Former journalist Chhay Sophal has released a 305-page book describing in detail the life of Bun Rany, the wife of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Sophal said he compiled the book because Bun Rany is a rare woman and one who had endured difficulties that the wives of leaders of countries never normally experienced.
Bun Rany, the Wife of Cambodia’s Strong Man was officially released at his library in Krang Thnong commune in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district on Tuesday.
He said the book outlines the life of Bun Rany since childhood, including her education, becoming a soldier, separation from her husband and the loss of a child. It describes what it was like being followed and having people out to kill her and her family.
The book also shows the daily life of Bun Rany, performing her roles as a mother, the wife of a prime minister and the president of the Cambodian Red Cross.
“Everyone knows Samdech Kittipritbandit [Bun Rany], but only a few know of her life from childhood, such as the story of her falling in love or other key moments from her past. So this book details the life of Samdech Kittipritbandit,” Sophal said.
Chhay Sophal said Bun Rany had lost her father in a shooting incident involving Khmer Rouge soldiers in 1980.
She had looked after her mother and her many children while being the “Chumteav” (first lady) of Cambodia to Prime Minister Hun Sen. She had suffered a miscarriage due to the heavy work she had been forced to carry out.
He said Bun Rany knew military strategy and was able to use weapons, including pistols and rifles, and knew how to throw a grenade. According to research, such a background was rare for the wife of a country’s leader, he said.
“The book reminds us of the leader’s wife’s past and allows us to reflect on her life and what she has been through,” Sophal said.
Sophal said he had begun researching and compiling the book in 2015, with it completed this year. As well as examining documents, he was also allowed to interview Bun Rany and Hun Sen.
He said 30,000 copies of the book had been published, and it will be translated into English in the future.
Bun Rany, the Wife of Cambodia’s Strong Man is the third book that Sophal has compiled on Hun Sen and his family. The first details the political life of Hun Sen over more than 40 years, while the second is on the prime minister’s three sons.