Khmer civilization author Troeung Ngea dies at 83

Khmer historian Troeung Ngea died on August 28. PROVIDED

Khmer-language author Troeung Ngea, who wrote books on the ancient Khmer civilization and a history of the Khmer people, died at the age of 83 at 7 a.m. on August 28, after a long period of sickness.

Ngea’s funeral will be held in Veal Vong commune of the capital’s Prampi Makara district and a cremation ceremony will be held on August 28-29 at Kul Toteung pagoda, according to his son Troueng Bancharun.

Bancharun said in an August 28 social media post that his mother died after a long battle with illness, although he did not elaborate.

Kok Ros, director of the Department of Books and Reading at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said on August 28 that his department did not have a detailed biographical sketch or a complete list of Ngea’s books, but his book on the history of the Khmer civilization, first published in 1973, is probably his most widely read work.

Ros said that in addition to being a writer, Ngea was a teacher in Battambang province. Last year, she was honored at the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC) by its president Sok Touch, who awarded her an honorary doctorate for her contribution to Khmer culture through her writing.

Ngea was born on 24 November 1939 in Sra moch village of Preah Netr Preah commune of Preah Netr Preah district of Banteay Meanchey province and was originally named Lay Hunki by her parents.

She started working as a teacher in 1957 in Banteay Meanchey and a year later she married Troeung Ngea, a resident of Yingzhou district in Pol Leav province in Kampuchea Krom, the former French region of Cochinchina in the present-day southern Vietnam.

After marriage, Lay Hunki changed her name to her husband Troeung Ngea’s name, which was customary in some communities at that time.

In 1962, she continued her studies at the Faculty of Pedagogy of the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh until obtaining in 1966 a degree in Khmer literature. She then became a teacher at the prestigious Preah Sisowath High School.

Ngea wrote and published her most famous book “Khmer Civilization” in 1973 under her married name. Records show that in April 1975, she was principal of Neary High School in Phnom Penh.

When Phnom Penh fell on April 17, 1975, she, her husband and her family members were evacuated to Koh Thom district in Kandal province.

Despite the dangers to their lives posed by the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime, she and her husband did not change their names or hide the truth that he had been a teacher and she had been a teacher in Khmer-run schools. led by Lon Nol. Republic.

Ngea’s husband was sent to the Khmer Rouge’s S21 security prison, or Tuol Sleng, on November 20, 1975, and was presumably killed there. The other members of his family were evacuated to Moung Russey district of Battambang province.

After Liberation Day on January 7, 1979, she lived in Banteay Meanchey province, where in 1983 she resumed her teaching career and became the principal of Mongkol Borey High School until her retirement in 1995. From 1998 to 2006, she chaired the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Electoral Commission.

After her retirement, family members said she spent much of her time studying Buddhism in the province and moved to live with one of her sons in the capital in 2019.

The Khmer civilization has stood the test of time as a scholarly work and is frequently cited in books on the history of Cambodia by other authors as well as in research articles by scholars.

To thank her for her contributions to Khmer literature and history, RAC President Sok Touch awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Literature in 2022, stating in the announcement that this was in appreciation for her work and in recognition of its great merit as an achievement. in the best interests of society.

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