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Sastra Sleak Reith

Sastra Sleak Reith

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A Sastra Sleak Reith. Photograph: Phnom Penh Post

It’s hard to imagine churning out office reports or writing articles without laptops, tablets and mobile phones.

For the less technology-savvy, notebooks are equally helpful. However, there was a time when Cambodians used a different – yet effective – writing tool.

Kun Sopheap, a curator at a Sastra Sleak Reith preservation center, says that this tool was last used in the Angkor period.

It was mainly used for writing Buddhist doctrines, the law, royal announcements and war strategies.

To make Sastra Sleak Reith, the leaves of a trang tree must be cut and folded neatly. Next, dry it in the sun before applying charcoal to it.

With the advent of technology, the trade of making this tool is lost.

People rarely use it in modern times.

“The unique thing about Sastra Sleak Reith is that we have to know how many letters before we carve the words. If kept in good condition, this tool can be kept up to a hundred years.”

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