The mystery of Cham, an ancient journey

Opening: 08.04.2014 @6:30pm
Location: Hoa Sen University
Rm NZ0903, 9th Floor
Hoa Sen University
8 Nguyen Van Trang, D.1
Ho Chi Minh City



Inrasara will 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.

There are plenty of myths about Vietnam, historical and literary. A myth makes its home between an event and a dream, sometimes an exaggerated fact that lacks evidence. The myths of the Cham people – an ethnic group who today can be found in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand – hold many stories not shared in history books. For this lecture, Inrasara will share his research, such as the contribution of the Cham to Vietnamese culture from ancient marine culture during the Champa Kingdom (7th Century-1832), which gives brilliant illustration of these regions connections to present day Japan and Malaysia; to the moral tales of Che Bong Nga and Harok Kah whose folklore to this day provide caution against greed and self-indulgence, to name but a few tales. For Inrasara, uncovering myths and the integrity of literature, is not a process of destruction (eg. a readers desire to break down its facts), but to recognize their value in providing meaning and guidance to contemporary life.


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.