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Hun Sen set to chronicle life in politics after retirement

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Prime Minister Hun Sen and a photo from his youth. SPM

Hun Sen set to chronicle life in politics after retirement

Prime Minister Hun Sen said he will write a memoir about his time as prime minister after he retires in order to give people a taste of what it is like to be in his position.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Hyatt Regency Hotel Phnom Penh on December 15, Hun Sen said when he is no longer in office he will write the book entirely on his own to avoid having to make corrections later.

The premier has in the past chronicled his life as a pagoda boy and a farmer lyrically in songs, but he has never used that format to tell the story of his life in politics or about his time as the country leader.

“I will write my memoirs about my experiences as a soldier and as an officer, as a minister of foreign affairs and as a prime minister. No one can write it but me … If someone else wrote it, then they would need to interview me and I would need to approve its contents … So it’s less trouble if I just write it myself,” he said.

Hun Sen said his book will focus on his life as prime minister when Cambodia was still dealing with the Khmer Rouge insurgents and also during negotiations with them and it will also touch on life in peaceful circumstances, which has still had its share of problems to deal with like Covid-19, floods, droughts, disasters, building collapses and so on.

Pov Sok, the author of five books that touch on different challenges faced by Hun Sen over the course of his life, told The Post that it was a good idea for the prime minister to record his experiences for posterity as one of the longest-serving leaders in the world and one of the major figures in the Kingdom’s history, noting that this was a standard practice for politicians now.

“I think it’s good because, generally speaking, it is not just Khmer who write about their own lives in this context. If we look at US history, every president writes about their time in office and other topics. The late King Father [Norodom Sihanouk] wrote about his own life quite a bit, though he never managed to complete the memoir he had long been working on by the time he passed away,” he said.

Sok said that no matter how many biographies of Hun Sen there were written by other people, there would still be historic value and interest in the prime minister’s own version of his life’s events, set down in writing directly by him.

He further said the prime minister’s literary aspirations set a positive example for the younger generation of Cambodians who would greatly benefit from reading more and keeping a journal about their own lives, whether for themselves or to publish someday.

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