Friday, August 5, 2011

Ku Srah Srey or Women Pool

Ku Srah Srey means "a woman's ditch (pool)" located in Preah Tropeang province, Mekong Delta River (Tra Vinh Province in Vietnamese). It is a factual story reflecting the endeavor of Khmer Krom people to master in hydrolic irrigation system as well as to worship the supremacy of the women.
The legend of this is common and popular among major Khmer Krom people. Ku Srah Srey was begun by a triumphal competition of digging between men and women. In that place, there are two different pools: one is a very large ditch, another one is a very tiny ditch. Everyone has told me that the largest one is the work of women, but the smallest one is the work of men. The largest one is full of water and fertility, but the smallest one is currently dry.
The story continues that the men boasted themselves of having outstanding energy and they regarded women as weaker people. Men began to dig the ground aggressively, without relaxing. For a while, the men saw the Morning Star (Pky Prek in Khmer) that is the signal of the arriving of the dawn. In reality, the men were tricked by the women who floated their fire-ballon into the sky. 
This story is the same legend that happened in Cambodia. It is about Phnom Pros, Phnom Srey or Men Mountain, Women Mountain. The significance of these two stories, and the cause of the bet, is from the reforming effort of changing matriarchy to patriarchy in Cambodia. The legend tells us that Cambodia was led by women. Traditionally, a woman will pay a dowry to a man for her wedding. Now, after the loss of that bet, men have to pay a dowry to women for his wedding. Source: