Sirirat Sisombat

Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Thailand




Chong Identity Revitalization Through Chong Community Learning Centre


The Chong are indigenous people in Southeast Asia. At present, they concentrate in the Khaokhitchakut, Pong Nam Ron and Makham Districts of Chanthaburi Province in Eastern Thailand. The Chong have  unique culture and language identity. Chong is an unwritten Chong language belonging to the Mon-Khmer group of the Austro-Asiatic language family. Chong has been affected by the Thai nationalism which destroy local ethnic identity especially through the education system and the globalized mass media. This causes the identity crisis among the Chong people. This paper aims of describe how the Chong identity has been revitalized by the participation of Chong people and local community through the activities organized by the Chong community learning Centre for maintenance and revitalized of Chong language and culture.

The research findings reveals that the Centre helps revitalize the Chong ethnic identity in the changing society and the national development process by six major activities (1) Chong orthorgraphy development (2) Literature production in Chong language and Chong teaching-learning materials. (3) Chong language revitalization through the Chong language lesson in school with the cooperation of the school in the area and the Chong community. (4) Exhibitions such as “Suan phasa” (Language Garden) and “Chemchong” (Chong people). (5) The revitalization of traditional games and dancing such as Saba, Top, Folk circle dancing and the revitalization of traditional customs such as marriage customs, spirit worshiping are to present the Chong unique cultural identity to the public. Apart from that it is a unification of all Chong people in the community so that they can maintain Chong cultural and language identity and live with dignity in Thai society.