Recommended Reading

August 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

In order to better wrap my head around the complex politics of Cambodia, I picked up the recently published Cambodia’s Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Joel Brinkley.  I highly recommend it to any Austin2Angkor volunteers or followers that would like a better understanding of the issues Cambodia continues to face. Brinkley does a really nice job of conveying the information in a clear and engaging way.  While I won’t give you a full book report, I would like to share some quotes from the book’s introduction that struck me:

Two million Cambodians, one-quarter of the nation’s population, were killed during Pol Pot’s three and one-half years in power…Eighty percent of Cambodia’s teachers were killed and 95 percent of the doctors, along with almost everyone else who had an education.

…Cambodia is the only place where the bulk of the nation, more than three-quarters of its people, still lives more or less as they did 1,000 years ago…In large areas of the nation, the first schools were not built until the 1990s. Still, in some remote areas even now, most children still do not attend school at all.

…nearly half the nation’s children [will leave school after the second or third grade] and begin helping…in the cornfields or rice paddies.

…almost one child in ten dies before reaching the age of five of either illness or malnutrition. Cambodia’s child mortality rate is 60 percent higher than in Vietnam or Thailand, its neighbors.

Several research studies have demonstrated that one-third to one-half of all Cambodians who lived through the Khmer Rouge era have PTSD

…Cambodia is the only nation in the world where it has been demonstrated that symptoms of PTSD and related traumatic illnesses are being passed from one generation to the next.

Click here to learn more about Cambodia’s Curse

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