Cambodian Grrrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh by Anne Elizabeth Moore
In Cambodian Grrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh, writer and independent publisher Anne Elizabeth Moore brings her experience in the American cultural underground to Cambodia, a country known mostly for the savage extermination of around 2 million of its own under the four-year reign of the Khmer Rouge. Following the publication of her critically acclaimed book Unmarketable and the demise of the magazine she co-published, Punk Planet, and armed with the knowledge that the second generation of genocide survivors in Cambodia had little knowledge of their country’s brutal history, Moore disembarked to Southeast Asia hoping to teach young women how to make zines. What she learned instead were brutal truths about women’s rights, the politics of corruption, the failures of democracy, the mechanism of globalization, and a profound emotional connection that can only be called love. Moore’s fascinating story from the cusp of the global economic meltdown is a look at her time with the first all-women’s dormitory in the history of the country, just kilometers away from the notorious Killing Fields. Her tale is a noble one, as heartbreaking as it is hilarious; staunchly ethical yet conflicted and human. The in-depth examination of Moore’s stint among the first large group of social-justice-minded young women from the impoverished provinces is told in intimate, mood-evocative, beautifully-written first-person prose. Cambodian Grrrl is the first in a series of short essay collections on contemporary media, art, and educational work by, for, and with young women in Southeast Asia. Part memoir and part investigative report, Moore’s story could only be told by her, and the result is illuminating, and vital, reading.