Friday, August 12, 2011

Khmer Krom Victims Say Tribunal Overlooked Kill Site

Published by: VOA
Lawyers for ethnic Khmer Kampuchea Krom victims of the Khmer Rouge say the UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal has failed to include an extermination site in the scope of its investigations. 
“There were only three families left. They need justice, and they want to give witness.”
The Khmer Krom, who are a minority Khmer ethnic group living in today’s Vietnam and the Mekong Delta, were singled out for killing by the regime for being culturally tied to Vietnam.
Lawyers for Khmer Krom civil party applicants said investigating judges failed to release information on the Bakan execution site in Pursat province when they released details of their work earlier this week.
 Former Khmer Rouge cadres, Khoem Keng, center, Lai Sim, second from right, line up before the second trial to the top leaders of Khmer Rouge at the outside the court hall of the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, June 27, 2011. Now old and infirm, four of the top surviving members of the Khmer Rouge's ruling elite are about to face justice, decades after their plans for a Communist utopia in Cambodia left an estimated 1.7 million people dead by execution, medical neglect, overwork and starvation.
Between 500 and 700 Khmer Krom were killed at the site, according to the Documentation Center of Cambodia.
On Monday, investigating judges released details of proposed crimes sites under Case 004, which victims say they need in order to file under the court’s rules for civil parties. The sites covered six different provinces, but did not include Bakan.
Sam Sokong, a lawyer representing about 100 Khmer Krom victims of the regime, said nearly all the people at the site were killed.
“There were only three families left,” he said. “They need justice, and they want to give witness.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Khmer Krom Role in Cases 003 & 004 Hangs in the Balance

Press Release
9 August 2011
Originating from Kampuchea Krom (in Vietnam’s lower Mekong Delta region), fluent in Vietnamese, and maintaining their own cultural practices, the Khmer Krom were targeted for elimination because the Khmer Rouge perceived them to be associated with the Youn.
Khmer Krom community members at Bakan District, Pursat province putting up their hands when asked if they believe that justice should be meted out for the crimes committed against their community. DC-Cam forum, June 13 2010. Photo by Rothany Srun. Courtesy of Access to Justice Asia LLP.
The United Nations-backed court established to prosecute Khmer Rouge leaders did not include the crimes against the Khmer Krom as part of the three-year investigation it concluded last year for its second trial, Case 002. Indictments charge former senior Khmer Rouge leaders for genocide against Cambodia’s Cham Muslim and ethnic Vietnamese minorities but not against the Khmer Krom.
This omission stemmed in part from the prosecution’s exclusion of the Khmer Krom from its investigation, which left the tribunal’s judges unable to pursue such charges, despite compelling evidence of mass killing and forced displacement of the Khmer Krom throughout Cambodia.
However, Khmer Krom survivors continued to press their case with the court, submitting clear and consistent evidence of the atrocities they suffered and detailing prison sites and mass graves.
These efforts helped to pave the way for more than 100 Khmer Krom survivors being formally admitted as civil parties in Case 002, some as recently as two months ago by the Pre-Trial Chamber.
These survivors are represented by lawyers at Access to Justice Asia LLP (AJA) which is led by Prof. Mahdev Mohan, and Legal Aid of Cambodia (LAC) led by Sokong Sam & Chanrith Ang. Also assisting is human rights expert and University of California Berkeley’s Prof. Laurel Fletcher.
Leading watch-dogs such as the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) have raised serious questions about judicial independence and competence at the court and remain skeptical about whether new cases at the court, Cases 003 and 004, will be heard. For the Khmer Krom, it is crucial that these cases be heard as unlike Case 002 they promise the prospect of evidence of their persecution by Khmer Rouge being considered in the context of their identity as Khmers who were mistaken, corralled and eliminated for having ‘Vietnamese minds’.
On June 13 2010, co-prosecutor Andrew Cayley reached out to Khmer Krom survivors. Meeting for the first time with nearly 200 of them in Pursat province’s Bakan district, on the grounds of the Rumlech pagoda where Khmer Krom had been executed, Cayley acknowledged the need to present to the court the atrocities committed against the Khmer Krom people.
A year later on 16 June 2011, Cayley filed a Request for Investigative Action and Supplementary Submission which adds additional crimes to Case 004, including crimes committed against the Khmer Krom population in Takeo and Pursat provinces, “based primarily” on evidence submitted by their lawyers AJA and LAC.
Another statement Cayley released around the same time mentioned that the judicial investigation of Case 003 includes the DK’s “incursions into Vietnam”. Many Khmer Krom were persecuted in incursions into Kampuchea Krom (in Vietnam) and forcibly moved to Cambodia.
Under the ECCC’s internal rules, it is incumbent on the Co-Investigating Judges to examine the clear and consistent evidence that has been put before them through the supplementary submission, and to charge persons who may have committed crimes against the Khmer Krom.
Yet, a notification issued by the Co-investigating Judges yesterday, 8 August 2011, reveals that Bakan district continues to be excluded from the scope of Case 004. Nor is there any mention about the status of the Co-Prosecutor’s June 2011 request and submission for further investigations in Pursat province.
Khmer Krom survivors fear that history may repeat itself. That they may be excluded yet again, even though Cases 003 and 004 purports to relate to the very provinces and offences that concerns them.
According to Mohan, “our clients’ chance to present evidence on crimes they suffered in their heartland districts because of their identity, and beyond what they witnessed, now hangs in the balance”.
“Even though the ECCC has ruled that judges are obliged to keep victims informed throughout the proceedings – and not just at the beginning or at the end – our clients know next to nothing about what how to proceed from here. Despite written requests to re-submit their civil party applications to the court’s Victim Support Section and the Co-Investigating Judges for Cass 003/004, our clients have been kept in the dark about their status in these cases.
“Despite Mr. Cayley’s statement that certain submissions filed in Case 004 were ‘based primarily’ on their applications, our clients have no access to the Case file. Our clients are flummoxed and wonder whom they can believe and place their trust in. Nor are we, as their lawyers, in a position to advise them on how they can contribute to cases we have no sight of”.
Sam and Ang add that “Together with our clients, we have spent a great deal of our own financial, physical and emotional energies to tell the court about the atrocities which occurred in Bakan district. That there is a possibility that all this may have been for nothing and the judges do not even wish to investigate it for their upcoming cases is unthinkable for us.”
Speaking at a meeting with his lawyers last month, Khmer Krom civil party for Case 002 Meas Chanthan said, “Talk is cheap. We want to participate and we want investigations. We have asked to participate in case 003 and case 004. But we don’t know where we stand. Countless Khmer Krom were targeted here in Bakan district, worse than elsewhere in Pursat and maybe the country. So we want answers. We want investigations to be done into why they were executed.”
Tomorrow, on 11 August 2011, Cayley will speak once again to Khmer Krom survivors at Rumlech pagoda where he is expected to address the status of Case 003 and his decision to ask for further investigation in Case 004. They will be listening closely, but their patience and reserves are worn thin.
For more information, please contact:
Mahdev MOHAN, Civil Party Lawyer, Access to Justice Asia LLP 
Mr. SAM Sokong, national Civil Party Lawyer, Leal Aid of Cambodia, 012 606101
Chanrith ANG, Project Coordinator, Legal Aid of Cambodia, 012 934 802  

Sunday, August 7, 2011


This is a monstrous Age that all Yuon dictatorial leaders had enveloped Cambodia for the first time and the world is still ignoring the Cambodian genocide fell on deaf ears.
During the period 1813 – 1815, Vietnamese perpetrated the infamous massacre, known to every Khmer as “Prayat Kompup Te Ong”. It was the most barbarous torture style in which the Khmer were buried alive up to their neck. Their heads were used as the stands for a wood stove to boil water for the Vietnamese masters. As they were burned and suffered, the victims shook their heads. At that moment, the Vietnamese torturers jokingly said “Be careful, not to spill the master’s tea”.
During his dynasty (1802-19), King Gia Long started an irrigation project in the Province of Mot Chrouk (Chaudoc). Thousands of the Khmer Krom were forced to dig a canal named Chum Nik Prek Teng (Vinh Te), 53 kilometers long and 25 meters wide, from Bassac River to the Gulf of Siam. During this forced labor project from 1813-1820, many thousands of the Khmer Krom were killed. In one particular instance the Khmer workers were buried alive so that the Vietnamese soldiers could use their heads as stove stands to boil water for tea for their Vietnamese masters. The phrase “Be careful not to spill the masters Tea” is still well reminded to their Children by all Khmer Krom parents or grandparents.
Before the Canal Project well done, Annamite soldiers held Khmer laborers into Pillories, each pillory contained about 20-40 people (they said to prevent Khmer laborers run away from mobilization), at least from 2-5 thousand were locked in pillories located in the canal; the dam was opened, water filled the canal, all Khmer laborers were drowned, no one was survive.
About the Vinh Te Canal
The digging of the Vinh Te Canal begun in 1814 under the reign of the Annamese King Minh Mang. The Khmer King of the time was Preah Ang Chan. “The 13 of the month of Meakasé Year of the Pig (1814), the king of Annam sent Yuamreach (King of Hell) Ong Thanh, Ong Binh Thanh, and Ong Loeung to lead 3,000 soldiers as well as 1,000 Cambodians from the province of Preah Trapeang, a total of 4,000 people, to build forts at Moat Chrouk and to dig a canal or channel that drains toward the sea, linking Moat Chrouk and the river on the Est”.
“Ten thousand men, of which 5,000 Annamites and 5,000 Cambodians were employed on the field to realize this Canal (Prék Chik), under the supervision of the Annamese. On 33m wide and 2, 60 m deepth and linking the western Arm of the Mekong River with the Gulf of Siam, this Canal runs across the Cambodian provinces from Peam (Hatien) to Moat Chrouk (Chaudoc).
A bitter history of the digging still remains deeply anchored in the Khmer’s memory to recall these chores was the weakness of Khmer King Ang Chan towards the Annamese, especially among the people of the provinces of Péam, Banteay Meas, Treang and Prey Krabas.
“Working hard in the heat of the sun and under the supervisors’ strokes of stick and starved, many succumbed in the field, because of the awkward tasks, or were taken away by the water current when the Annamese ordered to fill the Canal with water (Khy Phanra, “ the Vietnamese community in Cambodia at the time of the French Protectorate”, University of Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris III).
One cannot talk about the digging story of this channel without talking of the narration of the “Kompup Te Ong” that is self connected.
According to the narrations hawked until today, the history would happen to that epoch:
“The Annamese buried alive up to the neck, any Khmer who rebelled against them, in a way that only the heads stick out to form a tripods before lighting, and the heads were supposed to act as supports for a tea kettle while making their tea”.
But according to A. Leclère cited by Khy Phanra (History of Kampot and the rebellion of this province in 1885-86), the history would be provoked by other facts:
“In the province of Kompong Svay, the Annamese in the barrack of Srok Kandal Stung, Baray and Choeung Prey were all slaughtered by the insurgents. The vengeance of the Annamese army was terrifying; and more than one thousand Cambodians in the region were executed. The last were burnt alive; their bare flesh was applied with salt and pepper. The children were buried alive to the neck, in a group of three, so that their head stick out to form three corners of a triangle, and on which the Annamese had their rice cooked or their tea boiled. This torture is named by Cambodians as “ Kompup Te Ong”, because answering to the howlings, to the convulsive start of dying that the flame finished to consume, the Annamese torturers didn’t stop sneering until the end, coldly, borrowing from the victims their own langue: “ Chhop Senn Vei ! Sngiem Vei! Kampup Te Ong. Let’s finish! Don’t move! Let’s see! You turn over the “Master’s Tea Kettle”.
Note: To read document please click below link to download
1. King Chey Chetha II turned Khmer history upside down
2. Tae Ong genocide regime, 1800-1845
3. Oknha Son Kuy was brutally beheaded in 1841
4. Yuon burned dot Khmer Krom alive in granaries in 1945-46
5. Khmer Krom were naively conned to serve Vietminh and Vietcong
6. They’ve unfairly been forced to give their Kampuchea citizenship…

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The confused identity of those Khmer

As Khmer and their country got weaker, foreigners have been manipulating them into losing their own identity.
Khmer Surin in Thailand do not want to revolt, in case it doesn’t work they would be worst off. They know they could not rely on Khmer Cambodia which is having an identity crisis.  Khmer Krom in South Vietnam do not want to revolt either, they know they could not rely on Khmer Cambodia for help. If you do not know yourself, how would you know others?
Long ago the Khmer used to live in harmony did not have any enemy, until the Mongol leaded by Genghis Khan invaded China and it changed everything. As the Mongol pushed into China, it also pushed a few groups of southern Chinese tribes from southern China downward to Khmer land.
There were so many warring tribes in China and they knew the tricks to warfare. At first they were under Khmer control until they learnt Khmer weakness points such as kindness and generosity which they were able to take advantage off easily.
There are more Khmer living in Thailand and South Vietnam than in Cambodia. Some are already lost their identities and some are struggling. Still the majorities are still waiting to be united again. Khmer land shrink from a ratio from 3 to 1. The land covered much of South Vietnam, Thailand and southern Laos.
The people who took over Khmer land knew very well that as long as Cambodia exists, and one day powerful again, Khmer are a threat to their existent especially since there are more Khmer people in their countries than in Cambodia.
Vietnam has been trying hard to stir Cambodia up and used Khmer against Khmer in order to take their mind off about the fate of Khmer Krom in Kampuchea Krom. It has been preaching Khmer Cambodia that nationalism could return Cambodia to a regime like Pol Pot again and result in millions of people die. The intention was to disunity the Khmer people.
Those Khmer people who felt proud as Khmer are bad as it could lead to extremist nationalists like the KR which would have a bad image. You speak Khmer but should not call yourself as a Khmer. Individuals should call themselves a Cambodian or simply a citizen of Cambodia, and drop the word Khmer as an identity in order to avoid the birth of nationalism in Cambodia again. The intention aim was to confuse and change Khmer identity.
Many times Khmer Krom victims escaped from South Vietnam (Kampuchea Krom) to Cambodia, yet the Cambodia government refused to help their own Khmer brothers and sisters who face persecutions because they stand for their human rights. They handed the victims back to Vietnam every time for fearing it might make them look like a Khmer patriotic. Khmer are being manipulated into against other Khmer.
In short, Cambodia is being brainwash from the top, especially the members of the ruling government who regularly go to Hanoi for strategy study to think that a Khmer nationalist is like a terrorist and racist. As such the Cambodian government refuses to talk or stop the Vietnamese settlers who come to Cambodia illegally. While the Cambodia government has been having false fear, the country is being filled up with the illegal people.
Often the Khmer Cambodia would say the illegally settlers have more rights than themselves and maybe they are right especially if members of the ruling government, the CPP have been brainwash this bad. With or without the government, Khmer people can live independently as they know that they could not rely on their own brainwashed government.   
Next time when you see members of the ruling government go to Hanoi to study a further brainwash to eliminate their own Khmer identity, beware of  their next speeches. This is often described as use Khmer to kill Khmer.
On the Thai side it has its own way of doing things, it’s giving lesson to their citizens that Angkor Wat belongs to them. The Khmer King Jayavarman VII is their king and so on. The purposes have been very meaning full to the Thai ruling elites. Sometimes the Thai especially the intellectual elites pretend to be Khmer in order to avoid Khmer and Khmer Surin in Thailand revolt and overthrow the Thai regime.

A team, a family, that what what we have right...

A team, a family, that what what we have right here. I’ve been with these group of people for 3 years, some I’ve known for more then a decade, and some I met the first day I joined. We’ve been successful in every race we’ve been in since I join, and that’s because we work together as a team, as one.
We ventured to Tampa, FL to compete in the Pan Am Club Crew Championship, some of the worlds best crews were gonna be there so we knew we had to go all out. Yes we were smaller and shorter then the rest but we did not care, they underestimated us small guys and that’s what caused them to fall while were still standing. We worked as a team and we got through all the obstacles that we had ahead of us.
I got to give it up to our support group or shall I say support crowd that we had. It was an amazing feeling to sit on my drumming seat passing the crowd heading roars and chants of Go Khmer Krom ! The support of all these people really pumped up our whole team to perform at our best and that’s what we did, we knew we were representing them as well as the Khmer Krom community around the world so we did not want to disappoint. I would love to thank everybody that was apart of our support crew, you all sacrificed a lot and that means a lot to me as well to the team. Source:

Friday, August 5, 2011


Tug-of-war (Teanh Prot) is a recreational game played by Khmer youth, both males and females. This game is played by using the physical energy as a basis, and it is played only during the Khmer New Year’s days approximately within the months of Cetra and Visākha (April and May). This game is popularly played at the monasteries during the Khmer New Year’s days because they have spacious grounds favorable for the games. However, it also can be played at the villages where more people are gathering and sufficiently spacious grounds are available. This game is commonly played during the day time, but if the bright lamp or brightly shining moon is available, it also can be played during the night time. The players in this game are divided into two groups of at least from 5 to 10 members per group according to the availability of the players. Traditionally, if there are female players joining the game, the females are formed as one group and another group consists of males only. According to the concept that females are weaker than males, the group of females always consists of at lest 2 members more than the group of males, i.e. one group consists of 8 males and another group consists of 10 females. The materials using in this game are the ropes made from raw skin of water buffalo or cow/ox or made from fibers of coconut tree with the length of at least 20 cubits and the size as big as the child’s wrist. While pulling this rope at the beginning of the completion, Samphor (Khmer traditional drum) or Kong Mong (Khmer traditional musical instrument) or Rokaing (Khmer traditional musical instrument) is beaten to make music.
How to play: First of all, one strong and stocky build male and one strong and stocky build female are selected to stand and hold each end of the rope and choose another one strong and stocky build male and one strong and stocky build female to stand face to face at the middle of the rope to urge their members to pull the rope whereas those who are small, thin and weak are placed at the middle of each group. After arranging the players in the right position, one man is chosen to carry Samphor or Kong Mong or Rokaing and stand at the middle of the rope nearby the players who are standing face to face and start shouting loudly “Yeak Oh (1)!!!” with long and intonated voice. At the same time, all pullers who are ready for the completion start shouting all together “Ho Voeuy!!!” for three times and then they start pulling the rope to win another group in the competition. While the pullers are trying their best to pull the rope, the man who is carrying Samphor or Kong Mong or Rokaing keeps beating Samphor or Kong Mong or Rokaing constantly making a sound “Tak Ting…or Maung…, Meung… ” until any group wins or loses the competition.
Each competition takes from 5 to 6 minutes and up to 10 minutes until the winners and the losers are found. After seeing the winners and the losers, they start to play in the second time and then in the third time until they all become exhausted. This game is regarded as an exercise that makes us healthy. Source:

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:

Khmer Krom Dialects

Khmer language is a Khmer-Mon linguistic group in South East Asia peninsula. It is presently spoken by Cambodia, upper land Khmers living in South-east of Thailand, and Khmer Kampuchea Krom living in Mekong Delta River.
Khmer Krom language has been gradually assimilated and become dialects. As I speak standard Khmer, I can hardly comprehend the Khmer Krom dialect. Demographically, Khmer Krom peoples are minor group in Mekong Delta River. Their daily social life hugely influenced by Vietnam. They have to communicate in Vietnamese in schools, work places, market, and other social events. They slightly speak Khmer among their family members and religious rituals. Unfortunately, the Khmer Krom people don’t have much chance to officially learn Khmer language. If they have chance to learn it openly, they can use it more frequent in daily life. Regardless of enabling capacity of language fluent speaking, writing, reading, and understanding; the chance of openly learning from Khmer Krom will greatly enrich the concept of multicultural society. Source:

Khmer Script (consonants)

Khmer IPA (consonants)

Khmer IPA (vowels)

Khmer Krom Buddhism

Buddhism, or Preah Putthaasasna, is one of the largest religions in this world. The Khmer Krom people are the devotees to Theravada Buddhism. Buddhism has become a key part of their identity. The community members generiously provide funds to construct Buddhist Temples, or Watt. Beliefs, clothing, language, diet, social etiquette, education, social interaction and spiritual development etc., have been sponteneously agglomorated in the temple.
As the world has been changing into a more globalized than traditional place, Khmer Krom Theravada Buddhism is the main linkage between old and new, tradition and modernity. However, its shape is more divergent than others. The "hidden transcript" of Khmer Krom Buddhism is comparing like one black sheep among all the white. This phenomena happens as Khmer Krom Buddhism is locating inside the capitalism economic society with restriction of social participation and multicultural society development. The teaching of Lord Buddha is broader than what we think about modernity. Buddhist tradition has never left its isolated past, but it has always integrated itself through time, space, people, regime and society.
The teaching of Enlightenment enables us to seek independent freedom for the sake of deep understanding and collective social capital. The teaching of morals and precepts ensures us the fundamental humanity everyone should pursue. The five fundemental precepts are known to all of the Khmer Krom population to practice in their daily life: abstaining from killing or harming others, abstraining from stealing or wrong living, abstaining from sexual misconduct, abstaining from telling lie or using malicious words, and abstaining from making life indulgent in drowsiness and intoxication. The teaching of the Middle Path has ideologically shared the movement of the contemporary world in both socio-economic and socio-political sphere which have adapted its strategy from isolating or escaping itself as well as dominating others to using the tactic of "corporation", "deterance" and "comprehensive alliance" etc. The Middle Path is known as Eightfold Path: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right meditation, and right mindfulness.
The core teaching is there, the Khmer Krom people need more engaged Theravada Buddhism in their community. Engaged Theravada Buddhism will collectively benefit the whole society. Source:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Khmer Krom Dragons Wins Gold at Tampa Bay

The 2011 International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) held their 1st Pan American Club Crew Championship (PACCC) in Tampa, Florida on July 30-31. It was a two day competition where it consisted of 200 meters, 500 meters and 2000 meters at the Seddon Channel in front of the convention center. This was the first time IDBF had made this competition a 10 man dragon boat (small boat) consisting of 12 paddlers (including steer person & drummer). There were different Club dragon boat teams throughout the Pan American regions and international countries that participated in this competition.
This was a new race venue for me and for the Khmer-Krom Dragons (KKD). The KKD team is from Seattle/Tacoma, Washington with members ranging from 16 years old to early 50s. While some of the paddlers were of a different ethnicity, they paddle together in unity to represent Khmer-Krom. I was their guest female paddler from Long Beach, California, who paddles with Los Angeles Racing Dragon (LARD). I am also Khmer-Krom and to be invited to paddle with KKD was an honor to me.
The first race day (Saturday) was the 200 meters race followed by the 2000 meters in the late afternoon. Upon arrival to the race venue I was surprised to see many members of the Khmer-Krom community looking very excited about the KKD races. Prior to the start of the race, we were all given a traditional blessing by Khmer-Krom monks, Venerable Chantha, Venerable Danh Tol and Venerable Kim Moeun. Our Open Premier team (consisted mostly of youth male paddlers & one 16 years old female paddler) was the first group to race that morning. We came second in the semi-finals. In the finals, we finished second after the Excellent Stores Titians (Spain) with a time of 57.12 seconds. The Open Mixed team (consisted of the adult paddlers with a minimum of 4 female paddlers) was second in the semi-finals and advanced to the grand final.
 Khmer Krom Dragon, Boat 5 races to the finish line and takes home Gold.
In an exciting race from start to finish, our team came first with a time of 59.49 seconds beating the Red Dragons Miami by less than one second. In the late afternoon the Open Mix participated in the 2000 meters race paddling two laps in a semi square/oval race course (500 meters length & width). This race was based on time to see who places overall first, second and third.
The 500 meters race was held on Sunday. Since it was the first time for KKD to race a 10 man boat it made the race even more challenging. Our Open Premier (men squad) team came fourth in the semi-finals, but we still had time to redeem ourselves in the finals. Our Open Mix team came second in the semi-finals, which demonstrated to our men squad team to watch and learn to be prepared for their final race. How did the mix team teach the men squad? It was a slight change of the line up in the seating arrangement of the boat. Cel (female paddler) and I were moved up to stroke because we were more experienced. Earlier in the 2000 meters race we were placed together in the boat where it made the race less intense, but more calm thus eliminating any problems that may occur during the race. The coach made the decision to keep this same line up for the 500 meters. As a result of the move our Open Mix team placed second and advanced onto the grand finals. Learning through observation our men squad team went into the finals and came in second overall.
When our mix team was preparing for our heat, thunderstorms put a halt to the races for over an hour. During that time, the IDBF did the award ceremony for the 200 meters. When they called the team to receive the first place (mix team) & second place (men team) medals, our paddlers and supporters erupted in cheers. After all of the awards were given, the weather was finally calm enough for the 500 meters race to continue. At this point of the race the open mix competition was not an easy one. It was a challenging heat where KKD was up against 5 other top teams and that meant it was a fight to the finish. The intensity and aggression from all 6 boats made it a neck to neck race where it was hard to tell who came in what place. Unfortunately, the KKD Open Mix team did not medal in the final, but we took that experience to know what it takes for future races. However, the KKD Open Premier took home a silver medal.
Overall, what made both days of racing amazing was how many supporters we had from our Khmer-Krom community. Over 100 supporters from Orlando, St Petersburg, Philadelphia, Arizona, California and many other states flocked to Tampa Bay to see our Khmer Krom Dragons race. An unforgettable sight for me was seeing our Khmer Krom people proudly wave our flags from the starting line and then to hear them cheer louder as we reached the finish line. It is this type of support that gives our team the energy to be “winners.” We took home one Gold and two Silver medals.
Thank you to everyone in KYA & KKF for their moral and financial support as well as the accommodation for the past two days. Also, a special thanks to KKD for inviting me to participate with your team and making me part of your family. Source: Khmer Krom Network

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Simple Thank You

I was recently in Florida for the PanAm World Championship for dragon boating.The support we got from the Khmer community in Florida was enormous. Words cannot explain how thankful I am; but I’ll do my best to describe how I feel.
When first entering this race our team had talked about why we were doing this; for what reason were we in Florida for. Along side many others I said that I was here because the Khmer Krom Dragons were my family and that family stick together. We work hard together. That was the reason why I was there with them. But I later realized that it wasn’t for us that I was striving to win for, it was for the sea of supporters that stood cheering.
On the boat your surrounds are to be tuned out. Heading towards the starting we passed a huge white boat that prohibits us from seeing the other corner. Once we turn the corner, BOOM, that tingly feeling begins. Flags of blue, yellow, and red waving from side to side. People waving and yelling. Screams of “Go Khmer Krom!!!” all seem to mesh into one strong voice. You can just feel the excitement in the air as we approach the starting line. I know that we are suppose to stay focus once we are in the boat, only to pay attention as to what is happening in the boat. But how can you not notice a beautiful site like that? They brought me a feeling that I can’t describe.
At that moment I knew it wasn’t for me, or for the team, and not only for the Khmer Krom communities everywhere, it was for those supporters who were on the sidelines. They are what pushed me to strive to win. I’m pretty sure the rest of the team feels this way also. We couldn’t have done it without them. Not only did they provide food and a place for us to stay, they gave us their hearts and soul and they cried out “Khmer Krom” Some of them may not think they did much to help but if you were one of those who were cheering or waving a flag, you made a difference. Your voices have been heard. People will always remember that day. I know I will.
A simple thank you is not enough to show how grateful I am have had a tremendous amount of support. I may not know all of you personally, but as a whole you all have a place in my heart. The wins goes out to you guys. 
Khmer Krom Dragons in Tampa to take part in the 1st Pan American Club Crew Championship
More Photos from Khmer Krom Dragons

Khampy Kotalas

Monday, August 1, 2011

Khmer-Krom Dragons

Khmer-Krom Dragons (KKD) is comprised of unique ethnic Khmer (Cambodian) from the region known as Kampuchea Krom, an unofficial Khmer name for the Mekong delta region, which covers the entire southern part of present-day Vietnam. With inspiration from the original Khmer-Krom dragon boat team from Philadelphia, KKD was formed in summer of 2004 with youth and adults from Seattle-Tacoma area and has won various competitions locally and nationally. In only our 2nd year, we daringly ventured out and competed in IDBF races in Toronto, CAN in 2006.
Dragon boating tradition has long been part of our cultural identity for centuries. We want to promote dragon boating to our youth while increasing the visibility of our identity, history and culture. Our goal is to represent, promote, unite and empower Khmer-Krom youth and community through dragon boating. Therefore, you will see many youth paddling alongside the adults during our races. We want to educate, motivate today’s youth to embrace and preserve Khmer-Krom culture and identity while maintaining our long-held traditions of dragon boating.
If you’re dedicated, likes being on the water and enjoy working out, we want you to join our team. Experience or not, we welcome everyone. Water safety training and paddling techniques will be provided.
If you are interested in learning more about Khmer-Krom, its people and dragon boat team, email us or visit
 Tampa 2011 Day 1
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 Tampa 2011 Day 1
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