Selected Projects > Erasing People
by Phong Vy Nguyen Anh, Trang Dao Thi Minh, Diem Ha Le
A 60-year-old Pacoh man longs to reclaim the name and rights of his people – an ethnic group that the Vietnamese government does not officially recognise.
Kray Suc (60) lives with his wife and daughter in a small village of the Pacoh people in the mountainous region of Central Vietnam. Migrated from Laos and devotedly following the Communist Party during the Vietnam War, the Pacoh is still not recognised as one of 54 official ethnic groups by the Vietnamese government. The Pacoh people are now facing two choices: either to accept another name—Ta-oi, an official group, or to live a life without any paper, even national ID.
Originally a farmer who loved singing and playing traditional instruments, Kray Suc is now the only cultural conservator of the Pacoh. Meanwhile, his daughter—Kray Thao (20), does not think much about her ethnic identity. She lives a modern life, is a K-pop fan, and barely speaks the Pacoh language. After high school, Thao became an apprentice at a hair salon in Da Nang—a big tourist city.
Since 2008, Kray Suc has joined various social organisations and travelled around Vietnam to prove the existence of his people and claim their rights to the government. However, probably his first and biggest challenge is to maintain this passion in the next generation of the Pacoh.