‘We were the Kula’: Cambodia’s missing Myanmar community

Tucked away in the mountains of western Cambodia are the remnants of a once-thriving Myanmar community known as the Kula, whose decline is a little-explored mystery involving gems, dreams and the Khmer Rouge.

When Ji So made the long journey from Shan State to Cambodia’s Pailin province in 1994, he expected to be greeted by a large community of people like him.

“I walked across the mountains and forests to come to the land of stones,” he said of his approximately 2,000 kilometre trip, which involved a week of trekking, two days on a bus, and another day on foot.

For centuries, the western province of Pailin on the Thai border had attracted Myanmar people who hoped to dig up a better life in soil dyed reddish-brown by deposits of aluminium and iron. Beneath this earth lay pockets of even greater treasures – vibrant blue sapphires and fiery red rubies, some worth more than diamonds.

In full: https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/we-were-the-kula-cambodias-missing-myanmar-community/

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