Tag Archives: Featured

What to Expect When You Are Expecting….to go on an Erasmus Exchange

Erasmus Programmes by the European Commission allow international mobility of thousands and thousands of students and recent graduates every year. In 2009, I was fortunate enough to be one of the students from Cambodia to experience life, study, exchange and travelling in Italy and Europe. For those of you who are going to undertake your Erasmus journey, I wish you the time of life. 🙂

Cities & Places: Graz, Istanbul, Athens, Pisa, Ljubljana, Victoria, Rome, Rhine Falls, Speyer, Paris

And here you are, my personal list of what to expect when you are expecting to go on an Erasmus exchange, especially if you are from Cambodia or any developing country in Asia. Continue reading What to Expect When You Are Expecting….to go on an Erasmus Exchange

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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: http://goo.gl/ioYkYL. 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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F.A.Q. about the U.A.E.

When words like Arab, Dubai, UAE, etc. get mentioned, what questions usually come to your mind? From my experience having been there twice, a few questions keep appearing, so I reckon this post will help people become more aware about this part of the world, especially among people from what I come from.

What’s the point of all wealth and all the expensive fashionable shopping, when most Arab ladies cover themselves almost completely in black?

arab clothing
In their culture, women’s privacy is highly respected, especially after they get married. Because of culture, religion and how the role of a woman and a wife is perceived, a lot of women choose the way to dress. Some completely cover themselves completely, even their face (covering their face with a thinner piece of black over their entire fact), some leave only their eyes uncovered, some leave their face cloth-free but put on certain type of jewelry over their nose, and some leave their faces uncovered.

In fact, they only cover themselves in such black clothing when in public. When in the comfort of their family and at home, they go in their normal clothing, with jewelry and whatever they want to put on themselves to make them feel beautiful. This black cloth is only used to cover themselves in public premises. Continue reading F.A.Q. about the U.A.E.

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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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7 Things to Do and Not Do When Meeting the World’s Most Powerful Man

“I was as excited/nervous as going for a job interview,” one of the participants of YSEALI said about meeting Obama at his Town Hall Meeting at the University of Malaya. I guess we all gotta be when expecting to meet, and possibly talk and shake hand with the arguably most powerful man in the world. I just did all that a few days ago – sitting at the front row just in front of the stage, met, talked (just a bit) and shook hands with President of Obama, so from that experience here are some do’s and don’ts. 🙂

1. First of all, don’t come too early. Before the event, find out when the latest time you can arrive and still be admitted into the hall, OR you will have to spend even longer waiting for the event to start. Continue reading 7 Things to Do and Not Do When Meeting the World’s Most Powerful Man

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Top Places to Visit in Phnom Penh

Have you ever considered coming to Cambodia? Hmm….some may say yeah only with some obvious reluctance. When in Europe, I met quite a few people, always getting asked or telling where I was from. Some responded with quite a surprise, some receiving it normally, and a few with a frown not knowing where on earth Cambodia is, whether in Africa or somewhere so remote where everyone still live in small cottages with no electricity, no modernization of any sort and so on.

While in the airport in Treviso (Aeroporto di Treviso), just before Easter holiday a few years ago, I met a fellow Erasmus student. He’s from England and the minute he heard I was from Cambodia, he told me how much he wanted to experience some travelling in Cambodia, saying that that part of the world was like a dream destinations for him and his people, the Brits or the European.

People from the West usually know much more about and are more interested in Vietnam and especially Thailand, our neighbouring countries, which have done amazingly well with publicity that presents many positive and attractive images to the world. Cambodia, although less developed and with little being advertised to the world, has similar things to offer. Definitely, there’s a lot other people can explore when coming to Cambodia. From developed world where all are well in place, with high-rise buildings, all the modern technology and better standard of living, exploring Cambodia can be an exciting different experience. We have the culture, the history, and the way of living that can really fascinate foreigners. Although its features may not be absolutely fascinating for some, for those who enjoy exploring differences and gaining new exciting experiences, some days in Cambodia can be truly amazing.

Maybe not for now, but if you have any intention of coming to Cambodia in the future, its Capital City, Phnom Penh, shouldn’t be excluded from your list of places to visit. Besides being the economic and political centre of the country, Phnom Penh is also home to many other varieties, from the Royal Palace where our king resides and the Prison S21 concentration camp, remaining of the notorious Khmer Rouge Regime, to many different types of exotic foods and a growing number of western-influenced pubs and clubs for westerners as well as the local to enjoy.

And here are the top places everyone should include in their must-visit places when in Phnom Penh. Continue reading Top Places to Visit in Phnom Penh

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Angkor Park, where nature and ancient culture blend and create magic

What makes Angkor Wat so beautiful and a trip in Siem Reap so pleasant? The answer to this question can be viewed as something really subjective, but I’m going to try to make this more than just a subjective post. I’m going to do my very best to convince and take you onboard, or at least for you to see from my perspective the aspects behind such inexplicable beauty that attracts nothing but long minutes of memorized gasps from visitors.

The magic starts from the time ones reach the avenue that leads to the Angkor Park. With a few other bloggers on the same tuk-tuk as me, we were with our relaxed mind, breathing in the air that’s blessed by the beauty of tall, gigantic trees. They seem to be welcoming us to what might later strike our tourist experience big time (especially for those first-timers in this god-like place). Then, deeper into the park, where the space gets a little more open, a very amazing view awaits us – the Angkor Wat zone stands with a small forest surrounded by a lake. The trees on the island that popped up amidst the lake simply blend with its surroundings and create unimaginable beauty.

Continue reading Angkor Park, where nature and ancient culture blend and create magic

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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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