Khmang, A Village of Tumpun People

Posted: September 15, 2008 in This & That
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Khmang (ភូមិខ្មាំង), located in Borkeo district about 40 kilometers from Ban Lung, is a village with about 70 households of which more than 90% are Tumpun indigenous people(ជនជាតិទំពួន). I have stayed there for three days and two nights to conduct a survey for a comparative study on Indigenous Adaptation to a Rapid Changing Economy. As this village is situated not so far from Borkeo market​(ផ្សារបរកែវ), the people are to a great extend got influence from Khmer. Looking from outside, it hard to tell that it is a village of indigenous people.

The villagers still cultivate their traditional farms, growing rice together with other crops such as eggplants, pumpkins, corns, cassavas and etcetera. Yet many people have sold plots of land to Khmers, although it constitutionally illegal to buy or sell the land since it is belonged to not anyone byt the village as the whole. Villagers gather their crops and sell them at the nearby market for cash, but none of them have store at the market.

By talking with the people there, I learned very interesting culture of Tumpun. When a girl become physically matured (I guess when she reaches her puberty), she will be allowed to stay at separated hut constructed specially for her. Any man who gets her heart can come to stay with her at night. However, if any man impregnates the girl, he has to take the responsibly to marry her. In case the man refuses to do so, he will be punished by village elders to pay in buffaloes, cows or pigs. I also saw some young girls expecting babies when I was there. It sounds they are more modernized or freer than those in western countries, doesn’t it. We might find it hard to comprehend, but culture is culture. Sadly, the same thing still happens this very moment.

A girl with her younger brother. Korma is used to hold children, usually at the back. Photo courtesy of Prom Meta

The village hall where all of us (13 people) spent our nights. Photo courtesy of Prom Meta

Do not expect toilet or running water at such a village. We are lucky to have rather clean water from valley for bathing and our own cook and bottled water from the Ban Lung.

  1. c.sokun says:

    wow that was a great journey wasn’t it my friend

  2. hehehe sounds adventurous. I was once visiting the Poun indigenous area. I found the same story! Pretty interesting eh!

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