Veteran journalist Chhay Sophal’s new book about the Cambodian monarchy was penned to inspire young Cambodians to reconnect with their history in the interest of avoiding the mistakes of the past, the author said yesterday at an event marking the book’s launch.
The book traces the lineage of the royal family since King Angduong’s reign, beginning in 1842, to the present, and intends to show that “in history, anyone can make a few mistakes, and their failures will be highlighted without a chance for correction”, Sophal said.
“I would like to tell my countrymen to look at their past and recognise what happened, and also to learn from the experience of history to create a better and more prosperous future,” he added.
“Leaders have to be innovative and maintain what we have now, because in the past [Cambodia] lost a slew of territory.”
The book, titled The Power and Thrones of Kings Angduong, Norodom and Sisowath, based on three years of research, profiles eight monarchs and was compiled from insider sources and palace officials, as well as previous works and media reports, he said.
Sophal said that of the eight kings profiled, it was current King Norodom Sihamoni who stood out for his neutrality. “He has also reigned at a time when the country has been at peace and also plays a role in negotiating political conflicts.”
King Sihamoni is believed to have played an intermediary role between the ruling and opposition parties in negotiations to end the political deadlock that gripped the country after the disputed 2013 election.