Monthly Archives: September 2010

After BarCamp Phnom Penh [3]


Though it finished two days ago, I do still remember well about BarCamp Phnom Penh [3], an open technology conference which everyone has chance to express and share their knowledge in any topic related to technology.

This year marks the 3rd time of BarCamp celebration in Cambodia, but it is the first time for me to join as a volunteer for the event. Coming from different places is not a problem since they share the same interest of getting and sharing information.

I missed people who had been working together in organizing the event since one month before 25th-26th September, 2010. We are all getting to know each other clearly when we work and have meal together for three days (one day before the event and two days in the event).

So far, I have added some of those who have facebook account and hopefully those who not yet have the account can create it soon so that we are able to keep in touch together.

Below are volunteer names in BarCamp Phnom Penh [3] that I can find. If anyone cannot see their name, please let me know by any mean for example by email (dara_saoyuth@yahoo.com) so that I will update it as soon as possible.

1. Chea Raksmy 2. Chea Sideith 3. Cheng Bunkheang 4. Chhan Putheary 5. Chhon Meily 6. Dara Saoyuth 7. Vireak Heng 8. Sokchannaroath 9. Khe Longsean 10. Khuoch Khemrath 11. Khuoch Khemren 12. Koam Tivea 13. Long Chanveasna 14. Ly YouY 15. Moung Vandy 16. moung Vathanak 17. Neang Maneth 18. Pen Pichdaro 19. Phay Paty 20. Phoan Putheary 21. Samnang Vitheavy 22. Sath Sokun 23. Sok Eng 24. Soy Somnoup 25. Sroeung Setharoth 26. Sun Narin 27. Tang Khyhay 28. Thon Daravuth 29. Ung Rithpornsak 30. Veng Rachana 31. Voeun Sopheap 32. Vorn Sophea

To see some photo from the event click the link below:
1. BarCamp Phnom Penh [3] first day
2. BarCamp Phnom Penh [3] second day
3. Volunteers take their certificates
To see some articles related to the event click the link below:
1. Why BarCamp in Phnom Penh by Tharum Bun
2. BarCamp Phnom Penh 2010 by Vutha
Dara Saoyuth
28/09/2010
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Our Activies before BarCamp Phnom Penh [3]


Below are some photos of today activities in preparing for the upcoming event, BarCamp Phnom Penh [3].

Cheers,

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by: Dara Saoyuth
24/09/2010

BarCamp Phnom Penh [3] coming up tomorrow


After spending about one month meeting with organizing members, BarCamp Phnom Penh [3] will be hosted its first day by tomorrow, Saturday, September 25, 2010 and will be finished on Sunday.

The two-day event will be started from 8o’clock in the morning and finished at 5:15 in the afternoon. Everyone can join this event for free. To take the most from Barcamp, you should prepared yourself with ideas, topics, laptop, electricity extension (optional), your NAME CARD and other things in order to share with other barcampers.

I’m sure that all of you will get a lot from this event since there will be around 90 topics this year and there will be two panel discussions: “The future of Cambodia software industry – Putting your power of intelligence and creativity to work” & “Tech Startup and IT Business in Cambodia”. Other benefits are:

  • Networking
  • Photo contest and creative logo contest with prizes
  • Free cool Barcamp T-shirts (first in first served)
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free coke or water with sandwiches (limit)
  • Get give-away stuffs for free
  • Lucky Draw
  • Games
  • And more…

So hope to see all of you tomorrow at University of Puthisastra (UP), Phnom Penh…Please see the below map in case you need:

BarCamp Phnom Penh 2010 Venue / by: Barcamp

BarCamp Phnom Penh 2010 Venue / by: Barcamp

For official Website of BarCamp Phnom Penh [3], Click Here
For another article related to BarCamp Phnom Penh [3], Click Here
by: Dara Saoyuth
24/09/2010

NOKIA Concert


This Sunday 19th, I was invited and given two tickets to join the Nokia Concert performed by Cambodian Top Singers including Khemarak Sereymon and Meas Sok Sophea.

The concert started from 6pm at Olympic stadium and it is the culmination of a campaign ran from August 08 to September 07, 2010. During this period, consumers purchasing Nokia 2220, 2690, 2700, 5130, 5230, 5233, X2, X3, X6 8GB, C6 or E72 receive a free entry ticket coupon for the event and a prize draw ticket giving them a chance to win one of the fabulous prizes – 4 Yamaha Fino 2010 motorbikes, 15 Nokia X3 mobile phones and 20 Nokia headsets.

“ By organizing this Nokia Concert, we are committed to enriching Cambodian consumers’ entertainment experiences. At Nokia, we invest deeply and for the long term in the markets in which we operate.”, said Mesbah Uddin, Business Development Manager for Nokia Cambodia and Laos.

Below are some photos I’ve shot during the concert.

Cheers,

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

by: Dara Saoyuth
19/09/2010

Hi Saoyuth,

You are invited to join the Nokia Concert this Sunday 19th, performed by Cambodian Top Singers including Khemarak Sereymon and Meas Sok Sophea, at 6pm at Olympic stadium.

We have two tickets for you (pls contact SeangHeng Lim).

The concert is the culmination of a campaign ran from 08 August to 07 September 2010. During this period, consumers purchasing Nokia 2220, 2690, 2700, 5130, 5230, 5233, X2, X3, X6 8GB, C6 or E72 receive a free entry ticket coupon for the event and a prize draw ticket giving them a chance to win one of the fabulous prizes – 4 Yamaha Fino 2010 motorbikes, 15 Nokia X3 mobile phones and 20 Nokia headsets.

“ By organizing this Nokia Concert, we are committed to enriching Cambodian consumers’ entertainment experiences. At Nokia, we invest deeply and for the long term in the markets in which we operate.”, said Mesbah Uddin, Business Development Manager for Nokia Cambodia and Laos.

Hope to seeing you there.

Regards,

noy

Press Release from NOKIA issued on September 14, 2010


Nokia announces powerful family of smartphones and Ovi services at Nokia World showcase; vision of location-based future brought to life

Nokia Ovi logo / Source: Wikipedia

Nokia Ovi logo / Source: Wikipedia

LONDON – At Nokia World, the destination for people passionate about mobility, Nokia today announced a family of smartphones powered by the all new Symbian platform which brings significant enhancements in speed and ease of use. The new devices, which are tightly integrated with enhanced Ovi services and apps, reinforce Nokia’s vision of a mobile industry that is increasingly being defined by socially connected, location-based devices and experiences.

Highlights include:

  • Three new smartphones, Nokia E7, Nokia C7 and Nokia C6, which join the previously announced Nokia N8 to form a family of Symbian products.
  • The latest version of the Symbian platform brings more than 250 new features and improvements and retains the familiarity enjoyed by millions of smartphone users worldwide;
  • Showcase of the Nokia N8, the ultimate entertainment smartphone and world’s best cameraphone;
  • Availability of a richer Ovi Store experience – starting with the Nokia N8 – that includes a friendlier look and feel, and more  popular and unique apps and games;
  • The latest beta release of free Ovi Maps with new pedestrian and motorist features.

“Today our fight back to smartphone leadership shifts into high gear,” said Niklas Savander, Executive Vice President, Markets, Nokia. “Despite new competition, Symbian remains the most widely used smartphone platform in the world.  Our new family of smartphones introduced today feature the all-new Symbian OS, rewritten to be faster, easier to use, more efficient and more developer friendly.” Savander also commented on the high level of anticipation for the Nokia N8. “Based on the level of consumer interest and the highest online pre-orders in Nokia history, we expect big things from the Nokia N8.”

A smartphone for everyone…

In addition to the Nokia N8, the new family of faster, more intuitive Symbian smartphones includes:

  • Nokia E7 the ultimate business smartphone. With Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync on board, the Nokia E7 provides direct, real-time and secure access to corporate email inboxes and other personal applications.  Equipped with a 4-inch touchscreen display featuring Nokia ClearBlack technology for improved outdoor visibility and a full keyboard, business users will find the Nokia E7 is the perfect shape and size to work on documents, review spreadsheets, or read and edit slides. For corporate peace of mind, a combination of business grade security solutions is available. Estimated retail price is EUR 495, excluding taxes and subsidies.
  • Nokia C7 – beautifully crafted, sleek social networking smartphone. Get live updates from social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and keep track of new email from your Yahoo! or Gmail accounts directly on the homescreen. The Nokia C7 features a 3.5-inch AMOLED display and a stunning combination of stainless steel, glass and soft edges. Estimated retail price is EUR 335, excluding taxes and subsidies.
  • Nokia C6 – the small and stylish smartphone. Sporting a 3.2-inch AMOLED display with full touch capabilities and Nokia ClearBlack technology for improved outdoor visibility, the latest Nokia C6 (C6-01) features the best of social networking and mobile entertainment in a stainless steel and glass design. Stay connected to email, access millions of tracks through Ovi Music, and download apps and games from the Ovi Store. Estimated retail price is EUR 260, excluding taxes and subsidies.

As a smartphone family, the Nokia N8, Nokia E7, Nokia C7, Nokia C6 share several similarities. All are built on the new version of Symbian, the world’s most popular smartphone platform. It strikes a balance of innovation and intuition offering a variety of improvements and features such as support for multiple homescreens, visual multitasking, gesture-based interactions and a noticeable reduction in prompts — all while presenting a familiarity that means millions of people can pick up one of Nokia’s new smartphones and instantly know how to use it. People will also discover free Ovi Maps, access to Ovi Store, messaging, social networking and other experiences that come standard across all of these smartphones.

The Nokia E7, Nokia C7 and Nokia C6 are all expected to begin shipping before the end of the year.

…with content for everyone

The new family of Symbian smartphones will include a completely updated Ovi Store experience. The new store experience is driven by a friendlier user interface and a new collections feature to quickly access popular apps and games available now, or soon, such as foursquare, Angry Birds, Need for Speed Shift and Real Golf 2011. Additionally, Ovi Store will continue to offer exclusive apps including Audiotube, Tesco and others along with favorites such as Fring, Shazam, and Asphalt 5.

For developers, the uniform Symbian platform together with the Qt development environment enables easy smartphone application creation and extensive reach.

A mobile world centered on where you are

Free access to Ovi Maps, the world’s most comprehensive walk and drive navigation, to Nokia smartphones was only the start. With the latest beta release of Ovi Maps, available for download today, people will benefit from new features and even greater map detail. Ovi Maps beta adds visibility to subways, trams and trains in 85 cities around the world, real-time traffic, safety alerts in or out of navigation mode, visibility to parking and petrol stations, and speed limit warnings. In addition, people can use the improved search capabilities and share their location immediately via text messages or email to other browser-enabled phones.

New gear for on-the-go

Nokia also showcased the Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-905i offering an improved audio experience with active noise cancellation and a collection of five unique new Bluetooth headsets designed for a variety of needs, including hands-free multitasking, talking and navigating in the car with voice guidance.

Please visit www.nokia.com/press for press materials, including photos and product information.  For more information on Nokia World 2010, please visit: http://events.nokia.com/nokiaworld.

About Nokia
At Nokia, we are committed to connecting people. We combine advanced technology with personalized services that enable people to stay close to what matters to them. Every day, more than 1.3 billion people connect to one another with a Nokia device – from mobile phones to advanced smartphones and high-performance mobile computers. Today, Nokia is integrating its devices with innovative services through Ovi (www.ovi.com), including music, maps, apps, email and more. Nokia’s NAVTEQ is a leader in comprehensive digital mapping and navigation services, while Nokia Siemens Networks provides equipment, services and solutions for communications networks globally.

Media Enquiries:

Nokia
Communications
Tel. +358 7180 34900
Email: press.services@nokia.com

www.nokia.com

Just for fun: “Questionnaire on Cambodian Literature”


Just received from my friend…

Cheers,

Questionnaire on Khmer Literature

Questionnaire on Khmer Literature

by: Dara Saoyuth
19/09/2010

Photo Exhibition on “LIFE ALONG THE RAILS”


Showing his interest, a visitor is looking closely at the photo / by: Dara Saoyuth

Showing his interest, a visitor is looking closely at the photo / by: Dara Saoyuth

Spending almost a whole day in front of my computer screen made me headache, so this evening, I hurried to go out after I was invited by my friends to join a photo exhibition under the theme LIFE ALONG THE RAILS.

As soon as I arrived the place, I saw photos by a 31-year-old Conor Wall from Ireland was printed in large size and stuck to the walls of the room, and many people mostly are foreigners gathered around to see the photos.

Visitors gathering around to see the photos and some are communicating with people who have the same interest / By: Dara Saoyuth

Visitors gathering around to see the photos and some are communicating with people who have the same interest / By: Dara Saoyuth

In the exhibition, there were around 20 photos to be displayed and all of them showed the daily lives of people living along the tracks.

“I first became interested in the lives of people living along the railway tracks two years ago when I used to walk along the rails in Boeung Kok. I took photos of locals there, going back again and again to shoot more and return prints to those in the pictures. I never really had a plan to publish or exhibit those shots. I was just doing it because I enjoyed it,” said Cornor Wall, who first came to Cambodia in 2004.

Who know the purpose of showing these photos?

Actually, I don’t have answer to the question, but I think that he wants us, especially human right activists to pay more attention on people over there since the government is working on the reconstruction of the railway tracks. More people might face eviction from their home, so on the railway, we won’t be able to see vendors selling or children playing on it anymore…

To know more about Conor Wall and his Photography and Story Portfolio, check his website by CLICKING HERE
by: Dara Saoyuth
16/09/2010

Home away from Home


Cambodian Students who stay in dorm are playing football in front of their building in the evening / Photo by: Koam Tivea

Cambodian Students who stay in dorm are playing football in front of their building in the evening / Photo by: Koam Tivea

You might want that noise to stop while you are studying or that light turned off when you are trying to sleep, but these are just the hassles you have to endure in a dormitory. Although living with a roommate in a dorm – and dealing with the unavoidable annoyances this entails – is a nearly universal experience for university students in many foreign countries, there is also a small group of Cambodian college kids living in close quarters at the Kingdom’s only state-run dormitory for university students.

After a few visits to the dorm, I decided that in order to get a true sense of dorm life, I needed to spend a night there myself. So last week I packed my bag and headed to the six-building dormitory campus on Russian Boulevard – neighbouring the Royal University of Phnom Penh – to get a taste of the parentless life.

In foreign countries, room and board (food and living accommodations), are usually part of tuition fees, but in Cambodia, dorms are free to some students from poor families and remote provinces and are reserved mostly for females (although my experience was mostly with young men for obvious reasons).

Cambodian Students who stay in dorm are playing football in front of their building in the evening / Photo by: Koam Tivea

Cambodian Students who stay in dorm are playing football in front of their building in the evening / Photo by: Koam Tivea

Because of the noticeable lack of adults on the premises, you might expect security to be in short supply. But I felt at ease and well taken care of from the get go, and I witnessed a way of life that you’re not likely to see anywhere else.

The first lessons you are forced to learn are those of acceptance and cooperation. Many of us are used to having our own room and our own space to retreat to when we need some time alone, but you can say goodbye to these comforts as soon as you set down your bags.

San Kimleang, a 23-year-old woman from Kampong Thom province, said she used to be spoiled by her family, but has shed her sense of entitlement over the past three years. “We have to stay with our roommates for four years, so we need to find ways of living peacefully and it is critical to be tolerant of each other,” she said.

It’s easy to snap at siblings and take out your frustrations on family members, she explained, but while living with people outside her family, she often has to bite her tongue when she is angry or fed up with the behaviour of her dorm-mates.

Bou Sophal, who just moved into the dorm last year, knows all too well the challenges of communal living. “Sometimes people cause a disturbance, for example there will be a noise during when we want to study silently or our roommate needs light for studying while we are trying to fall asleep,” he said. “We have to be patient, tolerate and forgive. Today they unintentionally disturb us, but in the future we might do the same.”

While I could certainly understand their difficulties, having enjoyed my own quiet room for the past 20 years, I also saw how much the students cared for each other.

Students who stay in dorm are teaching each other in ther computer room / Photo by: Dara Saoyuth

Students who stay in dorm are teaching each other in ther computer room / Photo by: Dara Saoyuth

Hou Vanthy, 19, said he feels lucky to live in the dorm because his parents, who are farmers with six other children, have little money to spare. As he has become acclimated to Phnom Penh over the past year, he has been able to ask for help from the young men he lives with. “If I don’t have the documents I need, I can ask from them, and I talk with them about their experiences so that I can prepare myself for problems that lie ahead,” he said. “I have never lacked advisers while I’ve been living here.”

I was a bit jealous when I saw a computer room in the building. I have a laptop but, unlike the guys at the dorm, I do not have access to free computer lessons on a regular basis.

More senior members of the dorm, such as Suon Sampheavin, a 22-year-old student in his fifth year of civil engineering studies, said that design programmes like AutoCAD are crucial for engineers, but most students living at the dorm can’t afford the relatively expensive fees of a typical computer class. “I teach AutoCAD on weekends, using what I know, so the other guys don’t have to spend money on classes outside. If I don’t help them, they will face difficulties in the future,” he said.

Students who stay in dorm are teaching each other in ther computer room / Photo by: Dara Saoyuth

Students who stay in dorm are teaching each other in ther computer room / Photo by: Dara Saoyuth

I was happy to see that it wasn’t all work in the dorm. Barring rain, the self-sustaining students set aside some time in the evening to play football and badminton in the space outside of their dorm. Once they have worked up an appetite, they prepare dinner and, in the men’s dorm at least, pile in front of the TV to enjoy their food with the on-screen entertainment.

There is not a complete lack of adults – there is a health officer on site in case of an illness or emergency, and there is also not a complete lack of authority. Four buildings have adult managers, while two dorms have elected student managers to make sure things don’t get out of hand.

Ban Sam, who has been staying in the dorm since 2007, said that as the men’s manager he makes sure that students who enter the dorm follow the rules.

“Hanging around outside late is not allowed,” the 21-year-old said. “Gambling, drinking beer, or using drugs in the building is banned. For the safety of all students, bringing people from outside the dorm without asking for permission is not allowed,” he added, starting to sound like my parents.

This is a room in which Cambodia’s dorm-dwellers usually bring their meal to eat and enjoy watching TV together / Photo by: Koam Tivea

This is a room in which Cambodia’s dorm-dwellers usually bring their meal to eat and enjoy watching TV together / Photo by: Koam Tivea

But just as I was thinking that dorm life signalled a release from chores, it only got worse. “Students have to live with cleanliness and hygiene; for example they have to clean their rooms and take turns cleaning the bathroom and toilet as it is used by everyone.” Ugh! The dorm really was starting to feel like home.

While the stories you hear about foreign dorms might sound more like anarchy than university, it seems that Cambodia’s dorm-dwellers are quite tame. While most of us have a family waiting for us when we finish our classes for the day, these students only have each other, and the way they support each other was nothing short of incredible. I was thankful for the openness and hospitality of my hosts, but happy to head home when I woke up in the morning.

by: Dara Saoyuth
This article was published on Lift, Issue 36, September 15, 2010

My Last Day at Agence France-Presse (AFP)


This is my place during my intern at AFP, and papers on the desk are what I have to read every morning / by: Dara Saoyuth

This is my place during my intern at AFP, and papers on the desk are what I have to read every morning / by: Dara Saoyuth

Today is the last day for me at Agence France-Presse (AFP), so I have to say goodbye to everybody there though I don’t want to leave them. Spending two months intern at a news agency, I have learned a lot more than what I expected.

What have you learned from your intern?

To answer the above question precisely, I need a lot of pages to write down my idea, and everybody might leave this article after seeing its long content. What I wrote below is not the report for my university. It’s just a note to wrap up my intern period (12/07/2010 – 10/09/2010). Cheers,

First of all, I cannot forget my first day when I met only Patrick Falby, a former AFP bureau Chief in Cambodia, while everybody was on holiday. He showed me my place for the next two months and asked me to read Khmer newspapers of that day and I had to tell him what I found interesting. I finished it just a few minutes before I left for lunch, so he asked me whether I can find 5 story ideas when we met after lunchtime. I was very happy when 3 of my stories were accepted, and he told me to select one among the three stories which I can finish writing within a week. I started my story and then I found out that it’s not an easy task to cover each feature, and that’s the reason why I did only one feature during my two-month intern. Beside from working on my own story, I had to go with Patrick to help him getting quotes from Cambodian people since he does not know Khmer much.

A short time later, Patrick left Cambodia, so I have to be under the supervision of Mr. Suy Se (I normally call him Bong Se), a Cambodian AFP correspondent. He seems to be a strict person, but I can see the kindness inside his heart, especially when he left the office late because of helping me editing my feature story. Though sometimes he did, but I feel that Bong Se doesn’t want to give direct tutorial to me, for example he just assigned me to write a story and after he edited it, he printed the edited version for me to compare with my version. I have to accept that there are a lot of things I have learnt from him counting from how to interview different sources to how to write a story. He also spent a lot of him times telling me what’s different between working for wire service and working for local newspaper because he also used to be a writer for one local paper.

Another person that I also cannot forget is Mr. Tang ChhinSothy (I normally called him Bong Thy), a photographer for AFP in Cambodia. I have to admire his skills in shooting photo because all photos from him look great to me. When I have free time, mostly I take my camera and run after him when he went to shoot any photo. He taught me some techniques on how to take a photo with better quality and focus. You see, I have learned a lot not only writing but also photo shooting. That’s why I said I have learned more than I expected.

Cellphones help Cambodian students — to cheat


PHNOM PENH, Thursday 19 August 2010 (AFP) – Standing in front of a school in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, Than Vichea read out answers over his mobile telephone to his sister who was taking national exams inside.

He was not alone. Even the police deployed outside schools to stop relatives providing answers to the more than 100,000 students who sat the tests last month could not prevent cheating in many of the exam centres.

“What would happen if they fail?” asked Than Vichea. “We have to think about our expenses for schooling, part-time studies and fuel costs, and especially our time.”

Several students interviewed by AFP said they had bribed teachers to allow them to check notes they had smuggled into the exams, or answer sheets allegedly sold in advance by teachers outside the schools.

One said he had paid about 30 dollars to teachers during two and a half days of exams so they would turn a blind eye to cheating and keep watch for school inspectors.

Others said they had bribed teachers to allow them to use their mobiles to phone relatives for help during the exams, the results of which will be announced on August 20.

“Besides copying answers from each other, candidates in my room could even make a phone call outside during the exams to get answers,” said a female student who asked to remain anonymous.

“And when there was only one correct answer sheet, it was hard to pass from one to another. So those who use modern phones took a photo of that sheet and then sent it to each other via the Internet on their phones,” she said.

After decades of civil war and the mass killing of educated people and intellectuals by the communist Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s, Cambodia is trying to restore its educational system. But it is a slow process.

“Our country was severely destroyed during the Khmer Rouge, so, as a child, we have started rebuilding,” said Mak Vann, a senior official with the Ministry of Education.

“We have trained more teachers and up to now it’s still not enough. We still lack educational tools, and more teachers need to be trained as well.”

Cambodia’s schools were obliterated under Khmer Rouge rule. The regime killed nearly two million people — including many teachers — as it emptied cities in its bid to forge a Communist utopia.

School buildings, documents and other educational resources were destroyed.

More than three decades later, a lack of infrastructure, human resources and educational tools, as well as low wages for teachers, are hindering efforts to improve standards in schools.

Not all students interviewed said there had been cheating in their exam rooms.

“In my room, it was very strict. We could not even look at each other during the exams. No cellphones were allowed,” said one, Bun Keo Voleak.

But the apparent acceptance of bribes by many teachers reflects rampant corruption in general in Cambodia that is seen by many as a growing barrier to quality in human resources for the Southeast Asian nation.

Cheating and paying bribes are common during exams, but Rong Chhun, head of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said the problem appeared to have worsened this year.

“Weakness in the educational system cannot help our country to develop,” he said.

Cambodia was ranked 158th out of 180 countries in anti-graft organisation Transparency International’s index of perceived public sector corruption in 2009.

It was also ranked the second most corrupt Southeast Asian nation after Indonesia in an annual poll by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy.

“Corruption exists and sometimes it seems to be open, such as teachers collecting money from students even in public class,” said In Samrithy, executive director of NGO Education Partnership.

He said Cambodia was lagging behind neighbouring countries in terms of the quality of education.

“Allowing students to cheat is dangerous for their future because what they write for their teachers is not their real knowledge, so when they face a real situation, especially in a competitive job market, they will have problems.”

by: Dara Saoyuth
Edited by: Mr. Suy Se, Cambodian news correspondent for AFP, and AFP editors

This article is under AFP copyright

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