The Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC) recently celebrated the launch of the English-language version of the acclaimed work “Samdech Techo Hun Sen: Man of Cambodia’s Destiny.” This momentous occasion followed six months of dedicated translation efforts.
The book’s unveiling occurred on October 25, as part of the 2023 Phnom Penh Forum, an annual gathering that brings together government representatives, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and academic institutions. Organized by the RAC’s International Relations Institute, this year’s forum was themed “Minilateralism: ASEAN Centrality and Great Power Rivalry.”
“Samdech Techo Hun Sen: Man of Cambodia’s Destiny” is a biography that provides a detailed account of the life of former Prime Minister Hun Sen and his pivotal role in shaping modern Cambodia. The author, Keo Baphnom, who was once the Minister Delegate attached to the Prime Minister and the head of the historical research committee of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), penned this remarkable piece.
Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute, led the team responsible for translating the book into English. He described the biography as a treasure trove of valuable diplomatic insights. The translation team faced some challenges due to the document’s coverage of Cambodia’s modern history, including the tumultuous periods of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Some technical terms related to the political ideology of that era and the names of geographical locations in Vietnam posed difficulties but were eventually overcome.
Phea emphasized the book’s significance in unveiling many aspects of Hun Sen’s life, shedding light on political issues that were previously unknown. He believes the book carries immense diplomatic value, offering a glimpse into the diplomatic prowess of a small state like Cambodia as it navigated the Cold War and emerged from the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime. The book also chronicles the nation’s struggles under international pressure from 1979 to 1993 before documenting the culmination of a “500-year quest for complete peace.”
Phea explained that the book provides foreign readers with essential insights into Hun Sen’s life and Cambodia’s journey, helping them understand the Kingdom’s role in regional and global politics. Many abroad may not fully comprehend how Cambodia managed to survive the genocidal regime, attain peace, and develop rapidly. Cambodia’s diplomacy serves as a valuable lesson for the world.
RAC Secretary-General Yang Poeu emphasized the book’s historical value and the broader lessons it offers to the world. He regarded Hun Sen as a pivotal figure in modern history, serving as a diplomatic role model responsible for bringing comprehensive peace and development to Cambodia. The English translation of this biography is expected to aid foreigners in better understanding modern Cambodia.
Pov Sok, a personal adviser to Hun Sen and a renowned author, sees this book as a significant addition to Cambodia’s historical narrative. He recommends that all young Cambodians read it, emphasizing that the English translation offers an opportunity to share the political thoughts, turns, and complexities of Hun Sen, a truly remarkable figure in Cambodia’s history.
The English translation of “Samdech Techo Hun Sen: Man of Cambodia’s Destiny” is a notable milestone that not only enriches Cambodia’s historical record but also provides invaluable insights into diplomacy and history for readers worldwide.
Source: The PhnomPenh Post