This blog is purposely for everything and anything Khmer related. If you'd like to share any stories, pictures, cambodian jokes, facts, WHATEVER! feel free to submit them here! I'll try to do as much as I can. Hope you all enjoy! :)
So, my 6 year old cousin, Ryan Hanley (who is half white) drew the Cambodian Flag the other day and showed it to me. Lol it was too cute NOT to put on my lovely blog. haha <33
ps. those “Egyptian-looking stick figures” are his Apsaras lol.
I keep forgetting to post this for you guys. lol For those who are interested in videos, or food junkies… haha
This is Luke Nguyen, and he goes around Cambodia and explores many Khmer dishes and traditions. He also cooks in a tuktuk. LOL :)
(well, you don’t have to be cambodian for this) but I just thought i’d put it on a post anyway :) — I wonder if mine is still there…? I don’t even remember which tree -___-
Aunt and Uncle’s birthday gifts from my cousin, Emelie’s parents! lol so cute!
Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso (The Goddess And The Giant)
Khmer Folktale — Retold by Toni Shapiro
There is a Cambodian legend that, once, a long time ago, there lived a goddess and a giant who were studying with the same teacher. A wise and powerful hermit who lived deep in the forest, the teacher possessed a magic ball, which he wanted to present to one of his devoted students. However, it was difficult for him to judge which of his star pupils, the goddess Moni Mekhala or the giant Ream Eyso, both of whom were just completing their studies with him, was more deserving of the ball. He decided to offer his pupils a challenge: The two were told to collect the morning dew. The first of them to present the hermit with a glassful of this liquid would be the winner. And the winner would receive the magic ball.
Ream Eyso, the giant, had a clever idea which he thought would surely bring him the honor of the best student. Early the next morning, Ream Eyso gathered as many leaves as he could, and one-by-one, let the droplets of dew slide from each leaf into his glass.
Moni Mekhala approached her task differently. She spread a handkerchief on the grass and left it there overnight. By morning the handkerchief was damp, and it took just a moment to squeeze the dew out of the cloth and into the glass. She arrived to present her full cup of dew to her teacher before the giant did. As a reward for her ingenuity, the hermit bestowed upon Moni Mekhala a glittering ball. Ream Eyso received a magic ax as a consolation prize.
But instead of being the end of an isolated contest, this was just the beginning of an eternal struggle for the small ball that Mekhala now carried was very powerful, much more so than the ax that Ream Eyso wielded. The giant was jealous. He had to have that ball!
Ream Eyso stalked Moni Mekhala. He taunted her and threatened her. He crept up behind her and tried to grab the object of his desire. He even flirted with the goddess. But the goddess was not at all bothered. Indeed, she was aware of all of his tricks and teased him in return. In desperation and anger, Ream Eyso flung his ax at Mekhala, barely missing her. Moni Mekhala finally tossed the ball into the air, creating a bolt of lightning that blinded the giant. Down he fell, defeated, as Moni Mekhala gently flew away. But moments later, wiping the sweat off his brow, the giant regained his composure and stood up. Realizing that his foe had escaped he pranced around in fury and disappeared into the sky.
In this tale we find the origin of thunder and lightning. Ream Eyso’s ax flying toward the goddess creates the thunder. And Mekhala’s sparkling ball lights up the heavens. Together they bring rain, the symbol of renewed life as it imparts fertility to Cambodia’s farmlands.
The confrontation between the giant and the goddess reoccurs every year, around the time of the Cambodian New Year in mid-April. This is the height of the dry hot season, just before monsoon rains wash away the dust and bring nourishment to the fields. When Cambodians see dark clouds forming in the sky, they know that Ream Eyso and Moni Mekhala will soon be engaging in their eternal battle, and the rice fields will soon be flooded. They also know that the giant will be vanquished, but only temporarily. Sooner or later he will reappear.
This legend has been enacted for centuries at least once a year as part of a sacred ceremony known as the “buong suong.” Held under royal patronage, buong suong is a way to ask the deities for blessings in exchange for offerings of elaborately presented fruits, meats and other foods, incense, flowers, and most importantly, sacred music and dance. Swathed in velvet and brocade, with a golden tiara or fearsome mask on their heads and delicate flowers over their ears, the dancers personifying Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso recreate this most essential of battles. In reenacting this legend, the dancers serve as messengers between the king and the gods, asking for fertility of the land and well-being for the people.
The classical dance of Cambodia has a long history interwoven with that of religions and kings and, more recently, modern nation states. The dancers, whose poses of extraordinary suppleness and flexibility are immortalized in stone carvings that grace the walls of the 12th-century temple complex of Angkor Wat, have variously been messengers between the royalty and the gods, symbols of the independent country of Cambodia and entertainers. In all these guises they have remained vehicles for the maintenance and passing on of tradition. Just like Moni Mekhala who guards something so precious and potent (her sparkling ball), the dancers have been granted possession by their spiritual teacher of a priceless jewel: the dance.
Hanuman and Sovann Macha (The Monkey and The Mermaid)
Retold by Toni Shapiro
The monkey general Hanuman was a very close aid of the Prince. When the Prince’s lovely wife Sita was kidnapped and taken prisoner, the Prince asked Hanuman to help him rescue her.
Hanuman didn’t hesitate. He called the monkey army together and devised a plan. First they would construct a bridge across the ocean. Then they would cross waters to the land where the Princess was being held, fight off her captors, and bring her safely home.
One-by-one, the monkeys started lifting heavy boulders, and placing them on the sea. They would heave one huge stone after the other, and put them all down close together to form a causeway. But, as they were working, they noticed something strange. After struggling to move a big stone into place, the monkeys turned around to get another boulder. When they returned with the next stone, the one they had just left had disappeared. This happened again and again, until, finally, they went to inform Hanuman, their leader.
How unusual, thought the monkey general. “Don’t worry,” he told the soldiers. “We’ll get to the bottom of this.” He ordered them to fly with him into the sea to try to discover what the problem might be. Down and down they swam until, from a distance, they noticed mermaids moving in the water. But the mermaids weren’t just swimming. They were holding huge stones. In fact, it was these mermaids who were removing the monkey’s boulders, and disrupting the progress of their bridge construction.
Slowly, the monkeys crept up on the mermaids. They swam around and around, trying to catch them. Off to the side Hanuman spotted Sovann Macha, the leader of the mermaids. He figured that if he could catch her, he could convince her to tell the others to stop destroying the bridge.
He tried to reach her without letting her see him. From the back, from the side, he attempted to grab her. But she kept swimming in her beautiful, graceful style, oblivious to his antics. Eventually, he knocked her down. She was not only surprised; she was angry. She swam away. He swam after her. He did somersaults and cartwheels; she kept her balance and never stopped moving.
But while they were involved in this struggle, Hanuman realized that he had fallen in love with Sovann Macha. So he tried to woo her rather than attack her. For her part, she eventually realized she shared his feelings. And she told the other mermaids to not only stop interfering with the monkey soldiers’ work, but also to help them complete the bridge.
Thus, in the end, the Prince was able to cross the bridge with the monkey army, and rescue the Princess.
This story is an excerpt from the epic talk the Ramayana (with origins in India), known in Khmer as the Riemker. The dance of Hanuman and Sovann Macha is often performed on its own. It can also be one scene in the longer Riemker dance-drama.
this is sweet :) <33