Writing for Raksmey

Writing for Raksmey: a story of Cambodia.

Despotic leadership, corruption, impunity, greed and oppression of the poor prevail now as they did when the Khmer Rouge leadership first shaped their vision of Year Zero.  Cambodia is rated as the second most corrupt country in Asia and one where the gap between the very rich and the very poor is extreme.  Crimes are committed with impunity and people are imprisoned without cause.  Powerful elites, usually government officials and their families, are free to plunder the nation’s resources of timber and minerals for their own gain.  Land is ‘grabbed’ from the poor and sold to big companies for profit.  I have seen all of this.  There is an oft-repeated Cambodian proverb.  ‘The rich plough the backs of the poor‘.

There is however a parallel story, equally true.  It is about compassion, courage and goodness that persists.  It is this story that I need to tell, for I also know this story.  I know it well.  Within the dark tangle of Cambodia’s history there is beauty.  A terrible beauty.’

 – Sister Joan Healy

This quote is from the new memoir, ‘Writing for Raksmey.  A Story of Cambodia’,  in which the author, Sister Joan Healy, gives an intimate account of six families who fled the aftermath of the Cambodian killing fields.  Sister Joan, a member of the Sisters of St Joseph, lived and worked with refugees from the Cambodian civil war for many years in the 1980s and 1990s and her book is based upon her original letters and journals.  Sister Joan bears witness to the human goodness and resilience found in the Cambodian people, and her new book sheds light on the experience of refugees and asylum-seekers, and the history of Cambodia.

Recent articles about this publication include:

‘Writing for Raksmey: extract from Sister Joan Healy’s book on Cambodia’ by Sister Joan Healy, published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 13 November 2016:  http://www.smh.com.au/national/writing-for-raksmey-extract-of-sister-joan-healys-book-on-cambodia-20161101-gsf7z4.html

‘Writing for Raksmey: A story of Cambodia’ by Sister Joan Healy, published on the news.com.au website:  http://www.news.com.au/world/asia/writing-for-raksmey-a-story-of-cambodia/news-story/4d7afcbe1a6b009dd8354bc40bc1cd16

Monash University Publishing website listing for Writing for Raksmey.  A Story of Cambodia: http://www.publishing.monash.edu/books/wr-9781925377125.html