I think that people around the world are not hearing many our important stories.
So, I founded Tagalau magazine, an annual selection of Cham creative fiction, criticism, and research. It is considered a literary platform for the Cham community.
Through this magazine, we share important news from our community with the rest of the world, and vice versa.
Communicate with others as clearly as we can to avoid misunderstandings, and I hope Cham authors will also see the world very different.
Dahlak yōm xanưng mưnuix urāng di dunya ni ka ô thau rilô bha Cam. Continue reading
In 1978, after leaving Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy, I traveled to Cham villages to collect folk stories and immerse myself in philosophy, particularly the work of German philosophers such as Nietzsche and Heidegger. The bilingual Cham-Vietnamese poems written during this period of my life highlight Cham teachings and philosophy.
Not a few friends have scolded me for wasting time on Cham poetry
is there even a trifling scarcity of readers? Will there be anyone to remember?
yet I want to squander my entire life on it
though there may only be around a quarter dozen people
though there may only be one person
or even if there’s not a single living soul!
(translated by Alec G. Schachner). Continue reading
In 2007 and 2008, I was in charge of the Literary Round Table. Its topics aimed to the activities of contemporary Vietnam literature. Here, we focused on the peripheral one.
What’s the Peripheral Literature? It includes Ehthnic minority literature, Overseas Vietnamese literature, Female authors, Writers who are distant from large cultural centers, and Marginalized writers – particularly Group Open Mouth’s poets.
This group came from a non-mainstream form of writing. I’m very festinating to their intentions, and I’m the first critic introducing their works on media. Continue reading
When people think of Cham, they often think of temples, or Kate festival. But I am aware not only Cham art is important; literature is, too.
Where is the Cham literature?
Solving this problem is a really difficult thing for someone like me. Not only because I have never written any research paper before, but also because reference materials on Cham literature are very rare.
It does not matter! I spent all my youth wandering throught the most of Cham villages to collect manuscripts, then study and write to realize my own aspiration.
Finally, after 24 years of work, I achieved my goal. In 1995, “The literature of Champa: Outline and selections” of over 1,000 pages were published. Continue reading
I remain sorrowful and hence I am alive
I still write and so I still love
when I cease to love I will have already died (Translated by Alec G. Schachner)
Tôi còn buồn là tôi còn sống
tôi còn viết là tôi còn yêu
tôi hết yêu là tôi đã chết.
Dahlak dōk drôi nan dahlak dōk diup
Dahlak dōk wak nan dahlak dōk ranam
Dahlak abih ranam mong yau mưnuix mưtai bloh.
In the contemporary world, the streams of literature are considered peripheral ones, although they still have their stable standing. They help enrich national literatures in the family of South East Asian nations. That is either their position, an affirmation of the spirit of great integration. This is certain.
In recent years, I have paid more attention to Cham society. So, I wrote many essays not only focusing on the past, but more on the current Cham life.
Dalam rai uni, khôl kanưdha mưlāng bloh urāng mong yau dōk di lingiu adat jāng hu libik dang biak karei crih. Nhu ngak mưda ka ilimô ia Biêtnām dalam wāng nưgar Agrih cau Āk. Kabha nan brei thau bruk pakhang êng drei, thong pabiđāng mat ar patamư prong. Kardak yau nan!
Dôm thun xani, dahlak pacaup tamư dalam buk krām Cam rilô hơn. Ywa nan mưng wak rilô kadha mưnưg, ôh njaup yōm dôm pakār klak bloh dôm bruk birau bblwak di nan.
Glang Anak wrote a slim work of poetry that many generations learned by heart, misunderstanding
how could I lament with her in our mother tongue?
(Translated by Alec G. Schachner)
Freedom might be more difficult to achieve if you live in a country like Vietnam. But there is also hope for every individual; and then we can all work for it.
Many of cham people consider that Ariya Glang Anak is one of the greatest works ever written. In this work, the poet said that love will always be stronger than any racial hatred. Continue reading
Today, there are around 200,000 Cham people in Vietnam, and most of them live in 3 provinces: Ninh Thuận, Bình Thuận and An Giang; the rest live in 8 other ones.
Religion as well as customs and habits may be different across different residing areas and environment among Cham communities, however we are linked by language.
Cham communities are rich in tradition. The Cham culture respects the land, the village as well as their writing and temples.
We understand that our lives depend on protecting those things. Continue reading
My paternal grandfather told me about the terrible events of Emperor Minh Mang’s invasions of the final Cham villages.
At that time, Cham people did not know who was in charge of (in control of) the country. In 1833, Jathak Wa decided to raise against the Nguyen Dynasty. However, the uprising was defeated shortly afterwards. Many died and others took refuge in the highlands.
According to historians, tens of thousands of Cham residents migrated to Cambodia to avoid being murdered.
Despite Minh Mang’s soldiers said that they had tried to separate the violent rebels from the peaceful people, thousands of innocent Cham people were killed everyday all over country and across their ways out of a deadlock.
They said that people call war its name, but it is more like genocide.
In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept that genocidal regime.
Untill 1842, when the Vietnamese King Thieu Tri called them to return, can you imagine? The Cham population of Ninh Thuan province was only 5,000 people! Continue reading
For a long time, researchers considered “lục bát” forms to be a pure Vietnamese one. Besides, Cham people had a poetic form which look very similar it called “ariya”. Since early 17th century, Cham authors used this form of poetry to write their poems.
Tapa dôm rituh thun talah, ra-mưgru Biêtnām xanưng laic thek lục bát yōm dôm Yôn min hu. Karei di nan, bôl Cam jāng hu thek mưdrơh yau nan, pa-angan ariya. Mưng di akok uthumān XVII, ra-panưh Cam angui “ariya” cwak akayet jāng yau dôm ariya pakan pajơ.