In South-East Asian war, where interest has recently been focused on massacre of Vietnamese living in Cambodia, little attention has been paid to the Cambodian population of South Vietnam.
In South-East Asian war, where interest has recently been focused on massacre of Vietnamese living in Cambodia, little attention has been paid to the Cambodian population of South Vietnam. The largest Cambodian enclave is in the Vinh Binh province 65 miles (104 kms) south of Saigon, and the settlers there preserve unchanged the way of life, the religion and the teaching of their homeland.
But it was recently suggested in Saigon that if discrimination against Vietnamese in Cambodia did not stop the only solution would be for the two countries to exchange their immigrant populations.
The Cambodians in the Vinh Binh province resent the idea. They have made a conscious effort to adapt to their adopted country where necessary - some of the young men are currently serving with the Vietnamese army. But they also preserve their own traditions.
Cambodian peasants till the soil in the traditional manner. Cambodian architecture is to be seen in the towns. And Cambodian Buddhist shrines and temples are found throughout the province.
The oldest pagoda in the area currently lies in ruins. The monks claim it was bombed by American aircraft during the 1968 Tet offensive. But a new building has been erected and the monks continue to teach Cambodian script to local children.
Very few of the settlers, however, have ever visited Cambodia. And most of them have no wish to do so, for they regard South Vietnam's Vinh Binh province as their natural home.