During the reign of King Thieu Tri (1841- 47) of the Nguyen Dynasty, the Khmer Krom were harshly forced to abandon their Buddhist religion, customs, traditions, and language. Oknha Son Kuy, Governor of the province of Preah Trapeang (modern day Tra Vinh, Vietnam), had to give up his life in exchange for those rights. The Vietnamese Court of Hue recognized the facts and agreed to have the imposition lifted. Oknha Son Kuy was beheaded in 1841 in exchange for Khmer culture and heritage to continue to exist in Southern Vietnam to this day. Oknha Son Kuy is a Khmer national hero. His body was buried in the capital seat of Preah Trapeang (Tra Vinh, Vietnam) with his tomb still standing at Bodhisalaraj (Kampong) Temple.
Oknha Son Kuys Last Words
“I am moved very much to have seeing [our] compatriots and Buddhist monks before I depart this life. I beg for your forgiveness from [our] compatriots and their Venerable Buddhist monks for I do not possess sufficient ability to serve our Motherland any more. Therefore I must end my life so that our [Khmer] Nation lives on without a bit of remorse. Now our custom, tradition, culture and Khmer Buddhism have returned after the demand. Therefore, may Your Venerable Buddhist Monks and all compatriots preserve, defend, protect and guard them religiously from perishing. May Your Venerable Buddhist Monks and compatriots remember and understand clearly that our Khmer race used to be superior and widely known throughout the world. Therefore we must be firm and united always, do not believe the enemy’s tricks, do not sell yourself to any enemies so that they can kill your own nation and compatriots for personal interest. In the end, I believe clearly that I, as an individual, die, but…there will be millions of future Khmer children and compatriots, who are highly patriotic and bravely willing to sacrifice, die, defend, protect, guard and preserve the national sovereignty, liberty, Buddhism and Khmer race so they can live on.“