Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t official publishes second novel

Gov’t official publishes second novel

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Council of Ministers spokesman and former journalist Ek Tha published a second edition of his war novel Fight the Enemy, Find Love. Niem Chheng

Gov’t official publishes second novel

Former journalist and current Council of Ministers spokesman Ek Tha recently published the second edition of his war novel Fight the Enemy, Find Love after more than 600 copies of the English version were sold.

The novel follows the life of a Vietnamese soldier named Hung who wanted to save Cambodian children from being tortured and killed by the Khmer Rouge.

But in the novel, Hung ends up being saved by the beautiful daughter of a Khmer Rouge commander, Reach Bopha-Ek, after he gets lost in the jungle. The two fall in love amid war.

“The Vietnamese were the number one enemy of the Khmer Rouge and vice-versa. But no one has heard the story of the Vietnamese soldier who gets lost in the jungle and falls in love with the beautiful daughter of a Khmer Rouge commander,” Tha said.

He said 1,000 copies of the first English edition of the book were printed in 2018, and more than 600 were sold. Another 1,000 English versions of the book were printed in the last two weeks, while the Khmer version will be released at a future date.

Tha lived as a refugee in South Vietnam from the early 1970s to 1979. He didn’t fight in Cambodia’s civil war, but he learned a great deal from his experience living in Vietnam.

When he returned to Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge in early 1979, he learned more about Cambodia’s history and its developing trends.

“I went through those periods and I witnessed a lot of things. I have no difficulties in writing such a novel by transforming ‘partial facts’ into a romance with sweet and bitter memories,” he said.

He said he wanted to write the novel to wake up the armed forces, from the police to soldiers in every corner of the world. Tha believes they should not simply raise their guns and shoot at people they perceive to be the enemy.

“Like in chapter seven and eight in the novel. It’s about how to be thoughtful as an armed man. There is no point in ending conflict by using weapons or any type of force, but negotiations, friendship and love,” he said.

Tha said he wanted to refresh his memories of both good and bad experiences so that the world’s younger generation, and not only Cambodians and Vietnamese, can learn about the past.

“I really want the younger generation to understand that they cannot change the past but they can learn from it. They can avoid repeating the past by putting their differences aside, dropping their guns and turning to love.

“I want to leave a message to the younger generation that only friendship, love and respect can maintain strong ties for peace, mutual benefits, and a better world,” he said.

His ultimate goal of writing this novel, Tha said, is to change the human perception of seeing each other as foes instead of friends.

MOST VIEWED

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Textile industry minimum wage now $200

    The official minimum wage for workers in textile-related sectors including garment, footwear, and travel goods for 2023 was pegged at $198, with Prime Minister Hun Sen stepping in to add $2 to the total, making it $200 per month. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training made the announcement