Anatomy of a Crisis
Education, Development, and the State in Cambodia, 19531998
Publication Year: 2000
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
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Writing this book would have been a much more difficult task if it were not for the love and encouragement of my family. My wife and my parents, Michael and Vicki, have endured my frequent absences, holding the fort together while I have been overseas or bunkered in my office. It is to each of them, and to my son, Dominic, that I dedicate this book.
Abbreviations and Acronyms
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At the heart of precolonial Cambodia, and at the heart of the country’s modern conscience, are the awe-inspiring towers of Angkor Wat. Built in the twelfth century by the Khmer king, Suryavarman II (r. 1113 – 1150), the temple embodies the two underlying tenets of Cambodian traditionalism.1 First, it represents a palpable testament to the glorious ...
1 The Traditional Setting: State, Society, and Education before Independence
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Just how people came to inhabit the land that now forms Cambodia remains something of a mystery. As in many other Southeast Asian countries, mythical legends about the creation of Cambodia provide tales rich in detail and adventure yet scant in terms of historical fact. One story revolves around a Brahman prince who marries a dragon-princess.
2 Sihanouk and the Sangkum: From Independence to Chaos
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When King Norodom Sihanouk abdicated the Cambodian throne to contest the 1955 elections, he brought to an end two years of bitter political conflict as independent Cambodia had struggled to contend with its newly granted freedom. Drawing on the divine status accorded to his former title, Sihanouk seized control of the emergent Cambodian state, ...
3 Lon Nol and the Republic: The Declining State
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Neil Davis’ recollections of the bombing of the Ecole Wat Phnom, a private primary school in the center of Phnom Penh, in the final weeks of the life of the Khmer Republic, serve as a poignant metaphor for the five years that followed the Sihanouk era and preceded the Democratic Kampuchea holocaust in Cambodia:1
4 Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge: Building and Defending Cambodia
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By April 1975, most of Phnom Penh’s students had not attended classes for more than a month. When they saw the soldiers of the Khmer Rouge finally enter the city, many of these students, and their parents, were relieved. The fighting had stopped and they could finally return to school. A former student of the Lycée Yukanthor remembered his father, who was a teacher, ...
5 The PRK and the SOC: The State in Transition
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In 1973, the commander of the Khmer Rouge’s 126th Regiment, based in the Eastern Zone, advanced across the Mekong river in pursuit of Lon Nol’s Republican army. His troops attempted to climb Phnom (Mount) Chisor, in Takeo province, in search of a traditional malarial cure, whereupon twelve of them were arrested, taken away, and killed. They were not arrested by Republican soldiers nor by the Republic’s South ...
6 Ranariddh and Hun Sen: From Uneasy Alliance to Coup
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On July 5, 1997, Cambodia’s second prime minister, Hun Sen, appeared on national television dressed in military fatigues. With none of his usual flamboyance, he calmly read a statement in which he accused his counterpart, First Prime Minister Norodom Ranariddh, and other officials from Prince Ranariddh’s National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC) ...
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Like Angkor Wat, where the traditional and modern worlds are enmeshed by the rise and the fall of the sun, the modern Cambodian nation- state embodies both tradition and modernity. Shrouded by the dark cloak of twilight, the temple’s disappearance from the horizon is followed at dawn by the slow ascent of the sun from behind its central ...
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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David M. Ayres is the Ewing Post-doctoral Fellow in Education at the University of Sydney in Australia. He became interested in Cambodia while an undergraduate, and subsequently wrote an honors thesis and doctoral dissertation on the politics of educational policy in Cambodia. Dr. Ayres’ previous publications and undergraduate teaching at the University of Sydney have combined his interest in Cambodian history and politics with his background in international and development education.
Publication Year: 2000