A Khmer-language book detailing Prime Minister Hun Sen’s role in Cambodian politics and history was launched in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Hun Sen: Politics and power in Khmer history for over 40 years was written by journalist Chhay Sophal, who has almost 20 years experience in the field.
Chhay Sophal said the book – which is more than 350 pages long – described political events and social issues in Cambodian history since 1970.
“[The book] does not describe only Samdech Hun Sen, but also talks about members of the Royal family, [former prime minister] Son Sann, [former prime minister] Lon Nol, top Khmer Rouge leaders, [opposition leader] Sam Rainsy and [Human Rights Party president] Kem Sokha,” he said.
The book also examines the lives and loves of Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany.
“I spent nearly two years writing the book after more than 10 years of collecting documents,” Chhay Sophal said.
The book was based on 83 documents, audio recordings, photographs, videos and websites as well as his own memory, notes and experiences since 1990, and a phone interview with Hun Sen, he said.
“I want to show Cambodian society that [Hun Sen] is a normal person, but he became a figurehead,” Chhay Sophal said. The book quotes former Indonesian foreign affairs minister Ali Alatas, who told the writer in Jakarta in August, 2005 that Hun Sen was “smart and flexible”. It also quotes former Thai foreign affairs minister Kasit Piromya as saying that Hun Sen was smart, brilliant and flexible.
Chhay Sophal said that 5,000 copies of the book had been printed and there were plans for an English translation.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith could not be reached for comment yesterday, but was quoted in a press release for the launch as saying that the book was an “admirable achievement”.