Veteran journalist Chhay Sophal’s latest book, Bun Rany, the Wife of Cambodia’s Strong Man, which chronicles the life of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife Bun Rany, was released in English on Saturday with more than 10,000 copies being distributed to outlets throughout the Kingdom.
Sophal, the author of two other historical books about Hun Sen and his family, was given priority to write the book.
In a press release on Saturday, he said: “I have received e-mails and Facebook messages from foreigners and requests from book shops in Phnom Penh to write the biography of Cambodia’s First Lady. So I’ve tried to produce the book in English.
“It is not easy to write and print a book, but I do not know what else to do since I have fallen into news and book writing.”
Sophal said the book was translated by an academic group and edited by Americans.
In the press release, he also congratulated Hun Sen and Bun Rany on a recent addition to their family.
“The release of the book is also a way to congratulate Samdech [Hun Sen and Bun Rany] on the birth of their 21st granddaughter,” he said.
Sophal said he spent from 2015 to 2019 performing research for the book. He was granted face-to-face interviews with Hun Sen and Bun Rany to create a fuller picture of their history.
He also confirmed that his 2018 book Three Brothers – New Blood Among the Heir which details the lives of Hun Sen’s three sons-Hun Manet, Hun Manit and Hun Many, will be printed in English and Chinese in June.
His first book about Hun Sen, Hun Sen: Politics and power in Khmer history for over 40 years, was first released in 2012 and will be printed in English this August.
Sophal covers the ups and downs of Bun Rany’s life in his latest book, from her days as a young army rebel to her life as First Lady of Cambodia.
According to the book, Bun Rany spent time living in an army camp where she was trained in shooting, bombing, digging trenches and raiding enemy groups.
The book mentions that she guarded the camp, gun in hand, just like the men serving with her.
Besides her life in the public eye, the book also gets personal and offers a glimpse of Bun Rany’s day-to-day life.
It offers insight into the many roles she’s played throughout her life, including that of a rebel, nurse, prisoner, wife, mother, and First Lady, all while Cambodia shifted between war and peace.
Sophal said: “Being a journalist, I have taken time off from my core activities to record the daily activities of Samdech Kittipritthbindit [Bun Rany] and interview her directly.
“I’ve also saved documents from many researching sources and references that allow me to compile these books for the next generation,” he said.