Thursday, December 10, 2009

Khmer Krom(高棉族)

The Khmer Krom (高棉族, Khmer: KhmerKrom.png, Vietnamese: Khơ Me Crộm) - Khmer people living in the Delta and the Lower Mekong area. They live in an area which was previously part of Cambodia and which Vietnam conquered in the 17th and 18th centuries. They are regarded as the indigenous ethnic Khmer minority living in southern Vietnam. In Vietnamese, they are known as Khơ-me Crộm or Khơ-me dưới, which literally means “Khmer from below” (“below” referring to the lower areas of the Mekong Delta).

The Khmer Krom are ethnic Khmer who inhabited that area long before the arrival of the Vietnamese. According to Vietnamese government figures , there are 1.3 million Khmer Krom(高棉族) in Vietnam, which is 1.4% of Vietnam population, 4th largest minority in Vietnam, after Tay(岱族)- 1.9%, Tai(傣族) -1.7%, and Murong (芒族) -1.5%.

Beginning in the early 17th century, colonization of the area by Vietnamese settlers gradually isolated the Khmer of the Mekong Delta from their brethren in Cambodia proper and resulted in their becoming a minority in the delta.

Prey Nokor was the most important commercial seaport to the Khmers. The city’s name was changed by Vietnam to Sài Gòn and then Hồ Chí Minh City. The loss of the city prevented the Cambodians access to the South China Sea. Subsequently, the Khmers' access to the sea was now limited to the Gulf of Thailand. It began as a small fishing village known as Prey Nokor. The area that the city now occupies was originally swampland, and was inhabited by Khmer people for centuries before the arrival of the Vietnamese.

In 1623, King Chey Chettha II of Cambodia (1618-1628) allowed Vietnamese refugees fleeing the Trịnh-Nguyễn War in Vietnam to settle in the area of Prey Nokor, and to set up a custom house at Prey Nokor. Increasing waves of Vietnamese settlers, which the Cambodian kingdom, weakened because of war with Thailand, could not impede, slowly Vietnamized the area. In time, Prey Nokor became known as Saigon.

In 1698, Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh, a Vietnamese noble, was sent by the Nguyen rulers of Huế to establish Vietnamese administrative structures in the area, thus detaching the area from Cambodia, which was not strong enough to intervene. Since 1698, the area has been firmly under Vietnamese administration. The Vietnamese became the majority population in most places.In 1757, the Vietnamese colonized the provinces of Psar Dèk (renamed Sa Đéc in Vietnamese) and Moat Chrouk (vietnamized to Châu Đốc).

The Khmer Krom have been a contentious issue between Vietnam and Cambodia ever since the colonization of the Mekong delta by the Vietnamese starting in the 17th century. After the French conquest in 1859, the French colonial administration confirmed the separation of the Mekong delta from the rest of Cambodia, administering it as the separate colony of Cochinchina , despite the fact that the Khmer Krom were still largely the majority in the area at the time. When independence was granted to French Indochina in 1954 , the delta of the Mekong was given to the state of South Vietnam , despite protests from Cambodia. In the 1970s, the Khmer Rouge regime attacked Vietnam in an attempt to reconquer those areas of the delta still predominantly inhabited by Khmer Krom people, but, faced by Viet Cong long accustomed to war, this military adventure was a total disaster and precipitated the downfall of the Khmer Rouge, with Vietnam occupying Cambodia.

Son Ngoc Thanh, the nationalist Cambodian, was a Khmer krom, born in Trà Vinh, Vietnam. Cambodia got independence in Geneva, 1954, through the Vietnamese struggle in the First Indochina War.

Khmer Krom are Theravada Buddhists, like Cambodian and Thai people, but unlike Vietnamese who are Mahayana Buddhists or Catholics

The Khmer Krom culture could become better known through its tourist sites in the Mekong Delta. Khmer Buddhist temples located in places such as Long An, Tien Giang, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu, and Soc Trang are now very popular as tourist destinations

South Vietnam(Vietnamese name), or Kampuchea Krom(Cambodian name), or Cochin china(under French Colony), are political identity for the Mekong Delta, either current or historical; now the territory are under political dispute between Vietnam and Khmer Krom political organization.

There was also report of human right violation in the area against Khmer Krom.

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Sa Đéc

Sa Dec (Vietnamese: Sa Đéc) is a city in Đồng Tháp Province in the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam. It is a river port and agricultural and industrial trading center. During the Vietnam War, it was the site of an American Swift Boat base.
Before the nineteenth century, it was the capital of Dong Khau Dao, and it was known as one of the largest cities in the Mekong Delta. Today, the town has a population of approximately 103,000. There are three industrial zones in this town, designated by the codes A, C1, and C. They attract a large number of businessmen from the Mekong Delta region.

The French writer Marguerite Duras lived in Sa Dec during a three to four year period between 1928 and 1932. Her mother ran a school on the corner of Hùng Vương and Hồ Xuân Hương, where a school still exists today. Duras met Huynh Thuy Le, the son of a wealthy Chinese family, and the two became involved in a love affair that became the basis for Duras's 1984 Prix Goncourt-winning novel, The Lover. The house of Huynh Thuy Le, at 255A Nguyen Hue Street, for many years an office for a government agency, is now (2009) open to the public, with guides offering tours in French, English and Vietnamese.

Châu Đốc

Châu Đốc is a district and town in An Giang province, bordering Cambodia, in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. As of 2003 the district had a population of 112,155. The district covers an area of 100 km².

The town is located by the Hâu River (a branch of the Mekong River flowing through Vietnamese territory) and Vinh Te canal. Châu Đốc is situated 250 km west of Hồ Chí Minh City. It takes about six hours to travel by bus from Hồ Chí Minh City.

Châu Đốc is famous for its variety of fish sauces (nước mắm) and mainly "mắm tai", a kind of anchovy. The local economy is based on culture of basa catfish export and on tourism. The town is a busy trading center due to its border position with Cambodia.

Vietnamese, Champa, Khmer live together here. The three main religions in this region are Mahayana Buddhism (Kinh/Vietnamese,Hoa/Chinese); Theravada Buddhism (Khmer/Cambodian), and Sunni Islam (Cham). The total population is around 120,000.

The site of Châu Đốc was long in history a territory of the Kingdom of Funan. The territory became Vietnamese about 300 years ago. The town is near the picturesque Mount of Sam where the Sam mount lady (Vietnamese: Bà Chúa Xứ Núi Sam) is worshipped. The Sam Mount Lady Ceremony is held every April of lunar calendar (May) every year.

"Mort Chrouk" was the Cambodian name vietnamized in Chau Doc.

Further reading:
8. letter to President Obama, USA)

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