Chray Chamnan is a journalist with Reaksmey Kampuchea by day, but his true calling is being a novelist and self-help guru.
The 39-year-old has penned six books, and hopes to write as many as 30 in his lifetime.
“When we were born, we didn’t bring anything with us. And when we pass away, we cannot bring anything either. I just want my body to die – not my name,” he said. “That’s why I write books, so that my name will remain.”
As a journalist, Chray Chamnan has met all sorts of people, from high-ranking officials, to criminals, to oddballs in both categories. And he has travelled extensively, both within the country and abroad. He channels that life experience into his books, which run the gamut from novels to self-help relationship-savers.
He considers being a reporter as a means to an end – churning out articles provides him with enough money to publish his works.
“I think the culture of reading is not dead yet,” he told 7Days. “When I visit bookstores in Phnom Penh, many books are sold out every day, and the printing houses are all busy. Thousands of books are printed everyday. People who like books still read, and I believe the culture of reading will grow. I think books can give far more detail than TV shows or radio. That’s what encourages me to write them.”
Chray Chamnan’s latest work was released midyear, and translates directly as Arts to tie up your partner with happiness – or, more artfully, as Ways to bond with your loved one.
The book is similar to another self-help tome he wrote called 27 things to consider before marrying, aimed at young lovebirds.
“At the moment, marriages in Cambodia are so fragile,” he said. “A couple will break up after living with each other for a while. The problem is that they only consider the good things when they’re in love with each other, and after they get married and start to live together, bad issues emerge.”
Chray Chamnan said that writing for young people is difficult, with radios and television competing for attention. But he said that books have a permanence to them that no medium can match.
“If you miss a show on TV or the radio, it’s gone,” he said. “But you can’t miss the words in a book. And even after you read it, you can always go back and read it one more time.”