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.

A Group of Tests Versus A Pride of Ligers

As we get closer to the final term of the year I personally need to sprint; there no time to walk and enjoy the moments. There are many projects and lessons we need to complete both for the facilitators and students. Specifically, during the month of May, we have a lot of big tests; for me, this year I’ve studied the AP Statistic in one of the essential-math. We are ages 14 to 16-year-olds. If we do well in this college-level course, we will gain credit toward studying at the college abroad in the future. Since this is a college level concept and it’s already hard for us but most importantly we are the second language learners so this will add another step of difficulty. We’ve been practice on doing the test that already exists with the given time. Finally, the day comes, on the 17th of May, a group of us took the test with a lot of pressure. Oppositely, we feel relief after the test, where we can rest our shoulder from the concept that we already study for a school year.

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Besides, on the 21st and 22nd of May, we took another test-MAP that encompasses Language, Reading, and Math. This test would allow both the facilitators and us as students to see how we have improved since last year and what we need to keep our head on. I feel really excited afterward although I’m a bit nervous at first.

Physic Behind Superhero Research

This year we get real deep into physic. We study about different physic in waves. Moreover, we get to do a lot of fun stuff, for example, researching about physic behind our favorite superhero in Marvel. My task was to choose a superhero and connect their superpowers to the laws of physics, identifying which parts of your hero’s powers might be possible, and which parts might not be so possible. Moreover, we needed to make a poster that demonstrates what is our researching paper is about.

My favorite superhero is Thor. I researched a lot about his hammer, Mjolnir; moreover, I also researched how Thor able to fly using his hammer. In this way, we can understand more about the physics that we never knew before but most importantly we can connect what we already learned to our superhero. Here is the research paper.

Although this project kind of difficult to research about, I really enjoy doing the research, especially get to learn more about your favorite superhero. This project allows me to understand more about the physic concept that I already learned particularly the new physic concept that I never know before.

New Hope for Cambodia Children

This is the fourth exploration of the school year, 2017-2018. This exploration is about human health and our topic is about HIV/AIDS. In class, we learned how HIV transmit, mainly it comes to unprotected sex and sharing the same needle.

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On the 2nd of March, we went to an orphanage located in Kampong Speu province named New Hope for Cambodia Children (NHCC). This organization assists people who needed help most, which are the abandoned HIV infected children around Cambodia. NHCC help those children by providing care, provide regular medicine, and most importantly they provide free education for those children. The founder of NHCC believes that HIV infected children also have rights to access the education like the other deserved. With all the fund they raised, NHCC saved more than 400 children lives from their first emergence in 2006 until now. To be unusual, NHCC raised their children to be the leader. They believe HIV infected people can do what normal people can. Not only assist those children while they are on the campus but also helping those people when they go to colleges.

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While I was there, I didn’t believe what I saw. Who said HIV infected people are weak, can’t do anything, or laying in bed? They seem to be healthy and strong like the other people who not invected with the virus, they play football, basketball, even study English. When was there and now I still admire their work, their 100%+ effort to help Cambodian children.

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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.”

Journeys of Change Bike Tour Experience

On the 20th January 2018, I officially participated and led a tour of the Journeys of Change bike tour experience. This is the first time that we had led the private tour which basically one of our clients has been on the tour once and she recommended it for her family. At the same time, we also have another tour happening. From the start of the tour until we reached the gate of the Liger Leadership Academy everyone learned a lot of things. Not only our clients got to know and see the insight of rural Cambodia, they also got to see the future change agents of this country as well. If Interested, JOIN OUR TOUR, to help us pursue our dream of developing our country into a positive direction.

Khmer Poem | Beauty of the Northeast of Cambodia

This poem is about the beauty in the northeast of Cambodia, in Mondulkiri. I have personally been there to investigate about geology and I recognize the peacefulness and beauty of those places. I use a lot of comparison in this poem as well.

I start with, the night dreaming about a girl in the northeast of Cambodia, that the wind sending her to me on the floating water, while the sound of nature laughing and making noise attracted my feeling. Bou Sra waterfall is a greatness place that the man pray by using banana and incense to be with the girl while the waterfall making a sound like an instrument is playing. There are many things in Mondulkiri, a lot of mammals and birds but I only interesting in a tall that compare to a goose that people giving the value which is a beautiful tree name, Chan. The man is asking the permission from the spirit of the mountain to maintain the loyalty of the man having for the girl.

Nefarious November Short Stories

Nefarious November is the time that we read many different stories that are about murder, scary, witchcraft, and many other blood-curdling short stories. After finishing one of the short stories we are creating a PACE response about difference literacy devices such as irony, foreshadowing, and symbolism to show ours comprehend, practice providing textual evidence, and improve the writing skills. We had read the “Lamb to the Slaughter”, “The Landlady”, “The Black Cat”, and “The Tell-Tale Heart”, by Roald Dahl and the Master of Horror, Edgar Allan Poe. Here is one of the PACE response to foreshadowing device:

“The Landlady” by Roald Dahl

November 20, 2017

Foreshadowing is an advance sign or warning of what is the upcoming, in the future of the story. The author uses foreshadowing to add dramatic tension to the story by building anticipation about what might happen next. Authors also use foreshadowing to create suspense or to communicate information to help the readers to understand what will come. In the story, “The Landlady,” Roald Dahl uses many foreshadowing to assemble reader’s mind toward the story. In this short story, there are many traces of foreshadowing that Roald Dahl uses. As the story stated, “But my dear boy, he never left. He’s still here. Mr. Temple is also here. They’re on the third floor, both of them together.” This demonstrates one textual evidence that readers can presume that something must have happened in the story; for me as a reader, I can infer that the landlady already stuffed Mr. Temple and Mulholland and kept them on the third floor together and now she is waiting to stuff Billy as well. For example, “The tea tasted faintly of bitter almonds, and he didn’t care for it…” This is where the readers are able to anticipate the story that the landlady is attempting to poison Billy in order to stuff him like the other two. As the quote stated, “Everyone has to do that because it’s the law of the land, and we don’t want to go breaking any laws at this stage in the proceedings, do we?”  This verification, the readers can indicate that the landlady also going to murder Billy as stated that she is going to break the laws in the future, which is to kill Billy. So Roald Dahl uses a lot of foreshadowing in this short story in order to engage reader’s mind into his story in order to predict the story ahead as they notice one evidence in the story.

Khmer Poetry

At the Liger Leadership Academy, we not only study English, we also study Khmer which is our first language. We have been working on many projects in Khmer Class, one of them is the poem. There are many types of poems in Khmer also we can perform it in many ways like singing them. One of my poems about my province which is Kampong Speu. I include all the districts, the beautifulness, and comparison in my province.

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.