The Khmer novel “Neang Sork Kro Ob” (Fragrant Hair) was written by Biv Chhay Leang. The book focuses on the relationship of a couple who experience many obstacles to their love. The male character, Vannea, is poor and indebted to the family of the main female character, Bopha. However, she loves him, even though her father and important people, including the Khmer king and the emperor of China, try to separate them.
Bopha is the daughter of a tycoon. Vannea’s family is indebted to the tycoon and his mother dies because she cannot stand the cruel taunts of the servants of the tycoon.
The book includes magical episodes and elements, like a fish with seven colours. When Bopha eats the fish, her beauty becomes unique and there is no one else to compare to her. She herself changes colours five times a day.
Hearing of her beauty, many prominent men want to propose her, but her heart stays with Vannea at all times. The many men who want to marry her fight over her. Catastrophically, she has to flee her home in order to escape these men.
After she and her father leave the house, it is burned down by her suitors. The tycoon and his family become poor and have to endure many difficulties, until they met Vannea by the ocean. Not angry about past events, Vannea accepts the family and gives them refuge.
Since the beauty of Bopha is widely known, the Khmer king at that time searches for her and wants to marry her. Even the Chinese emperor wants her and orders his people to find her.
After are the group with Vannea are hit by a huge storm at sea, many people are killed. Among those left alive are Bopha and Vannea and one of the men sent by the emperor — who is rescued by Vannea. The man falls in love with Bopha. Wanting her for himself, he tricks Vannea and betrays his emperor in order to have her.
The Chinese emperor’s people arrive and, after learning that a man wanted to betray the emperor, fight and kill one another. Vannea also fights with a Chinese man and takes Bopha away. They are both wounded the father of Bopha is killed. The survivors flee the scene of the conflict.
Throughout the fighting, most of the people are killed. And when Vannea is about to die, Bopha is taken by a Khmer servant of the king. Hence, she decides to kill that servant with a knife and kills herself once she realises that Vannea has already passed away. The couple is buried side by side. Sponsor by Scholar Library