The David Chandler Interview
So, I am still sitting on this one. I do not quite know when the best time would be to release this. I first met David in 2012, but there was a gap of 6 years between us meeting a few times in the library at Monash to going to his house for this interview. I was pretty nervous, but at least I had had a great time talking with his son a few months earlier.
I had a really short time to prepare for our discussion, I was just finishing my thesis and preparing on heading to Cambodia in a few weeks. I decided I would ask him some fairly straightforward questions that I felt would show people who were unfamiliar with perhaps the biggest historian of Cambodia, revolving mostly around his time at the ECCC and his views on some broad topics. What I really wanted to ask him though, was the questions that I had been wondering for years but thought I'd never get the chance to casually bring up.
Once he opened the door I felt comfortable again and we caught up briefly as he showed me around his home. I had recently spent a few afternoons in the Matheson Library at Clayton pouring through his 'special collection', which was comprised of a lot of his personal memoirs and correspondence, so I felt like I'd been in a one way conversation with him for months while studying. Once we got over some initial awkwardness my extremely sub-par interviewing skills kicked in (it was only my second one ever), I never really 'started' the interview... I had it all written down with the questions I would ask, but we kind of just got to talking, about things that I wanted to ask but weren't 'for the show'.
The problem was... I wasn't recording it, or at least not all of it. The interview had no structure, and when David asked me how much longer the interview would go for I had to say - sheepishly - 'oh, sorry, it hasn't... really started yet'.
It was embarrassing and I had to awkwardly steer the conversation to the 'normal questions' I had written down just so the audio would have some of the normal fixens of an interview like 'hello Professor Chandler, please tell us about yourself'... kind of stuff.kk
I've been sitting on the audio for about 6 months now and I have not listened back yet. As much as I want to sit down and get to grips with it in editing, I fear that if I did release it now, those who are unfamiliar with the historiography of the period would have no idea what is going on - and those who don't even know what happens from 1975-79 will be even less interested.
I feel the best way to do it might be to release it as another bonus episode but just on youtube for now, that way anyone who is just looking for an interview with David will be able to find it, and if they know what he is talking about they will no doubt found it fascinating.
So thats where I am with that at the moment. It's done, but its more or less sitting in a draw for now. I worry it will have aged just slightly ans well, notably because we sat down to record one day before the ECCC handed down the guilty verdict in Case 002/02.
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