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Cham

Cham

PRONUNCIATION: CHAHM

LOCATION: Cambodia; Vietnam

POPULATION: About 400,0001 million

LANGUAGE: Cham; Cambodian

RELIGION: Islam; orthodox Cham; Hinduism

1 INTRODUCTION

The Cham live in Vietnam and Cambodia. They are descendants of refugees from the ancient kingdom of Champa who fled central Vietnam 500 years ago.

The ancient Cham were heavily influenced by India, as can be seen in their religion and art. Cham were fishermen, rice cultivators, and masters at temple construction. The remains of their religious monuments dot the landscape of Vietnam and Cambodia today.

From the sixteenth century on, the great Champa kingdom was gone. The Cham people were being persecuted and murdered by the Vietnamese. Numerous Cham fled central Vietnam for Cambodia, including a number of nobles and other dignitaries. Sometime in the seventeenth century the Cham were converted to Islam. The last royal Cham descendent died in the early 1900s.

In the twentieth century, the Cham were again the victims of massacre by the majority population, this time in Cambodia. From 1975 to 1979, Cambodia was ruled by the Khmer Rouge, communist extremists determined to erase all non-Khmer characteristics from the population. The Cham are believed to have been special targets of the Khmer Rouge.

The Cham were forced to adopt Cambodian language and customs and to abandon their own. Fishermen were forced to grow rice and dig canals, and religious leaders were stripped of their authority. Many were killed. In just two districts in Cambodia where Cham lived, over 40,000 Cham were killed by Khmer Rouge soldiers in the late 1970s. The Cham claim that over one hundred of their mosques were destroyed during the Khmer Rouge period.

In Vietnam, the Cham have fared better, but have also been subject to discrimination and ridicule, and to pressure to assimilate to Vietnamese society.

2 LOCATION

By the late 1800s, there were only small numbers of Chammaybe as few as 15,000living in both Vietnam and Cambodia. Their numbers increased rapidly, however. By 1975 there were between 150,000 and 200,000 Cham in Cambodia the about 150,000 in Vietnam. Currently there are between 400,000 and 1 million Cham in both countries.

In Vietnam, most Cham continue to live in the south central area of the country. In Cambodia, the Cham have settled along the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers and in western, southern, and central Cambodia.

Cham villages are usually comprised of only Cham. Most are small, with between 200 and 300 people, and are located near a river or lake.

3 LANGUAGE

Cham is related to languages spread over much of Asia and the Pacific. Most Cham in Cambodia are bilingual, speaking both Cham and Cambodian. Cambodian Cham speak a dialect called Western Cham. Cham in coastal central Vietnam speak Eastern Cham. Words in the Cham language contain up to three syllables.

The Cham language has its own writing system. Western Cham speakers use Arabic script rather than the traditional Cham script. Eastern Cham speakers in Vietnam use the traditional Cham script.

4 FOLKLORE

Many ancient Cham are remembered as great men. A king named Che Bong Nga ascended the Cham throne of central Vietnam in 1360. He led his armies against the Vietnamese and reoccupied Cham land to the north. His victories were temporary because the Vietnamese soon conquered the Cham empire, but Che Bong Nga's triumphs are remembered and retold.

The most renowned king of all, Po Rome, ruled Champa from 1627 to 1651. His rule is remembered as glorious by present-day Cham. When Po Rome was killed by his Vietnamese enemies, his Vietnamese wife threw herself on his burning funeral pyre in grief.

5 RELIGION

The Cham who fled the Champa kingdom of central Vietnam in the fifteenth century converted to Islam sometime before the seventeenth century. Cambodian Cham are Muslims (adherents of Islam). Cham decidation to their religion has helped them survive as an ethnic group.

The Cham worship in their own mosques. Their holy book is called the Quran (also spelled Koran). Each Cham community has a leader called the hakem. The bilal calls the faithful to prayer, and the imam leads them in prayer.

The spiritual center for Cham within Cambodia is Chrouy Changvar Peninsula, near Phnom Penh. Cham travel there to consult the high Muslim officials and to celebrate special occasions. Young Cham men may travel to Malaysia or Mecca (the holy city in Saudia Arabia) to study the Quran. Like Muslims worldwide, every Cambodian Cham hopes to make a pilgrimage (religious journey) to Mecca.

Most Cham in Vietnam are Hindus. Important Hindu officials are priests who are chosen for life. Some of these priests learned religious rituals when they were only ten or eleven years old.

6 MAJOR HOLIDAYS

Both Hindu and Muslim Cham observe a number of religious and magic ceremonies. Most religious and magical ceremonies contain rituals that originate in Islam, Hinduism, and traditional religions of the area.

The two most important festivals of the Hindu Cham, both honoring spirits of the dead, are the Bon Kate and Bon Cabur. (Both Hindu and Muslim holidays are set by the lunar calenday, so they fall on different days in the Western calendar each year.) Bon Kate is celebrated over five days in late September or early October. Hindu Cham make religious offerings to the statue of their god. These offerings include a goat, two cups and one box of cooked rice, a tray of ground rice cakes, five cups of sticky rice, lemon juice, and ten pieces of betel (a pepper plant).

Bon Cabur is held over five days during late January or early February. Cham gather to share celebrations and an elaborate feast.

7 RITES OF PASSAGE

The birth of a Cham child is greeted by the family and community with great joy. Babies are nursed by their mothers until two to four years of age. At age four, children are expected to feed, bathe, and control themselves, and shortly thereafter, to care for their younger siblings.

Most parents exercise almost complete control over their children until they are married. Even after marriage, the influence of parents is strong. Children are expected to show respect to their parents and elders, and are severely punished for any lapse. Cham express pride in the fact that their children have been less rebellious and their families have had less conflict than many other Cambodian families.

The Cham keep all a deceased person's rings before holding the funeral and burial. In the year following the funeral, several more ceremonies are held to honor the deceased person. At the end of the year, the bones of the deceased are exhumed (dug up). The bones are carried to the final permanent cemetery and are buried, with the person's rings, in one final ceremony.

8 RELATIONSHIPS

The Cham often exchange the traditional Muslim greeting. One person begins by saying "Salamu alaikum," to which another responds "Alaikum salam."

Cham in Cambodia also greet each other with the sampeah (traditional Khmer greeting). The sampeah involves joining the palms together, with fingers pointing up or slightly tilted toward the other person, then bringing their hands up to their chest or forehead.

The Cham place great importance on hierarchy and proper behavior. Women must respect men, children must respect their elders. Everyone must respect their superiors, which includes anyone with higher status, greater wealth, or a more important job. Inferiors greet their superiors with a deeper bow. All visitors are treated to the best the household has to offer.

Few young people date, and virginity remains highly valued for brides. Girls and boys have the opportunity to talk and flirt only on special occasions, surrounded by relatives and neighbors.

Most men marry between nineteen and twenty-five years of age; women are slightly younger, usually between sixteen and twenty-two. It is common for a young man to ask his parents' permission and assistance in finding a wife than to do so on his own. His parents or a matchmaker approach the young woman's family to see if they are interested in a match. If the response is positive, the families negotiate the terms and time of the marriage.

After an exchange of gifts, the young couple marries. It is still common for many young couples to spend the first year of marriage in the home of the woman's parents. After the parents are assured of their son-in-law's stability, or after the birth of the first child, the young couple moves into a new house built for them by their families.

9 LIVING CONDITIONS

Cham homes are made of split bamboo and thatch. Most houses are built on stilts 4 to 12 feet (1.3 to 4 meters) off the groung to protect them from seasonal flooding. Chickens, ducks, and oxen are kept in the area beneath the house. Family members often gather beneath the house during the heat of the day to do chores, look after the children at play, and visit with neighbors and passersby. In the evening, most Cham retreat upstairs to their homes, where they eat, chat, and rest.

The upstairs portion of the house may be an open room or may be divided into several rooms: a private room for keeping possessions and a public room for entertaining guests, eating, and visiting. A lean-to kitchen may be attached to the house, also on stilts.

Cham do not have electricity, running water, sewage systems, or appliances. Houses usually contain little furniture, decoration, or utensils. A few books, a pad of paper, and a pencil or two may be wrapped in plastic and placed in the rafters for safekeeping. People sleep on mats, which are rolled up and leaned against the wall or stored overhead during the day. Some Cham, especially in Cambodia, have low platform beds.

Cham cook over an earthenware stand placed over a fire. Because most Cham do not have refrigeration, they use preserved, salted, or fresh food. Kitchen utensils include pots, bowls, cooking ladles, and spoons made of coconut shells.

10 FAMILY LIFE

Cham observe a fairly strict division of labor, with women caring for children and the household. Men are responsible for rice cultivation and the chores of construction, tool craft, and repair.

Women do most of the textile manufacture, such as carding, spinning, and weaving cotton. They are also responsible for the family vegetable and fruit gardens and for threshing, husking, and milling the grain. Women carry the family's water from the nearest lake, river, or pond.

The vast majority of Cham marry within their group and religion. When a girl and her parents (or a boy and his parents) agree on a selection, the parents approach the other's parents.

Cham marriages are simple, involving little expense or ceremony. In the presence of an imam (spiritual leader) who acts as the witness, the parents of the young woman ask the groom if he will accept their daughter as his bride. After he agrees, the marriage is concluded and is then celebrated with a feast. Polygynous marriages are allowed (up to four wives), although the first wife must approve the selection of any subsequent wives. Divorce is also permitted. Most polygamy and divorce occurs in families with more resources.

Cham trace their descent and pass inheritance through the maternal line. Residence is also matrilocal, so that young couples go to live with the wife's family.

11 CLOTHING

The Cham wear distinctive clothing. Both men and women wear a batik, a garment much like a sarong, which is worn knotted around the waist. Men wear a shirt over their batik, while women wear close-fitting blouses with tight sleeves over theirs. Men and women usually cover their heads with turbans or scarves.

On religious days, leaders dress completely in white and shave their heads and beards. Children usually wear shorts and go barefoot or wear rubber thongs.

12 FOOD

Cham of Cambodia and Vietnam eat much as their fellow countrymen. Rice is eaten at almost every meal. Fish is almost as important and is eaten fresh, dried, and salted.

A traditional meal is a bowl of steamed rice eaten with a sauce containing bits of fish, fowl, or meat, eggs, vegetables, and spices such as onions, chilies, garlic, mint, ginger, or lemon grass. Pork and alcohol, consumed by many Cambodians, are forbidden to Muslim Cham.

Cham usually eat an early meal of leftover rice, cakes, or fruit either at home or in the field. The big meal of the day is lunch around midday, followed by supper at twilight.

Cham men usually eat together, women and children later. Each has a bowl of rice, and all take bites of food from several dishes sitting in the middle of the group. Cham may eat sitting in a squatting position, with their feet flat on the ground and their knees bent sharply. In Vietnam, most Cham use chopsticks to eat, while in Cambodia, most use spoons.

13 EDUCATION

Literacy (the ability to read and write) is greatly valued and parents and religious leaders go to great lengths to teach reading and writing to their children. Cham children attend their own schools, where they learn Cham language and writing, Cham history and traditions, and receive religious instruction. Some children also attend Cambodian or Vietnamese public schools.

14 CULTURAL HERITAGE

Literature and religion are both important to the Cham. They highly value their books and religious texts.

15 EMPLOYMENT

Most Cham are involved in subsistence agriculture (growing enough to meet the family's needs, with little left over). Some are engaged in raising livestock (such as buffalo, goats, dogs, and fowl), hunting, and fishing. Hunting is done with guns, nets, dogs, and traps. Fishing is done with nets. They use animals not only for food but for making tools and in religious ceremonies.

Cham grow rice, maize (corn), manioc, peanuts, ferns, and vegetables. Nonfood plants grown by the Cham include cotton, tobacco, and plants that yield castor oil. Women may make extra money by weaving.

16 SPORTS

Most Cham do not engage in organized sports. Children do not have free time, since they must help their families make a living. Even the smallest children help their parents fish, cook, gather firewood, and do a variety of chores. Children are often responsible for caring for the animals. Boys herd the water buffalo and oxen when they are not being used for plowing, and girls feed the pigs and chickens. Boys climb up sugar palm or coconut trees seeking syrup or coconuts.

Children find time during their daily activities for play. A popular game is played with rubber thongs. The boys draw a line in the dirt, then stand back and throw their sandals at the line. The boy who gets the closest is the winner. Girls and smaller children play a similar game with rubber bands, and the winner wears his captured bands around his wrist. Girls also play hopscotch.

17 RECREATION

In Cham villages, local festivals remain the most common and popular leisure activity. Visiting and gossiping are everyday pleasures. Modern leisure activities, such as television, movies, and videos, are rare in Cham villages and homes.

18 CRAFTS AND HOBBIES

Cham enjoy music, and use musical instruments that are similar to those in Cambodia and Vietnam. They range from guitars to gongs, drums, and xylophones.

19 SOCIAL PROBLEMS

The Cham are proud of never having completely assimilated to either Cambodian or Vietnamese culture. Some Cham hope that Champa, their ancient nation, will be reestablished. But most Cham are content to raise their families and practice their religion. Most of all the Cham hope for peace.

20 BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hickey, Gerald C. "Cham" In Ethnic Groups of Mainland Southeast Asia, Frank M. LeBar, G. Hickey, and J. K. Musgrave, eds. New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files Press, 1964.

WEBSITES

Embassy of Vietnam, Washington, D.C. [Online] Available http://www.vietnamembassy-usa.org/, 1998.

Interknowledge Corp. [Online] Available http://www.interknowledge.com/vietnam/, 1998.

World Travel Guide. Vietnam. [Online] Available http:/www.wtgonline.com/country/vn/gen.html, 1998.

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Cham

Cham

ETHNONYMS: Kiam, Nguoi Cham-pa, Tchame, Tchams, Thiame, Tscham, Tsiam


Orientation

Identification. The Cham are a Malay people who represent the remnant of a once large and powerful kingdom (Champa) that was dominant in the Vietnamese coastal region from about a.d. 200 until its demise in AD. 1471. In 1901 they were on the verge of extinction. It is believed that the original home of the Cham was Java. There they adopted a number of Indian cultural elements (particularly in the religious and artistic spheres) before their migration to Indochina.

Location. Vietnam and Cambodia are the locus of Cham culture. The Cham are found in south-central Vietnam and in the Tonle Sap and Chau Doc areas of Cambodia.

Demography. In 1910 there were 15,389 Cham in Annam and 30,000 living in Cambodia. In 1981 there were 155,000 Cham reported living in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Linguistic Affiliation. Cham is a branch of Malay that contains elements drawn from several language families. Some of its more important elements are those from Malayo-Polynesian languages, Khmer, Vietnamese and Chinese languages, Indochinese languages, Sanskrit, and Arabic.

History and Cultural Relations

Leuba demarcates three periods in Cham history. In the first of these, the Cham were at war with China (from the second to the tenth centuries a.d.). During the second period the Cham were engaged in armed conflict with the people of Annam (tenth to fifteenth centuries a.d.) . The end of this period witnessed the destruction of the kingdom of Champa by the Annamese emperor Thanh ton (in 1471 a.d.). Attempts to throw off the yoke of Annamese subjugation failed, and a gradual decline of Cham culture took place from the sixteenth century onward. During this third period, the decline of the kingdom precipitated an exodus from Champa to Cambodia by a number of Cham dignitaries and persons of noble birth. The last descendant of the Cham royal line died early in the twentieth century at Palei Chanar. The early 1900s witnessed a decline in the Cham population, but subsequent times have witnessed their resurgence. The ancient Cham were known for their seafaring skills, agricultural inventiveness, and construction of temples and religious monuments. The culture of the Cham in more recent periods has had little of the flavor of its ancient progenitor, relative poverty having replaced the grandeur of its ancient past.


Settlements

Cham villages are extremely poor. Leuba has noted that they convey a sense of impermanence. Homes are made of split bamboo and are elevated above ground level (by the use of pilings) to protect against flooding. The space beneath the house serves frequently as a shelter for water fowl (e.g., ducks). The typical home has few adornments and domestic utensils. The structure may contain several rooms separated by walls. Access to these rooms is by means of a hallway running along the side of the house or by doorways in the walls separating the rooms.


Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities . Although agriculture figures prominently in the everyday life of the Cham, animal domestication, hunting, and fishing are also a part of their cycle of subsistence. Crops grown include rice (by means of wet and dry cultivation), cotton, maize, tobacco, castor-oil plants, manioc, peanuts, ferns, and vegetables. An alternative to wet cultivation (used for the growing of rice) is that of ray cultivation (the Cham variety of slash-and-burn agriculture). Mangrove and other trees are also cultivated for profit. Buffalo, goats, dogs, poultry, and ducks are domesticated. Eggs are also collected. Animals and their by-products are used for a variety of purposes (i.e., for food, sacrifice, and agricultural assistance). Hunting (with nets, beaters, dogs, and traps) and fishing (with nets) is also engaged in.

Industrial Arts. Basic tools used by the Cham include pots, bowls, chopsticks, looms, spinning wheels, mortars (for rice pounding), baskets, jars, ashtrays (for torches), trays, calabashes, baskets, jars, ladles and spoons (made of coconut shells), cooking spoons, combs, rope, and a small quantity of iron implements. Low wooden beds are also manufactured for domestic use. Bedding (of cotton, wood, and matting) also is used. Little furniture is made, and luxury industries are scant.

Trade. Leuba reported the existence of a trade relationship between the Cham and the Moi. The Moi trade spices, cereals, and poultry to the Cham in exchange for iron bells, dried fish, and silk garments. The Moi also work as hired laborers for the Cham.

Division of Labor. Men and women share labor-related responsibilities. However, Cham women play an important role in the subsistence cycle and in the management of family affairs. They are responsible for household chores, the socialization of children, textile manufacture (e.g., the carding, spinning, and weaving of cotton), vegetable cultivation, burden bearing, grain preparation (i.e., threshing, husking, and milling), and water drawing.

Land Tenure. Both individual and village ownership of land seems to occur in certain Cham villages.


Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Cham kinship practices represent a fusion of Hindu and pre-Hindu elements. LeBar cites Maspero's observation that the Cham had a matrilineal clan system that predated their Hinduization. The system also is said to have been totemic. Of these clans, the two that are reported to have struggled for dominance are the coconut-tree clan and the areca-nut-tree clan. Succession to the office of king was patrilineal (perhaps showing Hindu influence) rather than matrilineal.

Kinship Terminology. Hawaiian kinship terminology is employed for first cousins.


Marriage and Family

Marriage. Once females reach the age of consent, they are allowed a considerable degree of freedom in mate selection. They are permitted to choose mates (from their own religious faith or others) and to initiate the mate-selection process. Polygynous unions are permitted (with the consent of the first wife) and the first wife is the agent responsible for the introduction of subsequent spouses into the household. Divorce is permitted and is usually initiated by the wife. Economic factors are a determinant in marital form, polygyny being limited to more wealthy Cham. Postmarital residence is matrilocal.

Inheritance. Inheritance of property, succession rights, and prerogatives related to ancestral worship is through the female line.

Socialization. Cham women are the chief agents of socialization.


Sociopolitical Organization

Political Organization. The Cham village is made up of several hamlets and is governed by elected officials numbering from five to fifteen. These officials are charged with safeguarding the public, the distribution of community funds, and tax collection. Each village is also governed by a mayor. All officials, with the exception of the mayor, are subject to individual taxation. A larger administrative division is made up of groups of eight to twelve villages. These groups are governed by a group leader. Three to four of these village groups compose the highest administrative division, the huyen.

Social Control. Social control is maintained by a combination of regulations derived from indigenous and national (i.e., governmental) sources.

Conflict. Conflict between the Cham and their immediate Vietnamese neighbors was characteristic of early Cham history. After their defeat at the hands of the Vietnamese, many Cham fled to Cambodia. Subsequent contact between the two groups has improved over the years to the point where the Cham have adopted many aspects of Vietnamese culture. No Cham military structure has existed since the fall of the Champa empire.


Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. Two religious systems are followed by the Cham: Islam and Hinduism. The adherents of Islam are known as cham bams (sons of religion) or cham aclam (Cham of Islam). Those who follow Hindu practice are called cham jat (thoroughbred Cham), cham kaphirs, or akaphirs (infidels) . A substratum of indigenous religious practice is to be found in the syncretized form of Islam and Hinduism practiced by the Cham. The Chams of Cambodia, most of whom are Muslim, are members of the Shiite branch of Islam. The Cham of Vietnam, who are almost exclusively Hindu, practice a form of Shaioita Brahmanism.

Religious Practitioners. The chief religious functionary of the Muslim Cham is the imam, the congregational leader. Other Muslim officials include the ong-grou (high priest of the mosque), the katip (assistant to the ong-grou), and the mo'duo'n (censor). Among the Hindu Cham, the most important religious officials are the priests who belong to the basaih caste. This caste elects three high priests (po adhia ) who serve in this capacity for life. From the age of ten, children of this caste are taught appropriate sacerdotal rituals and activities. Other practitioners include the camenei, the kathar, and the paja (celibate priestess/prophetess), the kain yan, the rija, and the Hindu mo'duo'n. The camenei, who form a caste inferior to that of the basaih, are responsible for temple upkeep. The kathar are cultic musicians who sing hymns and play instruments for ceremonial observances. The paja officiates at domestic ceremonies. The kain yan (assistant to the paja) presents offerings to the paja and performs ceremonial dance. Finally, the rija (family priestess) also officiates at certain family-based magicoreligious rites. The Hindu mo'duo'n is a celebrant at certain magicoreligious observances.

Ceremonies. The calendar of the Hindu and Muslim Cham contains a number of ceremonial occasions that are marked by magicoreligious rites. Many of these contain indigenous elements that have been blended with elements of Islam and Hinduism. Two major feasts are observed by the Hindu Cham: Bon Kate (September-October), observed on the fifth day of the fifth month, and Bon Cabur (January-February) , held on the first day of the ninth month. The spirits of the departed are honored on these occasions. A festival meal is shared and five days of celebration accompany each of these feasts.

Arts. The visual arts of the Cham are not well developed. Music (instrumental and vocal) is, however, highly developed, though musical instruments are of the most rudimentary type. The Cham literary corpus includes a number of songs and hymns, prayers, rituals, folktales, and lists of divinities.

Death and Afterlife. Muslim Cham bury their dead twice (provisionally and then permanently). Several commemorative ceremonies are carried out near the tomb during the year following the death of an individual. The bones of the deceased are exhumed when the final ceremony takes place, and are carried to a permanent resting place in the area that serves as the people's common cemetery. Here the bones, along with the deceased person's rings, are buried. The Hindu Cham, by contrast, cremate the deceased after ceremonial preparation of the body. The remains are placed in a family sepulcher.


Bibliography

Cabaton, Antoine (1901). Nouvelles recherches sur les Chams. Translated by Human Relations Area Files, Inc. Paris: E. Leroux.


Hickey, Gerald C. (1964). "Cham." In Ethnic Groups of Mainland Southeast Asia, edited by Frank M. LeBar, Gerald C. Hickey, and John K. Musgrave, 245-249. New Haven: HRAF Press.


Leuba, Jeanne (1923). Un royaume disparu: Les Chams et leur art. Translated for Human Relations Area Files, Inc. Paris: G. Van Oest.


Maspéro, Georges (1928). Le royaume de Champa. Paris and Brussels: G. Van Oest.


Olivier, G., and H. Chagnous (1951). "Anthropologie physique des Chams." Bulletin de la Société des Études Indochinoises 26:271-318.


HUGH R. PAGE, JR.

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Cham

Cham (käm), pseud. of Amédée de Noé (ämādā´ də nōā´), 1819–79, French caricaturist and lithographer. He abandoned a military career to produce over 4,000 designs, many of them caricatures and sketches of French and Algerian life.

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ʾCham

ʾCham (Tibetan ritual drama): see MUSIC.

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Cham

Cham XVI. Earlier form of KHAN.

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cham

chamam, Amsterdam, Assam, Bram, cam, cham, cheongsam, clam, cram, dam, damn, drachm, dram, exam, femme, flam, gam, glam, gram, ham, jam, jamb, lam, lamb, mam, mesdames, Omar Khayyám, Pam, pram, pro-am, ram, Sam, scam, scram, sham, Siam, slam, Spam, swam, tam, tram, Vietnam, wham, yam •in memoriam • ad nauseam •iamb, Priam •grandam • Edam • goddam •quondam • Potsdam • cofferdam •Rotterdam • Oxfam • Birmingham •Abraham • logjam • CAD-CAM •minicam • Nicam •Eelam, Elam •flimflam • oriflamme • Suriname •ad personam • diazepam • tangram •ashram • telegram • milligram •epigram • centigram • dithyramb •program, programme •cardiogram • radiogram • echogram •mammogram •aerogramme (US aerogram) •microgram • dirham •electrocardiogram • ideogram •heliogram • diaphragm • diagram •parallelogram • kilogram • hologram •encephalogram • anagram •monogram • sonogram • kissogram •pentagram • cryptogram • photogram •tam-tam • wigwam • whim-wham

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Cham

Cham

PRONUNCIATION: CHAHM
LOCATION: Cambodia; Malaysia; Vietnam
POPULATION: About 250,000
LANGUAGE: Cham; Cambodian
RELIGION: Islam; orthodox Cham; Hinduism
RELATED ARTICLES: Vol. 4: Muslims

INTRODUCTION

The Cham of Vietnam and Cambodia are descendants of refugees from the ancient kingdom of Champa, who fled central Vietnam 500 years ago. The Cham may have originally come from Java before migrating to the mainland peninsula of Southeast Asia—certainly their Kings and ruling class incorporated many Javanese traditions. They are one of several groups of Malayan stock, which also includes the Jarai and Rhade of Vietnam, the Dayak of Borneo, and the Igorot of the Philippines. The Cham of Cambodia, in current statistics, also includes more recent Malay immigrants.

The ancient Cham were heavily influenced by Java, which in turn was influenced by India, as seen in borrowed cultural elements, such as religion and art. Cham were fishermen, seagoers, rice-cultivators, and masters at temple construction. The remains of their religious monuments dot the landscape of Vietnam and Cambodia today and were imitated by others who came after them.

The Kingdom of Champa ruled much of what is now central Vietnam from the 2nd to the 15th centuries. From the 2nd to the 10th centuries, the Cham were usually at war with China to the north. From the 10th to the 15th centuries, Champa was frequently at war with the Khmers to the west, and the Vietnamese, also to the north.

By 1213 the Vietnamese had reduced Champa to a feudal state but Champa again gained its independence in 1326. Under a Cham hero named Che Bong Nga, Champa repeatedly attacked Vietnam throughout the 1300s. After this hero's death, Vietnam again continued its incursions into Cham land. By 1471 the Vietnamese ruler Thanh Ton had completely subdued Champa.

Over the next years, the Cham attempted but failed to end Vietnamese rule. From the 16th century on, the great Champa kingdom had been extinguished with the Cham. Numerous Cham fled central Vietnam for Cambodia, including a number of nobles and other dignitaries. The last royal descendent died in the early 1900s.

Since the 16th century, Cham have continued to live in Vietnam and Cambodia, minority neighbors to the majority ethnic Vietnamese and Cambodian population around them. Cambodian Cham today remember themselves as the survivors of the massacre of their people by the Vietnamese and the fighting in 1841 against the Cambodian armies of King Ang Duang.

Those who settled in Cambodia were well-treated by the French. From the first elections in 1946, they supported the Liberal Party of Prince Norindeth, and then, from 1955, the Sangkum movement of Prince Norodom Sihanouk. One prominent politician of Cham ancestry, Eng Meas, worked in the police, and his daughter Eng Marie, married Sihanouk's second son Prince Norodom Ranariddh. Many Cham served in the Royal Cambodian Army and after the 1970 takeover by Lon Nol, a large number continued to serve him and also the pro-U.S. FULRO organization (United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races), which also heavily recruited from the Mountain Khmers. A Cham, Yisales Yasya, also served as a senator from 1972 until 1975.

In 20th century Cambodia, the Cham were again the victims of massacres by the neighboring majority population. From 1975 to 1979 Cambodia was ruled by the Khmer Rouge, Communist extremists determined to erase all non-Khmer characteristics from the population. The Cham were special targets of the Khmer Rouge for a number of reasons. In fact, it was a surprise to many surviving Cham and to observers that any remained in 1979. Many of those who managed to flee Cambodia during the 1980s supported the Khmer People's National Liberation Front or their allies, the Royalist FUNCINPEC movement (National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia); although several, such as Abdul Koyom and Mat Ly (son of Sos Man, a longtime Communist), held senior positions in the pro-Vietnamese Communist party of Hun Sen.

The Cham were forced to adopt Cambodian language and customs and to abandon their own. Their communities, which had traditionally been separate from Buddhist Cambodians, were broken up and the people dispersed to other villages. Fishermen were forced to grow rice and dig canals, and religious leaders were stripped of their authority. Many were killed. In just two districts of Kompong Cham alone, over 40,000 Cham were killed by Khmer Rouge soldiers in the late 1970s.

The Cham claim that 132 of their mosques were destroyed during the Khmer Rouge period, and the Cham were not allowed to practice their religious rituals. Only 20 of the 113 most prominent clergy survived the Khmer Rouge period. This loss of leadership, as well as the destruction of mosques, dispersion of the population, and poverty, has slowed the re-establishment of mosques, services, and schools. Despite the losses, however, the number of mosques in Cambodia is roughly what it was before the Khmer Rouge era.

In Vietnam, the Cham have fared much better, but have also been subject to discrimination, pressure to assimilate to Vietnamese society, and ridicule for retaining their customs.

LOCATION AND HOMELAND

By the late 1800s, according to some reports, not many Cham were left—maybe as few as 15,000 in both Vietnam and Cambodia. By 1910, in other reports, there were approximately 45,000 Cham in both countries, half as many in Vietnam as in Cambodia. Their numbers then increased rapidly. In 1936 the census for Indochina listed the Chams as being 73,000, with 29,786 listed on the electoral roll (males over the age of 21), with a population of about 250,000 in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge Communists came to power.

From 1975 until 1978, the Cham were a particular target of the Communist Democratic Kampuchean government. Many died and others fled Cambodia entirely. By the late 1980s, though, their numbers were increasing. Some observers suggest their numbers still do not approach the figures of the 1970s; others conclude that the Cham population at least equals its number prior to 1975, although exact numbers remain elusive.

In Vietnam, most Cham continue to live in the south central area of the country. In Cambodia, the Cham have settled along the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers and in western, southern, and central Cambodia. They have fared relatively well with their much more populous Khmer neighbors (with the exception of the late 1970s), despite their differences in religion, language, schooling, and even subsistence patterns.

Following the violence and massacre of late 1970s Cambodia, some Cham, along with other Cambodians, fled their homeland for Thailand. After some time in refugee camps, most were resettled in Malaysia, and also Western countries, where they continue to live.

Many resettled Cham live in communities separated from their fellow Cambodian and Vietnamese countrymen. Some have migrated thousands of miles in their new lands to join fellow Cham, even if they were strangers. Those in Malaysia have been welcomed by the majority Malay community. Other Cham attended the local mosque and found themselves having more in common with black American Muslims and immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, than they did with other migrants from Cambodia.

LANGUAGE

Cham is an Austronesian language, and thus Cham is related to languages spread over much of Asia and the Pacific. Cham is also related to Jarai and Rade, languages spoken by Mountain Khmer hill tribespeople in northeastern Cambodia, and to Malay, a language also spoken in Cambodia.

Most Cham in Cambodia are bilingual, speaking both Cham and Cambodian (Khmer). Cambodian Cham speak a dialect called Western Cham, which is also spoken by some Cham in Vietnam. Western Cham is distinguished from Eastern Cham, which is spoken by Cham in coastal central Vietnam. Western Cham has borrowed numerous words from Khmer, Arabic, and Malay, and has borrowed also from Vietnamese, Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Malayo-Polynesian languages. The Cham language is atonal, with words containing up to three syllables.

The Cham language has its own writing system. Western Cham speakers, however, no longer use the traditional Cham script originally based on Indian Pali script, although it has been retained by Eastern Cham in Vietnam. Instead, Cambodian Cham is written in Arabic script. Protestant missionaries also developed a romanized script in the 1960s, which has been used occasionally.

FOLKLORE

Many ancient Cham are remembered as great heroes. The most famous was the king named Che Bong Nga, who ascended the Cham throne of central Vietnam in 1360. He led his armies against the Vietnamese and reoccupied Cham land to the north. While his victories were temporary, with the Vietnamese eventually overtaking the Cham empire, his triumphs over the Vietnamese are remembered.

The most renowned king of all, Po Rome, ruled Champa from 1627 to 1651. But his rule, remembered as glorious by present-day Cham, was overshadowed by a Vietnamese invasion. When Po Rome was killed by his Vietnamese enemies, his Vietnamese wife threw herself on his burning funeral pyre in grief.

RELIGION

Although numbers of Cham were already Muslim, the Cham who fled the Champa kingdom of central Vietnam in the 15th century apparently converted to Islam sometime before the 17th century, influenced by contacts with Malay kinfolk, who had been Muslims for some centuries.

Cambodian Cham are all Muslim, with Islam being their defining characteristic, and Cham adherence to their religion has undoubtedly helped their survival as a separate ethnic group. The Cham worship in their own mosques. Their holy book is the Quran, and each Cham community has a community and religious leader, called the hakem. There is also a bilal who calls the faithful to prayer and an imam who leads them in their prayers. Influenced by Hinduism from India, Cham continue to practice some Hindu beliefs along with their Muslim faith.

The spiritual center for Cham within Cambodia is Chrouy Changvar, a market town near Phnom Penh. There they go to consult the high Muslim officials in residence, to celebrate special occasions, and to visit with Cham throughout the country. Some young male Cham go each year to study the Quran in Malaysia or in Mecca. The greatest wish of every Muslim throughout the world, including Cambodia, is to make a haj, a pilgrimage to Mecca. In the 1950s, about 7% of the Cham population made the trip, and today, many more long to go.

Many Cambodian Cham are Sunni Muslim of the Shafii school, although there are traditionalist and orthodox branches. Traditional Cambodian Cham, numbering about two-thirds of the population, have kept many ancient traditions and rituals. Although they consider Allah the single, all-powerful God, they also recognize other non-Islamic deities. In this respect they resemble the Cham of coastal Vietnam more than Muslims of other countries. Traditional Cham believe in spirits and practice magic to avoid illness and death. Less concerned with making a pilgrimage to Mecca or praying daily, they do nonetheless celebrate many Muslim festivals.

The remaining one-third of Cambodian Cham are orthodox Cham, who retain religious beliefs and practices much closer to Muslims from other countries. They do so in part because of their close ties to the Malay migrant community in Cambodia. Many orthodox Cham have adopted Malay customs and many speak the Malay language in addition to Cham and Cambodian. They are much more integrated into the worldwide community of Islam believers, making the pilgrimage to Mecca and attending conferences, visiting mosques, and studying in other countries.

Most traditional Cham are scattered throughout central Cambodia, while orthodox Cham are located primarily around the capital of Phnom Penh, the former capital of Udong (formerly Oudong), and in provinces to the south.

Most Cham in Vietnam are Hindus who practice a form of Shaioita Brahmanism. The most important Hindu officials among the Vietnamese Cham are the priests, who are chosen for life. These men belong to the basaih caste. Some members of the basaih caste are taught sacerdotal rituals as young as 10 or 11 years of age. Other Hindu Cham officials include the priestess, who must remain celibate.

Members of the camenei caste, considered inferior to the basaih caste, maintain the temples. Musicians sing and play instruments in accompaniment to religious ceremonies. Another category of people gives offerings to higher officials and performs ceremonial dances. Other officials, such as family priestesses, preside over family magical and religious rituals.

MAJOR HOLIDAYS

Both Hindu and Muslim Cham observe a number of religious and magic ceremonies. Most religious and magical ceremonies contain rituals that originate in Islam, Hinduism, and traditional religions of the area.

The two most important festivals of the Hindu Cham are the Bon Kate and Bon Cabur. Bon Kate is held during the lunar month, which corresponds to late September/early October, preferably on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Bon Kate is celebrated over a period of five days if possible, during which time Hindu Cham make religious offerings of a goat, two cups and one box of cooked rice, a tray of ground rice cakes, five cups of sticky rice, lemon juice, and 10 pieces of betel to the statue of their god. This ceremony continues to be celebrated by non-Muslim Cham in Paris, France.

The other important ceremony is Bon Cabur, held during the lunar month corresponding to late January/early February. Both ceremonies honor the spirits of the dead: similar festivals are also held by both the Vietnamese and Cambodian neighbors of the Cham. The people gather to share an elaborate feast and to celebrate for a period of five days.

Another major holiday is Eidul-Fitr, which celebrates the breaking of the 30-day fast observed by Muslims throughout the world. For the entire month of Ramadan, Muslim Cham refrain from eating from sunrise to sunset. A typical holiday feast includes lamb, chicken curry, and fish with the standard rice and vegetables.

RITES OF PASSAGE

As with their fellow Cambodians, the birth of a Cham child is considered a blessed event and is greeted by the family and community with great joy.

Toddlers are nursed until two to four years of age and are treated with considerable lenience. At age four, children are expected to feed, bathe, and control themselves, and shortly thereafter, to care for their younger siblings as many Cham have large families.

Most parents continue to exert almost complete control over their children until they are married. Even then, the influence of their parents is heavy. Children are expected to show great respect to their parents and elders and are severely punished for any lapse.

While the Khmer Rouge loosened the traditional control of parents over their children and modernization in urban areas continues to threaten traditional respect and obedience toward parents, most Cham continue to observe traditional family behavior. Cham express pride in the fact that their children have suffered less rebellion and their families less conflict than many other Cambodian families. Children become full adults when they have jobs, their own households, spouses, and children. Even then, they are expected to follow the advice of their elders.

The Cham bury their dead after the funeral service. In the year following the funeral, several more ceremonies are held, each honoring the deceased person. At the end of the year, the bones of the deceased are exhumed and reburied in one final ceremony. The bones are then carried to the final permanent cemetery and are buried with the rings of the deceased person.

INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS

The Cham often exchange the traditional Muslim greeting, giving one another a blessing. One person begins by saying "Salamu alaikum," to which another responds "Alaikum salam."

Cham in Cambodia also greet each other with the traditional Khmer greeting, the sampeah, joining their palms together, their fingers pointing up or slightly tilted toward the other person, then bringing their hands up to their chest or forehead.

The Cham, like their fellow Cambodians and Vietnamese, place importance on hierarchy and proper behavior, influenced by Confucian ideas. Women must respect men, children must respect their elders, and everyone must respect their superiors, which includes anyone with higher status, greater wealth, or a more important job. Inferiors greet their superiors with greater respect, a deeper bow, or greater stoop when offering food or passing by. Visitors, both familiar and strange, are treated to the best the household has to offer.

Few young people date, and virginity remains highly valued for brides. Girls and boys have the opportunity to talk and flirt only on special occasions and during these times are surrounded by relatives and neighbors.

Most men marry between 19 and 25 years of age; women are slightly younger, usually between 16 and 22. Most young people continue to court as their parents did. It remains much more common for a young man to ask his parents' permission and assistance in obtaining a wife than to do so on his own. His parents or a matchmaker approach the young woman's family to see if they are interested in a match. If the response is positive, the families negotiate the terms and time of the marriage.

After an exchange of gifts, the young couple marries. It is still common for many young couples to spend the first year of marriage living in the home of the woman's parents. After the parents are assured of their son-in-law's stability, or after the birth of the first child, the young couple commonly moves into a new house built for them by their families.

LIVING CONDITIONS

Health care in Cambodia and Vietnam has been devastated by the events of the past decades. The subsequent isolation of both countries from much of the international community and the embargo against most imports and aid meant that inhabitants went another decade without even the minimum of modern health care.

International health assistance has improved services to many people. But the Cham continue to patronize local spiritual leaders for most health needs. Modern medicine is expensive, with patients having to pay before being seen for services and medicines supposedly offered without fee.

Cham villages are usually comprised of only Cham. Most are located on or near the banks of rivers or lakes, although some are located inland. Villages remain small, with between 200 and 300 people.

Like the houses of the Vietnamese and Cambodians around them, their homes are made of split bamboo and thatch. Most houses are built on stilts to protect them from seasonal flooding; thus most stand 4–12 feet off the ground. The area beneath the house is used for housing domestic animals, such as chickens, ducks, and oxen, and is shelter for the family during the heat of the day. Families often gather there during the day to do chores, look after the children at play, and visit with neighbors and passersby. In the evening, most Cham retreat upstairs to their homes, where they eat, chat, and rest. Visiting is a traditional activity and occurs frequently.

The upstairs portion of the house may be an open room or may be divided into several rooms: a private room for keeping possessions and a public room for entertaining guests, eating, and visiting. A lean-to kitchen may be attached to the house, also on stilts.

Because of their isolation, most Cham do not have electricity, running water, sewage systems, or appliances, although in recent years some have installed small generators. Houses usually contain little furniture, decoration, or utensils. Most Cham continue to own few objects that they have not made themselves. A few books, a pad of paper, and a pencil or two may be wrapped in plastic and placed in the rafters for safe-keeping. The package is out of the way but can be easily reached. Other possessions are placed similarly or hang on pegs on the walls. People sleep on mats, which are rolled up and leaned against the wall or stored overhead during the day.

The most common piece of furniture for many Cham, especially in Cambodia, is a low platform bed. Bedding materials include mats made of rush or plastic, which people place on the wooden platform, and cotton and synthetic blankets.

Rather than using modern electric appliances in their kitchens, Cham use simpler, less expensive, often handmade items. They cook over an earthenware stand placed over a fire. Because most Cham do not have refrigeration, women use preserved, salted, or fresh food. Kitchen utensils include pots, bowls, cooking ladles, and spoons made of coconut shells, although plastic plates and utensils have started to be used by some communities. Basic work tools of Cham women include looms, spinning wheels, mortars for pounding rice, baskets, jars, and trays. The Cham also make rope, mats, wooden implements, and some iron tools.

Like many of their fellow countrymen, the vast majority of Cham have never ridden in an airplane, car, or motorized boat, although most have been in buses. Most have paddled a boat and those who own a bicycle consider themselves lucky, and the dream of most youth and adults is to be able to purchase a motorbike. For most Cham, the most common form of transportation continues to be by foot.

FAMILY LIFE

Women are viewed as important members of society, contributing materials and skills without which the group could not live. The Cham observe a fairly strict division of labor, with women caring for children and the household, and men representing the family in public and bearing the brunt of responsibility for supporting the family.

Men remain responsible for rice cultivation and the heavier chores of construction, tool craft, and repair. Men have the responsibility of gathering information from others, the government, and knowledgeable leaders. Both women and men are engaged in planning family subsistence activities and carrying them out. Men and women share much of the labor involved in supporting the family. Women tend to manage the household affairs and do most of the textile manufacture, such as carding, spinning, and weaving cotton. They are also generally responsible for the family vegetable and fruit gardens and for threshing, husking, and milling the grain. Women carry most of the family's water from the nearest lake, river, or pond to the family house.

The vast majority of Cham marry within their own group and religion. Those who do not often have difficulty adjusting to village schedules, diets, language, clothing, and ways of making a living. When Cham do intermarry, it is usually with members of other minority groups such as Vietnamese, Burmese, Malay, or Chinese in Cambodia, with Chinese or Cambodian in Vietnam.

Both young men and women are given considerable freedom in choosing a spouse, with preference going to other Cham. When a girl and her parents agree on a selection, her parents approach the parents of the young man.

Cham marriages are simple, involving little expense or ceremony. In the presence of an imam who acts as the witness, the parents of the young woman ask the groom if he will accept their daughter as his bride. After he agrees, the marriage is concluded and is then celebrated with a feast. Polygynous marriages are allowed (up to four wives), although the first wife must approve the selection of any subsequent wives. Divorce is also permitted. Most polygamy and divorce occurs in families with more resources.

Cham families are matriarchal and matrilineal. Cambodian Cham trace their descent and pass inheritance through the maternal line. Residence is also matrilocal, so that young couples go to live with the wife's family.

In the past, the Cham said they had a matrilineal clan system with two clans struggling for dominance: the areca nut tree clan and the coconut tree clan. Royal succession, however, was patrilineal, with the king's son inheriting the throne in the kingdom of Champa.

Cham villages are often divided into hamlets and are governed by elected officials. The religious leaders of the community often have considerable political influence.

Animals are kept to support the family, and an animal that does not contribute to the family's income or diet is a luxury that most families cannot afford. This is not to say that children do not occasionally get close to a dog or cat, but pet relationships as they exist in the United States are rare.

CLOTHING

The Cham wear distinctive clothing. Both men and women wear a batik, a garment much like a sarong, which is worn knotted around the waist. Men wear a shirt over their batik, while women wear close-fitting blouses with tight sleeves over theirs. Men and women usually wear a turban or a scarf.

On religious days, both men and women don their best clothing. Their leaders dress completely in white and shave their heads and beards. On other days they wear clothing similar to other Cambodians: a sambot and blouse for women, a sarong or trousers and shirt for men. Children usually wear shorts, girls add a blouse, and both go barefoot or wear rubber thongs.

FOOD

With several important exceptions, the Cham of Cambodia and Vietnam eat much as their fellow countrymen. Rice is the most important food; eaten at virtually every meal, it forms the basis of most dishes.

Fish is almost as important and is eaten fresh, dried, and salted. Vegetables are also a vital part of their diet. The Cham grow a number of crops in their gardens, including onions, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes. Many homes are surrounded by coconut and banana trees and numerous other plants. Other fruits include mangoes, papayas, jack fruit, durian, and palm fruit. The sugar palm also yields syrup, which is used in cooking.

A traditional meal is a bowl of steamed rice eaten with a sauce containing bits of fish, fowl, or meat, eggs, vegetables, and spices such as onions, chilies, garlic, mint, ginger, or lemon grass.

The two important exceptions are pork and alcohol, consumed by many of their fellow Cambodians but forbidden to the Cham on religious grounds. Their refusal to eat pork is so great that many lost their lives during the Khmer Rouge period for refusing to do so.

The Cham usually eat an early meal of left-over rice, cakes, or fruit either at home or in the field. The big meal of the day is lunch around midday, followed by supper at twilight.

Cham men usually eat together, women and children later. Each has a bowl of rice and all take bites of food from several dishes sitting in the middle of the group. When eating on the job, away from the house, or under the house, Cham may eat sitting in a squatting position, their feet flat on the ground, their knees bent sharply, and their bottoms hanging almost to the ground. Whether squatting or sitting on the ground, the men cross-legged or, like the women, with their legs folding back to one side, they can sit for hours in positions that are uncomfortable for Westerners after just a few minutes.

In Vietnam most Cham use chopsticks to eat, while in Cambodia most use spoons like other Cambodians.

EDUCATION

A higher than average number of Cham are literate, for literacy is greatly valued and parents and religious leaders go to great lengths to teach reading and writing to their children. Cham children attend their own schools, where they learn Cham language and writing, religious instruction, and Cham history and traditions. Some children also attend Cambodian or Vietnamese public schools, their parents wanting them to have the benefits not only of Cham heritage but the economic opportunities available in the surrounding society.

CULTURAL HERITAGE

Literature is extremely important to the Cham, and they highly value their books and religious texts. The greatest cultural heritage of the Cham is their religion. Without it, they say, they could not sustain life, nor would they wish to. However, many of the holy books were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge in 1975.

WORK

Most Cham are involved in agricultural subsistence activities but are also engaged in domesticating animals, hunting, and fishing. Hunting is done with bows and arrows (and now guns), nets, beaters, dogs, and traps. Fishing is done primarily with nets.

Most agriculture involves the cultivation of rice, both wet and dry. The Cham also grow maize, manioc, peanuts, ferns, and vegetables. Other non-food plants include cotton, tobacco, and plants that yield castor oil. The Cham domesticate buffalo, goats, dogs, and fowl. They use animals not only for food but for making tools and in religious ceremonies.

The inhabitants of river villages are primarily engaged in fishing, cultivating rice, and growing vegetables. Many grow onions. Fishermen who do not cultivate rice or who need extra amounts exchange their fish for it with neighboring Cambodians. Women may make extra money by weaving. Other cash crops include tobacco and mangrove tree cultivation.

The residents of inland villages support themselves by fishing, cultivating rice, and numerous other activities, depending on their location. Some villages specialize in raising fruit or vegetables. Others concentrate on metal working.

Some Cham cultivate rice by swidden cultivation, which involves the slash-and-burn technique, whereby they cut down trees and underbrush, burn the material, and then cultivate the cleared area. The ash benefits the soil and crops can be cultivated there for several years before the process must be repeated in another area.

Many Cham are butchers, since Buddhists hesitate to do so because their religion teaches not to kill animals. Cham also have a reputation for breeding water buffalo.

SPORTS

Most Cham children spend only a few years in the classroom. The rest of their time is spent helping their families make a living. Even the smallest children help their parents fish, cook, gather firewood, and do a variety of chores. Both boys and girls help with younger children, and it is not uncommon to see boys carrying a baby sister for hours at a time.

Children are often responsible for caring for the animals. Boys herd the water buffalo and oxen when they are not being used for plowing, and girls feed the pigs and chickens. Boys climb up sugar palm or coconut trees seeking syrup or coconuts.

Children usually turn these subsistence activities into play and games. In addition, they enjoy swimming and running. A popular village game is played with rubber thongs. The boys draw a line in the dirt, then stand back and throw their sandals at the line. The boy who gets the closest is the winner. Girls and smaller children play a similar game with rubber bands, and the winner wears his captured bands around his wrist. Girls also play hopscotch.

The most popular spectator and participant sport is soccer. Volleyball is also a favorite, and both are seen frequently in Cham villages.

ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION

In Cham villages, local festivals remain the most common and popular leisure activity. Playing, games, visiting, and gossiping are everyday pleasures. Modern leisure activities, such as television, movies, and videos are still rare in most Cham villages and homes.

FOLK ART, CRAFTS, AND HOBBIES

Like all Muslims, Cambodian Cham do not focus on visual arts, one reason being that Muslims believe it is improper to visually portray an image of God or of his prophets. Music, however, is exceedingly important. Cham musical instruments are similar to Cambodian and Vietnamese musical instruments and range from guitars to gongs, drums, and xylophones.

SOCIAL PROBLEMS

The Cham are proud of never having completely assimilated to either Cambodian or Vietnamese culture. A few Cham hope that one day the international community will force the Vietnamese to abandon Vietnam. When that happens, some Cham say their dream will come true and Champa, their great and ancient nation, will be reestablished and reoccupied by the Cham. But most Cham—in Cambodia, Vietnam, and overseas—are content to raise their families, practice their religion, and hope for a somewhat better life for their children.

GENDER ISSUES

Until the 1970s most Cham women remained home-makers, performing traditional roles in the house and in villages. The dislocation from the Civil War from 1970, and the Communist Khmer Rouge rule from 1975–1978, led to the deaths of many Chams, including large numbers of men, forcing many women to be involved in working in the rice fields and even in hunting. As the population has stabilized, women have returned to the traditional roles in the villages.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cabaton, Antoine. Nouvelles recherches sur les Chams. Paris: E. Leroux, 1901.

Hickey, Gerald C. "Cham" In Ethnic Groups of Mainland Southeast Asia, Frank M. LeBar, G. Hickey, and J. K. Musgrave, eds. New Haven, CT: Human Relations Area Files Press, 1964.

Kiernan, Ben. The Pol Pot Regime. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996.

Manguin, Pierre-Yves. "The Introduction of Islam into Champa." Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society Vol. 58/1 (1985), pp. 1-28.

Marrison, Geoffrey E. "The Chams and Their Literature." Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society Vol. 58/2 (1985), pp. 45-70.

Maspero, Georges. Le royaume de Champa. Paris: G. Van Oest, 1928.

—revised by J Corfield

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