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This title resonates like that of a pirate album of bad taste and yet, Tintin already has some foothold in the country of Khmers which like Belgium is a kingdom.
His first achievement is to have been translated into Khmer, from the Austro-Asian languages present in Southeast Asia. The Khmer language belongs more particularly to the group of Mon-Khmer languages that coexist alongside that of the Munda languages spoken in India.
Khmer is spoken mainly in Cambodia, but also in some areas bordering the territories of Thailand and Vietnam. It is spoken by more or less 14,200,000 people.
Admittedly, this publication in Khmer is currently limited to one title - The Blue Lotus - but this edition is highly symbolic in a country that has suffered unimaginable suffering and atrocities.
Casterman, with the cooperation of le Centre Culturel Français du Cambodge, first established in 2001, with the aid of Christophe Macquet of l’Université Royale de Phnom Penh.
The Khmer alphabet has 33 consonants and 24 vowels. But the spoken language has many more vowels (in the khmer sense) it may seem strange and impractical, but behind this incongruity, there is a trick that is summarized here by Wikipedia:
Cela peut sembler étrange et impraticable, mais derrière cette incongruité, il y a une astuce qui est résumée ici par Wikipédia :
Each consonant belongs to one of two series: light or heavy. If a vowel is associated with the first series (called light), it produces a certain sound and if it is associated with the second series (heavy) it produces another sound. Thus the vowels have two possible pronunciations (except 3 which retain the same sound in both cases and 1 which has three sounds). Most vowels having two sounds, it gives more than forty vowels, which can seem huge. The meaning of vowels among the Khmers is not quite that of linguists. For example: o short, o long, o followed by m, o followed by h, o followed by a glottal stop constitute 5 different vowels. The language also has many diphthongs. Most consonants (except for one ng) are also found in French, although they are not absolutely identical; on the other hand, French possesses some that are unknown, or not yet officially transcribed "academically", in Khmer: the f, the g (the sound g ', as in cake or cake), the j and the z (the sound z, as in zebra or kiss, people who speak only Khmer have a little trouble pronouncing distinctly gem and kiss) and pronouncing the u alone (a hissing s is often added). The sound ch, as in hat or chocolate, is transcribed with the sound t'ch. (Wikipedia source).
Khmer derives from the Vatteluttu, native to southern India or Sri Lanka and appeared at the beginning of our era.
Tintin was never in Cambodia ... but during his trip to China (1934-1935) via India, he passed off the tip of the old French Indochina (constituted at the time of three countries of South East Asia now independent, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) in the South China Sea.
Cochin-China (the south of present-day Vietnam, which appeared on maps as a separate territory from the other territories of Cambodia and Annam), was only reinstated to the rest of Vietnam in 1949, still under the aegis of France (the State of Vietnam is proclaimed in 1949).
It is only in 1954 that the independence of Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia will be declared on the basis of the Geneva Accords that put an end to the Indochina War and mark at the same time the end of the Indochinese Federation. These agreements will eventually fail and lead to the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Indeed, these Geneva armistice agreements had divided Vietnam into two zones corresponding to the forces in question (North Vietnam supported by the Eastern bloc and China and South Vietnam, supported by the United States and their allies). This dividing line will not last long.
Hergé also did not fail to draw the territory of Cambodia on the map of the Asian continent published in Le Petit Twentieth of December 1, 1932 which announced the trip of Tintin in the East.
We cannot mention Cambodia without mentioning the atrocious period of the Khmer Rouge who arbitrarily and terrifyingly led the country from 1975 to 1979. Although driven out of power by the Vietnamese invasion (Vietnam is no longer in the revolution camp led by Saloth Sâr, better known as Pol Pot), the Khmer Rouge will take the maquis and lead a guerrilla war that will last until the late 90s.
Under the regime of the Khmer Rouge, in the sad famous centre S21 (Tuol Sleng located in the south of Phnom Penh), a former high school (Tuol Svay Prey) transformed into detention and interrogation centre), not less than 14.000 Cambodians - children, men, women, young, old - were detained, tortured and executed a few steps away.
• Wake up at 4.30am • Meals: a rice porridge at 08:00 and 20:00 • No water in the day • For a toilet, a metal box
In 1979, a photographer recorded the seven men survivors of S21 From left to right:
– Chum Mey, repairer including sewing machines, 79 years - Roy Nea Kong, carpenter, died in 1986 - Im Chan, sculptor, died in 2000 - Vann Nath, painter, 63 years old - Bou Meng, painter, 68 years old - Pha Than Chan, Vietnamese translator, died in 2002 - Ung Pech, mechanic, died on July 30, 1996 (source: http://proceskhmersrouges.net/?p=693)
Among the many testimonies, that of a family: RIN TIN MALY! On 17 April 1975, the 17-member RIN TIN MALY family was evacuated from Phnom Penh and sent to Ta Deh village, Slong commune, Kravanh district, Pursat Province. Upon their arrival, all the members were separated and dispersed to "work" in the surroundings: in the countryside and in the forest, especially in Battambang. The father who was a former soldier under Lon Nol was sent to Chra Nauk, a high security centre. The mother had been assigned to work for a weaving factory in the village of Wat Ek.
Angkar (which literally means "organization"), equivalent to the Soviet in the Russian revolution, sent one of the children to the special unit in charge of the youngest. The elder brother was sent to another unit.
The aim was to break the traditional family unit and social ties and to organize the enslavement of the majority of the population in the form of cooperatives (forced labour), forcing it to a labourious collective life, accompanied by community meals and constant monitoring. A regime that maintained a climate of fear and permanent terror. The ultimate goal was the "re-education" of the population. It is estimated that this totalitarian approach and the purification that accompanied it killed more or less 21% of the Khmer population was totalled 7,890,000 inhabitants at the time.
We were able to meet Kim Nou who lives in Wat Kor: his father was killed by the Khmer Rouge in 1977. During his early youth, he grew up in a refugee camp in the middle of the forest, while guerrilla warfare continued in the North. Cambodia. He started school only at the age of 13. He escaped and was able to pursue engineering studies afterwards. He could even learn French. It was there that he discovered Tintin and his adventures! Tintin, in spite of himself, was this fearless and irreproachable hero who always sided with the oppressed. Nourished by this characteristic that drives our favourite character, Kim was able to forgive and build hope through the Houses of Wat Kor that welcome all visitors in the pure Khmer tradition
Forgive those who hate you; give them good for evil; show their injustice by proving your virtues; so force them to admiration, to gratitude, and you will have won the most beautiful triumph that a generous soul could wish for. Quote from Louis-Philippe de Ségur