Category Archives: Opinion

Heroes of the Modern World

Recently I came across a few things online, all at different times and somehow about different things, but they seem to share a connection – a connection that I find rather intriguing.

A few months ago I spent a few good hours watching and being memorized by the legacies of a few individuals whose lives left so much impact on the modern world. Italy gave the world Galileo Galilei, Britain gave us Isaac Newton, and Germany/Switzerland is home to the legendary Albert Einstein. Their lives were studied and made part of history lessons and lessons of many other disciplines of science. Their findings and work gave birth to limitless possibilities of the modern knowledge. It’s almost as intriguing to contemplate on the real size of the universe, as to think how the world would be if the theory of relativity of Einstein was never formulated, was never recorded, or was forever lost beyond Einstein’s generation.

In the documentary about Galileo Galilei, the life of his daughter and their relationship was rather important to the storyline and what was mentioned as uncertain about this relationship was how Galilei was to her daughter, his feeling and affection towards her. They were mostly separated and their communications was by exchanging letters, and the depiction of this father-daughter relationship was written up and told based on the letters that she wrote to him; not one single letter from Galilei to his daughter was retrieved. This got me to wonder – how would Galilei, Einstein and Newton otherwise be to the modern world if the records of their lives and their findings had never been retrieved? Of course, to us, they would have been just a nobody, just like millions of other human beings that have stepped on this Earth.

And here I am, among the people that live thousands of miles away, in Cambodia, a tropical country in Southeast Asia with more than 2000 years of history. Having marveled at Italy, Germany and Britain for giving these heroes, these geniuses, I felt somehow belittled by the question – who has this 2000+ year old civilizations produced for the world? not one?

Recently, I came across a few other things, through facebook, through other social media platforms, and through some random conversations I had with friends. Look at this:


Have you heard of Angkor Wat? It is one of a thousand ancient temples built far before Galieli was born, in Cambodia, by the Khmer Empire. And seems like its architect, sculptors, or engineers were aware of dinosaurs – species that went extinct 65 million years ago. Maybe this ain’t really a dinosaur? But what if it is? How did they come to know of such creatures, without internet, without airplanes, without today’s carbon dating technology? Maybe Cambodia was also home to great minds, to geniuses whose work could forever change the modern science. It’s not just this dinosaur thing; how such gigantic structure was completed in just 35 years, how a lot of things were designed semantical (or in a certain clever way) to the positions of the stars (in certain astronomical sense), and how the ancestors of this small, underdeveloped country were the architects of the largest city/civilization in the continent before the Industrial Revolution still have left today’s greatest minds baffled.

What if the lives, the learning, the glamour and the knowledge of the great minds behind all of this ancient mega-city had been as well recorded, and had found their ways to enrich the intellects of today? Maybe Cambodia did have some amazing legacies highly valuable for the modern knowledge.

Unfortunately, this will forever be just a what-if and a mystery. And civilizations like ones of Petra, the Pyramids of Gaza, the Mayan Pyramids and many more must have also been home to some of the greatest minds, architects, scientists, mathematicians, physicians…, whose legacies were unfortunately as well lost with times.

Human civilizations would have been very different; technologies to travel through space and time would already be part of life as we know it. By this century we might probably already know someone from Earth that had migrated to another planet or even another universe to call to.

By the way, here are a few videos that inspires this post.

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Simple Ways to Help Destroy Forest in Cambodia

The other day I hired a big tuk-tuk like pick-up truck to carry certain logistics from an event that I organized, and via my random conversation with the driver, I found out some simple steps to help destroy our forest.

As a driver, he said although the journey to Preah Vihear ain’t no easy, it has never been a losing business; he always managed some good profit. On every journey he made, he always managed to bring back home a few pieces of valuable wood. By now he had got enough to build a nice wooden house.

I was like, “Wow!” So, what I did was interrogating him a bit about it, thinking I could write and share especially with any of you who might be interested in destroying our forest, our country and our mother earth. So there you go – a really easy-to-grasp instruction:

Step 1: Go to any under-developed province in Cambodia where there are still a lot to deforest, with a car, van or whatever, big enough to transport an expected amount of wood back to Phnom Penh, and in the man’s case, his usual province to go to is Preah Vihear.

Step 2: Hire a few men with the skills and facilities to cut trees (apparently there are plenty of such men in places like Preah Vihear).

Step 3: Explore the province to find an appropriate spot in the forest.

Step 4: Pick any tree you like.

Step 5: Cut and end their lives and simply put them in your car/van/truck back to Phnom Penh.

See? It’s as simple as that, just as simple and as convenient as finding a few pieces of firewood to cook. As shocked as you might be now, I asked him if he was not at all afraid of being jailed for this, as clearly deforesting is not legal. “Aren’t you afraid of being caught and punished by some authority?” I asked.

He said, “No.” He then talked about how such act is nothing unique, meaning everyone is doing it there. In a province like Preah Vihear, there have been a lot of tree-cutting activities, so his errands once in a while to do his part in destroying our forest is no shock to anyone there.

Why is it so? Why such “awesome” acts go unnoticed, “unrewarded”? He explained, there’s a guy behind all these green-demolishing operations, who has got a special licence, worth a few hundred million dollars a year, granted by someone to cut trees, which means he can destroy and sell as much wood as he f**king wishes to,  not giving a rat-ass shit about anything.

I was like, “Wow! How wonderful!”

Disclaimer: This is written and reported out of an conversation I had with a man who claimed to have done it only. I have nothing to verify the truth to all these. So, if you want to follow suit, please remember to bear your own risks.

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Cyber-bullying Surfacing onto Cambodia’s Media

Have you heard of the term “Cyber-bullying” before? The concept of it had never really mattered or surfaced in my head, I didn’t even know such word existed, until a group with which I’m affiliated was affected by something that was going to grow into some cyber-bullying.

Let’s not try to define the term put under the spotlight of this post in any specific word or phrase. Rather, let’s try to understand its meaning by looking at the context around the instance below, which you might have already heard of. This is an article on Postkhmer: Continue reading Cyber-bullying Surfacing onto Cambodia’s Media

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Extraordinary Leadership to Anticipate!

The time has come for the hero to rise. Since its independence from the colonization of Cambodia under the French, no national leaders have seemed to be internationally and historically recognized as the one with the outstanding world-class leadership – the leadership that is non-deluding, selfless, powerful, transformational, revolutionary, and any adjective that the ideal leadership for Cambodia encompasses.

Cambodia was growing well under the leadership of King Norodom Sihanouk during the 1950s but only to fall very miserably under one of the darkest regimes this country’s history has ever seen during the 1970s.

Then, a new leader arose, Hun Sen, with the help of the Vietnamese, managed to overthrow the very dark regime of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s and brought Cambodia up to light again. However, his leadership hasn’t been proven amazing enough, with him and his elite group having about 3 decades to lead the entire nation. With all the favorable conditions, more than 30 years after its “rebirth”, Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in the world. That leadership, I would say, is an OK one, if a not bad one.

I do hope I live to see the rise of an extraordinary leadership, the leadership that would vow the world, and that would bring Cambodia on its road to enjoy the power, the prosperity, and the glory that it once had. I’m excited to see, whose name would immediately trigger in people’s heads when Cambodia is talked about, would be always respected, would always be glorified and thought of with gratitude and admiration even hundreds of years after his/her living.

I hope he/she was already born. I hope his/her life has been blessed with all the righteous surroundings where his/her talent are being optimized towards its fullest potential and where great love, commitment, bravery, vision, selflessness and willingness to make necessary sacrifices for this country has been been nurtured. I hope to see the rise of THE EXTRAORDINARY leadership that Cambodia and millions of its people have been dying for.

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Something Very Practical I Learnt from Obama’s Remarks at YSEALI Town Hall

I was among the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative 2014’s 103 delegates, as well as the 400 participants of the Town Hall Meeting with President Obama. The overall remarks from him were empowering and relevant to me on many different levels and like a fellow delegate from the Philippines put it, it was really interesting to see him wear multiple hats – hats of a father, of a husband, of a once-a-young-person, and of today’s leader. I am going to share what in particular I found relevant, which I, as well as you all, can digest for personal application.


Dream to make impact, rather than to make money or to earn a title, because dreams that involve impacts on others can really take off. Continue reading Something Very Practical I Learnt from Obama’s Remarks at YSEALI Town Hall

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From inside the Shoes of the Powerful

Almost 10 months since the last national election, the government of Cambodia is still somehow in deadlock. The opposition can’t seem to let go of their demand for “justice” and democratic resolutions, while the one in power can’t seem to care any less. On the International Labour Day, May 1, we saw some ridiculous acts and frustrating news – with again civilians and even a reporter being injured.

An image I saw shared on facebook, of a reporter having been beaten down for doing his job in the name of free press!

Why is this happening? Let’s try to look at this whole things by putting ourselves in our PM’s shoes: Continue reading From inside the Shoes of the Powerful

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Democracy – the best case practice? Not really, in nations like the United Arab Emirates!


A week-long trip in the UAE opened my eyes to a new perspective of leadership; a different type of leadership and government has really shined its way through all density of hot air across the desert.

Continue reading Democracy – the best case practice? Not really, in nations like the United Arab Emirates!

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Have We Failed Enough?

I was chatting around this topic with a couple of my friends last night, and it got me to realize that one of the problems of Cambodia today is many young people don’t fail enough. That’s why we are not very competitive. That’s why we are less experienced. That’s why our cognitive ability is still relatively low.

I think, generally, we are really afraid of failing. We failed once; we failed twice, and when we failed the third time, our world stops moving. We are a failure, we are useless and we will never succeed in life. And I am talking from my personal experience. A lot of people might see me as being successful, doing well at school and having the privilege that many could only wish they had, but the question is, am I successful? Is my life determined by those few successes?

Continue reading Have We Failed Enough?

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Promise of Leadership

This evening I spent my evening watching for the second time a Cambodian-directed and an Oscar-nominated film, the Missing Picture. I was surprised I still managed to enjoy it (although at certain point I felt the movie was quite long, including redundant pieces). But anyway, that’s not what ignited in my head an urge to write this post.

One plot in the movie triggered a compelling thought inside my head. In the movie, the Khmer people was promised by the regime an equal, much more developed Cambodia for everyone – the country with the stability and the development as a result of hard work and selfless devotion of its people. Everyone was promised that as long as they followed the regime and committed themselves to doing whatever were asked of them, one day Cambodia would become rich and its people would be there to enjoy its glory. This got me to think of how similar this promise is to what is happening now in Cambodia. Where I was working, the shareholders/the owners have asked their staff to work really hard for the success of their company pretty much the same way the regime promised to the entire Khmer population then. Because the company hasn’t been making any profit yet and still losing a lot of money, everyone at the company has been asked to understand and, despite limited salary and ongoing pressure to perform more than their normal scope of responsibility requires them to, to keep going with their heads remaining positive for the bright future of the school. They have been asking, convincing, and obliging their employees to work hard under the current condition, with the reasons that those employees would be all well rewarded when the company becomes big and profitable.

These are two different things, of course, but the analogy between the two is very provocative. If I have the chance to debate them on this practice, a strong argument and example that might as well allow me to win the debate is probably this particular analogy. It’s an easy promise to make and but there’s nothing clear to guarantee employees like us would get the diamond and goals that we hope to get at the end of the day. In the end, how much profit is big enough profit for the company to share with their employees? Will the extra money to further inject into expanding the business in the future be considered a profit or just another expense item? Since there’s no such clarity that is bounded by any legal documents, employees are at a great disadvantage and that “promise” can be greatly endangered in cases of any hiccups happening along the way there, towards those promises being fulfilled.

In the case of Pol Pot Regime, millions did not even get to see a tip of the promised development and lifestyle of the Cambodian citizens; along the way, they were murdered and exploited to death.

I believe such is not happening at just this company; I believe this is the reality of many companies that are starting up and are hiring. They know best how to protect their business interests; and for us, as employees, we should also try to know best how to protect our interests and demand in favor of our interests. Professionalism and our personal security should not be gambled too much on emotion and human relationship and sentiment, because when conflicts or anything potentially harmful to the bosses, only rules (no sentiment involved) will be spoken of.

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How Did the Way Things Are Now Get to Be?

We are of the same nationality, born and raised in the same society and country. The fact that those politicians have done grave wrongdoings, have lived like leeches to feed on the well-beings of others, have contributed to a regime that is full of injustice, corruption, wealth disparity, and individual misuse and exploitation of collective resources does not make them any less human of you are. It does not make you any better person than them. If your fate were reversed, if fate had brought you to be where they were, I believe you would most likely turn as corrupt, as evil, as inconsiderate, as blood-sucking, and as inhumane.

If everybody in this society is pretty much the same, why is it such? What do we need to fix so that the future is written differently? Do we need to fix education? I think so, but I don’t think it is the only thing to fix. Many of those corrupt government officials, many of the powerful, who have for years been feeding this ugly regime, have got great education, got degrees abroad in highly developed societies.

In my opinion, it all is highly sophisticated. It’s not just education to bear the responsibility. It’s not just the Ministry of Education playing a role in reforming the future. 4 years of higher education, started at the age of 20, can’t be enough, can’t be that effective to reform the whole system encoded in a person’s head, in their thinking process, in their perspective of the world, in their approaches towards lives and others, which have taken their past 20 years to develop and shape.

I think, every single factor that plays a part in shaping cognitive development and growth of a person  needs to be thoroughly examined, including how a child is raised at early stage, both at home, at a daycare centre, and at school. All the contributing factors need to be designed to build a well-rounded person who values fairness, respect and compassion towards others, unity, love for environment and its ecology, etc. and rejects extreme selfishness, corruption, unethical acts, such as human trafficking, human right violation, corruption, and exploitation of various forms. The whole system must be coded to values the right and reject the wrongs.

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