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Monday, 21 September 2009

Who is Khom? and Who is Khmer?

By Rocky
From California, USA
http://www.khmerbrain.wordpress.com

Is anybody know who is “Khom”? Who are they? and Where do they live? Can anybody tell me? Sometimes ago I felt really embarrassed that I did not know that who is “KHOM” and what they are. But don’t you wanna know why I felt like that? and what it has to do with me personally? Before I answer to that question above, here below are what is in Thailand history refer to as Khomhttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/_NsVSY22DPLc/SW1tK97ESKI/AAAAAAAAAE0/90TngY-Suk4/s320/khorm.jpghttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/_NsVSY22DPLc/SW1tYh8NUtI/AAAAAAAAAFE/yIGM4v0i8uU/s320/consonantsandvowels.jpghttp://1.bp.blogspot.com/_NsVSY22DPLc/SW1tRJYptpI/AAAAAAAAAE8/tkWBaG-fWcI/s320/khorm2.jpgThese couple pieces of papers are quoted from Thai history books, even though I have not yet found the first hand source, which show what “KHORM” alphabets are, which the Siamese refer to. The point is in Thai history. They believe that their scripts were derived from the Khom nation, and the worst is that the Thais do not believe that a “KHOM” is a Khmer.

Let's go back to my question above. The reason I personally felt embarrassed because I am a Cambodian or a Khmer, and I do not know that there is such as word “Khom” in Khmer history, especially a Khom is a word which the Thais refer to the Khmer people in the ancient time.

There is nothing wrong with the ideas above, since in this 21st century most of the country promote human rights and freedom of expression is just one of those rights. However, given false information is what most of us think as completely unacceptable. Thai government has all the right to think and to say as well as the Thai citizens but as long as it is not affecting the other nation or people. The ideas that Thai citizens believe that Khom is not Khmer, the ancient Khmer, is what we Cambodians can not tolerate since it affects the Cambodian history, nationality, origin, and reputation.

A Thai law professor named Sompong Sucharitkul who spoke with ABC Radio Australia on Monday, August 04, 2008 has claimed that a Khom is not a Khmer. He said: "The current generation of Kampucheans are not the same as the Khom, the old Khmer, that may have been successor in title but it’s long far removed from their ancestry.” It seems like Thailand has long been rewriting Cambodian history for their Thai generations, and this kind of belief seemed to be deep rooted in the minds of every single Thai citizen and children who have been taught the wrong history about their neighbors history as what the Thai law professor above has himself been taught.

To Cambodians, such Thai belief that has been mentioned above can be considered as deprivation of Khmer history and Khmer citizens of their true history as a whole. This kind of statement and belief can really provide a misinformation about Cambodia and Cambodians to the world community, especially the statement above can be translatable that Cambodia is a liar nation since it has claimed that it is a nation of the Khom or the Khmer.

In reality, the Khmers have not yet been exterminated and there will be only one Khmer race in the world history. Even though Khmer is no longer a big and powerful race in the region, which they once were, they know that they have a very long history. The Khmer people know that after they have gone through many ups and downs of a turbulent history, there is a boat which is still floating and there is no second boat ever existed.

It maybe difficult for foreigners to understand the Thai mentality in regard to the Khmer history, but it can be well understood by the Khmers. It seems like there are some cultural, political, and historical reasons that got involved in this long Thai conspiracy to twist the true Khmer history. Even though Thailand is a stronger nation compared to Cambodia nowadays, but Thailand was only formed as a vassal state under the Khmer Empire period and later on expanded itself stronger and became a powerful nation after the Khmer golden age had vanished. After the fall of Angkor (1431), the Siamese rulers started to absorb and simplify every Khmer civilization and culture and used it as their own such as language, scripts and culture. However the Siamese do not want anything to be attached with the Khmer even though in reality they are, they have used every mean to disregard the Khmer civilization and claim it as theirs. All of these reasons without understanding the Siamese and Khmer history, foreigners will never understand the real action of the Siamese who now have been referred to as Thais.

There is proverb which says “history is written by the victors”. There is nothing wrong with this proverb, but it is so wrong and is an unethical mistake that one nation can write another nation’s history. To Cambodians, by rewriting the Khmer history and creating a word “KHOM” instead of Khmer to put in their history's education system to educate their children, the Thais have shown their long term political interests to blind the world of their own dirty actions and ignorance of their true origin, especially their actions, in trying to undermine the Khmer history and origin.

By Rocky

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Khom is Khmer. There is no denial. The Thais can deny that Khom is not Khmer, but where do the Khom live now? Who are they now?

The Thais are too shameful to acknowledge that Khom was Khmer, because they were once ruled by the Khom or Khmer.

Anonymous said...

Base on my understanding of Khumai or Khmer appeared during the founding Khmer Kingdom sometime mid 7th century.

Let's go back in time. Kambuja was one of the earliest Indian tribe to settle and established colonies in SouthEast Asia for trade purposes. They mainly settled in modern day south Vietnam and along Mekong Delta. There was cultural exchange between Indian settlers and Mon-people(Mon in Khmer means "before or pre"). The inter-marriage between Kambuja king and Mon-princess established the first civilization in the region called Funan. Funan kingdom, or as Khmer refer to as "Norkor Phnom" now called "Prey Norkor" or Kampuchea Krom, now south Vietnam.

Later, Chenla(Chenlea in Khmer) kingdom was founded. It was uncleared if Chenla was a break-away from Funan or a seperate founding kingdom. Soon later, Funan became Chenla(water, south) as other Chenla became Chenla(land, north). Chenla(land and water) was invaded by Java kingdom(modern day Bali of Indonesia and Malaysia). Javanese captured Chenla's king and his son prince Jayavaraman II. Prince Jayavaraman II was held captive and given an education in the way of the Javanese. Khmer language is a combination of Sansikrit and Palli(Javanese). It was uncleared if prince Jayavaraman II was freed or if he was let go. Nevertheless, he was the first king of Kumai/Khom/Khmer and fought to regained his lost territories left from the broke up of Chenla kingdom. This is the point where Thailand twisted this part of Khmer history for its own good. Thai claimed that Khmer was an Indian tribe who invaded their Kindom. I wonder, who were the Thai before the founding Thailand nation. Thai even claimed that modern day Thai are the descendent of Chenla kingdom. Heck..that make two of us.

Cambodia is the western term for Khmer. The term "Khmer" represents people and nation or Kampuchea (Kambuja)as more formal. The term Khmer is not necessarily says exact way in other part of Asia. Thailand refer to modern day Khmer people as "Khumai" and refer "Kampuja" as nation. Either way, Khmer is just as given name for people while Khmer ancestors dated as far back as hunter gatherers who roamed freely in the region until fate had met them.

Anonymous said...

During the Siem invasion and accupation of Pheah Vihear province, much of the Khmer living around Preah Vihear temple were killed off. Only a few escaped to tell the story. At World Court in Haque, Holland in June 15th, 1962, Khmer was able to prove to the court that the temple belongs to Cambodia by finding one living "Khom" to testify. And testified he did. The court decision was 9-3 in favor of Preah Vihear be returned to the rightful owner of Cambodia. If it hadn't been that one "Khom", Thailand would have won the case.

There is something about Preah Vihear that Thailand desperately wants. Could it be that there is something magical about it. Could it be that which ever country obtain Preah Vihear, inherits some sort of magical mystical power.

Anonymous said...

This sort of twisted ideology aims to discredit the khmer people and their claim to a rich culture and history. While some thais are decended from khmers, the population foolishly believes that they are in fact decended from the khom/khorm. Despite being one and the same, the Thai refuse to acknowedge this and assert that khom were nobility, the backbone of the angkor kingdom, while the khmers were simply peasants. This is extremely distasteful and dangerous as it breeds hatred and prejudice. Whats more shocking is that this mentality is reflected in the highest levels of their society.

Anonymous said...

First of all let me clarify the 2nd anonymous theories on Kampuja and Khmer, then I will share with you the reason why Thai call Khmer as Khorm.

1. There was no evidence to support clearly that there was an Indian colony in Cambodia. The presence of Indian civilization in present day Cambodia resulted from the economic contact be tween Funan and India.
2. Inscriptions and Chinese documents testified that Funaneses are Khmers not Mons.
3. King Jayavarman II did not come or brought with him to Cambodia from Java the Pali and Sanscrit due to there was no inscription written during his reign. However, Sanscrit inscription existed in Cambodia long before the reign of King Jayavarman II.

Now turn to the word Khorm and Khmer. Khorm is recornized by the Khmer in mordern day. There was no evidence to support that ancient Khmers used to calle themselves Khorms.
The first appearence of this word was founded in early Thai history of Sukhothai period and it is used until today only in Thailand to reffers to ancient Khmers.
Khorm in Thai way of interpretation was a transcription from the Khmer word of KROM meaning Lower. With this interpretation Khorm is a word used by upper Khmers of Nokor Reach Burei Rum and Surin to differenciate from Khmers living in lower land of present day Cambodia.

Anonymous said...

the langauge of funanese and chenla maybe written in sanskrit but not modern day khmer language. khmer language was not derived from sanskrit of india alone, there is definately some influences of pali of javanese in khmer language. chewea(in khmer) were javanese. they had descimated chenla during their invasion. it's possible that king jayavaraman II was of chenla descent. he was held as prisoner in java. after he had escaped, he restablished a new kingdom called khmer. please do research on javanese alpabet characters, see how much resemblance there are to khmer alphabet characters. maybe this might clear up some misunderstanding.

anyway,whatever thai labeled khmer as "Khom", it's just another name for inhabitants who had their genealogy back as far as there was dry land in southeast asia.

Anonymous said...

10:30am, you're somewhat correct in your understanding. Kaundinya of Kambujadesha(in sanskrits) tribe was a king of India who married princess Soma of Mon-Khmer and created a Funan kingdom in 6th century. I don't think Mon-Khmer necessarily KHMER as in flesh and blood of modern day Khmer. I just realize that "mon" does mean "before". We refer to ancient Khmer as Mon-Khmer because they were multiple tribes of inhabitants roaming in the region, but I don't think there was Khmer tribe. However; the Khmer Empire brought much of cultural influence in the region and many of those tribes became Khmer within the Khmer Empire and adopted the way of the Khmer. It's unknown how Jayavaraman II, who escaped from Java kingdom started his own nation under the name Khmer, or Kumai. For Siem to refer to Khmer as "Khom" is unknown to me. However; I do know that Siem refer to Khmer as "Kumia" and Cambodia as "Kampuja". Do we see the connection between Khmer and Kampuja? Khmer as people, as Kampuja/Kampuchea as a country. Maybe Kumai and Kambujadesha are all in one, it was just that one is before the other. Whatever the case, Siem can't say that Khmer are invaders and conquers from India, that is just their false historical manipulation of keep themselves seperated from their true genealogy.

Anonymous said...

Khom is Khmer! Thais can come up with all these BS theories that Khom is not Khmer all they want.....the whole world already knew the fact that Khmer today are decendants of ancient Khmer(Khom to Thai).