Boyfriend, First Gay Novel In Khmer Language

I heard about Mak SUONG few years ago. He also got a blog at wordpress.com that written in Khmer language. I interested in him about his writing. He wrote a lot of short story and novel. Some of his novels already published and available at book shop.

The latest novel from Mak is surprising a lot of readers due to its subject that talked about young Cambodian gays (man loves man). You might see the Khmer film called “WHO AM I” that cover the topic on lesbian (woman loves woman). Mak have watched this video during his home visit in Cambodia. Then the writing of new novel has started and he finished the novel during a month of his holiday. He is currently living in Laos for his study on Laos literature. He didn’t have chance to learn Khmer literature in Cambodia. It is because he need the scholarship to support his study. Laos scholarship has helped him to continue his study.

Here are the few interview that I have made with him via Facebook,

Santel: Can you tell us a bit about your background, why are u currently in Laos, for work or study?
Mak: I come Laos for studying. I studied Law at CMU and Khmer literature at RUPP, both of them are my dream when I was a child. But my family is so poor. My mother can’t support my living-cost in Phnom Penh. She always borrow money from others to support me. I need money not only to pay for universities but I need money to buy foods, books and study materials. I think that it’s not good for the future so I have to solve this problem. I could study in Phnom Penh only one year. Finally I got the scholarship to Laos.

Santel: I can see you write a lot these days, can you count us some of your work?
Mak: Three novels:

  • Vinhean Sneh Kam
  • Moronakpheap Nov Aranh,
  • Songsa Bross or Boyfriend

And one Khmer literature book(Saravant Phearsa Khmer). These books were published and will follow by others:

  • Death Noth (Krob Moronak)
  • The Camera (Masinthot Sonthet Vinhean)
  • The Mirro (Kanhjok Chhlos Vinhean)
  • Mental Phone (Turasap Nimet)

And other few novels that not finish yet. I can’t count how many of them just know that novels are around ten and short stories are around fifty.

Santel: Why are you writing? What inspire you to write?
Mak: I write because I read. When I was young I read a lot of books. When I read I always cry because most of the books I read are sad novels. I like sad and ghost novel and now I like to write these kinds too. I didn’t know why writers can make me cry. I promised with myself that one day I’ll make other cry because of me too. That’s the first reason that I want to write and be a writer. Another reason because of my life is so lonely. I like stay alone and keep silent. Loneliness makes me write down my feeling in to diaries that it can develop my writing and then I want those feeling come out to others.

Santel: How about the latest novel Boyfriend? It is a very touching subject to write about. how do you work for such story? How long it took you to write that story?
Mak: When I studied in PP, I heard a little about MSM or boy loves boy. In that time I thought it was a joke that my friends always make funny to each other. But when I come to Laos I know about this very well, it’s effect from Thailand. Then, I study about MSM and make a research. After that, I thought one day I’ll write a story about gay or MSM but I don’t know yet how I start the plot. In 2009 when I went to visit Cambodia on Khmer New Year, I heard some information about MSM from my friends before I told them. I mean I’ll tell them about gay in Laos and Thailand but they told me first about gay in Cambodia. Fortunately, my friends invited me to watch a Khmer lesbian movie (Who am I?) and it’s the successful movie I think. So I know how could I do with my new novel. A month on my holiday in Cambodia I can finish a gay novel, boyfriend.

Santel: Sorry to ask but I hope you don’t mind. Are you gay?
Mak: A lot of fans ask me like you! :D But the answer is up to me and I will not answer this question until I get married. :) Many people can think by themselves if I am gay or not.

Santel: Do you see any future for being a writer in Cambodia?
Mak: For the future, writers in Cambodia will getting better lifestyle I think. Now I see that Khmer people like reading books so when the readers increase the writers will have many works to do and the price for their books will getting more price too. Writers in Cambodia will be encouraged in the future.

Santel: Amount your writing, what is your favorite one?
Mak: For the fictions or short stories I most like “The Thief” because I wrote it by my dream on one night that I dreamed about my real life in the past. Just about twenty minutes I finished this mystery fiction and it looks so good too. Many readers say that they can’t guess who is the thief in this mystery story. For the novels I most like “Boyfriend” because it makes me so popular on the internet and I can get many fans from this story too. It’s the first gay novel I write and I don’t know this kind of novel can make me popular like this. Many readers and other web masters mail to me because of it. I think I will be successful again when it’s published (Available at the end of this month).

You can find the novel “Boyfriend” now at Angkor Shop in Phnom Penh. Contact Mak for any more details at his Facebook Mak SUONG, or you can visit his blog at wordpress.com

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