was published in 1968, wrote in page 50 that “the T’ai people have created a state called ‘Nanchao’ in the 8th century in Yunan province of China and later moved to live in the mountain valleys of central China and Burma. Taking the chance when Burma was sacked by the Mongols led by Kublai Khan, the T’ai have taken control of most parts of Burma and learned the military strategy and tactics from the Mongols and copied the system of Khmer writing and later the T’ai managed to gain control of the whole Khmer administration in the Menam region."

The Khmer have fought against the T’ai (Thai) fiercely but lost and the T’ai established their capital at Sukhothai, which was a former Khmer capital. Even Mr. Anumarn Rajathorn, a Thai professor of the University of Chulalongkorn and a chairman of Thai History Review Committee, in 1968 wrote similar to what Mr. Parc Monde and Mr. Miniere had written.

Mr. Anumarn had written a book titled “Essay on Thai folklore”, published in Bangkok in 1968 in which he wrote on pages 8-11 that the T’ai people were originated in the south of the Yang-tse Kiang River in China and the Chinese people have recorded in their history book that called the T’ai as “jungle people”. In the 7th or 8th century, the T’ai people have created a state called “Nanchao” which was a name originated from the combination between the T’ai and Chinese words formed together. The word “nan” in Chinese means south and the word “chao” in Thai means prince/king.

In the 13th century, under the leadership of two leaders, the Thai have taken control of the Khmer capital of Sukhothai from the Khmer king and established their capital at Chiangmai. At the end of the 13th century in 1283, the Thai king, the third king of Sukhothai named Ramakamhaeng, had modified the Khmer alphabets into Thai alphabets, which the Thai people considered as the historical year of the Thai culture.

Before they have their own alphabets, they used Khmer alphabets in writing and because they have used Khmer alphabets they were able to seize Sukhothai from the Khmers. After they have created a state at Sukhothai, the Thai still use Khmer alphabets in their writing, especially Buddhist literatures which the Thai used to write on “Rith” leaves to make religious scriptures because the Thai believe that Khmer alphabets are sacred letters. After they sacked Sukhothai, the Thai were not satisfied and began their military expeditions to sack Angkor, which in 1431, 193 years after the sacking of Sukhothai, the Thai sacked Angkor and plundered almost all of Khmer cultural assets which caused miserable separations of Khmer families for hundreds of years afterward.

Since then, Khmer people do not know clearly what is Khmer culture which is an obstacle to the developments of Khmer society. Mr. Anumarn wrote in page 85 in his book “Essay on Thai Folklore” which describes that “ The Thai have combined little by little the Mon and Khmer languages into the Thai language and literature.”

In fact the Thai language is a language of the natives of Nanchao but the Thai borrowed many Khmer vocabularies. For example, the Khmer word “tess diel”(criticism), the Thai write and read as “tik tien”. The Khmer word of “kol” (movie), the Thai pronounced as “kon”, “kampeng“ (fortress/wall), the Thai pronounced as “kamphaeng”, thnol (road), as “thnon”, “rup reang” (form/shape), as “rup rang”, salarien (school), as “rong rien’, “chamroen” (prosperity), as “charoen”, preah vihear (temple), as ‘phra viharn”, ktum tess (water crest), as K’thum thet” etc. Mr. Anumarn wrote that the royal vocabularies that have been used by the Thai royal families were also borrowed from the Khmer royal vocabularies.

The Thai copied Khmer culture of the young respecting the old, copied the Khmer traditional code of dress like wearing sarong and they copied the Khmer architecture of building their houses in Khmer styles. In Khmer literature, the Thai copied from Khmer the Reamker epic (Ramayana) and called it “Ramaken”. The Khmer prawn soup “sngor nheaim“, the Thai called it “tom yam”. And the Thai ‘h’mok” (steamed spicy meat/fish paste) which Khmer called “amok” is also a Khmer food.

In arts, the Thai have copied many Khmer artistic performances, but they changed they way they dance to differentiate from Khmer.

In the Brahmanic (Hindu) belief, the Thai have copied many ceremonies and festivals from Khmer such as the royal ceremony of Royal Ploughing, Water Festival (om touk), kite flying etc.

Mr. Peter Jensen wrote in the Hindustan Times published on the 18th May, 2008 which quoted Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa, a renowned Thai historian on Khmer empires, who said that “The Thai invasions of Khmer territories made the Khmer to become weak, but the Thai copied all Khmer cultures and traditions, including the belief in the god-king and the ceremonies in the royal palace and the most influential belief among the circles of present Thai politicians is the “Khmer black magic”.

The above brief history show that the Thai people came from Nanchao of southern China in the 13th century to invade Khmer territories. Now, in the 21st century, the Thai still harbour the ambitions and still invade Khmer territories and plunder Khmer cultural assets. The Thai actions can only be likened to the words of Mr. Anumarn, the renowned Thai historian, on page 10 of his book “Essay on Thai Foklore” which he said “The Thai never ceased to be on the move.”

Indeed, they are still on the move……


Anonymous said...

It is not up to date information any more.

Anonymous said...

Please update information and do not bent the history for khmer nationalism. Every where in the world have cultural exchange. Many culture of khmer take it from indonesia, india, china, thailand, laos, vietnam (your real ememy that already invade khmer country). I not wonder why khmer still turn back to third world cause of have alot of like this.
this is a time to develop the global cultural to breakout the border of country and mind. I too sad for alot of NGOs come to support this country but..... waste time and money
Think forward with the good will.
A lot of people in khmer still dont have freedom, money and chance like you. If you have atime to think about this have to back to helping the poor people,is it better?

Anonymous said...

If you believe in karma, Thailand will pay the price for what they have done to Cambodia who helped Thai from the Mongol.
Thailand lost war to the British during WWII and became the foreign cemetery slave but Thailand still acts like Nazi in Asia.
Thailand is dying. Thailand politic crisis and Thailand economy crisis will put Thailand back to the period of Nanchao where wiped out by the Mongol.