The young who read books will be the role models of the future, believes young author Chean Seng Heang.
“Everyone who reads and writes promotes and encourages national literature and reading in Cambodia. Writing emphasises the growth of the mind and enables you to evolve your thinking towards the 4.0 direction of the new technology,” he said.
Born in January 1997 in Prek Dambouk commune’s Phteah Veal village of Kampong Cham province’s Srei Santhor district, Seng Heang graduated High School in 2015.
He then studied at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, majoring in Khmer Literature. He also enrolled at the Royal University of Fine Arts, majoring in Painting and Fine Arts.
Following his university graduation in 2020, he qualified as a teacher of higher education, and now teaches at Hun Sen Peng Huot Svay Tanan High School, where he specialises in Khmer literature.
His academic career aligns with his other passion – writing. While still at university, in 2018 he published his first book Mothers are Different from Children. The book describes the hardships of a mother who sacrifices everything for her ungrateful children until they complete university and land good jobs.
He also founded a club called the Khmer Children’s Poetry Club, which he formally registered as the Khmer Children’s Poetry Association in 2019. He still serves as chairman of the Board of Directors and volunteers as a trained teacher of writing and reciting poems with the association.
In 2020, he published his second book, titled Rusty Brain. The main theme of the book was that like metal tools, if not used often enough, our brains will become dull, like a blunt axe.
“If we take time to learn about new things, we are exercising our minds, and keeping them sharp,” he explained.
“In 2021, I compiled and edited several volumes of poetry and grammar guidelines. I have spent much of this year working on the soon-to-be-published Words of Teachers and Khmer Music,” he said.
He encouraged the young to discover a love for reading and writing. It was crucial that the youngest members of our society participate in promoting the Khmer national literature, language and culture, and reading is one of the most effective ways for them to do so, he said.
“I urge my Khmer brothers and sisters to turn their attention to books. They will learn about themselves, even as they discover our unique culture. In this way, they will grow stronger, as will Cambodia,” he added.
“For a country to be strong, it requires strong, highly educated individuals. Those who begin reading at a young age will likely be its leaders,” he concluded.