November 1, 2005


Long, long time ago in the city of Ho Ton Tinh lived a king Jiwaka. The time came for Jiwaka to retire and he looked upon his eldest son Lo-mo to be his successor. But one of his wives Nang Kaikasi wanted her own son Chaputi to be the King. One time, Nang Kaikasi had saved Jiwaka’s life, and the king had promised her one wish. Nang Kaikasi confronted the king and asked him to fulfil her wish. The King had no choice but to accept Chaputi as the successor and send Lo-mo on a 14-year exile. Lo-mo’s wife Rol-rNyed-ma and his stepbrother Lekkana decided to join him in the exile.

Years passed, the brothers and Rol-rnyed-ma had many adventures, they came to enjoy their stay in the forest. When an ogress Tuan Puteri Buta failed to win the affection of handsome Lo-mo, she grew jealous of the pretty Rol-rnyed-ma. She incited her brother Thotsakan, the king of Alengka to take Rol-rnyed-ma as his wife. One look at Rol-rnyed-ma and Thotsakan was smitten. He lured the brother away from Rol-rnyed-ma, kidnapped her and took her away to Alengka.

The brothers were heartbroken, but with the help of an ape Anjat and monkey troops led by Subali, they took the fight to Thotskan. Good prevailed over evil, Thotsakan was defeated and killed in the battle. Lo-mo and Lekkana return with Rol-rNyed-ma back to Ho Ton Tinh. The overjoyed people of Ho Ton Tinh celebrated by lighting lamps and firecrackers. And this was the origin of the festival of Deepawali.

The cast of characters:

Ho Ton Tinh = Ayodhya in Vietnamese

Jiwaka = Dashrata in Mongolian

Lo-Mo = Rama in Chinese

Nang Kaikashi = Kaikeyi in Laotian

Chaputi = Bharata in Kraabi (Southern Thailand)

Rol-rNyed-ma = Sita in Tibetan

Lekkana = Lakshmana in Burmese

Tuan Puteri Buta = Surpanaki in Malay

Thotsakan = Ravana in Thai

Alengka = Lanka in Balinese

Anjat = Hanuman in Khmer (Cambodian)

Subali = Bali in Javanese

South East Asia Mythology

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An Italian Spy in China This is another interesting book I found. It is again set in the 1930s. The book is written by an Italian man who was in the service of the Japanese