Sunday, August 27, 2006


I've been a busy bee, with three books on the go at once including reading a friend's excellent manuscript for an historical novel which I hope will come out sometime next year. More nearer the time. One of the books I've just finished is John Tully's A Short History of Cambodia: From Empire to Survival, and I really enjoyed it. The author's style was engaging and easy to follow, not heavy at all and its intended audience - tourists, students and general readers with an interest in SEAsia - will gain much from his concise interpretation of Cambodia's chequered history, which is awash with war, invasion and conflict. Throughout, you can't but feel for the Khmer people who've borne the brunt of so much for so long.

The book, published by Allen & Unwin, is 270 pages long. Its not as detailed as David Chandler's History of Cambodia but its not intended to be and hits the spot perfectly in my view. Interestingly, Dr Tully is a lecturer at the Victoria University in Melbourne and pays his dues to his former tutor, David Chandler, acknowledged as the great Cambodian historian. In my opinion, he does a fine job following in his mentor's footsteps. You can get the book here.

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Hallam Goad and his wife Katie are currently living in Kampot. Katie is involved with Epic Arts who've set up an Arts centre open to children with and without disabilites, which will provide training in all art forms, fusing contemporary and Khmer styles. You can find out more here. Meanwhile, Hallam is working with the Teang Tnaut Association, a Cambodian organization linking designers, artists and community organizers to projects with informal and marginalised communities, both in Kampot and Phnom Penh. Hallam tells me they're looking for volunteers with skills in architecture/planning/GIS/research on urban issues, etc who may want to spend 6 months or so with them - so if you're interested contact Hallam at

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