This week’ post emerges from the oldies department… Here comes the English translation of an article that was published in 2010, and written in 2006: « Les communautés musulmanes du Cambodge: un aperçu », (~ ‘’Muslim Communities in Cambodia : an overview’’). It was originally a chapter of an edited book (Atlas des minorités musulmanes en Asie ~ Atlas of Muslim minorities in Southern and Eastern Asia, Michel Gilquin ed., Bangkok, IRASEC / Paris CNRS) published in French, which aimed to provide the general public with an overview of the various Muslim minorities inhabiting ‘non-Muslim nations’ in Asia. It came as an order from the IRASEC (Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia, Bangkok) and the editor Michel Gilquin, who provided me a first opportunity not only to get exposed – and that was scary! – but also to step back a bit from my research, put it back into a broader context, and try to think about it in more accessible terms.
At first I was shy about this text, didn’t feel too comfortable in it. The book came out way after I started my research, and quite a while after I actually finalised the whole thing. By then (and without implying that I am a total mood swaps lunatic) I wasn’t exactly in tunes with the writing. I was young (yep, that would be my excuse), and the piece came back as off a little… It was awkward: the words, the mind, and well… even the content sometimes. Getting to translate it was even worse: believe me, you don’t want – ever – to have to go through the process of translating your own S… Stuff… In addition I realized how much redundant I was with other things I had written since and elsewhere, and how much it was completely apart from things I would now think or write. Of course I am not throwing out the baby with the water: while I would have cared differently about some sentences or issues such as the women section and the Khmer Rouge part for instance, I still think that there may be other things out there, worth a time. A time of research. A time of writing. That time.
The translation is an informal one. I did it with friends, worth all the thank-yous and many more: Florianne Wild and Alberto Pérez-Pereiro (to whom I am indebted for this life at least!). We took the time to review it, again and again, and it was hard to adjust to the fact that this was a translation, and that I couldn’t really get involved into adjusting the text itself (which was hectic … in French already). That would be another exercise. There are still many lives to be lived where I could work on a ‘’revision’’ or ‘’addenda’’. But before that day comes, I thought it was time to share what was once done, once made. Just as it was. I still hope readers – whether familiar or not to Muslims in Cambodia – curious, will find here just the beginning of what they were looking for. If not… Well… it means I have some work to do…
Download the translation: ‘’Muslim Communities in Cambodia : an overview’’ (« Les communautés musulmanes du Cambodge : un aperçu » Atlas des minorités musulmanes en Asie, Michel Gilquin ed., Bangkok, IRASEC / Paris CNRS, 183-216)
Phnom Penh, March 21, Emiko Stock.
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