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The Playground (Kindle Single) by [McCoy, Terrence M.]
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The Playground (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Length: 36 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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The Wall Street Journal
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Along the coastline of Cambodia, Chinese investors are buying vast tracts of land in secret deals with the Khmer government. To clear the way for development, entire towns are being burned down, plowed over, and redeveloped – the residents often "relocated" to inland swamps. The roughly 750,000 people affected are calling it the second coming of the Khmer Rouge, which tore apart the nation in a genocidal war three decades ago. The Cambodian government and Chinese investors are calling it progress – new luxury resorts promising to bring infrastructure to poverty-stricken areas where none exists. Journalist Terry McCoy explores this quiet land grab, facilitated by what he calls Cambodia’s "kleptocratic elite" and a Chinese government willing to get things done "minus the human rights drama of Western nations." If you’re curious about the ways in which China’s economic power is expanding far beyond national boundaries and reshaping the world we live in, The Playground is a must read. --Benjamin Moebius

Review

"Showcasing the work of an unknown author of exceptional ability. ... An ire-inspiring account of cash-rich Chinese corporations sweeping into Cambodian villages. ... What separates McCoy's book from other tales of authoritarian capitalism run amok is his discovery of a unique form of protest -- led by a most uncommon rebel." 
--The Washington Post

Product Details

  • File Size: 100 KB
  • Print Length: 36 pages
  • Publication Date: April 23, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007X6SF56
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,022 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This is an amazing story by an amazing young journalist. Terry McCoy was my student this year at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism--Terry was here getting his MA degree. He worked on this story for me as his master's thesis. I'm not writing a glowing review just because Terry was my student. I'm doing so because this is a powerful piece of literary journalism. I've taught well over 800 students in my years as a professor; Terry's work ranks in the very tiptop percentile of all of them. There are literary journalists who have been working in the field for years who could not produce a story like this.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Terrence McCoy's book is an astonishing tale of resistance in the face of a Chinese onslaught. McCoy sharply captures the grittiness of Vanny's life and handles it with extreme care. One of the most astounding pieces of journalism I've read this year.
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A fast paced and engaging story that will create empathy for its subjects. The author provides just enough detail and emotion for the reader to comprehend the tragedy that is unfolding in Cambodia. Fortunately he also provides some relief and hope by way of a heroine named Vanny. You will applaud the courage of this former pinup model turned activist who is taking on the corrupt Cambodian government in an attempt to gain justice. Beautifully written.
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This book that that not only opened my eyes to contemporary conditions of Cambodia, but also the intense struggle taking place as China attempts to establish itself as the central power in the area. With all we hear about China in the news it's incredible to hear that these global struggles can move so forcefully without raising so much as a blimp on the American news radar.

The length felt appropriate and tightly written, but only four stars! because I now have my nails dug-in and need to find more writing on what's happening! Another reviewer said McCoy wrote this from personal experience - so if you read these, author (and you must, you must) then I hope you follow up here as history continues to move right around us (even if we hear so little).

So! If you have any interest in Cambodia or the global politics taking place in SE Asia then pick up this great little book - and maybe McCoy will write another one!
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In The Playground, Terry McCoy creates a moving, infuriating and necessary portrait of a people abandoned. The broad strokes of the story -- powerful oppressors and the struggle of the trampled-upon to preserve their humanity -- shares the familiar dynamic of stories of injustice. But McCoy treks deeper into the details -- finding devils, certainly, but a manner of angels as well. The transparent rationalizations of multi-billion dollar Chinese multinationals, and the willingness of Khmer apparatchiks to regularly employ violence in pursuit of an oligarchy to call their own, is maddening. The indifference of the United States foreign service is embarrassing.

From beneath the overwhelming weight of this brutal regime and the crushing poverty of Cambodia's disastrous recent history (ably and succinctly summarized by McCoy), Vanny Tep emerges. Her brashness barrels through in McCoy's writing, and the ferocious courage of the women she organizes shines from the rubble of ruined lives. Theirs is a hope without reason, a condition at once indomitable and vulnerable. They carry the vitality of human progress, and McCoy brings them out of abstraction and anonymity.

A pregnant woman, living under a tarp in a relocation camp after the government razed her home to make way for foreign developers, tells McCoy, "The government watches us, but they don't see us." Because of McCoy's journalism, we are all witnesses.
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Having lived in Cambodia for nearly two years, I can attest that the content of this story is anything but superfluous to what you may already know about this country. McCoy's insight is far from speculative about the nature of the issues that plague this developing nation. It was very apparent from the beginning that he took ample time to meet and befriend the many Cambodians he came in contact with. With this, I make mention that the investigative nature of this story and its intentions come across as pure and kindhearted. At the same time, this journalist dares those involved to speak up. The story is heart-wrenching and evokes you to empathize with the plight of the Khmer people. The story of the Kingdom of Cambodia and its contemporary history cannot fit onto 36 pages, yet McCoy manages to give us a good idea of what exists in the present within that span; this is a piece that hits home for me.
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Terrence's writing reflects an obvious empathy and connection to the people of Cambodia from what must have been a long, challenging Peace Corps term. It seems that he has come to understand this country in a deeper, more profound way than most people in the west will ever know it. I was amazed at his depth of knowledge.

The best line in the article: "When Hun Sen grabbed power he put Cambodia up for sale, and China bought it."

This article was fascinating.
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If you're curious about how the growing pains of nation building crosses one woman's struggle to keep her home, please check out this amazing read. Terry's depth is eloquently matched by the sorrow his words emit. A truly moving piece of work that anyone interested in the region or international development must read.
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