The Cham script is falling in danger of becoming unreadable within a few decades as the mainly-Muslim Cham community in Cambodia have adopted to Arabic scripts.
Cham Writing Founders Under Malay, Arabic
VOA News, 13 January 2010
Emiko Stock, a French anthropologist who has studied the Cham, a minority Muslim group in Cambodia, for the past decade, said only a few elder Chams can still read documents written in the Cham language.
â€œNow there are just a few old Cham literates left,â€ she said, â€œso it is a great concern that in the next five to 20 years, there will probably be no one who can read or understand poems, history or other documents in Cham.â€
Cham illiteracy could result in the loss of Cham tradition, history and culture as a whole, said Stock, who speaks Khmer fluently.
Cham scripts are still in use by Cham people in Vietnam, who are mostly Hindu. Cambodiaâ€™s half a million Cham, who fled the fallen kingdom of Champa in todayâ€™s Vietnam, tend to use Arabic rather than Cham.