It is the aim of every businessman to take down their competitors. And it is people’s aim to prevail over the others, to excel and to rise above. But karma has its way of giving people what they deserve. As the saying goes, “you reap what you sow”. The concept of karma is what acclaimed author Mao Samnang used in her 2009 novel, ‘Cheung Khlang Taing Bei’.
The novel does not only revolve around complex conflicts of business, but also the complicated concept of love. The first chapter introduces three businessmen – Sokret, Manel and Navann – who all own rubber plantations in Rattanakiri. Owning three of the biggest plantations in the province, these three families are each other’s mortal enemies.
Navann is the greediest man, always tricking others to escalate the hatred and jealousy between Manel and Sokret. When he sees Sokret’s son, Kethya, starts a good relationship with Manel’s nephews, Pakly and Chakrey, he gets and idea of how to win over Sokret.
Sokret, meanwhile, is a good father to his two children, but a man with too much sexual desire. To fulfill his earthly desires, he tricked a woman named Soya. Soya decides to sell her niece, Malykeo, to pay all her debts to Sokret. But things do not happen as planned as Malykeo is raped by Kethya. He later realises that Malykeo is a decent and innocent woman who was just sold by her aunt.
Because of his guilt, Kethya tricks his father and brought Malykeo to his home. But since he’s still confused about what he truly feels, he treats Malykeo as his slave.
Manel’s family, on the other hand, comes to manage their farm well, making it prosper. But Manel’s spoiled daughter, Mealdey, gets into a love-hate relationship with Pakly. The more the fight, the closer they get. The ambition to defeat Pakly melts down when Mealdey sees Pakly risking his life to protect her
But as the rubber business tightens in the province, the conflict among the three businessmen gets worse. Manel and Sokret eventually realise that the issues between them are caused by Navann’s greed.
Will they be able to stop Navann’s evil plans? Will they fully reconcile and become friends despite the competition in their businesses?
And, how will Kethya handles Malykeo’s pregnancy and his forced marriage with her former girlfriend?
How will they solve all these conflicts?
Author: Mao Samnang
Publication: Editions Angkor, 2009