Back to the ‘multi-ethnic’ infinity and beyond: Girlfriends & Shopping

The picture is as simple as it gets. An absolute statement that minimalism is understated. When a single studio portrait can unpack so much. An invitation to question ethnic borders and limits. In a previous post it was all about Phnom Penh. Now let’s go along the river to Sala Lekh Pram, sit for a minute and see that indeed cosmopolitanism was never strictly a capital thing.

Moeun at a Sala Lekh Pram Photo Studio - 1962

Moeun at a Sala Lekh Pram Photo Studio – 1962

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About The King Father… (also about Khmer Islam…)

A year ago Norodom Sihanouk, the King Father, the Father of the Nation, posthumous Preah Borom Ratanak Kaudh, went away. There is a sentence in the Rig Veda that I found profoundly beautiful and appropriate, three months later, when he was cremated: Continue reading

The Prince, The Borderline Temple & The Khmer-Islam Pilgrims

This past week has been quite important for Cambodia and Thailand. Of course both calendars highlighted a long holiday of celebrations to kick off the new year. But some Thais and Cambodians were getting busy a the very same time, arguing their case in front of The Hague International Court of Justice. The ‘final’ discussions over the long disputed case of 11th century Preah Vihear temple and moreover its surrounding area, are supposed to be coming to an end… a solution for the borderline between the two neighbours. Well, if you are a regular of this blog, you know that if I mention this… there must be some Chams behind the scene somewhere… And indeed, there are! This little forgotten archive I recently found while doing a little ‘new year cleaning’ just cried out to be on stage today. Continue reading

Translating & Excavating: ‘’Muslim Communities in Cambodia : an overview’’

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. Continue reading

Just another Cham trying out Malaysia

It would be nice to finally write an article on Cham migration to Malaysia one day… I thought… There is of course the ancestral ‘’Malay world’’ connection that has been buzzing around Malayan universities over the recent years. There are those statistics, showing for years an increasing number of youths leaving for better jobs, better lives, better hopes… There is this overwhelming reality from the tea-time visits, a.k.a fieldwork: ‘’Your daughter is not here today?’’ ‘’Oh no, she just left for Malaysia’’. There is indeed a nice little article to be written… Until somehow out of the blue your best friend joins the batch, and writing becomes… personal. Continue reading

Beyond Ethnonyms: writing and unwriting anthropology

My recent publication on Chams Ethnonyms for the journal Moussons is finally online (links at the bottom of this page). The front story of this article is all about how labels are socially, culturally and historically heavily constructed and can therefore – and I guess should – always be deconstructed through an ethnographic process. But the backstage story is actually very different and yet very related. It is more about the writing process which is itself so embodied in the construction – or the deconstruction – of the anthropological object. Continue reading