|Chol Chnam Thmay Festival of the Khmer is organized at a Khmer space in the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism in Hanoi. (Photo: baodantoc.vn)
The influential Khmer people are from all social strata, and are mostly retired cadres, public servants, monks, writers, artists, and businesspeople. They have coordinated with authorities and social organizations to rally people to social movements such as "All people unite to build a new countryside and a civilized city", “Studying and following Ho Chi Minh's ideology, morality, and style", and "The whole country joins hands for the poor".
Thach Thanh Hai, a prestigious resident of Cau Tre hamlet, Tieu Can district, said: “I used to be a Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Long Thai commune. Local people often say that the pagoda has a head monk, and the commune has a Party Secretary. I worked with the People's Committee and the pagoda to help people and businesses.”
“The hamlet’s Solidarity Association helps the villagers organize weddings and funerals. The head monk is an active member of the Communications Club. On the 15th and 30th day of the lunar calendar when Khmer people go to pagodas, the head monk and I inform them of the State policies. Now there are only 7 poor households in the hamlet and 4 of them are expected to get off the list soon.”
|Superior monk Thach Ut, Chairman of Tieu Can district’s Association for the Solidarity of Patriotic Monks and head of O Chhuc pagoda. (Photo: Ngoc Anh)
Prestigious monks have used their influence in social work and communications to strengthen the community bond and help Khmer people develop their production.
Superior monk Thach Ut, Chairman of Tieu Can district’s Association for the Solidarity of Patriotic Monks and head of Ô Chhuc pagoda, said: “We encourage Buddhists and other people to abide by the law, improve production, work hard, and try to escape poverty. We encourage children to pursue higher education. The pagoda’s monks have alerted 400 people to the dangers of bad people.”
The monks help disadvantaged families stabilize their lives. Superior monk Giang Sô Thanh, Head of Tra Cu district’s Association for the Solidarity of Patriotic Monks and head of Chrôi Tansa pagoda, said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic we worked with agencies and sectors to deliver essential goods to people, such as rice, instant noodles, sugar, and spices.”
”We used the pagoda’s budget and encouraged kind-hearted people to build houses for poor people. This year we built 12 houses, each worth 2,000 USD, for extremely poor people and the lonely elderly.”
Local people respect and honor prestigious people for their contributions to the community. Kim Son of Cho hamlet, Tieu Can district, said: “The monks preach the Dharma, teach morality, and inspire people to live a good life, work hard, and love one another. The Kinh, Khmer, and Hoa people live together in harmony.”
|Emeritus Artist Thach Set. (Photo: Ngoc Anh)
Prestigious artists in Tra Vinh province have various ways to promote Khmer cultural identity. Emeritus Artist Thach Set, a Khmer culture researcher and theater critic, said.
“I’ve studied Khmer theater arts, dances, and literature. My research projects have received government support to be printed and distributed nationwide. My job is to compile, edit, and publish the Khmer culture magazine of Tra Vinh province. It’s the only Khmer special edition in the southern region. I wrote lectures on the customs and rituals of the southern people which were included in a textbook in 2012.”
In 2021 the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs of Tra Vinh province organized a program to promote the role of prestigious people in mass mobilization work in ethnic communities. The selected people have visited many provinces in the central region and Central Highlands to gain experience in mass mobilization.
Prestigious Khmer people in Tra Vinh province are always at the forefront, dedicating their efforts and wisdom to national unity, and providing support to Khmer people to build a peaceful and prosperous life.