Many among the Khmer expatriates, particularly the young generations, are interested in the project to build Borei Angkor that a group of geriatrics in Fairfax, VA, and Charlotte, NC, has launched since July 11, 2012.
As all Khmers know it, Borei Angkor means the City of Angkor, which sounds like a misnomer, since Borei is City and Angkor–a corruption of the word Nagara–is also City, but City with a special connotation: the Great City of the ancient Khmer Empire. To virtually all Khmers, when you talk about Angkor you catch their attention. So, Borei Angkor piques their curiosity, but there are many questions that they want explained. Well, I will try my best.
July 11, 2012 (7/11) is a very auspicious date that marks the day the concept of building a big Khmer community featuring Angkor Wat, Longvek (another ancient Khmer capital) and Wat Phnom, among other historic Khmer sites was registered as a liability limited corporation. Many among the Khmer compatriots scattered all over the world, mostly those who have listened to World Khmer Radio (WKR), have been surprised, attracted, and won over by our dream of building a sizable replica of Angkor Wat outside Cambodia. Any Khmer would be intrigued if you tell him/her that you are going to build Angkor Wat in America! We can’t deny that news that the Hindus were talking about building a replica of our national symbol on the bank of the Ganges in Bihar had prompted us to start thinking about building our own Angkor Wat. If anyone has the right to do it, it should be us, the descendants of the Angkorian Khmers!
WKR President Ok Soeum was the first among us to have put this dream into action. I, for one, never had such a dream before because a project of this magnitude in my view was too overwhelming and next to impossible to realize. So, when Ok Soeum started floating the idea of having a Khmer village with Angkor Wat as its main attraction, I mocked him in my radio talk, calling his idea a daydream. But after our aging friends in Charlotte, NC, namely Thach Chanthy, Yos Sarun, Kenneth Sok, and so on agreed with him I readily joined the band wagon, for this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something worthwhile that is both patriotic and satisfying. Can we build Angkor Wat in America? Yes, with your support we can. A big, functional replica of Angkor Wat can be built with today’s technical and instrumental advancement as well as all-round support from all concerned.
So, let me repeat myself by telling you that we Khmer expatriates concurred on the need to preserve and spread our Khmer culture, mores and traditions, beliefs and religions by taking the initiative of creating a Khmer village to serve the needs of overseas Khmers in a region selected within the United States. To this end, we set up Borei Angkor Inc. (BAI) to promote our Khmer culture and society and to form a rallying place for our people, particularly our young generations from all parts of the world. Many skeptics wondered why another Angkor Wat? What is wrong with the genuine one in Cambodia? Nothing is wrong with Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. We just want to have a spare, a backup for our Khmer ingeniousness’ masterpiece, and we want to make money from future touristic attraction that such a dreamlike project will create.
To attain this goal BAI needs to establish a Khmer community with Khmer houses, a Buddhist center, a school, a magazine, a radio and TV station, a museum, and replicas of ancient historical sites. We will have a meditation center and a Khmer-staffed nursing home for geriatrics to cope with the growing number of our aging Khmer expatriates. We also plan to have orchards for various crops, including rice, the staple food of the Khmers. All this will be located on a plot of land measuring no less than 100 acres.
In this venture BAI will have 400 founding members, each holding a stock of at least 10 shares valued at $100.00 per share. As joint founders, those who own these 400 stocks shall receive a plot of land on which to build a small house. The size of the plot and models of the houses shall be determined by a future meeting of the Management Committee/Board of Directors. BAI Founding Members shall have the right to vote. These Founding Members, holders of just the required single stock of 10 common shares as well as owners of multiple stocks, shall carry only one vote each. (See details of BAI regulations in its Statutes published in the first Issue of Borei Angkor Magazine.) The BAI shares are transferable with the BAI having priority to buy back.
For Your Information: Since BAI was registered on July 11, 2012 over 270 Khmer expatriates in America, Europe, and Oceania (Australia & New Zealand) have already joined the corporation as Founding Members with half of them having paid for their shares. At press time, BAI is on the verge of purchasing a 116-acre lot in the town of Rowland, Robeson County, NC 28383, hopefully by the end of this January 2013. Preliminary construction work on this first-ever Khmer community shall start once the piece of land is transferred to BAI.
(Tentative) Vice President of BAI
Executive Director of WKR