Changing Cambodia 2018-2019

“Oh, the color blue, blue, blue,” excitedly said an old man right after the nurse took off the eyepatch that covered his operated eye. It was the moment he can finally see the beauty around him. To witness this man able to see the color blue for the first time after years is really touching for me. To be a part of this experience and to help the man get his sight back, it makes me really proud.

2018-2019 is a great school year. Not only causing the positive impacts for my country academically, but I also bring about change into my personal life. I understand changes happen every day. For instance, your age and height are constantly changing day by day. Change is really important in our lives. Change allows us to improve ourself and especially to better our society.

This year I have done so much under the healthcare topic. For a country to run well its people need to be highly productive; they need to be educated and healthy. Therefore, we really need these two sectors to run smoothly and be well used. As Cambodia is a developing country, there are many sectors that needed to improve and one of which is the healthcare sector. Although the healthcare system has improved a lot compared to the last 20 years, we still need more organization, energy, and investment in this sector. Now we can see that more and more health centers are being built. But as one of the doctors from Doctor Without Border said, “We can build health centers, but health centers don’t treat people. People treat people.” This means that we still need more human resources, more specialists, within this field even if our universities already have a high graduating rate for medical students. What is the point of having more health centers if we don’t have doctors to run those centers?

Focusing on the healthcare system in Cambodia, our team had done many interviews with different health experts. Clearly, human resource isn’t the only aspects that are needed to be improved. We also found that doctors’ ethic toward patients, education of medical students, cleanliness of the hospitals, machine and human resources, and the triage system are also the aspects that are needed to be improved as well.

However, not only the system itself should be changed, the other factors that cause poor healthcare services also need to change immediately. For example, communication and cultural barriers like traditional belief (healers and traditional medicine) and poor infrastructure systems like road safety are the two factors out of many that are needed to be improved. Aside from trying to improve the caregiver side, we also need to educate our citizens more about the system we have today. First, teach them, instead of going to the traditional healer patients should go to the hospital to get proper treatment. Therefore, we had also created an educational play to educate our citizens to maximize the use of what we already have in this system. As we like to say, the more we use it the better it will be. Second, building trust with them by changing the mindset of the patients toward doctors and the system. They need to trust our healthcare system more in order to improve this sector. But, rather than focusing on criticizing, we also need to appreciate the works that had been put into improving this system as well. Although our healthcare system is still limited I personally think that it has grown a lot. We now are able to have a lot of advanced medical equipment imports from the Western country.

I understand that a great change doesn’t happen overnight, changes happen slowly at a smaller scale. It takes smaller steps to build up the big change. Changes are like a scientific experiment; we don’t really expect it to produce a certain kind of result. But, we do want the result to be a positive one. With all the above areas, to make our country more develop we need to come and work together. As one of the wisdom in Khmer commend, if put a group of chopsticks together it will be hard to break but if there is a chopstick alone we can break it easily. It means that if we all collaborate together and share the knowledge rather than keeping it inside ourself, our healthcare system will be better. We also need to have the mindset that the knowledge that you share will only bring up the positive impacts. Back to the old man, who got his sight back. This is a great change for him and one of the great change I have done. This might only occur in a short moment but the impact that my team and I have had on that man will last for a long time. Quality of change is often based on how much you can pay. Paying back to my country and helping the people is the change I want to see and to do. Imagine if we have more mission like Khmer Sight Foundation, more people using the healthcare system that we have today. Imagine that we all come together and help to improve our healthcare system. What will our healthcare system be like? But that’s not the point, I don’t want all of you to just imagine. We actually need all of you to come together to be part of this change and for us to improve this system together. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”


Changing Cambodia 2017-2018

As a change agent for Cambodia, I always dream to see my country become a model for others. So this is why I am here. At a vast potential school, the Liger Leadership Academy, where each of us the “change agent” will do our best to accomplish our mission and create opportunities for other in order to develop this country with determination and optimism.

Change Agent. Responsible. Respectful.

These three words encompass my soul. These are the words that characterize me today. The absence of those words would make me a different person. I believe that responsibility and respect are necessary to be a change agent for this lively country, Cambodia.

In my first five years at Liger, I have done countless projects as a change-agent to give-back to my communities: installing biodigesters, writing Animal Guide of Cambodia book, implementing STEM program to government schools, investigating dinosaurs in Cambodia, presenting about HIV/AIDS to other people and endless more. Although that seems to be a lot of projects, I acknowledge that it is just not enough; the trade isn’t equalizing yet.

Every time I went to my hometown during the holiday, I observed every moment of my family but also my neighbors’ without exception. I recognized that whenever there is a party or a family dinner, the ladies would operate the house-chore: cooking and cleaning. On the other hand, the men would sit in a circle, enjoy every sip of the beer, and firmly consume the delicious appetites.

Not only my own family, in the contemporary day, many Cambodians still fall into the pitfall trap of inequality rules that the elders had established. One of them in which, the poem called “Chbab Srey” where it outlined the rules that women in the 19th century require to follow: walk softly, speak quietly, obey your father and husband, laugh without showing the teeth, and much more. At the same time, when a girl gets a head start on her puberty, she is required to go under the shade; which a phrase in Khmer called  “ចូលម្លប់”. This is the time that she will instruct how to be a wife: cook, clean, and stay under shade.

This is the real problem.

In the third round of exploration, I was introduced to a new topic called Gender Equity Exploration. We had seven weeks to learn and to target the project objectives. Each day of the seven weeks, our facilitators–Samantha and Cara–introduce different aspects in the gender-relative-inequality issues, especially the new language. Although most of the times my teammates and I get uncomfortable with some topics, we were still respectfully discussed the problem with intellectual solutions. Besides, the twelve of us believe that the causes of inequality emerge from the society, and we all are a part of the society; we all need to solve the enormous threat because we are all contributed to it.

As Dalai Lama once said, “If you want to change the world, first try to improve and bring about change within yourself.” On the 27th and 28th of January, our twelve members of the exploration hosted an event called “Gender Summit” for about 100 high school students from international schools, government schools as well as some local organizations. Our goal was to encourage dialogues regarding gender issues. Our team alerted that gender is not a common topic that Cambodian discuss in their daily conversation.

The event encompassed four main sessions: culture, language, economics, and power. The latter is my responsibility; we talked about how power influences the inequality. In this session, we introduced an activity called “Power Walk”. This activity let them apprehend the reasons behind inequality while introducing and let them put themselves in some others’ shoes. We gave them a variety of characters that reflected in Cambodia society: doctors, teachers, homeless children, LGBTQ+, and the minority people. As we read the statements that we all have, we want them to think does the statement match with their character, if yes they need to step forward a step and if not just stay where they are. When no more statement is being read, we allowed them to shoot the given paper ball to a bin. We can clearly see that the people that are at the front with more power have more chances to shoot the ball into the bin than people that are at the back. Although some people at the back manage to score we explain that the people in front are easier to reach the goal where people at the back need to work extra hard to reach their goal.

Gender is not a small topic; thus, the topic of power is really sensitive.

Yet, there are more to come. As described in a term “change agent” we didn’t stop there. Both, the students and facilitators are really fascinated by the topic.

In English literacy class, our teacher reinforces the topic every day through different articles and activities. We read many articles and try to connect it with the gender-related topic where we can discuss further deep from different aspect from each student. One of the articles is about the Bacha Posh, the “UNDERGROUND GIRLS’ SKIRT TRADITION TO LIVE AS BOYS,” where the Afghanistan young girls dress-up as boys until they reach their puberty; the girls did not know how to be girls since they always been treated as boys.

Moreover, we’ve been participating in the One Billion Rising event: a global movement and the day of action and dancing, in the protest to end rape and sexual violence against women with the theme of breaking the silence.

This is just a start.

As a change agent, I believe that gender issue is forever to be solved, we need all the people energy and ideas to be conscious of the topic itself. So by doing this step by step, we will help reduce the gender gap with the respect for the elders’ belief. As one of the Khmer wisdom confidently stated “តក់ៗពេញបំពុង” which mean if we do something little by little, through patience and efforts, we will accomplish our goal whether there are many obstacles out there waiting to tackle us.

Dinosaur Investigation 2nd Field Method

On the 8th of February 2018, my team and I, traveled to Battambang with two Thai paleontologists to analyze the footprint that we have found at the site on our first trip there. After taking all the experiences from our trip, we had changed the procedure of casting and how to do a more efficient field method. Although, the imprints on the rock that we thought it was dinosaur footprints on our first trip now with the help of both of the Thai paleontologists we had analyzed they were not footprint they are flute cast. Meaning it was a cast that got affected by the river flows that pushing it through those stones which affect the stones to turn it that way.

It is a pleasure, to have the two Thai paleontologists, Romain and Tida, to help us through with the three days with the total of 12 hours workshop session and a field trip. Even though the result of our project wasn’t what we all were really expected, we still feel optimistic and keep moving forward with this project and will try to raise awareness on Dinosaurs in Cambodia through mainly “Education.”

Assisted Khmer Sight Foundation at Cam Kids

On Saturday, November 18th I went to my hometown in order to accomplish a goal which to help out the community I was from. It was a full day for 9 other Liger students and I as we assisted in our mission with the Khmer Sight Foundation at Camkids at Krang Chek commune. We help to register patients, administered vision tests and eye drops, translated between the patients and doctors. Our day was made more special because we got to do some volunteering in the clinic as the surgeries were taking place. After a haft day of helping our the patients there, we blissfully brought them back with us on the bus to the clinic. At the clinic, I have helped one of the doctors to take the x-ray of the patient’s eyes. Moreover, one of the head doctors there told us that we have changed and brought back one of the lady sights, because of us she will able to clearly see again. This is my pleasure that I have the opportunity to help out my commune. I also wish that I have more chances to benefit my country and my people, Cambodian.

2016/2017 Yearly Reflection

After five years at Liger Learning Center, I continue to make the positive impact to change Cambodia, as it is my beautiful country. In year five explorations the course of 2016-2017 there is three explorations that come into my mind that has helped to make a positive effect on changing Cambodia. Specifically, in year five, I have many explorations that take a step forward to change Cambodia, such as Preventative Health; Geology of Cambodia and Cambodia Infrastructure. In those explorations, I have done many things to change Cambodia and I am really glad that I had participated in those explorations.

In my second exploration, I studied Preventative Health. Our focus in this exploration is to teach people who live on the islands to be healthy, within anti-diabetes and teeth problems include teeth decay. In class, we collected all the information, and have done many pieces of research in order to take that knowledge of prevented people from diseases to share and teach those people on the islands. In this exploration, we had a field trip go to Koh Rong and specifically work with Song Saa Foundation to teach the people in Prek Svay village to know how to take care themselves. We had prepared a play, presentations and educational games for the children in two different schools on different islands. The play is about the two cousins, that one of them get diabetes and one has teeth decay, at the end, we emerge up the solution to those problems, which to have a healthy diet, balanced diet and brushing their teeth often and correctly every time after they had had a meal. We wish that those students will take the knowledge that we share with them, and continue sharing those experiences they had with us to their parents, cousins and or their neighbors. During this trip, we also have another chance to snorkel and scuba dives to see the reefs, seagrasses and other aquatic animals such as sea stars and seahorses. This action of studying about aquatic animals, it helped us to learn why are those animals are endangered, and for us to take action to prevent those species go extinct and to educate people about the benefit of those species to our country, which also make them change their perspective on those animals. So, during this exploration, I had had an agency to change Cambodia, which one is to educate people how to take themselves and two is to educate people about the benefit of those aquatic animals.

During my fourth exploration, I studied Geology of Cambodia, we are the first ever students in Cambodia to study and explore about geology in this country. In class we learned many things about rock and how it formed, we watch videos, researching on the precise website and get the information from the American geologist. We also have three field trips, which where we see and learn more about rock and identifying the rock type. We’ve been to Kep, Kampot, Koh Kong, Ratanakiri, and Mondulkiri, which both plains are on the opposite side of Cambodia. In most part of Kep, Kampot and Koh Kong we saw much limestone and sandstone which was formed in the ocean that due to the pressure and the depth of the sea. For Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri we mostly saw basalt which is in Igneous rock type and is formed in the volcanoes’ lava. Since we the first Cambodian to study about Cambodia’s geology, we gathered as much statistics as possible to share with many other Cambodians to know what Cambodia used to look like within geology. In our sharation, we share what we learned to Cambodians and foreigners that come to see our presentation about geology. We also hope that the changes, in government schools curricula, is to add geology in their focus, which is provided more education to Cambodians all over the country.

For the last exploration, I studied Cambodia Infrastructure. Infrastructure is all the physical structure that societies, cities, and countries need in order to develop, function and increase economic growth. Infrastructure helps countries to work efficiently, attract investment and businesses, and make citizen life easier promoting the country’s economy to grow which can create more jobs to the citizens as well. Therefore, everyone in the country will benefit from infrastructure. As Liger is a change agent school, our goal is to change Cambodia. So in this exploration, we want to change the look of Cambodia within the infrastructure, including health, transportation, utilities, and agriculture. We want to build new systems, for Cambodia to work well and efficiently like other developed countries. So in order, Cambodia to be more successful we need better road systems, better technology, and better every other thing. Specifically, in this exploration, we work on Minecraft, the game to build future Phnom Penh that has better roads, better technology, and better transportation systems include the subway. We build many things that we think that it would help Cambodia especially Phnom Penh, is one of the best city in the world. We also know that if Cambodia has better infrastructure, therefore many international businesses will come into Cambodia and start their business there because the companies will produce their products efficiently, take less time transport and it all benefit them. So in this exploration, we help to see future changes for Cambodia, in order to improve Cambodia to be better and better.

So, in year five at Liger, there are three explorations that come into my mind when we talk about changing Cambodia. As we all the Liger’s students, and the future leaders of Cambodia, we need to learn about our country and try to make it better and better on. We should try hard to learn, take all the education as much as we can, and not keep it inside you, please share with others, so they get to know what Cambodia should have to make it a developed country. At the end, I hope next year, during the course of 2017-2018, I get to participate in other exploration that helps to make positive changes in Cambodia and to make it even more better.

2015/2016 Yearly Reflection

In the fourth year at the Liger Learning Center I have done two things to change my country, Cambodia. By learning in two different explorations but have the same goal to change current Cambodian curricular in the government school. The first exploration called Project-based learning (PBL) and second PBL/STEM. In the first exploration we want to change current Cambodia curricular so we went to two high school in Phnom Penh. We went there because we want to know their current school curriculum so we can understand their learning. When we when there we have interviewed both the student and teacher to get what the teacher and student think about their current curriculum. The thing that we help to change was when we came back to our school with all the information we started to make some projects for the student to try about PBL. We also follow up with them to give some idea of projects that they can do. The second exploration with the request of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport we have done something similar to my first exploration to change Cambodia. So we went to Krojes Krong high school in Kratie province to guide the teacher about PBL and STEM. So in this exploration we help to change the way of the learning in the classroom. For most of the government school in Cambodia teacher usually wrote something on the board and let student copy down and wrote in their notebook. So in our project we want to give more chance to the students to share their ideas and they can do that project with their friends if they want.

2014/2015 Yearly Reflection

When I learn in Liger school the thing that I notice that it need to change in Cambodia is stop illegal thing like logging the trees and take people land for company. The solution that I think of is teach people about the benefit of the forest and make more hard law for the people who logging. Also if the company who go to take the people land for plant the thing we can put him in the jail. Also we can take all his money to the gavorment to help the people that poor in Cambodia. Also I have been talk to my brother that don’d throw the rubbish away. But sometimes he still throw away and most of the time he not throw the rubbish a way. Also I talk to him that if all the people in Cambodia throw the rubbish away and the rubbish flying around do you feel good or not. Also in Liger I have one exploration that went to Kompong Chhnang province to teach the people about First Aid to save them when they have some small problem with their health like get small cut and ankle sprain. Also I change Cambodia by another exploration call Renewable Energy. In this class we write a proposal ask for money to help the people in HAP and Cam Kids school to build biodigesters. For one year now it still working and the people that live in HAP and the people that learn in Cam Kids are happy so much when they get the biodigesters. All this thing that I have change Cambodia and I want to make Cambodia change in the future.