Half A Million Miles From Home: Cambodia: Then

August 22, 2016     samakireads     book

Half A Million Miles From Home: Cambodia: Then Book Cover Half A Million Miles From Home: Cambodia: Then
Kevin Kato
Blue Fuji Publishers
March 9, 2016

I'm pretty sure the Universe is smarter than me. So when the Universe said I could go cycling across Cambodia with two guys I barely knew I didn't think twice.

Heck, I didn't even think once.

Look. If you are trying to find out the best way to get in and out of Cambodia, where to go and where to eat, where to sleep and buy souvenirs, or simply how to not get lost or have your leg blown off by a land mine in Cambodia, then this is not the book you are looking for. While I did not get my leg blown off by a land mine in Cambodia myself, I would not be the guy you want telling you how to make it in and out of this country without losing a limb. Or even your room key.

But if you want to know what it was like to be an eager and completely unprepared traveler in Cambodia in 2003, in this wondrous land of trash and little boys running around with no pants on, then this is exactly the book you are looking for.Even if this isn't what you were looking for, you're here now. Enjoy it. That's been my attitude my whole life and I have yet to lose a limb.

So come on. Let's ride.

Saving Nary

August 15, 2016     samakireads     book

Saving Nary Book Cover Saving Nary
Carol DeMent
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
March 9, 2016

Exploring the losses, loyalties and secrets held within families broken by war and genocide, Saving Nary presents a palate of unique characters who struggle to make sense of the events that led them to America, even as they ponder the bewildering culture and lifestyle of their new homeland.

Refugee Khath Sophal lost everything when the Khmer Rouge swept into power in Cambodia: his wife and son murdered before his eyes; his daughters taken from him and still missing; his sanity barely intact from the brutality he has been forced to witness.

Now resettled in the Pacific Northwest, Khath treads a narrow path between the horrors of his past and the uncertainties of the present. His nights are filled with twisted dreams of torture and death. By day he must guard constantly against the flashbacks triggered by the simple acts of daily living, made strange in a culture he does not understand.

Then Khath meets Nary, a mysterious and troubled Cambodian girl whose presence is both an aching reminder of the daughters he has lost, and living proof that his girls, too, could still be alive. Nary’s mother Phally, however, is another matter. A terrible suspicion grows in Khath’s mind that Phally is Khmer Rouge, that Phally might not even be Nary’s real mother. A split develops in the community between those who believe Phally and those who believe Khath. And those, it seems, who don’t really care who is right but just want to stir up trouble for their own personal gain.

Khath’s search for the truth leads him to the brink of the brutality he so despises in the Khmer Rouge. His struggle to wrest a confession from Phally ultimately forces him to face his own past and unravel the mystery of his missing daughters.

Book of the Month: The Ancient Secrets of a Royal Triad Decoded

August 10, 2016     samakireads     book, book of the month

The Ancient Secrets of a Royal Triad Decoded Book Cover The Ancient Secrets of a Royal Triad Decoded
Phalika Ngin
April 2012

As depicted in present history, Jayavarman VII, the most famous Khmer Emperor of the 12th century, is only and always wearing a loin cloth. The king is also missing the presence of his two queens, Indradevi and Jayarajadevi. In the telling of Cambodia’s history, there is little to no scholarship dedicated to the king’s royal regalia or his two queens. The investigative research documented in this book has three objectives: 1. Define the royal regalia and insignia of the period; 2. Locate the two missing queens; and 3. Reveal new findings and insights into the reign of Jayavarman VII across a broad iconography by a review of old data and quizzical interpretations. As suspected, the secrets were cloaked within the details in the royal regalia, which identified the king and the two queens during their period. As a result of this research, the dynamics of the royal profile have been revealed, revived, and redefined across in the bas-reliefs and structures in Bayon, Angkor Thom, Banteay Kdei, Banteay Chhmar, Ta Som, Preah Khan, and Ta Prohm. The surfacing theme is not about the king only, but also about the king’s alliance with his two queens, the co-architects of the Khmer Kingdom, who with the king comprised a dynamic, popular royal triad. New findings in Bayon, the Gates of Angkor Thom and the Terrace of the Leper King have brought new understandings and revised interpretations. The four-year research project was conducted as a field survey with actual data collected and photographs taken in the temples within Angkor Park, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, and Phnom-Penh.

If on This Earth There Are Angels: A Story of Survival and Renewal from the Killing Fields of Cambodia

August 8, 2016     samakireads     book

If on This Earth There Are Angels: A Story of Survival and Renewal from the Killing Fields of Cambodia Book Cover If on This Earth There Are Angels: A Story of Survival and Renewal from the Killing Fields of Cambodia
Seng Bouaddheka
Vivid Publishing
February 29, 2016

In April 1975 Addheka was a 14-year-old Cambodian girl who had only just learned to walk after being a polio victim as an infant. She was part of the forced evacuation from Phnom Penh of the entire population of the city and trudged to an unknown future with her large extended family.
Her beloved father, who produced two other families, altogether looked after 24 children and three wives. The families were soon scattered far and wide and lost touch with each other. The brutal, apocalyptic reality of the Pol Pot regime soon hit home, with devastating consequences for her family.
For much of the next four years Addheka was alone, surviving unusual hardship and witnessing the fanatical, irrational, murderous reality of the Khmer Rouge regime. When it all ended, Addheka eventually returned to Phnom Penh to find out which of her family members had survived.
She remained in Cambodia and became part of the reconstruction effort, working in a major hospital, then becoming a language teacher and Principal. She underwent a spiritual renewal and today runs the Aid Projects of Mercy for the very poorest children in Cambodia.

Almighty Is His Name: The Riveting Story of SoPhal Ung

August 1, 2016     samakireads     book

Almighty Is His Name: The Riveting Story of SoPhal Ung Book Cover Almighty Is His Name: The Riveting Story of SoPhal Ung
Randy Clark
Charisma House
March 1, 2016

Almighty is His Name is the riveting story of God’s hand of protection as missionary SoPhal Ung and his family fought for their lives in Cambodia. Although the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in 1979, SoPhal started a house church, which grew from five members to six hundred in eight months. He was arrested for this “illegal” activity, imprisoned, severely beaten, and chained by hand and foot, losing seventy-five pounds in the terrible ordeal. God miraculously spared his life on numerous occasions. Later SoPhal fled with his wife and children to Thailand and spent ten years ministering to other Cambodian exiles.

This page-turning narrative, recounted by Randy Clark founding director of Global Awakening, showcases an extraordinary kind of courage that was found in the heart of a man whose faith in Jesus Christ never wavered even in the face of unspeakable evil. SoPhal continues to train countless leaders, feed orphans, house and clothe the poor, and witness miracle upon miracle. For anyone seeking proof of God’s greatness, this unforgettable true story will prove without a doubt that God is faithful.

The Rice Fields

July 25, 2016     samakireads     book

The Rice Fields Book Cover The Rice Fields
Santel Phin
Amazon Digital Services LLC
February 25, 2016

There’s not enough water in the rice field. The rain doesn’t come. Sim wants to buy a pumping machine. She goes to Phnom Penh looking for Sam, her husband, who doesn’t send money back home for 3 months.

Sam loses a lot of money in soccer's bets. To pay back his debt, he becomes a hit man.

The Rice Fields is a fresh contemporary fiction that will update you on what’s happening in the Cambodia after the killing fields.

Remember to Remember

July 18, 2016     samakireads     book

Remember to Remember Book Cover Remember to Remember
Jil Plummer
Andrew Benzie Books
January 9, 2016

Our news these days is full of wars in which genocide is being inflicted with inhuman savagery on innocent people. With each new headline the name of the previous atrocity fades into the shadows and its victims are forgotten in favor of the new ones. But every horror must be remembered and taught to following generations so that each country’s people remain aware and don’t let the evil ever happen again. Remember to Remember is set in Cambodia and is the fictionalized true story of Chanbopha, a courageous child who, despite her youth, survives the death march from Phnom Penh and through the Khmer Rouge killing fields. Using her own ingenuity she finds food for her family in the working prison farm in which many starve and few emerge whole. Through all the ugliness, Chanbopha sees glimpses of beauty, and this allows nothing to deter her from fighting for her dream of taking her mother and siblings to a life of freedom.

Water and Light – A Travel Journal of the Cambodian Mekong

July 11, 2016     samakireads     book

Water and Light - A Travel Journal of the Cambodian Mekong Book Cover Water and Light - A Travel Journal of the Cambodian Mekong
George Groslier, Kent Davis and Henri Copin
DatASIA, Inc
February 4, 2016

In 1929, Groslier set out by boat from Phnom Penh to inspect Buddhist pagodas along two-thousand kilometers of the Cambodian Mekong. He returned with rare photos and a 600-page journal filled with first-person impressions that he later distilled into this work.

Groslier's keen eye for detail, deep cultural understandings and rich love for Cambodia gives readers intimate and often surprisingly candid views of the people who inherited their art, history, customs and traditions from the great Khmer Empire that once ruled Southeast Asia.

This special color edition--prepared with the guidance of the author's daughter, Nicole Groslier Rea--is a celebration of Groslier's life and adventure. With a foreword by literary expert Henri Copin, this volume also includes: the first English translation of Groslier's account; more than70 illustrations, including the author's original photos; appendix articles by Paul Boudet, Paul Cravath, Kent Davis and Solang Uk; and the complete original French text.

Book of the Month: Kong The’ap: From the Cambodian Royal Palace Dance Theater to America

July 8, 2016     samakireads     book, book of the month

Kong The'ap: From the Cambodian Royal Palace Dance Theater to America Book Cover Kong The'ap: From the Cambodian Royal Palace Dance Theater to America
Patricia Bulitt and Jeff Friedman
April 1996

July's Book of the Month is dedicated to our dear friend, Sopheap. She was a prima ballerina in her own right, trained at a young age in the art of Khmer classical dance under her grandmother, the late Master Kong The'ap.

This book chronicles Lok Yeay Kong The'ap's humble beginnings in an interview format from her life in the Royal Palace of Cambodia to introducing this art form in Long Beach, Stockton and finally San Francisco where she settled. Since the 1980s, her dance troupe toured as far as Thailand and performed throughout California. Her group was one of the first to tour outside the country. Her contribution in the performing arts brought wide attention to the Cambodian community in San Francisco at that time and left a lasting legacy.


July 4, 2016     samakireads     book

Supernotes Book Cover Supernotes
Agent Kasper and John Cullen
Nan A. Talese
January 12, 2016

In the Cambodian hinterlands, a lone Western prisoner suffers through a hot, muddy, interminable sentence. Wasted by repeated torture, lack of sleep, malnutrition, and psychotropic drugs, he has been abandoned. His years of exemplary service to his government mean nothing. No one is coming for him.

This is Agent Kasper, a man with a staggering résumé: commercial airline pilot, firearms expert, highly accomplished practitioner of several of the martial arts, a secret agent par excellence. It is this incredible competence that will be his undoing. While investigating Mafia money laundering in Phnom Penh, Kasper is approached by the CIA to track down the source of the so-called supernotes—illegal U.S. banknotes counterfeited so perfectly that they are undetectable, even by sophisticated machines—that are flooding Southeast Asia. With patience, skill, and courage, Kasper uncovers the explosive secret behind them and is badly burned by the truth.

Meanwhile, back in Rome, a sharp, scrappy lawyer named Barbara Belli has been hired by Kasper’s family to work for his release. She has contacts in the foreign ministry, and while officials make sweeping claims about moving heaven and earth, nothing happens. It’s more than just creaking bureaucracy. Kasper has really pissed off the wrong people.

Based on true events in the life of a former spy, Kasper’s journey makes for a shocking and spellbinding page-turner of petty corruption, high-level betrayal, and state secrets so powerful that governments will protect them by any means.