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Two Observation: Khmer-Thai by Charnvit Ks

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Two Observations: Cambodian-Thai Relations --- Religion, Politics, Nationalismand an Ancient TempleBackground and Contemporary Debatesof the 2011 Cambodia-Thai BorderAAS-ICAS Annual ConferenceHonolulu, Hawaii 2011, 31 March 2011Prof.Charnvit Kasetsiricharnvitkasetsiri.comThammasat University, Bangkok, Siam (Thailand)
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Two Observations: Cambodian-Thai Relations One: History Textbooks Two: Turning the Battlefields into Hindu-Buddhist Trans-Boundary World Heritages
  • 1.Two Observations: Cambodian-Thai RelationsOne: History TextbooksTwo: Turning the Battlefields intoHindu-BuddhistTrans-Boundary World Heritages

2. Two Observations: Cambodian-Thai RelationsReligion, Politics, Nationalismand an Ancient Temple Background and Contemporary Debates of the 2011 Cambodia-Thai Border AAS-ICAS Annual ConferenceHonolulu, Hawaii 2011, 31 March 2011Charnvit Kasetsiri charnvitkasetsiri.comThammasat University Bangkok, Siam (Thailand) 3. OneBad History Bad EducationandBad ASEAN Neighbour Relations 4. What I would like to do is to give you pictures of interactionsbetween history-myth, education, textbooks, and Thailand/Siamsrelations with her neighbors. In this age of globalization and evenwith regional organizations like ASEAN/GMS/ASEM/ADB we seem to have some difficulties as good neighbors to one another. We will see that the use of the Past, History-myth, if not up-right, incorrectly perceived, negatively andpolitically exploited could produce an unpleasantoutcome.In other words bad history produces bad education and eventually leads to bad relations between nations. 5. On January 29, 2003, theThai Embassy in Phnom Penh,Cambodia was torched and burnt down. Thai diplomats had to run for their lives. The Thai Government of Mr. Thaksin flew planes into Cambodia to evacuate all Thai citizens from Phnom Penh.This ugly episode of Thai-Cambodian relations started with a news that a popular Thai TV female star was reported to have said thatshe would not visit Cambodia unless the 800 year-old temple of Angkor Wat was returnedto Thailand. I, personally, do not believe that the Thai star said that kind of word.But the news, regarded as a serious insult to the Cambodian Nation, spread like fire.It was reported in Khmer newspapers and radio.On top of that there was a rumor that Cambodian diplomats in Bangkokwere brutally murdered. There were students demonstrations which eventually led to the burning and looting of the Thai Embassy. 6. Cambodian FlagKob SuwananNiang Prakai Pruk Angkor WatThai TV star 7. Students began their protest by marching through the city and burned a Thai flag and a photograph of Kob-Suwanan outside the embassy. The size of the demonstration swelled to around one thousand and thecrowd became more aggressive as the day progressed, burning tyres andthrowing rocks at the embassy. After a day of flag-burning and anti-Thai chanting, the crowd massed outside the embassy towards nightfall. 8. Royal Thai Embassy: Phnom Penh Thailand estimates the damage at about US$ 23 million and has demanded that Phnom Penh reimburse both the Thai government and the businesses affected. Bangkok has cut all economic and technical assistance pending a full explanation and compensation by Cambodia. It also demanded that those responsible be jailed. 9. ``The protest is because we hate the Thais inside Cambodia andbecause the Thais encroach on Cambodian border territory, saidVirak, an 18-year-old law student. 10. TwoPreah Vihear Phra Viharn TempleUnesco World Heritage2008-2011 11. Preah Vihear TempleUnesco World Heritage since 2008 12. 14 13. Turning a Market Place into Battlefields 14. War or Peace 15. Battlefields - Thai-Cambodian Border 16. Village Houses Burning:Thai-Cambodian Border February 2011 17. Phum Srol-Srisaket : Reds versus Yellows along the Border 2008Battlefields Thai versus Thai along the Border 2008-2011 18. As you can see the incidents in the Angkor- remark in 2003 and Preah Vihear Unesco Heritage Affairs of 2008-2011are unpleasant and tragic. They may lead to a bigger warbetween the two Asean countries:Cambodia and Thailand. 19. One may ask why these two events happened andhow come such a remark about Angkor Wat and simply the Temple nomination to the Unescocould spark up such ugly incidents ? We may explain that it is because of:1. Khmer-Thai brands of Nationalism ?2. Political Conflict and Manipulation ?3. Love and Hate Relationship: Khmers & Thais4. Unequal and Expliotative Relationship ?5. Misundertanding & misuse of the Past/Historyetc. etc. 20. As a history teacher of Thailand/Siam and Southeast Asia/Asean,I would like to look and try to understand it from my own professional angle,i.e.the use and misuse of History-myth and the Past, in my own country. 21. First, let us see how the Thai in general see their neighbors. By land Thailand/Siam is surrounded by mainland ASEAN countries: Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. If we includeisland-neighbors, or by the sea, they would cover India, Indonesiaand Vietnam as well. As is known to all of you, in the colonial era,Siam (Thailand) remainedthe only independent country in Southeast Asia (history-myth). Therefore, from mid 19th century until after the Second World War the Thai Government in Bangkok had to pay attention to what the colonial powers would have to say. Bangkok had to dealwith London and the British in India and Singapore, Paris andthe French in Vietnam. The Thai Elite need no concern nor having anything to do with the Burmese in Rangoon, the Lao in Vientiane, the Khmer inPhnom Penh, the Vietnamese in Saigon or Hanoi, nor the Malayin Kuala Lumpur, etc. Asians were kept apart from one another. 22. 1920s Cartoon in Siam: Showing Rama VI,the King of Siam (Thailand) pulling his Thai People high up, while Burmese, Vietnamese and Cambodianwere left down below. In the backgroundfive former Bangkok Kings,Rama I-II-III-IV-V,were watching up in the sky.Cartoon from Vajiravudhs Time (Dusit Samit) 23. In one of his interviews, Nidhi A., a leading Thai historian, explained how the Thai, especially the elite, see the neighbors. To us the Burmese have become a permanent national enemy This was an outcome of Thai history writing from the latter part of the 19thcentury. For nation-building, an enemy was needed to unify the peoplewithin Siam/Thailand while the country was threatened by the British and theFrench. Burma which in the pre-colonial time, used to have frequent wars with the Thaihad already been colonized by the British. They were no longer a threat. So the wars between Ayutthaya and various Burmese Kingdomshave been high-lighted to show the struggle of the Thai people in thePast and to be a lesson for our unity in the Present. Illustrations like these are regularly portrayed in school textbooks. The episodes of the fall of the former Thai capital of Ayutthaya and the suffering and bravity of the Thai are also repeatedly reproduced in drama, songs, novels, films, and TV series. 24. Bang RachanHistory-Myth-Texts-Films-Plays-Songs Villagers of Bang Rachan fighting the Burmese, allKing Naresuanin an elephant dual died heroic death during thefighting a Burmese PrinceFall of Ayutthaya in 1767. 25. King Naresuan NaresuanKingin an myth-historical dual Villagers of Bang Rachanin an elephantfighting a Burmese Princeelephant dual fighting the Burmese, allfighting a Burmese Princedied heroic death during the Fall of Ayutthaya in 1767. 26. LAOS and CAMBODIA(what and how to the Thai) As for Laos and Cambodia, we, Thai viewed theseneighbors rather inferior. They, the Lao and the Cambodians, have been seen asyounger (smaller) and poorer. In the past, during Ayutthaya and early Bangkok periods,they were seen as our muang khuen or colonies. In the present they are less developped and poorer. So Iwould say that relationship with Laos and Cambodia is evenmuch more difficult, complicated, sensitve, andproblematic. 27. History Writing, Textbook,and the Ministry of Education In Thailand/Siam stop signs with warnings like:Official Property, Do Not Enter without Permission,are not uncommon. They are symbols of authority anda reminder to know ones place in this bureaucraticpolity. As a history teacher for more than thirty years I havethe impression that history is also an official domain andthere is no trespassing. This forbidden area is noticeable in what is, or correctly,is not, written in textbooks, especially for six-yearprimary and six-year secondary school students. 28. Fourth Year, Primary Sch.Students Aged 10THAI HISTORYChapter 1: Urban Settlements in ThailandChapter 2: Kingdom of SukhothaiChapter 3:Contemporaries of Sukhothai(Hariphunchai, Lanna, Phayao-Phrae-Nan, Nakhon Sithammarat, Ayutthaya)No Pagan, no Angkor, no Champa, no Melayu, etc. etc = no neighbors. 29. Perception of mythicalPast for 4th Year-Aged10 Primary SchoolTextbookSukhothaiThe first ThaiKingdom13th-15th centuriesShown in the Map ofBoundary coveringMalacca &Temasek/Singapore ? 30. Fifth Year, Primary Sch.Students Aged 11 Thai History Chapter 1:Foundation of the Ayutthaya KingdomChapter 2: Political and Administrative Evolution of AyutthayaChapter 3: Economic Evolution of AyutthayaChapter 4: Social and BuddhistEvolutionChapter 5: Wars with the Burmese and Falls of AyutthayaChapter 6: New Capital: Thonburi (Bangkok) 31. 1767 Fall of Ayutthaya: completely destroyed by the Burmese !? 32. Besides Textbooks, novels, drama, songs, Wars ofnational independence films and TV series about with Burma !?Ayutthaya/Burmese have been repeated or of between Kings and Kings !?reproduced and reinventedQueens and Queens!? Queen Sudachan Father: By formerMinister of Edcation !? 33. Besides Textbooks, novels, drama, songs, films and TV series about Ayutthaya/Burmese have been repeated reproduced and reinvented Father: By formerMinister of Edcation !? 34. Mythical-historical Wars of National IndependenceBetween Thailand and Burma Nation vs Nation !!!???or of between Kings/Queens and Kings/Queens !!!???Queen Sudachan 35. King Naresuan Part I-II-III etc.Seriesof History MythicalFilms heavily funded with public moneydisregardToNeighbors 36. ---ANGKOR (Contemporary of Ayutthaya, but) 37. Birth of Angkor, not mentioned 38. The Fall of Angkor 1431, not mentionedConcluding words 39. Myth-history: Problematic Textbooks Siam-Thailand nationally confined, no neighbors Fall of Angkor 1431, not mentioned King Chao Sam Phraya, attacking Angkor .. / 40. Sixth Year, Primary Sch. Students Aged 12THAI HISTORYChapter 1: Revival of the Country in Early Bangkok Period Chapter 2: Thailand Entered theModern Age(lost of territories ( 1940s) tothe Western powers: Left Bank of theMekong (Laos), 1893, Siem Reap, Battambang, Sisophon, 1907 Kedah, Palis, Kelantan, Trengganu, 1909, andremained independent) Chapter 3: Democratic Administrative ChangeChapter 4: Evolution of Democratic9 King Ramas of Bangkok Era Administration 41. Big Lost of Territories to theWestern powers, the British and the French:Laos or the whole area of the left bankof the Mekong River, 1893Cambodia, Siem Reap (Angkor Wat), Battambang, Sisophon 1907 Malaysia: Kedah/Saiburi, Pelis,Kelantan, Terengganu, 1909 And Siam/Thailand remained independent: history-myth ? 42. Ultra-Nationalism reproduced 2008-11Internet-online-long distance nationalism Modern or anachronistic !!!??? 43. How much TERRITORIEShave we LOST ? 14 or 15 times !!! ??? 44. Biggest Lost, No 12 !!!???Inner Cambodia, 1907Siem Reap (Angkor Wat), Battambang, Sisophon 45. Interestingly, what we do not know-inconvenient truth, Khmer mapped 46. A leading Thai historian, Thongchai Winichakul,has this concluding word about Thai history: Historical studies in Thailand have been closely relatedto the formation of the nation since the late nineteenthcentury... It presented a royal/national chronicle, a historiographymodern in character but based upon traditionalperceptions of the past and traditional materials. It was a collection of stories by and for the national elitecelebrating their successful mission of building andprotecting the country despite great difficulties, andpromising a prosperous future. The plot and meaning of this melodramatic past havebecome a paradigm of historical discourse, making historyan ideological weapon and a source of legitimation of thestate. 47. Concluding words for Cambodian, Thai,Southeast Asians and ASEAN CommunityConcluding words 48. ONE Our Texts on History and the Past of Thailand/Siam(including most of the Asean/GMS countries)especially in relations with our Neighborsare problematic and need a serious reform. 49. TWOOur History Texts must be revised in order to be up-right,correctly perceived in order for us to live peaceful together in this age of Regionalism-Asean Community/GMS and Globalization. 50. THREEWe, Cambodian, Lao, Thai, Vietnamese(including all Asean/GMS citizens)need to know and understand not just aboutourselves but also in relations with ourNeighbors, especially the closed ones on mainland Southeast Asia i.e. Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand/Siam. 51. FOUR What has happened in the PASTcan not be changedbut what is happening in the PRESENT can be rescued for the FUTURE. 52. FIVEPerhaps an urgently needed task ofASEAN/GMS Education Ministers + 3 or 4(i.e. China, Japan, Korea, India, or even Taiwan), together with some NGOs or education-oriented organizations,is to sit down and work out together. New Textbooks, new Histories, for the sake of peace, prosperity, and friendship of the ASEANCommunity are urgently needed. 53. SIXCreating Network and Linkage ofPeoples to Peoples---Locals to Locals(not just Governments to Governments as usual)Academics to AcademicsStudents to Students Youth to Youth (Traveling classrooms for Undergrads from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, etc. From Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh to Bangkokto Vientiane and to Hanoi) 54. That was my Observation one:Revising History Textbooks for ASEANNow, Observation two: Turning theBattlefields into Hindu-Buddhist Trans-Boundary ASEAN World Heritages: 55. () ()Phanom Dongrak in Thai Chur Phnum Dngrk in Cambodian:LAND-MOUNTAINS OF PRASAT IN CAMBODIA-LAOS-THAILAND 56. LAND-WATER OF THE MEKONGIN CAMBODIA-LAOS-THAILAND 57. To avoid War, my second proposal is that:--from the Dong Phyayen-Khao Yai Forest, inKhorat, Thailand,--all the way along the Phnom Dangrek Mountiansto Prasat Phnom Rung, to Prasat Preah Vihear andPrasat Vat Phou.--to the Biggest Waterfalls of Asia, i.e. Khon Papengand Li Phi--should be turned into: AN ASEAN ECO-CULTURALTRANS-BOUNDARY WORLD HERITAGE SITES 58. The Emerald Triangle Land-Mountains-WaterCambodia-Laos-Thialand 59. Khon Phapheng Falls 60. Khon Phapeng-Li PhiPhnom Dangrek:?Khao Yai: Falls ?WHPreah Vihear: WHPhnom Rung ?Vat Phou:WH ASEAN ECO-CULTURAL TRANS-BOUNDARY WORLD HERITAGE SITES 61. Hindu-Buddhist Prasats-Mountains and Rivers Phnom Dangrek-Middle Mekong Basinbelonging to Cambodia-Laos-Siam/Thailand 62. Lesson from Latin AmericaIguau Falls 63. ParaguayArgentinaBrazil 64. ARGENTINAIndependently inscribed1984BRAZILIndependently inscribed1987 65. BRAZIL 1987 ARGENTINA1984 66. Lesson from EuropeThe Belfriesof Belgium and France Serially inscribed 67. World Heritage Belfries of Belgium and FranceBelgiumFranceBelfriesof Belgium and Franceserially nominated & inscribed 68. Khon Phapeng-Li PhiPhnom Dangrek:?Khao Yai: Falls ?WHPreah Vihear: WHPhnom Rung ?Vat Phou:WH ASEAN ECO-CULTURAL TRANS-BOUNDARY WORLD HERITAGE SITES 69. Phnom WanMuang Tam Phimai Sra Kampaeng Yai-NoiPhnom RungBantei Cmar Preah Vihear Preah KhanVat PhouSrok Kok ThomWaterfalls Prasat Noi AngkorSambor Preikuk TharaBorivatPlus, plus, plus 70. The Emerald TriangleLand-Mountains-Waterof the Dangrek and the MekongCambodia-Laos-Thialand serially nominated and inscribedas Asean Eco-cultural World Heritages 71. For Peace, Humanity and ASEAN Community Som OrkunKho khob chai Khob khun krab