This round in Khmer Literacy, we surprisingly did a lot of reading. We read more than last round and that was what we did for most of the round. From what I remember, we read two major stories, both of which were longer than 50 pdf pages. The two stories are quite popular and well-known in Cambodia and they are Kolab Pailin and Pkar Sropoun.
Kolab Pailin or កុលាបប៉ៃលិន translates to “The Rose of Pailin” or “Pailin’s Rose” and the title itself contains “Pailin” which is the name of one of the 25 provinces in Cambodia. The story was about a poor boy not too young or old who lost his father and then trying to live life on his own. He left his home, and went from Battambang to Pailin for a job that he applied for and also to live there. There, many problems arose which included getting along with the people that he worked for or with. He would soon solve those problems and get along with the people there and even fall in love with his boss’s daughter. I don’t want to spoil the story too much for anyone who haven’t it, so if you want to know what really or what else happened, read it.
Pkar Sropoun or ផ្កាស្រពោន translates to something along the line of “Melancholic Flower”. This story is about a relationship between a boy and a girl. Their relationship was fine, but the girl’s mom didn’t want her to be with him because she saw him as a different person than he actually was and also because he was poor. The mom had a friend and she wanted her daughter to marry her friend’s son just because he was rich. Many problems arose and the story ends in a tragedy. You should read it, it’s good in my opinion. That was round 2 and I really enjoyed reading those two stories and I thank you for reading this post about me reading those two stories!
So for the second half of last year, our Khmer literacy teacher split us into groups based off the houses we lived in at Liger to create poems. I was in a group with 3 other boys and we wrote 3 poems. One was about what you should and shouldn’t do in school, the other was about deforestation, and the other one was about alcoholic beverages. At around the same time, the seniors worked on a book about Khmer poetry which contained lessons on how to write different types of Khmer poems and poems they wrote themselves. At the beginning of this round, our teacher decided that we, juniors also create a book relating to Khmer poetry, so what we did for most of the round was write poems. Each student was given a type of Khmer poem and they had to write. My type of poem was “ពាក្យ ប្រាំមួយ” which translates into “Six words” and I wrote a poem of that type about the ocean and its problems. At the end of this post, you can find links to both this poem and the other 3 poems which I and 3 other boys created last year as mentioned earlier. I apologize if you do not speak the Khmer language because the poems are in Khmer. For next round, we are going to get into the book design of our junior poetry book and hopefully have it done somewhere in December. This round was a great start to creating our first Khmer Poetry Book.
There was an event I got to partake in an called the Khmer Literature Festival at the end of this round. So the Khmer literature festival is an event that takes place in a province in Cambodia every year with the theme of that province. Anyone can join and it is where people learn and celebrate Khmer literature. It is full of activities such as book-reading, interviews, and lectures. Last year, it took place in Siem Reap and this year it took place in Battambang. It lasted from the 21st to the 24th of September; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The first day was a poem-reading competition. 3 of our juniors participated and they were the youngest participators in the competition. Everyone also else had more time to prepare while our students had less than a week. Despite that, 2 of the juniors that participated got first place. All three students did very well however, they wrote and sang beautiful poems. On the second day, there was a discussion about the stories of Battambang, an interview with three Khmer writers, a presentation of graphic design, a book fair and a circus performance. In the book fair, our students sold the senior’s poetry book and it went surprisingly better than we expected. The book was printed in a rush, hence there were a few mistakes and not all poems the seniors wrote were in that book, so I think there will be another edition or part of this book coming soon. I really enjoyed the circus performance. The circus is called “Phare” and their performances are breathtaking and stunning. On the last day, our seniors went to a school to show and talk about the poetry book they created. Overall, I really enjoyed taking part in this event and learning more about Khmer literature as well as Battambang and its stories.