Open spirit – the Bini of Cham in Vietnam

Opening: 10.04.2014 @6:30pm
Location: Hoa Sen University
Rm. NZ0204, 2th Floor
Hoa Sen University
8 Nguyen Van Trang, D.1
Ho Chi Minh City



Inrasara continues to unpack the history of the three ancient kingdoms of Vietnam, to remark on why history must acknowledge not only the dominant narratives of the past, but also the smaller, ethnic narratives that are equally significant to the union of a people, of a community, of a nation.

The Champa Kingdom (2nd Century-1832) expressed great harmony between different faith and peoples. This kingdom was one of three ancient kingdoms in Vietnam, though it is sadly often overlooked for its significance to contemporary understandings of this country. Under the Cham, Vedic Brahmanism (ancient Hinduism), Buddhist and Islamic faith lived together, particularly evident in the architecture of its time. In this lecture, Inrasara will focus on the role of Islam in the open ethos of the Cham, particularly how its beliefs provided means for openness towards difference. He will share the stories of ancient trade of the gypsies; the relationship between architecture and human behavior; questioning also why the Cham were so efficient at business and yet so markedly humble with their profits.


Inrasara participates in ‘Encounter’, a lecture series which is part of a large artistic endeavour called ‘Conscious Realities’, initiated and organized by San Art in partnership with Prince Claus Fund.