Saturday, 16.2.2008: Khmer Citizens That Cannot Speak Khmer

Posted on 17 February 2008. Filed under: Week 547 |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 547

In two communes at the northern border of the country, people are far away from the national society

“Preah Vihear: Khmer citizens living at the northern border of the country, including in Sralau Muoy and Sralau Pir communes, situated along the upper Mekong river bank bordering the Laotian side of the Mekong river, have until now not yet received any influence in terms of any dissemination of information from their own society and the cultural relations of their own country, because they are in a remote area next to the border of Laos.

“The people in the two communes of Sralau Muoy and Sralau Pir live very far away from the Khmer society ever since the border was set between the two countries of Cambodia and Laos during the French [colonial] era. The area is around 150 kilometers far away from the provincial town. There are no roads there connecting them to the town. In the dry season, the two communes can only be reached by trucks, because they can use cow-cart roads. It is very difficult to reach Kompong Sralau village, located in Sralau Muoy commune, at the Mekong river bank. In the rainy season, both communes cannot be reached, neither by car nor by motorbike or even cow-carts, because vehicles would get stuck, and many creeks cannot be crossed.

“In the two communes, all Khmer people were under the ideological influence of Siam [Thailand] during the time of control by Siam. Currently, in their villages and communes, their general language is 95% Laotian, while the Khmer language is used only when they meet with guests coming from outside once in while. Recently, a reporter from Koh Santepheap has traveled to the Khmer-Lao border with a delegation of the Provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sports, to Sralau Muoy and Sralau Pir. ‘At that time, we met a Khmer woman named Sen Mi. She is 36 years old, living in Kompong Sralau village, in the Sralau Muoy commune.’ She told Koh Santepheap in Khmer, with a Laotian accent, that she is Khmer, living in this village since she was very young. She had completed school with grade 6 (in the Laotian language), but she does not know any single Khmer letter, because in her village, a Khmer school existed only since 2000. So older people do not know the Cambodian language. Most of them can only speak Laotian.

“The people, who live in Sralau Muoy commune, have close relations with Laotian people, where they live on each side of the Mekong river bank, and they regularly cross the river by small boats to do business and exchange information with each other. Regarding their occupations, besides farming, the Kompong Sralau villagers enter the forest to seek non-timber forest products such as limes, rattans, and vines etc. All of these products are brought to the Laotian side of the river bank for Laotian businesspeople, because all of them have more trust in Laotian people, more than in their own Khmer people living nearby. Almost all of their life depends on business with Laotians. Most of those villagers also use mobile phones connected to Laotian services provider companies, to contact other people in Laos, and they travel by boat to reach each other, both Khmers and Laotians, without any document. As for the currency, people in both of Sralau’s communes generally use, the Kip, the Laotian currency only. There is hardly any Riel used in the area. However, if they want to relate to business more closely to Cambodia, they exchange their Laotian Kip into Dollars in a Laotian market.

“It is to note again that 95% of the children 10 years old and below do not know Khmer, they know only the Laotian language. Nowadays, when a delegation or tourists come and look at the upper areas of the Sralau communes, they see the area where our Cambodian citizens live next to the Great Mekong river border: at night, the other side of the river bank at the Smao island in Laos, has a lot of electricity, but if one looks back to our Khmer Sralau commune, it is dark and quiet…

“Monks, who stay at Wat Botom Phallaram in Kompong Sralau village, as well as commune councilors, and people in the Sralau Muoy commune, appeal through Koh Santepheap to the Royal Government to build a road connecting the Preah Vihear provincial center to Kompong Sralau village, a distance of around 150 kilometers, and they hope that Samdech Akak Moha Senapadei Dekchor Hun Sen will respond to this request, in order to enable them to have easier communication in all fields with the present society of Cambodia as well as in the future. They want this area to regularly get connected to the Khmer community again, and to reduce the use of the language and culture of another nation.” Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6273, 16-17.2.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 16 February 2008

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1569, 16.2.2008

  • In Cambodia, 30 People Die from Tuberculosis per Day [according to Mao Tan Eang, Director of National Center for TB and Leprosy Control]
  • Lun Phun [Sam Rainsy Party official who has just joined the Cambodian People’s Party and was appointed as an advisor to the government]: Sam Rainsy Party Will Be Dissolved because of Eng Chhay Ieng [secretary-general of the Sam Rainsy Party]
  • Asian Development Bank Representative [Muhammad Saad Hashim] Studies Situation of Economic Development in Cambodia
  • Fortune Teller Stalls and Market Stalls at Wat Phnom Exhibition Site Demolished for Reconstruction of Garden
  • Young Man, Who Had Been Disowned by Parents, Hanged Himself [15 February – Kang Meas, Kompong Cham]
  • [General Secretary on the Karen National Union, Pado Mahn Sha,]Senior Leader of Burmese Insurgents, Murdered in Thailand [14 February]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6273, 16-17.2.2008

  • Khmer Citizens That Cannot Speak Khmer – In two communes at the northern border of the country, people are far away from the national society
  • Khmer Rouge Tribunal Plans to Prolong Its Mandate to 2011 and Increase the Expense, Which Have Not Yet Been Made Available, to $170 Million
  • Young Woman, Who Cannot Repay Debt of $200, Attempted to Jump into the River to Commit Suicide; She Was Prevented by Police [Phnom Penh]

Meatophum, Vol.52, #677, 18-23.2.2008

  • Senior Officials Leave Sam Rainsy Party Like Water Flowing through a Broken Dike
  • Mr. Keang Vang [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Kampot who has recently joined Funcinpec] Affirms that Funcinpec Is Democratic, so He Returned
  • Chicken and Duck Eggs and Pork from Yuon [Vietnam] Hidden Under Vegetables Are Imported through Doung Pram Pir Daeum Crossing Every Day [Memut, Kompong Cham]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3389, 16-17.2.2008

  • Asian Development Bank Must Prevent Its Aid from Being Used by Ruling Party for Political Benefit
  • US Secretary of State [Condoleezza Rice] Disappointed about [slow] Speed of Reforms in Cambodia
  • Director of Anti-Corruption Program of Pact Cambodia [Sek Barisoth] Concerned about Missing Points in Anti-Corruption Draft Law
  • Concerning Preah Vihear Temple, Siamese [Thai] Side Still Continues Insolently to Abuse Khmer Sovereignty and Integrity
  • [Director-general of the National Police] Hok Lundy Takes Action against Unusual Police Vehicle License Plates [which are used by criminals]
  • Chea Mony [the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia] Pushes Supreme Court to Consider Amnesty for Falsely Accused Murderers Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun [accused of killing Chea Vichea in 2004, leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia]

Prithtikar, Vol.6, #68, 15.2.2008

  • Purpose to Block the Listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site Is an Abuse [of the verdict of the International Court of Justice]
  • It Is Time AZ Company Should Remove Checkpoints Extorting Money from Travelers from National Road 4

Rasmei Angkor, Vol.15, #1279, 15.2.2008

  • Dekchor Hun Sen: I Have Never Had Even a Dream about Making a Law to Sell Land to Foreigners
  • Blood Still Continues Bleeding from Sam Rainsy Party; Mr. Hor Sopheap [who once left Sam Rainsy for Funcinpec and had recently returned to Sam Rainsy Party] Also Leaves [for the Cambodian People’s Party]; Eng Chhay Ieng Is a Thorn in the Eyes of Officials of the Party

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4517, 16.2.2008

  • US Demanded Debt [of approx. $154 million out of the debt of $339 million], Cambodia Said the Debt Was Owed by Illegal Government [of the Khmer Republic]
  • [Prince] Thomico: Officials Leave [Sam Rainsy Party] because They Lost Hope They Could Overcome the Cambodian People’s Party
  • Japan Provides Concession Loan [of US$31 million] to Create Special Economic Zone [in Sihanoukville]
  • Ministry [of Public Works and Transport] Instructs the Owners of Private Vehicles with State License Plates, Police License Plates, and Cambodian Royal Armed Forces License Plates to Change the Plates in Time [the due date is 1 March 2009]
  • Director of Tonga [garment] Factory Takes Legal Action against a Small Number of Workers Who Destroyed Factory Equipment [Dangkao, Phnom Penh]
  • Man, Who Took Beehives up to the Top of a Sugar Palm Tree, Got Stung All over His Body [14 February – Samraong Tong, Kompong Speu]
  • Police Suppressed Pornographic Video House and Arrested One Owner [Dangkao, Phnom Penh]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3249, 16.2.2008

  • Hun Sen Appoints Many Advisors for Himself after Sar Kheng’s Power Had Been Strengthened at the Ministry of Interior
  • Ten More Officials of the Sam Rainsy Party [names not mentioned] Continue to Leave
  • Siam [Thailand] Still Wants Equal Share of Khmer Preah Vihear Temple
  • US National Democratic Institute Organizes Meeting between Parliamentarians and Workers
  • Nhek Bun Chhay [secretary-general of Funcinpec] Wants to Remove Nuth Sokhom [Minister of Health] at the End of Term [over corruption in bidding for medical supplies]
  • Yeay [“grandmother”] Phan [Suy Sophan, the president of the Phanimex company] Takes Over Even Sites of Hospital of Labor and Department of Labor

Go to last week’s editorial

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