- Rising Voices - https://rising.globalvoices.org -

Q&A: Meet Rany Phok, Krung language activist

Categories: @AsiaLangsOnline, Indigenous, Languages, Social Media
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 [1] 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 [2] 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 [3], the Digital Empowerment Foundation [4], and the O Foundation [5].

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 [6]) 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 [7] project at Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center [8], I've directed two short films, one of which is about education in the Krung language [9] 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 [10] (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 [11] 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.