A Tiger Rules the Mountain

The world's longest serving Prime Minister and Cambodia's pursuit of democracy

The Lost Chapters of
A Tiger Rules the Mountain

Cambodians gave me extraordinary amounts of time, interrupting their work and sacrificing family time to speak with me. Their generosity was such that A Tiger was on the verge of challenging War and Peace in weight. Do you know anyone who has ever read War and Peace? Nope, me neither. So, while I could have kept writing stories, you may not have read them. And from the publisher’s perspective, you may not want to buy a book too heavy to carry.

However, there are people who like to read more, so I’ve posted some of the ‘lost chapters’ for people to download for free. These chapters, while being some of my favourites, were not crucial to the central narrative of A Tiger so were cut to help make the book move at pace.

I’m also doing this because of my guilt. Cambodians opened their lives to me, some putting themselves at risk to do so. They did this because they thought sharing their stories with me would make the world take notice and help would come. Knowing this, I listened, wrote notes, prodded and pushed, and then discarded their stories from the final manuscript.

These people and their stories deserve to be heard.

A Man of the Mountains

Plang Sin, President, Cambodian’s Indigenous Peoples’ Democratic Party

“You spent over a year driving around Cambodia to get the 4000 thumbprints needed to establish the party. All of that time you spent away from home. Away from your family, and with the army and police trying to stop you. Has it been worth it?”, I asked.

“Still worth it.”, Sin replied. “This is long term. I haven’t found another way better than this way. I have been to many meetings with charities but the Government doesn’t care. So, we have one choice. Get involved in politics.”

A Man of the Mountains was the original chapter 31 and the last part of this lost chapter would have appeared in Chapter 33, The Numbers.

The Bell Remains Silent

Indigenous lands lost

‘The three men were all in their thirties and I asked them what older members of the community thought. The man smoking said that it was not just old people who were unhappy, “Everybody feels trapped. Wherever we go, we feel trapped by people who own land. We go one place and somebody shouts ‘My land!’ and we go over there and somebody else shouts ‘My land!’”

The Bell Remains Silent was originally chapter 32, coming after A Man of the Mountains.

The House of Heng

Heng, retired provincial police chief

‘Heng said that policemen “will feel a lot of regret” about the violent crackdown on Veng Sreng Street “but it’s hard for people to move out from under the Government…impossible for them. They would be arrested and put in prison. They know the Government does bad things but cannot do anything.” He feared that Hun Sen would use his Bodyguard Unit against opponents and that “nobody dare to act against Hun Sen.” I asked Heng if he thought the Prime Minister will ever be changed.’

The House of Heng was the original ending of Ch. 31, Endgame.

Spurned in Angkor Wat

‘The real wonder of early morning can be found at other temples in the forest, where you will be alone with the mists of time. In the early morning of the 2013 election day, I decided to climb Phnom Bakheng (Bakheng Hill) and gaze over the forest canopy with the tops of temples, including Angkor Wat, peeking through. In the daytime, tourists can ride elephants that take them to the top of this hill, but at dawn, I sat alone pondering what that day’s election would bring for this country I now referred to as home.’

Spurned in Angkor Wat was originally the opening to Ch. 7 Ghosts and Nobodies.

The Absence of Sanctuary

Police storm pagoda and kill demonstrators

‘Police were going from building to building, searching rooms and grabbing who they could. As police entered the building he was in, Karuna was huddled next to a 20-year-old student who had inadvertently walked into the riot on his way to university. Without provocation, police shot Houen Chan in his torso injuring his spinal cord causing him to be paralysed from the waist down. Karuna escaped, stumbling over a fallen Buddha statue as he ran out the building.’

The Absence of Sanctuary was originally in Ch. 8 Drop by Drop the Bucket Fills

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The Tiger’s Tail

A Cambodian friend inspired the title for this book as we got blown on the beach in Melbourne