cambodia, CWB Communities NEWS

Adjusting to New Culture

Kouy is one of the biggest ethnic in Cambodia while there are total about fifteen. They have own language not writing. They had beautiful culture and great history. They are the generation of iron making dynasty. Living in deep jungle, so culture was closely link to sprite of forest, and the culture was born from the nature, forest. It was the same to beginning of human believe in early man.

The culture will change, flowing and exchange from one kingdom, between country or from a region to other in appropriate time sometime it took such as really long to adapt in peacefully, so finally they could adapt, but how about Kouy communities who living in the forest which is in areally short time forest was destroyed?

I visited a Kouy Community in 2013, it was a really beautiful, peaceful community covered by forest, and the way to village were shading by big tree. They could speck Khmer well, with a bit difference of pronunciation. The living base on forest by-products, such as wood poles, seasoning of vegetable and fruit, lacquer, resin extracted from certain trees and hunting. In a year they were having works. Surprisingly, I visited again in 2018 everything completely changed. The land of natural forest covered by cashew nut field, Cassava field and a big field of rubber tree, which was invested by a company. No bigger trees, and no more forest fruit I can eat. I don’t complain these happening, it may change becoming better for people, or worse which I don’t know clear, but I just wonder how they could be adjusting to quickly change, how they can be adapting new culture, new life?

Just last month I visited again with my American friend who interested in and researching of local music and the other friend who working in department of culture, so I had the other opportunity talked to local people there. I met a teenager who is working in rubber field, while she able to gain money every half-day work. There are the other villagers who working in that field, while the company accept and priory to people surrounding compare to outside coming. People happy with that work, where closed home and able to work for their family in the other half day. Still there are lots of adult do jobs hunting in Phnom Penh city, mostly working in construction sites, and garment factories same to other Cambodian.

Seem like they are find to adjust the way of living not base on nature any more. A middle-aged man talked to me, when there were forest villagers able to get fruit, mushroom, and the other vegetables for their own living without buying, and able to sale. Villages could survive with happiness. They didn’t need big house while mostly they work in the field “called circle field”, so less stay home. They able to get wood for self-construction, also sell. They able to catch wild animal for meat, so every month there were income. The situation was changed since losing forest.

Currently, there are cashew nut field, cassava field of him, so the main income come from this fields as yearly income. It is not daily work while cashew nut need to take care as seasoning, but compare to forest, but for people who don’t have field must be hard, so they need to work outside of village or going to Phnom Penh for work.

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