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Q&A: Meet Rany Phok, Krung language activist

Language activist Rany Phok posing in front of a sculpture in a park.

Language activist Rany Phok. Photo courtesy of This Life Cambodia.

Following last year's successful social media campaign celebrating linguistic diversity online throughout Asia, the collaborative project is continuing in 2020. Every week, a different language activist and advocate will be taking turns managing the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account to share their experiences, best practices, and lessons learned from their revitalization work promoting the use of their native languages, with a special focus on the role of the internet. This campaign is a collaboration between Rising Voices, the Digital Empowerment Foundation, and the O Foundation.

Each week, the upcoming host will answer several questions about their background and give a brief overview of their language. This Q&A is with Rany Phok (@Rany46284843) who will provide a sneak preview of what she will be discussing during her week as host.

Rising Voices (RV): Please tell us about yourself.

Rany Phok (RP): I was born in 1991 in Ratanakiri province, northeastern Cambodia. I've participated in understanding the social issues happening around my community through filmmaking. After completing a documentary film training offered by the Amplifying Voices for indigenous Women and Discriminated Groups project at Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center, I've directed two short films, one of which is about education in the Krung language in Ratanakiri province.

RV: What is the current status of your language on the internet and offline?

RP: There is limited content in Krung language (គ្រឹង, also spelled Kreung) on the internet, including on social media.

RV: What topics do you plan to focus on during the week that you’ll manage the @AsiaLangsOnline Twitter account?

RP: During the week of the campaign, I will discuss the daily life of Krung people and their language use. Among the younger generations of Krung people, many don't want to speak the language and a lot of words are getting lost. Indeed, my documentary film aimed to encourage young indigenous people to use Krung language and preserve it.

RV: What are the main motivations for your digital activism ? What are your hopes and dreams for your language?

RP: Language loss is a big concern because if indigenous people lose their own languages, they lose their identity. Through filmmaking, I am trying to point out issues in indigenous communities in general and to seek any possible solutions. In short, I hope that the Krung language will be shared globally so that everyone will be able to hear its beauty and that Krung people can retain their identity.

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