This collection of ASEAN folktales, supported by the Targeted Cultural Project 2016, Mahasarakham University, is the byproduct of the fourth International Storytelling Festival in Thailand 2015 during 20-25 January 2015 at Surindra Rajabhat University (20-12 January 2015), Sakonnakhon Rajabhat University (22-23 January 2015), Mahasarakham University (23-24 January 2015) and the ASEAN Folktales and Storytelling for ASEAN Readiness (24-25 January 2015). The major theme of the folktales is “Connecting ASEAN through Travels, Trade, Food Ways, Cultural Heritage, Religion, and Arts.”
This collection of ASEAN folktales consists of tales told by 12 storytellers from 9 ASEAN countries at the festival. We have selected one folktale by each of the ASEAN tellers. The total number of folktales in this collection is twelve. Out of the twelve folktales come a diversity of types and contents. Each of the folktales contains morals that parents could use in teaching their children.
The folktales could be summed up in three groups: first, one humourous tale from Cambodia, the Basket Weaver retold by Dr. Chom Sonnang; second, three legends from three countries, The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, a folktale from the Dibbawon Indigenous Community of the Southern Philippines, retold by Richard Dian Vilar, Maeng Nguan, the Singing Cricket, a Thai/Lao folktale, adapted from Grandpa Bouyok Saensounthone’s version from Vientiane, Laos, by Wajuppa Tossa, Prasong Saihong, and Phanida Phunkrathok, and The Story of Prince An Tiêm and Watermelon, a folktale from Vietnam, adapted from Dương Vân Đài’s version by Phan Tuan Quoc.
The rest of the folktales are moral tales which could be classified into five tale types. First, two tales are of the kind and unkind girls, a Tale of Two Sisters from Bali, Indonesia retold by a talented young storyteller, Jasmine Carissa Wirawan, and Two Girls and the Golden Crow, a folktale from Myanmar, retold by Thantzin Soe. Second, three cautionary tales are featured in Mr. Crane Fell In Love, a folktale from Bali, retold by Mr. Made Taro and Mr. Gede Tarmada, Patience Is a Virtue, a folktale from Laos, by Boualay Phengsengkham retold by Bouavanh Sidala and Bouachanh Thanouvong, and Everything Happens for a Good Reason, a folktale from Myanmar, retold by Tin Ma Ma Htet. Third, a Buddhist Jataka tale recounts the story of a selflessly kind little parrot who saves the wild animals from forest fire, The Brave Little Parrot, a Buddhist Jataka Tale from Malaysia, retold by Ng Kok Keong. Fourth, a moral tale from the famous Indian Panchatantra, The Four Friends, a folktale from India, adapted from the Panchatantra: The Complete Version, by Pandit V. Sharma, Rupa & Co, is retold by Kiran Shah. And the fifth type of moral tale is a hero story, Badang, Singapore Superhero!, a folktale from Singapore, retold by Rosemarie Somaiah.
This book is in two languages, English and Thai. The English version is immediately followed by the Thai translation of each tale. Thanks to Khun Vassana Kerdsupap, from SPAFA, for her work of translation of all the tales from the collection of folktales from the fourth international storytelling festival 2015.
My appreciation must go to all co-hosts—SEAMEO-SPAFA, Surindra Rajabhat University, Sakonnakhon Rajabhat University. Ajan Dr. M.R. Rujaya Abhakorn, director of SEAMEO- SPAFA, graciously initiated the major theme of the festival. From the theme of “Connecting ASEAN through Travels, Trade, Food Ways, Cultural Heritage, Religion, and Arts” we could collect a number of folktales from twelve ASEAN storytellers from nine countries.
Dr. Jongkit Wonpinit Director of the Asia Studies Institute, Surindra Rajabhat University, in Surin, and Dr. Sobsan Phetkham, Assistant professor Dr. Vijittra Wonganusit, Director and Deputy Director of the Institute of Language, Arts and Culture of Rajabhat University, Sakonnakhon were most enthusiastic in hosting the festival at their institutions.
The Western Languages and Linguistics Department, Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty and the following persons help make this book possible, namely, Associate Professor Dr.
Kanokporn Rattanasuteerakhul, Dr. Apiradee Jansaeng, Assistant Professor Dr. Surasak Khamkhong, Ajan In-on Leoprasertkul, Ajan Khanthaporn Changprasert, and Ajan Kokitboon Fukham.
I would like to express my thanks to Dr. Prasong Saihong, Khun Phanida Phunkrathok from Education Faculty and alumni of the MSU Storytelling Project such as Ajan Urairug Prabripoo, Ajan Rerai Sararat, Ajan Yuppharat Phumikari, Ajan Kotchanat Phimpan, Ajan Wantana Sukna, Ajan Jiraporn Phanthawee, Ajan Jittisak Phoemphon, and Ajan Wichayaporn Phromsuri.
Finally, my deepest gratitude goes to my deceased parents, Grandma Panja Tossa, and Dr. Margaret Read MacDonald who consistently support me in every way.
May peace, happiness, wealth, and health go to all mentioned above and more. If there are any discrepancies in the production of this book, I as the compiler and editor, would be glad to take responsibility for improvement of the work in the future.
Associate Professor Dr. Wajuppa Tossa Compiler and Editor March 2017