A writing aficionado from an early age, Din Darathtey is now the author behind Cambodia’s leading email newsletter, Campuccino.
Her fortnightly dispatches provide a roundup of local news sprinkled with witty social commentary. She began writing it while holed up in small-town New Zealand, adrift between cultures and longing for home. While politics plays a lead role, Campuccino covers other topics such as arts and events, culture and food.
Darathtey’s initial splash in writing circles came with her contribution to “Cambodia 2040,” an influential volume published in 2020 by the Phnom Penh-based think tank Future Forum. The publication contemplates what the nation will look like 20 years in the future.
Darathtey contributed a chapter titled “Cambodian Identity, Culture and Legacy.” She holds degrees from RULE, Pannasastra and the University of Warwick in the U.K. As a student, people often said she wasn’t Cambodian enough. Identity plays a recurrent theme in her work.
Darathtey talked with Kiripost’s Bun Tharum. The interview has been edited lightly for length and clarity.
Could you please introduce yourself?
I’m Darathtey, writer and founder of Campuccino, communications specialist, identity research enthusiast and black-coffee-no-milk-no-sugar drinker.
When did you start blogging? And why?
My very first blogging experience started as early as 2011. A friend inspired me at the time. I was walking in the PUC library and saw her blogging about the wedding of Prince William and Kate, using one of the library’s computers.
My first platform was Blogger, and I wrote about random stuff in my life. I guess I knew quite early that I enjoyed writing. I used to write a lot of Khmer essays when I was in high school, and I read a lot as well. I read so much my mother told me that she couldn’t afford to buy new books for me that fast. So yeah, it seems that I am drawn to many things writing-related.
This interview was first appeared on Kiripost: Caffeine, Culture and Cambodianess