Friday, September 19, 2008

Jacobsen rewrites history

Authoress Trudy Jacobsen rewrites history from a female perspective
On a whistle-stop visit to Cambodia, anthropologist and authoress Trudy Jacobsen convinced the audience at tonight's book-signing session at Monument Books that Cambodian women have a more illustrious heritage than they're usually given credit for. She's rewritten history with the research for her book Lost Goddesses: The Denial of Female Power in Cambodian History and brings a new focus on the power Khmer women have wielded in the past and which they should aim to repeat in the future. Her own experiences in Cambodia over the last twenty years provided the impetus to delve into topics such as Cbpah Srei, the Code of conduct for women, which was introduced by King Ang Duong in the 19th century and has resurfaced in the last two decades, effectively making women subservient to Khmer men. When asked, Jacobsen had no hesitation in naming Ang Mei as her favourite woman in Khmer history; crowned Queen whilst still her in teens, she was later imprisoned at Oudong and reportedly went mad. After London and Melbourne, this was Jacobsen's third launch of her book, published by NIAS Press, and she confided to the well-attended event that her next book will be a comparison of sexual contracts in Cambodia and Burma. In the meantime, her fervent hope is that Lost Goddesses will be translated into the Khmer language so Cambodian women can take heart from the strength and purpose of their predecessors.
Trudy Jacobsen autographs a copy of her book, Lost Goddesses

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, ancient Khmer society placed a high value on women. Women took part in leadership roles and took care of the family health and well being. In Khmer call we our leaders "may" which literary means a lady, or girl. If you want to marry a Cambodian girl, you have to pay doultery, pay for the wedding, and most likely move to the girl's family.

September 24, 2008 at 3:17 AM  
Blogger Andy Brouwer said...

And I think that high value should resurface today. I have massive respect for Khmer women and the way they conduct themselves under an onslaught of male domination. Not wishing to generalize too much, but in my view they work their socks off with little thanks or reward, because its 'expected'. If ancient Khmer society had it right, then today's society has it wrong - women deserve equally in Cambodia and lots of things need to change before they even get a sniff at that.
A.

September 24, 2008 at 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even today most of the groom families are expected to pay doultery and pay for the wedding. So if you want to get married to a Cambodian lady, the bride family will ask for doultery and money to pay for the wedding. The roles of Cambodian women changed after the public preaching/teaching of "chbap bros and chbap srey" which described behavior codes for men and women.Chbap means law in Khmer. Chbap Bros, Chbap Srey describe detial behaviors for men and women to follow. Women are supposed to be calm, quiet, patient, polite, and perseverance under any circumstance. And men, they can do anything they please and thier reputation is still come as gold.They can beat their wives, get drunk daily, have an afair, gamble,lazy and they are expecting/demanding to get respected and get served from their wives. I've never agreed with the Chbap Bros and Chbap Srey since I was a little girl. I hope they will not try to impose these stupid codes on women again.

September 25, 2008 at 4:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An example of Westerners tyring to force their value systems onto Asia again. Cambodia won't be postmodern for some time yet. And even when it is, is it really worth it? Is it so great?
Feminism is just a symptom of the failure of western civilization, we fail to 1) to integrate females intot he workforce, 2) to see life as anything more than a domination struggle. Feminists pass off life as a domination struggle, like most westerners (espcially academics; lawyers and doctors; who are professionally sexually frustrated). Not that the "oppression" of women is evil, they probably didn't even think of it that way in cambodia. We didn't in europe.
Notice how postmodern and sophisticated cambodians are, with all their comments ont this website.... after all, who wrote this book? An australian in english.
Just something I noticed.

June 23, 2011 at 12:56 PM  

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