Tuesday 4 October 2011

Khmer discofinger: The magic finger

The Khmer empire, circa 802 AD to 1431, was one of the most ancient and impressive civilizations known to man. The Khmer empire's greatest legacy is two-fold -- the beautiful carved city of Angkor Wat and quite possibly, the discofinger.

Did the ancient Khmers invent the move now referred to as 'discofinger'?

This video of traditional Khmer dance points to modern day Cambodia as being the birthplace of the discofinger. Perhaps we will never know, but even today in traditional Khmer dance performances around the world, the discofinger can be appreciated. We at discofinger.com are particularly enamored with the golden discofinger extender seen here. The discofinger starts in earnest around 0:40.

From the dance program:

The lives of giants is drawn from the  Reamker, the Cambodian version of the Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit epic. Its principals, philosophy and character are fundamental to the cultural consciousness of South and Southeast Asians.

Akaeng Khameaso is a giant in Preah Eyso’s heavenly realm who has been the target of relentless taunting and teasing by a band of mischievous angels since he was a child.

Eventually, he can take no more abuse. He complains about his plight to Preah Eyso, pleading for a way to protect himself. Pitying Akaeng Khameaso, Preah Eyso gives the giant a magic finger, despite Uma’s protests that this will only beget more trouble.

Akaeng Khameaso celebrates his new weapon, though he’s reluctant to use it. Nevertheless, 
when the angels return and start knocking him on the head, he points his finger at them, breaking them into pieces. Before long, he becomes drunk with power that rivals that of Preah Esyo and lays waste to heaven.