ABOUT KHMER KROM



Jomp riep sur,

Due to UNPO.org web site is temporary down or has a broken link, I am unable to directly bring up the original page about Khmer Krom to you. Fortunately G o o g l e's cache http://www.unpo.org/cgi-bin/members.cgi?country=khmer is available to viewers, which I have provided here for you to learn more about us.
I apology for any inconvience. Thank you so much for interested about Khmer Krom.
With love, peace and harmony!
Mylinh Nakry


Member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation UNPO.



KHMER KROM

Geographical Features:

Kampuchea-Krom means "Cambodia Below" or "South Cambodia".
Kampuchea-Krom was the southernmost territory of the Khmer Empire, and it was once known as (French) Cochin China.
It is the southwestern part of Vietnam. It covers an area of some 89,000 kmē with Cambodia to the north, the Gulf of Thailand to the west, the South China Sea to the southeast and the Champa's territory to the northeast.
Prey Nokor was one of the most important commercial cities of all in Kampuchea-Krom, but the name was first changed to Saigon and then to Ho Chi Minh City by the Vietnamese Communist in 1975.

Population:

It is estimated that there are about 8 million Khmers living in Kampuchea-Krom.
Approximately 80 percent of them live in the Mekong delta, and a small number is in other provinces throughout the southern part of Vietnam.
Besides the Vietnamese, there are other people living in Kampuchea-Krom, including the Chinese, the Chams, the Mountgards, and many other small ethnic groups. The Khmers-Krom are outnumbered by these population groups.
About 70 percent of the Vietnamese and 95 percent of the Chinese live in the cities and fill most of important jobs in government and business. The Khmers-Krom live throughout the country, especially in the Mekong delta.

Culture and language:

Approximately 95 percent of the Khmers-Krom are Buddhists. They practice Hinayanna Buddhism, whereas most Vietnamese practice Mahayanna Buddhism,or Chistianity. The Chams are Muslims, and the Chinese are mostly Buddhists,and some Christians.
There are more than 580 temples and more than 10,000 monks throughout Kampuchea-Krom.Some temples were built many centuries ago and are still standing today, but many others were destroyed during the wars.(The Khmer pagodas, 450 in the delta of Mekong, play a fundamental role as guardians of the Khmer culture and notably in the field of education.)
For centuries, Theravada Buddhism has been part of the Khmer identity and culture. Practiced by virtually all Khmers Krom, Theravada Buddhism influences all aspects of life to a much greater extend than do religions in the West. The Khmer Krom sees Theravada Buddhism as a rational religion, possessing a coherent philosophy, which neither incites violence nor excites passion.
Theravada Buddhism shaped the Khmer Krom way of life, guiding the standards of conformity for men, women and children. Religious institutions are responsible for the education and personality formation of the children.(Theravada Buddhism is probably the same as Hinayanna Buddhism)

After 1975 (land reform acts), in the name of the proletariat revolution, no one was allowed to own land. The only means to make a living for Khmer Krom was stolen.
Ironically, when the communist government ensured that no Khmer's farm land was left for private ownership it started to sell or distribute to farmers.
The loser of this deceitful scheme was the Khmer. Khmer Krom had to buy back their own land.Those who could not afford became tenants on their own land.
Furthermore, the government official or their family kept all fertile lands. As a result, most Khmer were left starving. During the 70s virtually all traditional religious activities ceased.They could not even afford to buy a robe for their children to be ordained.

Today, the current authority somewhat allowed the Khmer to resume their religious practice and renovate their temples.
According to the KKF, this gesture is only a trap to attract much needed foreign currency from the Khmer Krom abroad who generously send the money back home.
On the political front, the Vietnamese attacked more directly to dissolve Khmer Krom religion.
John Crowley, an officer of the U.S. Embassy to Bangkok wrote about religious repression toward Khmer Krom as follows:
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam Government seeks to destroy Khmer culture in Vietnam through other, more subtle means:
Repairing or making addition to temples is forbidden.
New temples cannot be constructed.
Ordination of those under 55 years of age is forbidden.
Temples cannot be used as meeting area.
All temple donations must be given through government representative, etc.
All of this, and much more, can be seen as a sophisticated campaign to decentralize, fractionalize and reduce the influence of Buddhism on the Khmer Krom in Vietnam.

The Khmer language is spoken in all Khmer families and communities.For official business, however, the Vietnamese language is strictly enforced.
About 10 percent of the Khmers-Krom is able to speak and write Vietnamese correctly.
The Khmer language is taught at home and in the temples, but it is not permitted in any official business.
The struggle against the Vietnamese government to allow the use of Khmer in school or public place has been advocated for years,but no satisfactory result has ever been achieved.
In many of instances, thousands of Khmers-Krom were accused, jailed, tortured, deported, or persecuted for speaking, learning or teaching the Khmer language.
The Vietnamese do not allow books or documents to be written or published in Khmer unless they are to be used as propaganda.
The Khmer language is spoken almost exclusively in rural zones, only the children going to school understand Vietnamese. However, once they re-enter on their premises they exclusively speak Khmer with their parents.
Conversely, in the urban zones, where the mixed marriages are very numerous and the exchanges with the Vietnamese and the Chinese are very many,the Khmer language is not any more spoken but by the old ones; the young people speak Vietnamese almost exclusively.

Environmental problems:

There are 2 problems in some of the zones which have strong Cambodian settlement.
The salt deposit to the grounds make the coastal areas more and more sterile.
In the district of Duyen Hai the rice yield has decreased by 50 to 90% in 30 years.
This salt deposit worsens with the increase in the use of water of the Mekong in agriculture. The irrigation canals multiply in the regions of An Giang, Long Xuyen,Can Tho.
Worsening factors: destruction of the mangrove, the floods which kill people and destroy the harvests.They are due to the rains of July to October and the resulting swelling of the water of the Mekong, the weak slope of the river, the low dams, the weak drainage and the problem of the deforestation.

Economy:

After 1975 (land reform acts), in the name of the proletariat revolution, no one was allowed to own land.The only means to make a living for Khmer Krom was stolen.
Ironically, when the communist government ensured that no Khmer's farm land was left for private ownership it started to sell or distribute to farmers.
The loser of this deceitful scheme was the Khmer. Khmer Krom had to buy back their own land. Those who could not afford became tenants on their own land.
Furthermore, the government official or their family kept all fertile lands. As a result, most Khmer were left starving.
The economic status of the Khmer Krom is reducing from land-owners to barely physical laborers for less than 1.0 U.S. dollar per working day.
They are living ten folds below poverty level but the government of Vietnam constantly prevents any international organisations to observe the facts to help these people.

Organizations:

The Khmer Krom are represented in UNPO by the Khmer Kampuchea Krom Federation.

The three branches of the federation have been elected from the representatives of Khmer Krom constituencies around the world.

The officers of the federation from different regions of the world are the legitimate representatives of the Khmer Krom people.

The Executive Committee of the Federation is placed under a Steering Committee, after consultation with member organisations of the Federation in each region.

History:

The Khmer-Krom people have been in existence in this part of the peninsula since the beginning of the first century.
The territory was immense compared to the Khmer popularion at that time, creating opportunities for expansionist neighbours to invade.Therefore, Vietnam moved their people to Kampuchea-Krom using all kinds of tactics.
The epoch of the Khmer Empire has been from the start of the 9th century until early 15th century.
During this period, the Empire was a major power in South East Asia.
The famous architecture and construction of the ancient Angkor Wat, and many other monuments in the Empire had brought the Khmer artistic to a very high level.
The ruined port of Oc-Eo (O-Keo in Khmer) in the province of Rach Gia in today's southern Vietnam, was the busiest port in the region, where the Khmers, Chams,Chinese, Indians, and Europeans did their trading.
The township of Prey Nokor was a commercial center for the Khmer Empire, and it was once the most important military garrison against the Vietnamese's southward movement.

After over one thousand years under Chinese domination, the Vietnamese ambition on territory expansion gained strength in the 11th century.
Vietnam moved its southern border further and further to the south and as a result the Khmer Empire declined from the 14th to the 19th century.
The Vietnamese leaders used inter-marriage as another means of manipulation to capture the territory of Kampuchea-Krom.
The territory therefore became smaller and smaller as time went by and in 1954, as the French left the territory, Kampuchea-Krom was incorporated into Vietnam, rather than Cambodia.
The Khmer-Krom people have been legally separated from the motherland Cambodia since then.
They are now considered as Khmers in Vietnam and, and as Vietnamese in Cambodia.
During the presidency of the Republic of South Vietnam (1955-1963), Ngo Dinh Diem ordered that all Khmer names be changed to Vietnamese, and the Khmer-Krom identity was altered by a new and easily identifiable as the "Vietnamese of Khmer Origin."
As a result of this decree, some of those who worked for the government, including military officers, lost their Khmer identity.



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