History of Vihea Chen Svay Por (Svay Por Chinese Temple)

The Svay Por Chinese temple is located along the street 1, parallel with the Sangke Riverside; its presence has been for long time ago. According to a book, namely Battambang in Lord Governor, the temple existed before the time of Lord Ben. So we can make conclusion that there were foreigners resided in the Battambang province for long past before the time of Lord Governor. The majority of Chinese people who came to reside in Battambang was the traders and liked living in the downtown area, especially residing along the street 1 and around Nat market. As for the Chinese who were not very successful in business, they went to do agriculture in the suburbs. For example, Chinese people came to rent land near Wat Slaket pagoda to grow cabbage for sale until the village is so far called Phoum Chen Dam Spai (Chinese village grows cabbage). As the Chinese people in the city who very got succeed in business and got along with a Lord Governor and the servants, had been appointed as servants (Khun Luong), or Orkha, act. The majority Chinese peoples who came to reside in the time of Lord Governor adhered to their traditions and customs such as liked keeping the hair (Sak Kambaoy) in the style of the Chheng Dynasty, but when having ranks as Khmer servant, they had to wear stitched skirt, straight shirt, which is often called an official of Chinese with Kben Khmer. But for a long time living, they cut down their Kambaoy in order to adapt in the society, latter the villagers called (Chen Dach Kambaoy) and they came Khmer by not taking wife with and most of them got married to Khmer women in order to be easy for doing business and residing.Brief history of Chinese immigrantsI used to write about Cambodia – China relation since the pre-history period up to day, but this time, I would like to take some points related to Chinese immigrants who came to reside in Cambodian territory. According to a trace of history, there were Chinese peoples resided Cambodia since over past 1,000 years ago. A Chinese ambassador Chiv Ta Kwan came to Angkor at the end of the 13th century wrote that the Chinese people who were sailors liked this district very much because this district was all easy; rice was easy to be sold, wife was easy to be found, and the house were also easy to be constructed, materials and instrument were easy to be found, the selling was easy, that why so many foreigners come to live in this district. There were some foreigners became senior civil servants of the Khmer government as well, for example in the Longvek period in the reign of King Borom Reach and King Sattha, mostly of Khmer navies were Chinese, and the commander of the Khmer navy at that time was a Chinese named Ponhea Chen Chantok. In later times, although Cambodia fell into the flames of war, the influx of Chinese to Cambodia continued. There were three main flows of Chinese immigration to Cambodia:1. Around the middle of the 17th century, the Manchus overthrew the Meng Dynasty and created Cheng Dynasty, but there were still former of Meng Dynasty continued sparking wars in hope that they could regain power, but all of them were unsuccessful. There were many other Meng gathered their families to seek asylum in the Tonkin Kingdom of Dai Viet. The Dai Viet Vietnamese did not prevent and wanted no conflict with Meng refugees, but also wanted no to be upset with the Maha Chheng government so they allowed Mengers crossed the Tonkin territory to the kingdom of Champa and the kingdom of Khmer. When reaching at the Kingdom of Khmer, most of them gathered to live in waterways such as Kampot and Takeo provinces, and along Mekong River. There were some of them continued their journey through Tonle Sap and settled in Battambang province as above informed. When the France came to occupy Khmer, the France also took note the current of trade and economy of the main provinces were under the Chinese peoples and the France also got scared of those Chinese people.2. The second large influx of Chinese people to Khmer during the Second World War II when the Japan colonized on China. There were many Chinese people ran from their hometown due to the oppression by Japan and poverty.3. The third influx of Chinese people to Khmer was when a Communist regime of China, established in 1949, and had been being continued by Cultural Revolution making millions of Chinese people got impacted by famine and poverty. So they traveled both through waterways and land routes from China to relocate new sites.Chinese people entering into Khmer were mostly observed that there were 5 groups: The Tea Chinese, the Cantonese, the Hokkien Chinese, the Haka Chinese and the Hainan Chinese.