Over the past four years the rate at which new books written in Khmer have been published has risen rapidly. The increase seems to be driven by a younger generation of authors who are able to express themselves with fewer inhibitions.
Ouk Bunheang – the first of four siblings in his family born in Svay Tiep district of Svay Rieng province – is one of those young writers who has written and published a number of books already.
“If you ask me why I want to be a writer, I can say that I don’t want to be one really, but if you ask why I write books the answer is: First, I understand that the quality of knowledge of some writers in my generation is still limited, especially those authoring opinion books.
“Sometimes I see some misconceptions or misinterpretations in rational writing, explanations and interpretations that make people selfish. That is one of the reasons I wanted to jump into this field. Second, I think I can share my knowledge and insights and help modify some of the ideas that I think readers get wrong in order to encourage them to think and understand things correctly. And more importantly, I want to share an easy way for some readers to read books for knowledge rather than just reading for fun,” said Bunheang.
Bunheang said that although the number of young people reading books in Cambodia has increased, it is still small number of people overall and most of the current readers aren’t taking advantage of reading by consuming quality literature.
“Most readers read for fun and read to be immersed in a story, with less emphasis on reading to gain knowledge, ideas, or perspectives, or to develop their abilities. And this problem is more common in young people. At this point, we can say that readership in Cambodia has increased, but the quality of books and readers is still low,” he said.
Bunheang said the most important thing is to maintain a national literature with its own identity as well as the identities of the individual authors.
“And secondly we must provide knowledge and share methods, strategies and ideas to readers to consider for the development of their abilities. And more importantly, reading books can help the readers to become important resources for themselves, their family and society,” Bunheang said.
Bunheang’s suggestion for budding writers and readers is to not believe everything they read on the page automatically and to carefully consider the point of view and opinions being set forth in any book.
“Reading will help to strengthen your brain’s ability to think critically, so turn your reading into something useful that improves your knowledge, rather than just reading for fun or reading for pleasure. Be a quality reader, do not read just to read and get nothing out of it in the end.
“And last thing to consider for the ones who want to be authors, the first things you should think before starting a book are what will be the benefit for readers and what values or stances are you providing them with. How will those who read our books benefit from our books? Stance is the position that we as writers want to give to the readers. Provide knowledge, give them ideas to refine, strengthen their ability and spirit through writing,” he explained.
“The value of the reader is the value of making the reader a conscious person through writing, making people grow or improve intellectually, not making the reader self-interested or selfish. Encourage the readers to live as worthy people and be an important resource for people around them and society,” he explained.
Bunheang has many works, but the primary ones are Forget Thinking (Part 1 and Part 2) and Depth of Thought. The first one is a book that helps you understand how to think and confronts the reader topics that a large number of people are not ready to think about or accept. It also introduces positive thinking and some thought-provoking questions.
Depth of Thought focuses on the subject of human thought. It shows the most important thing for anyone is to think because people live happily or not and succeed or not depending on their thinking. The book takes the reader on a journey to self-mastery as well as providing some ways that can be applied to strengthening their ability to think deeply.
It also helps improve the wisdom or philosophy of thinking that teaches people to maintain their self-esteem, to think deeply about the problems they face and to be free from the deceptions of some crooks and helps the readers know what to do and what not to do, understand the right and wrong of things and know how to live life as a human being.
His other impressive books also written to help improve the knowledge of readers are Leadership Mindset, Starting from Zero and Su Tung-Po.
The information in “Leadership Mindset” comes from the experiences, knowledge and research of the author. This book will take the reader on a journey to self-mastery as well as provide some ways that can be applied to strengthen their ability to think and to chase their dreams.
Starting from Zero is a study focused on building oneself up before starting their dream business. The main points in this book are from the experience, knowledge and research that focuses on three main points, including self-development in leadership, capacity building and managing start-ups.
Su Tung-Po teaches the reader about the life history of Su Tung-Po and shows how to solve various problems that the Chinese writer encountered. The book presents many good ideas that allow readers to contrast and compare the realities of today’s society versus Su Tung-Po’s.
Bunheang holds a Bachelor’s degree in international relations from Mekong University and is currently the editor of Business Record.