LY Vanna, Cambodia Southeast Asian Studies Center, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand .
My impression of my first semester
It is very wonderful to me to study Southeast Asia. I am not only study from the theories in document but I am also got knowledge of the region from the real society; my classmates and people around me. There are many nationalities who studied in this program. They are from different countries around the world such as Burma, Canada, China, Holland, Japan, Lao, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, the United States, United Kingdom, and Vietnam. We shared our ideas, knowledge, and experiences more often both outside and inside the classroom.
Field trip is another part of this interesting program, which we like it very much. The trip gave us an opportunity to learn more about Karen in refugee camp in Tak province, Vietnamese in Thailand, Hill tribe people and Narcotic at Thai-Burmese border and we also visited Royal palaces in Huo Hin- the changing perspective from building a Royal Palace on the top of the mountain to build on beach, Temple in Phimai, and had a special Khmer studies trip to Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat.
Now I would like to move you back to my course work. In my first semester, I enrolled four courses. They are Modern Southeast Asian-Colonialism, Nationalism, and Democratization, Research Methodology in Southeast Asia, Gender in Southeast Asia, and Literature and Society in Southeast Asia.
For Modern Southeast Asian-Colonialism, Nationalism, and Democratization course, I learnt colonialism in the Philippine- the changing from Portugal to Spain and to the United States, French in Indochina, Britain in India, Burma, Malaysia, and Dutch in Indonesia. Japan in Southeast Asia during World War II. I also learnt the nationalism movement for independent in Indochina, Malaysia. The coming of communist ideology in Southeast Asia such as Cambodia, Lao, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and it causes the civil war in Cambodia, Lao, and Vietnam. We also talk about the transformation of Democracy into Southeast Asia, the United Nation in Cambodia, the role of International Organization and Democratic ideology in Southeast Asia. All these information make me found a topic for my term paper in this course. It is “The rise and demise of Khmer Rouge movement as Influenced by Colonialism, Nationalism, Democratization, and Globalization in Cambodia”
The paper argued that Khmer Rouge Movement, a communist one, started in 1930s as a part of Indochinese communist Party. The movement developed very well during French colonialism and the movement slowed down when Cambodia gained independence. It became stronger and stronger in the time of Lon Nol government backed by the United States and it defeated Lon Nol and applied communist ideology as a result 1.7 million people died. Khmer Rouge movement still strong during Vietnamese invasion Cambodia from 1979 to 1989 but it was being isolated when the UN came to Cambodia. The isolation made the movement end in1998.
Research Methodology in Southeast Asia course, in this course, lecturers showed us many approaches that used by French, British, American. In addition, we applied these approaches together with the new approaches in our field trip. My group went to Mae La Refugee Camp, Tak province. Our topic for this study is “Life opportunity in Mae La Camp”. Because of war between Burmese government and ethnic groups, many thousands