Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The Novel-cum-History
By Taing Ratana

About the Writer

Taing Ratana originates from Kampong Speu province of the Kingdom of Cambodia. He was born in 1982 to a family of Mr. Or Vanthen, a medical doctor, and Mrs. Tong Ravy. He graduated with a diploma of Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Health Science (2006), a Bachelor (2005) and Master (2008) degree in law from the Royal University of Law and Economy and he also earned a bachelor degree in English Literature from Build Bright University (2006). He has served as the Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat of the Constitutional Council of Cambodia since 2005.
However, Taing Ratana interests in writing novel and poetry, so this passion leads him to attend the writer training course in 2001. A year later, he became, after his novel is selected as the laureate of Preah Sihanouk Raja Prize, the active member of Khmer Writer Association (KWA) in his age of 19, so he was the youngest member of this Association.

Phnom Dangrek (Dangrek Mountain)

The Dangrek mountain range extends in an east to west direction, forming the southern edge of the Nokoreach (Korat) Plateau. They stretch for 320 Km from the Mekong River until they merge with the highlands of the Sankambeng, the southern arm of the Dong Phaya Yen Mountains in Thailand.
The northern side of the Dangrek Mountains is gently sloping, while the sides facing southward are usually a steep escarpment that dominates the plain of northern Cambodia. The watershed along the escarpment in general terms marks the boundary between Thailand and Cambodia however there are exceptions. The main road connecting the two Kingdoms in this area cuts through a pass in the Dangrek Mountains at O Smach.
The Dangrek Mountains were part of the ancient Khmer Empire, which spread northwards across them, culminating with the almost complete control of the Isaan (North-East) area in 1220 under Jayavarman VII reign. We would be surprise with the largest and most important archaeological site in these mountains is the Prasat Preah Vihear compound, a Hindu temple of the Khmer imperial times dated from the reign of Suryavarman II (1002-49) in a dramatic location on top of a high hill. As the result, Prasat Preah Vihear is considered as the Heart of Dangrek Mountain, which stays in the hearts of Khmer People and also of the world,.

Besdaung Phnom Dangrek

Besdaung Phnom Dangrek means the Heart of Dangrek Mountain is the Name of a Novel, which has been composed as the historical novel about the Case of Prasat Preah Vihear.
The writer has penned this novel in order to remind the people about the event of conflict between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the Prasat Preah Vihear temple. The world would remember the time that Kingdom of Thailand invaded Prasat Preah Vihear in 1954 and occupied by hundred of the Thai soldiers. The Kingdom of Cambodia, one year after got independence from France, claimed this case to the Government of Thailand through the diplomatic claims.
The Kingdom of Cambodia, during the time of Sangkum Reastr Niyum under the rule of His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk, has been a State of peace, so Cambodia would like to live with positive peace with all the Nations in the world. As the result, the Government of Cambodia, at that time, had tried the best to negotiate with Thailand on the problem. For more than 5 years negotiation with no results, The Government of Cambodia, in 1959, decided to file the suit to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Holland in order to demand Thailand to respect the territory of the Cambodia and also to follow its international obligation.
The Case of Prasat Preah Vihear was taken about three years at the ICJ, so the both Government had tried the best show the evidences to the Internal Judges of ICJ in order to claim the legal rights on Prasat Preah Vihear . As the result, all the treaties and the agreements of Franco-Siam in the time of colony were the important documents.
At the end of the Conflict, on 15 June 1962 the International Court of Justice which composed of 12 international judges, by 9 votes versus 3, declared that Prasat Preah Vihear is absolutely in the territory of Cambodia and Thailand has the obligation to remove all the forces from Prasat Preah Vihear.
As the aforementioned event, Besdaung Phnom Dangrek by Mr Taing Ratana would describe about what related with this case in the Novel-cum-History. So please enjoy with this Novel which will be found in the Book store in soon.

By Samreth

Besdaung Phnom Dang Rek

Besdaung Phnom Dang Rek

(The Heart of Dang Rek Mountain)

First Cambodian novel

About the Case of Preah Vihear

Twenty-six year old Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat General of the Constitutional Council of Cambodia wrote the book in his spare time in a bid to educate his countrymen about the history of the temple.

IN light of the current military standoff over Preah Vihear temple, Taing Ratana, a 26-year-old Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Legal Affairs, the secretariat of the Constitutional Council, and part-time author, could be forgiven for expecting better-than-average sales for his first book.

Besdaung Phnom Dang Rek (The Heart of the Dang Rek Mountain), which is hope to be published , is a novel-cum-history book which sets out the recent history of the hotly contested ancient Hindu temple, including a fictionalized account of the international lawsuit that resulted in Cambodia's sovereignty over the temple being recognized in 1962.

"Most Khmer people don't want to read about history," said Taing Ratana. "If I wrote a history book, people would be less interested. So I changed it into an historical novel [that] details the genesis of the lawsuit until success at The Hague in June 1962."

Newspaper sales are currently up across the Kingdom as Cambodians eagerly follow events on the Preah Vihear frontline but the author says the idea for the book arose in 2001 while he was a first-year law student and became interested in the history of the temple. He began writing the book in February 2002 and completed it in June 2004.

After the anti-Thai riots in 2003, Taing Ratana decided not to seek a publisher for his manuscript because "I didn't want to change history, I didn't want myself, by writing the book, to trouble history, and I didn't want readers to be angry with other nations after reading it".

With UNESCO's recent listing of Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site, however, his friends began encouraging him to publish the work, which begins with the 1954 conflict between Cambodia and Thailand and the legal machinations that followed in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

"I want all Cambodians and the younger generation to know in more detail about the Preah Vihear lawsuit and what went on during that time," he said, adding that he planned to donate most of the first edition of 1,000 copies to libraries and schools.

Khmer Writers Association vice chairman You Bo said that the novel was a very interesting book, with meaning and structure that makes the reader want to continue to turn pages.
He would dedicate his novel to all people, who love the Khmer heritage.

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