Monday, February 18, 2008

Khmer teacher from Surin came to look for Khmer language books in Cambodia

Chey Mongkol gave an interview to Kok Santepheap (Photo: Chamnab, Koh Santepheap newspaper)

Friday, 15 February 2008
Koh Santepheap newspaper
Translated from Khmer by KI-Media

Phnom Penh city – Chey Mongkol, a native Khmer from Surin province (Thailand) and a Khmer language teacher from Sisaket province (Thailand), declared on 13 February 2008 that the majority of Khmer people living in Surin no longer know how to speak Khmer anymore because they are not using their own language. However, now, Chey Mongkol has set up his small elementary school which is attended by about 60 children. The goal of his teaching is so that the younger generations know the Khmer language, otherwise, in the future, Khmer Surin will no longer know Khmer language at all, and they will only know Thai and Lao instead.

In an interview with Koh Santepheap at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) in Phnom Penh, Chey Mongkol indicated that his presence in Phnom Penh is to purchase books used to teach young Khmer children in Surin. He said that book merchants in Phnom Penh had given him 250 books also, and most of these books are for first grade level.

Chey mongkol indicated that only about 1-2% of Khmer people in Surin know their native Khmer language and still speak Khmer in Surin currently, but most of them are already very old. He added that the younger Khmer people no longer speak Khmer, they only know Thai: “I spend a lot of time teaching them, I want to preserve our Khmer language, otherwise, our Khmer language will disappear.”

Nevertheless, Chey Mongkol said that his teaching to young Khmer children did not meet with any opposition from the Thai authority. He added that, in the past, about 40-years ago, Khmer people were afraid to use their own language because they were forced to speak Thai at school and in public places, later on, Khmer people lost the habit of speaking their own language, and some say they are ashamed, and they stop speaking Khmer altogether.

Chey Mongkol claimed that, in spite of all this, the preservation of old Khmer customs in Surin still remains somewhat even if there is an influx of foreign culture or modern culture which seriously affect the preservation of Khmer Surin original culture. He added, currently, only old Khmer people still speak Khmer at home, whereas the younger generations no longer speak Khmer anymore.

Chey Mongkol said that he started a library for the students to read Khmer because he believes that Khmer teaching is not sufficient yet, therefore the additional book reading could complete part of the education. He added: “We want Khmer in Surin to preserve Khmer language so that it would be easier for them to communicate with Cambodians inside Cambodia.”

From Phnom Penh, Chey Mongkol will take back to Surin documents in Khmer language. He indicated also that he is giving a lecture to RUFA students where he showed slides about the situation of Khmer students in Surin, about dances performed by Khmer people in Surin, so that RUFA students understand about the current issues faced by Khmer people in Surin.

History students who listened to Chey Mongkol’s lecture said that they are interested about the history of Khmer people in Surin who has the same customs, and same origin as other Khmer people, and they want to preserve our Khmer language also in order to facilitate the communication between themselves and Khmer people in Cambodia. The RUFA students added: “Even though we are separated because of past history, but we are still one single people, we must connect with each others.”

Chey Mongkol indicated also: “In my family, they do not talk Khmer that much, some speak Thai, others speak Lao. Only I persevere to speak Khmer, even at the market, they don’t want to speak Khmer, but they speak Thai and Lao instead.” He added: “I am calling for the generosity of people who want to help expand Khmer language to help provide their support to me.” He added that he is working hard to help educate young generations of Khmer children to know their Khmer language, and to preserve their Khmer language.

For those who wish to support Chey Mongkol and Khmer Schools in Surin, please contact Chey Mongkol at the following email address:


Anonymous said...

I like peaceful Khmer Surin. They look real Khmer Deum. Some KK are too but many are Khmer Kleign klay.

Anonymous said...

Dear KI,

Thank you for posting this article and the email address for Bong Chey Mongkol. I will contact him and share my part to support him to push this program a reality. I would like to call to our KI readers to please support Mongkol's program in teaching Khmer Surin how to learn Kher lanuge.

Kind Regards

Anonymous said...

I would like to offer monthly support to Mr. Chey Mongkol.

Anonymous said...

Would like to make a correction to 11:01 AM. "Surin how to learn Kher lanuge" should be: "Surin how to learn Khmer language.

Anonymous said...

Thank you bong CHEY MONGKOL that you have interest to teach Khmer SURIN children to speak and to read Khmer language.I wish your good will become very successful in your desirable program.
God bless you bong CHEY MONGKOL

Anonymous said...

I'm a young boy,I would like to ask our seniors and our present leaders why we have 3 khmer in 3 different places,one in KAMPUCHEA KROM,one in HERE and another one in thailand,could we be just one Khmer?why we are separated from one another.
I have read news papers that Khmer Krom are in difficulties because vn forcing them not to be Khmer,can we help them to get out from this difficulties?

My name is Don said...

young boy. it is good that you are curious. Keep your inquisitiveness and learn about our Khmer history.
The reason we had so many Khmer in different regions is the reason why today we still don't understand each other.

As you see some people comment about, that some of us KK(Khmer-Krom) are Kleing Klai. Our people have a hard time accepting each other and have great paranoid and suspicious of each other.

I hope you learn not to repeat this same tragedy to your younger khmer friends. Learn to respect each other and not divide each other by your different neighborhoods (region), clothes (social status), and rank,(class).

These are the things that are important if you wish to reunite our people again. Don't think that the only way to reunion of our people is through changing land borders and boundary. It is not.

The way to reunite our people is what Mr. Monkol is doing now. It is through teaching our culture to ourselves and our friends and learning not to forget who we were. Only then we can unite to work together to build a great and strong Cambodia open for Khmer from every country.

us Khmer Krom are having the same problem as our Khmer Surin brother in Thailand in regards to language. You can even say our Surin brothers are lucky to enjoy such freedoms as those entertainment venues which are famous to us even oversea(the Khmer Surin DVDs).

But due to some attitude of our people and misunderstanding and also mistrust because some of our people don't understand our own history, Khmer Krom are still considered Kleng Klai(fakes) by these people.

Don't be fool by anyone. Do your study and listen to your parents.
We are Khmer everywhere, should know our history, language and love each other. That is only way we can unite again.

Anonymous said...

I encourage everyone to help out in order to keep our people aware of the origin and identity as Khmer people living in Thailand. Please go to the website or do whatever; if you can't help more, please consider $20 once in awhile and trust me you would be glad you did. Please help spread the words... Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!U.S.A for fighting for freedom."ANANIKUM AMERICA RULES!"

Anonymous said...

What a young boy is doing here?
How old are you young boy? 50, 60 or 70, 80 or 90?
What a dumb question you have? If one was born in Vietnam he is Vietnamese decent Khmer.

Anonymous said...

To Mr.chey Mongkol,I believe this is will help to rebuild our Homeland stronger again by teaching Young generation our Language and the history our Country, So we can be together again. Can you create website,May be our khmer peolpe will be able give money through this website.

Anonymous said...

khmer people can form a charity work group to help with this cause. help donate khmer instructional books to khmer people and those who want to learn khmer in thailand.