THE REVIVAL OF KHMER CLASSICAL DANCE INSIDE CAMBODIA

Neak Kru Sophiline once shared with me, that as a young student at the newly opened School of Fine Arts, she held her hands in prayer as she watched the most senior artists of the time make offerings to the Khmer dance altar.  Chheng Phon, her uncle and the newly elected Minister of Culture and Information, lit incense and candles.  He then whispered to Chea Samy and Soth Sam On, “This is our last chance.”[388]

 

With so much lost and the country in a state of destruction, the endangered art of Khmer classical dance faced an uphill battle for survival.  Yet, despite the difficulties of the environment—the country constantly on the brink of civil war, malnourished people everywhere, infrastructure in shambles—there was nonetheless a sense of optimism.  Speaking of the time, Proeung Chhieng once said, “During the reign of Pol Pot we were like fish taken from water and thrown onto land.  Now, at last, we are back in the water.”[389]

Before all of this, immediately after the Khmer Rouge were driven out, those who chose to stay in Cambodia immediately walked back to the places they had known in search of normalcy.  Talking seemed to erupt in the country after a period of terror-stricken silence, with many celebrating the survival of their friends and family, openly mourning the deaths of others, and sharing the horrors that they had endured.  Em Theay, reunited with a former student, began teaching and performing on the road; the two “traded dance for rice to eat” on their journey home.[390]  Menh Kossany immediately found work as a dance teacher in Pursat and Kampong Chhnang provinces as she made her way back to Phnom Penh.[391]

Meanwhile Chheng Phon and his student Proeung Chhieng met each other on their journeys back to Phnom Penh.  There, they “found the school of dance in ruins, [the] antique, ivory inlaid musical instruments burned and the fabulously valuable royal costumes and headdresses of gold and gems stolen.”[392]  Chheng Phon immediately initiated a search for surviving artists to begin the arduous task of reviving the sacred art form.  People were sent to the provinces to find those lucky enough to remain alive while Chheng Phon himself stood watch by the road in the provincial town of Kampong Thom to spot dancers who might pass by.  Chea Samy was found on her way to her hometown by a dance student; one costume dresser and one instrument maker were found as well.[393]

 

A dance school was formed in Kampong Thom during this time, of which many of the students were orphans.  Often times, they were the children and relatives of artists themselves.  Neak Kru Sophiline—who would later start a new chapter in Khmer dance history—would take her first lessons at this school with Soth Sam On after Chheng Phon found her and her family in Battambang.[394]

In 1980, a festival was staged in Phnom Penh to finally determine the number of artists who remained alive.  A call to dancers, musicians, and more was placed all over the country—of which it was realized that only one out of ten artists were able to survive.  It represented a national catharsis of a sort, as one observer reported the constant cries and sobs of the people as they watched the dancing.  Of this, Eva Mysliwiec said, “[Y]ou could have sailed out of there in a boat.”[395]

Later in 1981, Chheng Phon was elected as Minister of Culture and Information and Chea Samy elected to represent Kandal Province in the National Assembly (she was the only woman in the governmental body, with nearly 97% of the vote).[396]  That same year, the School of Fine Arts was opened.  Many students resided at the school Monday through Saturday while artists were provided housing in the nearby White Building.  As was the case in Kampong Thom, many of the students were orphans.  Exercices, a German film from 1980 or 1981, shows all of the orphaned students of the newly opened school, who are joined by those with parents after they finish dancing kbach bat or basic movements.

Exercices. ​ Source: YouTube.

Acutely aware of the significance of their practice in this historical moment, teachers conducted class with a heightened charge.  Chea Samy once said, “‘I try to teach the students very seriously . . . so they will be even better than the dancers of the old regime.’”[397]  Under her direction, ensemble dancers became more unified and precise, arm angles more compact and deav higher, and the dancing heavier with a more centered quality of stillness.  This is significant as Chea Samy—entering the dance first as a student of Lok Khun Meak who represented the Khmer style of movement—redefined the technique to reflect her lineage and individual vision.  Chea Samy in turn set a movement standard that still exists today in both Cambodia and the diaspora; first because teachers of rivaling styles did not return to Phnom Penh and secondly because her students would eventually become the leading teachers in the diaspora. 

Robam Monosanchetana, performed by the first class to graduate from the School of Fine Arts after the Khmer Rouge regime.  Source: YouTube.

In this intense environment of redefinition and rebuilding—of the dances and music, of the crowns and costumes, of the culture and society—the dance students matured quickly and were soon performing domestically and abroad in India, Vietnam, and more.  During a tour through the provinces, one filled with the dangers of landmines and Khmer Rouge forces, Neak Kru Sophiline recalled:

“One morning, we were eating at a noodle shop.  The vendor approached us and asked if we were the dancers from yesterday.  She then told us that the Khmer Rouge had come with the intent to blow up the stage at the performance.  They loved the dancing so much however, that they stayed, watched, and then left . . . Dance saved my life.”[398]

Amongst all of this, the artists were forced to make some “concessions” in order to keep Khmer classical dance alive in a second communist government allied with Vietnam.[399]  Cultural differences with the latter—which had been under Chinese domination for 1,000 years and was most particularly influenced by the French during the colonial period—sometimes led to misunderstandings.  Proeung Chhieng, for example, said:

 

“‘There were a lot of discussions, and some Vietnamese experts said they wanted to help revive Cambodian art and culture . . . They suggested they could buy us all ballet shoes—they thought we danced barefoot because we were poor . . . They didn't understand that in our dance the entire leg and foot is part of the ritual effect and wearing a shoe would destroy the line.’”[400]

Fearing that the new government would be hostile to the art form due to its historical roots, programs, like in the years of the Khmer Republic, were often tailored to combine both classical and folk dances.  Different from before, however, were the new lyrics and meanings given to the dances.  Chea Samy shrugged at Judith Coburn when talking about dances whose lyrics said “‘congratulation to communism.’”[401]  And in Robam Tep Monorom, instead of “ksatra ksatrei” (princes and princesses) dancing in a circle, it became “tamng pros tamng srei” (even the men, even the women).  Furthermore, in Robam Apsara, Mera now emerged from the temple walls to celebrate how Cambodia was “liberated” from the Khmer Rouge on January 7, 1979.  Her attendants, instead of the colorful skirts of the past, all wore red—communist red.

Robam Apsara, performed by the first class to graduate from the School of Fine Arts after the Khmer Rouge regime.  Source: YouTube.

Neither Chea Samy, who wrote many of the new lyrics for the dances, nor Chheng Phon were communists.  Nor did they have political ambitions.  They joined the government as they understood it to be the pragmatic, most effective way to revive the art form.  They did what was necessary to keep the art form alive.  In fact, the lyrics of certain dances such as Robam Chun Por and Robam Monosanchetana managed to remain untouched in the period.  But all dances had to be re-interpreted to fit the government’s agenda.  The buong suong ritual, associated with royalty, was suspended during this period[402] while sampeah kru became prayers for “national tranquility.”[403]  In December 1992 for example, contrary to sampeah kru ceremonies of prior years, Proeung Chhieng “prayed for peace for Cambodia, a lasting peace that might create a positive atmosphere in which the people, and the arts, could flourish.”[404]  Furthermore, sacred dances, although the same in movement, music, and lyrics, were reinterpreted as well:

 

“Former palace principal dancer Menh Kossany has recalled in interviews that in preparation for a tour to the Soviet Union in the 1980s, an official from the Soviet embassy in Phnom Penh visited a rehearsal.  The Khmer dance teachers kept the spiritual potency of Moni Mekhala to themselves, explaining the story as one of a strong woman who modeled communist self-sufficiency and loyalty to the nation . . . Even if the ceremonial aspect of the story’s enactment was put on hold during the Communist era, the artists maintained their spiritual relationship to the teachers and spirits of the dance, and of this role in particular.”[405]

Not all were satisfied with the compromises however.  Vorn Savay, in an expression of anti-Vietnamese sentiment—nurtured by centuries of war amongst other things—left the country in 1981.  Word spread throughout the refugee camps and within the diaspora of the ballet shoes and doctored lyrics, causing anger over the “Vietnamization” of Khmer culture amongst dancers and not alike.  Many claimed that “only the shell of Khmer dance [remained] in Phnom Penh,” to whom Chea Samy replied, “[B]ut when they see [the spirit and level of dancing in Cambodia] for themselves, there is no comparison.”[406]

Chheng Phon also had some choice words:

“Who can replace a culture? . . . We and the Vietnamese agree: You can force me to eat rice, but you cannot force me to think anything you want.  A tank may be able to run over the body, but it cannot destroy the spirit of a people.”­[407]

Amidst this atmosphere of political oversight, mistrust and disapproval from the diaspora community, and continued fighting between Khmer Rouge forces and the Phnom Penh government, the artists continued to revive, reconstruct, and choreograph dances at the School of Fine Arts.  By 1989, after years of recruitment through radio broadcast, word of mouth, and an established reputation through performance, “competition for admission to the school was fierce.  Of 1,000 applicants, only 75 passed the entrance exam.”[408]  In keeping with the master-apprentice teaching style of before—very likely in practice since the time of Angkor and before—teachers hand-picked students to practice privately with them in their homes.  The relationship was often like that of mother or father and child in such a scenario.

 

Dancers from the School of Fine Arts, many of whom were the first generation to graduate since the fall of the Khmer Rouge, were invited to perform at the Los Angeles Festival directed by esteemed opera director Peter Sellars in 1990.  There were many issues leading up to the event however as the U.S. State Department did not recognize the Vietnamese-backed government in Phnom Penh and did not want the event to be misconstrued as a diplomatic act.  Chheng Phon, as a member of the government, was denied a visa to visit American organizers and the Khmer government responded by not allowing Proeung Chhieng, who was only supposed to assist him on the trip, to go despite being granted one.[409]  Despite all of this, the performance happened and evolved into a national tour.

After their performances at the Los Angeles Arboretum, the company performed at the Terrace Theater in Long Beach to a packed audience.  Many clapped upon the introduction of certain popular dances, elated to see dances and an art form they were afraid had been lost.  Some however saw the dancers as tools of the government and used the moment to protest.  Threats of violence, abduction, and murder were common.  Many people tried to get the dancers to defect, buying them food and shoes and clothes and more.  This atmosphere of adoration and unease ensued throughout the national tour, with dancers defecting and others seeking asylum.[410]

 

Star dancer Yim Devi was nearly abducted in New York.  And before a performance at the Joyce Theater, Proeung Chhieng—who was directing the tour as Chheng Phon was again not granted a visa—found a bullet in his drawer in the dressing room.  This warranted a meeting in the theater’s basement in which the dancers discussed whether to perform or not.  The show went on, however, after Pen Sok Huon—a star performer of male roles in the 1970s—said, “We are dancers.  We are like soldiers on stage.  If we die dancing, it’s the most appropriate way to go.”[411]

After the tour, five dancers ended up staying in the United States.  The rest returned to a heartbroken Chea Samy and Chheng Phon, who felt as if their efforts had been lost and the country would continue to lose its intellect and talent.  Neak Kru Sophiline—after marrying John Shapiro, the brother of cultural anthropologist Toni Shapiro who was integral in the documentation of dance during this period—would move to Los Angeles in 1991. That same year, Chheng Phon, a devout Buddhist who was never happy in government, left his post.  Chea Samy continued to teach until 1994 and died that year.

Chea Samy teaches young students at the School of Fine Arts in 1994.  Source: YouTube.

•••••

Some foreigners who witnessed the first festival in 1980—the one used to determine the number of survivors—expressed their surprise.  Surrounded by so much destruction, poverty, and upheaval, Khmer dance artists still made our tradition the highest priority.  A Catholic relief worker told Amitav Ghosh, “‘I could not believe that in a situation like that people would be thinking of music and dance.’”[412]  Yet it is not surprising when we understand the deep significance dance has had in Khmer society in its more than 1,000 years of existence.

 

The post-Khmer Rouge period clearly shows how Khmer dance can survive without the monarchy and in a time of heavy political unrest.  This is extremely important when we think about the post-Angkor period for which we have very little but enough evidence to establish that Khmer classical dance has always existed in the country since then.  Sure: the circumstances are not exactly the same.  But given the ritual significance of the art form and the cyclical nature of history, we can bet that dance persisted following the court's withdrawal from Angkor.  They, at least, did not experience a crippling, inhumane genocide that targeted culture for destruction.

Chheng Phon, Chea Samy, Soth Sam On, Em Theay and the artists working after the Khmer Rouge regime would unknowingly serve as living proof as to how artistic communities can rebuild and thrive following and during moments of war and trauma.   Their work represents the survival of artistic legacies, the uplifting of the spirit of their people, and the healing of a nation.   Chheng Phon would later tell reporters, “We couldn’t wait . . . Dancing was the only way to fight emotional illness.”[413]

In that same interview conducted in 1989, he mentioned his invitation to the Czech Minister of Culture to see his “hospital” full of broken sculptures.  He shared with the reporters a vision: “It is of an apsara with all its limbs and its head cut off.  It is flying in the sky, away from me, and I do not know when or how I can put it back together again.”[414]  This is an apt image for Khmer dance immediately following the Pol Pot regime, in which the artists worked to rebuild their art form gesture by gesture, student by student, and dance by dance.

 

It is impressive, magical even, that within the brevity of a few years, a new generation of dancers was already performing, reminding Khmer people and the world of our beauty, strength, and resilience.  Classical dance, and all the arts in Cambodia really, now had an added purpose of protesting the horrific violence and injustice that the artists and our people experienced—and it will forevermore have this purpose.  Regarding this, and the efforts of the artists, Toni Shapiro-Phim has written: “Creativity is a form of resistance to violation.  It is an attack on the fracture of the self, an attempt to determine fundamental aspects of one’s existence.”[415]

With the art form and the country in a state of ruin, it is no surprise that a great impetus to preserve all that was left marked this period of dance practice.  It would become a framework that would be interpreted by the artists who followed the leadership of Chheng Phon, Chea Samy, and Soth Sam On in Cambodia—sometimes stiflingly so.  That said, acts of preservation and reconstruction are in and of themselves creative, as it is not possible to be exactly the same as those who came before us.  Two people, under the same teacher, dancing the same dance, at the same time, in the same place, cannot perform exactly the same.  What makes someone think that we can do so with the past?  In the end, our bodies are not the same nor are the experiences that shape how we see the world.  The dances themselves don’t stay the same either as our societies that imbue them with meaning and value change too.

Having made my points about how Khmer classical dance has survived in Cambodia from the pre-Angkor and Angkor eras to this period—to our present day, a moment in history where no one would question the practice of Khmer dance in the country—I will briefly highlight some points in the ten or so years that followed the leadership of Chheng Phon, Chea Samy, and Soth Sam On in Cambodia.

Immediately in the refugee camps and in the diaspora, surviving artists taught the dance form to a new generation of children.  In the case of the latter, they sometimes performed in the earliest days wearing Thai skirts and cardboard crowns with sequins sewn into them.  The re-opening of Cambodia to the world would allow for the importation of proper music recordings, costumes, and in fact, dance teachers.  Chheng Phon has said of this before an audience in Long Beach, California, “From Angkor Wat, seeds from that earth have been taken here and planted here and will grow and blossom in this new earth.”[416]  He is right, for now, despite the many challenges that dancers in the diaspora face—lack of access to daily training, the unviability of the dance as a career—some are now able to dance alongside dancers in Cambodia with no less refinement.

On the other hand, the royal family returned in 1992 and the dance lyrics changed accordingly.  Princess Buppha Devi would later reconstitute the Royal Ballet of Cambodia drawing from students trained at the Royal University of Fine Arts (formerly the School of Fine Arts).  Although proclaimed in 2003, the art of Khmer classical dance would be inscribed onto UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2008 through lobby efforts headed by Princess Buppha Devi.  The dance school was sold to foreign developers and moved outside of the city and Cambodia’s re-opening to the world caused a boom in tourism that increasingly pushes dance towards a form of spectacle and entertainment.  And, amidst all of this, an at times detrimental preservationist attitude is perpetuated amongst a majority of the artists—even when they themselves are actively engaged in reinterpretation, change, transformation, and creation.

 

To that last bit, I would like to share an idea of Chheng Phon: “We should not take culture away from the people and put it into museums.  A cultural tradition, after all, is a tradition of creation.”[417]  In line with his words of wisdom, we will now understand the ways in which Khmer dance relates to its ancient roots by looking at examples of dance today, as expressions of creation.  First, we will look at reconstructions of Angkor through dance.  Next, Khmer dance ritual.  Then, I have collected videos of the many approaches Khmer artists are taking in dance, innovating with it, inside and outside of it, to keep the philosophical and spiritual foundations of the art form alive.  Finally, after much insistence from my peers—and in light of the fact that we only recently have writings from dancers after more than 1,000 years—I will talk about my own artistic practice and the ideas that motivate my work. 

 

In these sections, my voice as an artist will become most pronounced.  After all, calling forth the spirits of the past, retracing our histories, is about understanding our present as much as charting higher possibilities for our future.  Very recently in Cambodia for example, I heard a former student of Chheng Phon quote his teacher to say the same thing in another way, “Tov na?  Mok pi na?  Thveur ei?”  (“Where are you going?  Where do you come from?  What will you do?”)

 

As there exists no culture of constructive critique within Khmer artistic practice—other than the top-down stick of a teacher—perhaps my words may seem jarring or disrespectful to some.  I apologize beforehand.  But I have a love for and responsibility to the artistic tradition, and to Cambodia and to humanity, to nurture a culture of dialogue, inquiry, exploration, and growth.  How is progress made if we never share our ideas?  If we never say the things that need to be said?  Chheng Phon would not disagree:

“If you do not know your culture, you cannot bring something new to the culture.  People are the masters and the products of their history.  Anything made in the twelfth century has its value in the twelfth century, and yet the past has value for the present . . . [Our] task is to write in a way that produces intelligence in people's minds . . . Writers should look at the effect of their writing in producing a culture of intelligence.”[418]

In Cambodia and the diaspora today the trend has been to be the product of history.  Taking after Chheng Phon however, like the dance that both mirrors and shapes heaven and society, I strive and encourage artists of current and future generations to be both the product and the “master” of our histories.

NEXT

[388] Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, direct communication.  2004.

[389] Borger, Irene. "Cambodian Dance: Grace and Tragedy." The New York Times. The New York Times, 6 Oct. 1990. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/10/07/arts/cambodian-dance-grace-and-tragedy.html.

[390] Em, Theay. "Cambodian Culture Reborn: My Story | SGI Quarterly." Cambodian Culture Reborn: My Story | SGI Quarterly. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://www.sgiquarterly.org/feature2006Jan-8.html.

[391] Menh, Kossany.  Pithi Sampeah Kru Lakhaon.  American Embassy in Phnom Penh.  Page 10.

[392] Coburn, Judith. "DANCING BACK : Decimated by the Khmer Rouge, Bruised by Political Chaos and Threatened by a Frenzy of Modern Materialism, Will the Soul of an Ancient Culture Survive?" Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 1993. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-09-26/magazine/tm-39064_1_khmer-rouge/4.

[393] Coburn, Judith. "DANCING BACK : Decimated by the Khmer Rouge, Bruised by Political Chaos and Threatened by a Frenzy of Modern Materialism, Will the Soul of an Ancient Culture Survive?" Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 1993. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-09-26/magazine/tm-39064_1_khmer-rouge/4.

[394] Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, direct communication.  2004.

[395] Ghosh, Amitav.  Dancing in Cambodia & Other Essays.  Penguin Books India, 2010.  Pages 45.

[396] Cravath, Paul. Earth in Flower: An Historical and Descriptive Study of the Classical Dance Drama of Cambodia. University Microfilms International, 1987.  Pages 257.

[397] Spragens Jr., John. "A Determined Survivor Revives Khmer Classical Dance." Indochina Snapshot -. The News-Journal, 10 Jan. 1989. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://www.enigmaterial.com/icsnap/asia-3b.html.

[398] Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, direct communication.  2004.

[399] Coburn, Judith. "DANCING BACK : Decimated by the Khmer Rouge, Bruised by Political Chaos and Threatened by a Frenzy of Modern Materialism, Will the Soul of an Ancient Culture Survive?" Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 1993. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-09-26/magazine/tm-39064_1_khmer-rouge/5.

[400] Coburn, Judith. "DANCING BACK : Decimated by the Khmer Rouge, Bruised by Political Chaos and Threatened by a Frenzy of Modern Materialism, Will the Soul of an Ancient Culture Survive?" Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 1993. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-09-26/magazine/tm-39064_1_khmer-rouge/5.

[401] Coburn, Judith. "DANCING BACK : Decimated by the Khmer Rouge, Bruised by Political Chaos and Threatened by a Frenzy of Modern Materialism, Will the Soul of an Ancient Culture Survive?" Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 1993. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-09-26/magazine/tm-39064_1_khmer-rouge/5.

[402] Shapiro-Phim, Toni.  “Flight and Renewal.”  Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso.  Ed. Prumsodun Ok.  CreateSpace Self Publishing, 2013.  Pages 10 - 13.

[403] Coburn, Judith. "DANCING BACK : Decimated by the Khmer Rouge, Bruised by Political Chaos and Threatened by a Frenzy of Modern Materialism, Will the Soul of an Ancient Culture Survive?" Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 1993. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-09-26/magazine/tm-39064_1_khmer-rouge/6.

[404] Shapiro-Phim, Toni.  Dance and the Spirit of Cambodia.  University Microfilms International, 1994.  Page 437.

[405] Shapiro-Phim, Toni.  “Flight and Renewal.”  Moni Mekhala and Ream Eyso.  Ed. Prumsodun Ok.  CreateSpace Self Publishing, 2013.  Pages 10 - 13.

[406] Spragens Jr., John. "A Determined Survivor Revives Khmer Classical Dance." Indochina Snapshot -. The News-Journal, 10 Jan. 1989. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://www.enigmaterial.com/icsnap/asia-3b.html.

[407] "Flowers in the Forest: A Talk with Chheng Phon, Minister of Information and Culture." Cultural Survival. 2 Mar. 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/cambodia/flowers-forest-talk-chheng-phon-minister-informati.

[408] Lu, Elizabeth. "A Dance Instructor's Race Against Time" Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 28 July 1990. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/1990-07-28/entertainment/ca-666_1_pol-pot.

[409] Snow, Shauna. "Cambodian Dancers Run Into Roadblock on L.A. Festival Visit : Culture: State Dept. Approves Visa for Choreographer, but Phnom Penh Regime Disapproves Visit. Organizers of the Event Remain Optimistic." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 26 Apr. 1990. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/1990-04-26/entertainment/ca-526_1_phnom-penh.

[410] Coburn, Judith. "DANCING BACK : Decimated by the Khmer Rouge, Bruised by Political Chaos and Threatened by a Frenzy of Modern Materialism, Will the Soul of an Ancient Culture Survive?" Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 1993. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-09-26/magazine/tm-39064_1_khmer-rouge/7.

[411] Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, direct communication.  August 2014.

[412] Ghosh, Amitav.  Dancing in Cambodia & Other Essays.  Penguin Books India, 2010.  Page 45.

[413] Coburn, Judith. "DANCING BACK : Decimated by the Khmer Rouge, Bruised by Political Chaos and Threatened by a Frenzy of Modern Materialism, Will the Soul of an Ancient Culture Survive?" Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 1993. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://articles.latimes.com/1993-09-26/magazine/tm-39064_1_khmer-rouge/4.

[414] "Flowers in the Forest: A Talk with Chheng Phon, Minister of Information and Culture." Cultural Survival. 2 Mar. 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/cambodia/flowers-forest-talk-chheng-phon-minister-informati.

[415] Shapiro-Phim, Toni.  Dance and the Spirit of Cambodia.  University Microfilms International, 1994.  Page 38.

[416] Mydans, Seth. "Khmer Dancers Try To Save an Art Form Ravaged by War." The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 Dec. 1993. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/30/arts/khmer-dancers-try-to-save-an-art-form-ravaged-by-war.html.

[417] "Flowers in the Forest: A Talk with Chheng Phon, Minister of Information and Culture." Cultural Survival. 2 Mar. 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/cambodia/flowers-forest-talk-chheng-phon-minister-informati.

[418] "Flowers in the Forest: A Talk with Chheng Phon, Minister of Information and Culture." Cultural Survival. 2 Mar. 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2015. http://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/cambodia/flowers-forest-talk-chheng-phon-minister-informati.