While many new writers are emerging to author novels or books expressing their ideas and opinions, Cheang Ravy is writing books for scholars who like to study the existing Khmer literature.
“This is my specialty. If I had to write on some other topic such as math, physics or geography, I would not be able to do it because I do not know enough about it and it is not within my expertise,” he said.
Ravy said that his motivation for writing books on Khmer grammar and literature is that although some people think those topics are well-covered, in his view such works are not very abundant relative to other languages and many that do exist overlap in content and ideas.
He said he has tried to research and write these kinds of books because he wants to explain new ideas, methods and discoveries totally different from those previously covered in the Khmer language.
“Overall, no matter what other people think, I will always try to write and research as much as possible to contribute to society and to give the next generation a richer supply of reading material,” he said.
Ravy holds a Master’s degree from the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) in linguistics and is currently a lecturer and a member of the dictionary committee at the National Council of the Khmer Language.
In the past, he has written a number of articles in modern Khmer on linguistics related topics as well as a glossary of idioms used in Khmer politics, essays on the links between the modern Khmer language and ancient languages and the use of proverbs in Khmer society and a glossary of words related to the body.
As for the field of writing in Cambodia, he said he has seen a significant increase in the number of writers and books published in recent years, but mostly advice books, inspirational or motivational stories and fiction, whereas in terms of actual research and scientific writing there are still a lot of shortcomings in the literature available in Khmer that require people writing on these topics to make a more concerted effort.
“Writing provides many benefits to society, such as new ideas, new discoveries, educating and enriching research papers, and encouraging a learning environment where people often read.
“However, writing can also have some negative effects on society if the books purport to be scientific but aren’t written based on research and the scientific method or they don’t respect other people’s intellectual property and just copy other’s works to claim as their own for personal gain, that is just immoral and not good for society,” he said.