Holiday in CambodiaSunday, 6 July 2014
There’s not much vacation time in Laura Jean McKay’s electric collection of short stories. Dark short stories, nobody is having a really good time whether they’re foreign visitors on a train heading for a Khmer Rouge ambush soon after Cambodia reopened in the early 1990s, Cambodians suffering under the Khmer Rouge during the post Year Zero era when Cambodia was renamed Kampuchea, or expats and locals playing their part in French colonial decline.
You can also have a go at mine clearing, work in a sweated labour garment factory, play with the prostitutes, agonise about your role as an aid worker, even encounter Sihanouk, back in the French colonial era once again. The tales may be dark, but they’re certainly never less than totally engaging.
My encounter with King Sihanouk at a rice ploughing ceremony in Phnom Penh in 1999 when I was working on our pictorial book Rice Trails with photographer Richard I’Anson. ►