Monthly Archives: November 2010

IdeaCamp Second Day (Nov 28, 2010): Afternoon Session


My friends and I are doing LIVE BLOGGING from IdeaCamp conference. Please click on the below link to see what’s happening here.

IdeaCamp 2nd Day afternoon session Live Blogging

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IdeaCamp Second Day (Nov 28, 2010): Morning Session


My friends and I are doing LIVE BLOGGING from IdeaCamp conference. Please click on the below link to see what’s happening here.

IdeaCamp 2nd Day morning session Live Blogging

IdeaCamp First Day (Nov 27, 2010): Afternoon Session


I’m doing LIVE BLOGGING from IdeaCamp conference. Please click on the below link to see what’s happening here.

IdeaCamp Liveblogging

Photos in the aftermath of Koh Pich accident


Since I was at my hometown during Monday night’s stampede on Diamond Island’s north bridge, I could not capture the event.

Yesterday afternoon, as soon as I arrived the city, I went to the Phnom Penh Post office and was assigned to assist a foreign reporter in shooting documentary related to the accident.

I  went to the Cambodia – Russian Khmer Friendship Hospital to the hospital where some bodies and victims were placed. I later went to Koh Pich to see the blessing ceremony for the deceased.

Below are some photos and video clips I shot in the aftermath of the tragedy.

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Dara Saoyuth
24/11/2010

What’s New (Shopping cheap at Sakura Japanese thrift store)


If you are a savvy shopper in Phnom Penh, you have likely encountered many shops that sell second-hand clothes. You are sure to find some great deals at these shops, located in markets or along the street, but it is quite obvious that you are having a gander at used goods. This is not the case at the new Sakura Japanese thrift store located on St. 271 not far from Chea Sim Samky high school in the capital.

The one floor shop is well designed, with clothes that are so stylish that you wouldn’t know they were used unless you looked at the sign on the way in that says “Sakura Used Japanese Products.” As the name suggests, all of the products are imported from Japan, and the shipments contain more than just clothes, you are likely to find a bunch of stuff from furniture to toys, accessories and appliances.

The shop is open from 10am to 10pm, and I strolled up during the early afternoon on my lunch break from my studies at university. I was surprised at how many cars and motor-bikes were parked outside and once I walked in I saw that most of them were driven by students, who were still in their uniforms, also taking advantage of their midday break for some budget shopping.

The store is well lit and fans keep the airflow going, however there is a certain smell that only comes from used clothes, and despite the aesthetic appeal of the threads at Sakura, the old clothes smell still required a brief period for acclimation. Once we got used to smell my friends and I were able to stroll up and down the aisles and focus on finding the true gems within the racks packed with clothes.

Looking at the prices of the goods on display, we noticed another differences from the second hand shops we were used to: there was a much wider variety of prices. Some things were only 1,000 riel while other prized-pieces cost over US$300. In general things were still way cheaper than they would be at Pencil or Sorya.

People seemed quite interested in the shoes and household items at the shop, but I noted few clothes being tried on. I suspect it is because of the overflow of sweaters in the shop, which most Cambodians would only buy if they were planning a trip to Japan or a place with a comparably cold climate.

A few things jumped out at me while we pursued the offerings at the second-hand shop. There was a pair of shoes that were beautiful and looked nothing like any footwear I had seen before. I think a tear might have streamed down my face when I tried them on and they were a bit too tight for my foot. There was also a gorgeous kitchen set complete with a tea pot, plates and cupboards. My friend was moved to buy a teapot for his father but the price proved prohibitive and he gently set it back on the shelf.

Near the end of our hour-long browse we noticed a room with a sign that said employees only. Inside were piles and piles of clothes, toys and hundreds of other objects that would soon be on sale. Some brave customers went in anyhow but their time was fleeting as staff members soon asked them to get out. I heard them muttering about how many attractive and cheap goods they saw in the forbidden room.

Sakura has just about everything you could want, especially if you have the time to look around for a while. If you are a style snob who only wears the newest brand name stuff, perhaps this isn’t your spot, but for everyone else, you owe it to yourself to at least stop by.

By: Dara Saoyuth and Touch YinVvannith
This article was published on Lift, Issue 46 published on November 24, 2010

Water Festival Ends in Tragedy


People watching body lifting into coffin

People watching body lifting into coffin / by: Dara Saoyuth

Some of you might say it’s a bit late for Student Blog to run a story about an accident happened at Koh Pich (Diamond Island) on Monday night. As a Cambodian, I think this tragedy will never be outdated to write and it’s hard for me to let this event passed without having something on my blog.

Last night, I was at my hometown in Kampot province and while I was sleeping, my parents woke me up to watch a live broadcast program on TV. It’s around 2am at that time. Having a look on TV screen, I immediately felt shock because of what I saw and heard was about the tragedy that hundreds people died and other hundreds people injured.

A short time after I saw what was happening, I took my phones to call to some of my friends and relatives asking whether they are all right while lots of SMS came to my phone one after another asking whether I am ok.

Ki Media mentioned that the accident happened around 10:00pm on 22nd of November 2010. You can read many articles about this accident written in both English and Khmer and to assist you, I will recommend you some addresses below.

Website in English:

1. Hundreds die in tragic end to water festival
2 Phnom Penh struggles to cope with tragic stampede_The Phnom Penh Post
Hundreds dead as popular water festival ends in tragedy_International News

Blog in Khmer:

1. ២២​ វិច្ឆិកា ២០១០ មេរៀនមួយសម្រាប់ខ្មែរ
2. សាក្សី និង ជាជនរងគ្រោះថា សោកនាដកម្មបណ្តាលមកពីឆក់ចរន្តអគ្គិសនី
3. មហាសោកនាដកម្មកោះពេជ្រ
Dara Saoyuth
23/11/2010

Meeting Cambodian politicians on the internet


Picture of notebook screen with Facebook

Picture of notebook screen with Facebook / Image via Wikipedia

The internet has turned the world into a global village where people from different places can get to know each other and gain easy access to information, and this has prompted some Cambodian political parties to make their web presence known to reach a much bigger audience.

In most cases, these websites contain information such as political background, principles, activities and party contacts and are readily available on each party’s official website.

The Cambodian People’s Party, the current ruling party in the Kingdom, has its own website in both English and Khmer.

Cheam Yeap, spokesperson for the CPP, said having an official website can help people connect with political parties and learn about its background.

The internet has played a crucial role in delivering accurate news to Cambodians, said Yim Sovann, a spokesperson for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party.  This was the main reason the SRP launched a website in 2000.

“The internet has helped us get a lot of support, especially from activists and people living abroad,” he said.  “It’s a means to deliver truthful information by uploading documents and promoting our activities on our website.”

We are now living in a world of electronic democracy where people can communicate directly with their leaders using the internet. Therefore, a website on its own isn’t enough; some politicians have started to engage in social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote their political parties and expose themselves to a young, interested audiences.

There aren’t any official studies, but any young person can confirm that Facebook is one of the most popular social media outlets in Cambodia and it is used in different ways depending on the person. Everything from normal communications to political discussions to multi-user video games take place on the site. Many of the political parties have pages on Facebook, where they post updated party news and get instant feedback when people click on the “like” icon to show their agreement or post a comment if the like button doesn’t express their feelings.

The Human Rights Party has had a website since they formed in July 2007. The next year they won 6.62 percent of the votes in national elections. The party stepped up their online engagement by creating a Facebook page last year. In Cambodia, HRP leaders said that programmes on radio FM105 were the best way to reach people, but in order to reach supporters abroad, the internet is invaluable.

“The HRP depends completely on the internet in order to communicate with people who live abroad,” said Kem Sokha, the HRP president.

Khieu Kanharith, the government’s Minister of Information, said he had used Facebook for two years and before that he used several other social networks including hi5.   His online savvy is obvious since he usually replies to online messages within a few days if not a few hours. Yet he is not a complete convert of online communication.

“I think oral communication works better than comments via social networks,” he said.  “On Facebook, we cannot post everything – for example, policies that contain thousands of words cannot be condensed to two or three sentences. That is simply not enough to promote a policy.”

Sites like Facebook also provide a space for people to distribute false or damaging information without censorship or accountability. If  someone is offended by something online, they can easily return the insult by posting messages on walls or message boards. Lift asked Khieu Kanharith if such threats have concerned him in  more than two years of participating in similar forums. He said he’s not worried since people can differentiate real and fake information.

Nil Vandeth, a 19-year-old student at the Royal University of Law and Economics, has used Facebook to have his ideas heard and comment on other people’s inspirations.

“Politics is part of our general knowledge and people will know more about it when they start sharing their ideas,” he said. Cambodian people, particularly the young, are starting to take an interest in politics, he added, “because of the internet”.

By: Dara Saoyuth, Sothea Ines and Ouk Elita
This article was published on Lift, Issue 45 published on November 17, 2010
You can also read the article on Phnom Penh Post website by CLICKING HERE

Watching a new Cambodian film, Kiles


If you read LIFT issue 44, you’ll know what a reporter wrote for this week in what’s new section. No wonder, it’s a review of a Cambodian drama film, Kiles (literally translate as Passion), written by Mao Ayuth, the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Information.

After reading the review, I was so eager to watch the film. Fortunately, I received a free ticket from one of my friends, so Saturday afternoon was my second time I went to lux cinema watching films.

I don’t remember my first time in this cinema, but for this time, one thing I’ve noticed is that most of the audiences are teenagers who mostly walk in with their partners and some were still wearing school uniforms as if they were entering classroom. Before the film started, I was on my seat trying to fathom out the reason why there are small number of adults in the theater. Unfortunately, the film had started before I could find the answer, so let me give you a floor to come up with the answer to my doubt.

Below is the original review of the film written by Tet Chan, a LIFT reporter. Cheers,

Kiles poster

Kiles poster

Perhaps you have heard stories about life in Cambodia during French colonization. Maybe you are even an expert on the period, but I’m certainly not.  Hoping to learn more about postWorld War II Cambodia, I went with my friends to see Kiles, the newest movie to hit Cambodia’s theatres, and the first production by the Cambodia Film Commission, a government- funded initiative meant to raise the standard of Cambodian film.

The sounds of chanting plays over the opening scene as an old rich man named Kiles is lying in bed, lonely and weak. It doesn’t look like he has long to live, but, as luck would have it, the frail fellow recovers and returns to live with his four wives and countless servants.

The news keeps getting better for the geezer when one of these servants reads his palm and tells him that his fifth wife will be a beautiful young woman. Kiles isn’t a man to wait around for fortune to find him, so he tells his future-seeing househelp to track down someone who owes him money and demand that they give him their daughter’s hand in marriage to clear their debt.

The unfortunate and indebted man who the servant finds conveniently has a beautiful daughter named Teuy. Her devoted boyfriend Plok is a cremator, and he has been taking the golden coins from the mouths of corpses to save for their wedding. When the servant comes knocking he has 99 of the 100 coins needed to get engaged.

Close doesn’t cut it for Teuy’s father, who predictably agrees to marry her off to erase his debts.

It’s not long before old man Kiles and young beauty Teuy are preparing to be married. I’m not a movie-spoiler, so I’m not gonna tell you what happens next. I’ll say that it’s not as predictable as the plot I described thus far.

In some ways the movie seemed to sugggest it would be a sad love story, but that’s not how it was recieved. My friends and I laughed with the rest of the audience during much of the movie, especially a series of scenes showing Plok trying to commit suicide, once by taking a bowl, filling it with water and immersing his head in an attempt to drown. His efforts are so obviously futile that moviegoers don’t have to worry about his pending death. Plok isn’t a complete coward though, in another scene he puts his life on the line to steal his woman from the decrepit dude who stole her away … I’ll let you find out what happens when you see the movie. Feel free to thank me later.

While some of the scenes were silly, others were quite beautiful; with music and gorgeous Cambodian scenery that made me feel a bit of nationalistic pride while being entertained. It was refreshing to see a Cambodian movie with decent acting and voices that are actually recorded during production.

I was quite happy with my decision to spend an hour and half immersed in scenes and stories from Cambodia’s past. You too will have a new perspective on our history, and although some parts of the plot and character development were a bit thin, I walked out of the theatre optimistic about the future of Cambodian film.

Kiles is a unique type of filem in Cambodia these days. It was enjoyable to watch.

“I was happy having spent 90 minutes immersed in scenes from Cambodia’s past.”

14/11/2010
You can also read the article in LIFT, the Phnom Penh Post website by CLICKING HERE

 

Photo Shootout 2010


If you like shooting photo, I’m sure you don’t want to miss this photo competition. Below is the information you need to know about this event:

Venue: Golden Tower Building
Date: 27th November 2010
Time: Starting from 7am till 7pm

Open to all nationalities living in Cambodia with no restriction prior to experience or age.

Each participant will be given 3 separate themes in 3 hours to complete each thematic work.

Win exciting prizes like Ixus Camera, Selphy and Pixma Printers

Winners will be announced an awarded at the same day.

Registration ends on 25th of November, 2010 at 3:00pm.

Note: Limited to 300 participants. Call to 023 996 638 or walk-in to register at i-Qlick office
i-Qlick (Cambodia) Ple Ltd No. 825 SD, Preah Monivong Blvd, Sangkat Phsar Doumthkov, Phnom Penh
Office hours: Mon-Fri, 9:00 am – 17:30 pm
Sat, 9:00am – 12:30 pm

Wish you all the best!

Dara Saoyuth

5 Cool things by Dara Saoyuth


Audio books

website for download audio books

website for download audio books

To the more literary among us, it’s a problem that arises constantly during our waking hours. It’s time for you to go to school or finish your chores around the house, but you are in the middle of an amazing book and you just can’t stand to put it down. Now you can relax, letter-loving friends. It’s possible to stay stuck in a book while fulfilling your duties away from the page. Audio books might take a little getting used to, but, after a few listens you will be locked in. You will still have to deal with situations not conducive to continuing your bookish journey, but it will happen less often. My favourite sites for downloading audio books are http://h33t.com and http://www.mininova.org.

Blogging

Blogging

Blogging

How many of you have your own blog? Chances are there will be a lot more of you once the word spreads through 5 cool things. That’s a good thing, since blogs are an awesome way to develop your writing and thinking skills, while making friends and expanding your exposure to people, news and events around the world. You don’t have to be a computer whiz to start a blog. In fact, once you set it up the only thing you really need to know how to do is type. Even my 95-year-old grandmother has a blog. That’s not true, however, it would illustrate how simple blogging can be. From now on, put your ideas online and let other people help you make them better.

Daily planner

Daily planner

Daily planner

What time do to you wake up and go to school? What do you do when you get home? What time do you go to bed? There are an infinite number of questions that you must answer throughout the day and you probably make most of them without much thought or consideration of how to best organise your time. Living a reactionary life might seem like the best path, but when you plan your day before it begins you can be sure not to forget things that tend to slip your mind. The only part of my day that I don’t plan in advance is grabbing my scheduler in the morning to map out the day ahead.

Voice recorder

Voice recorder

Voice recorder

If you are anything like me, you and your computer have a pretty special relationship. Take it to a new level by making use of your computer’s ability to talk with you or, more specifically, to talk like you. Any fairly new computer has a built-in sound recorder and accompanying software that allows you to record your voice, play it back and possibly edit it as well. If your computer doesn’t have a built-in mic you can buy an external microphone or, better yet, a pair of headphones with a microphone attached. Once everything is set up you can use the simple but versatile technology for a bunch of different things. I usually use it to listen to my pronunciation and improve my spoken English. So ditch your outdated tape recorder and make the most of your computer’s capabilities.

Swimming

Swimming

Swimming

I have long been a fan of trips to the sea for a weekend of frolicking by the ocean, swimming, however, has recently been climbing up my list of favourite pastimes in the city. Aquatic exercising has countless benefits for your health and body, but it is also enjoyable, a rare combination as far as workouts go. You can ramp up the fun and hang out poolside with your friends. But I have observed that each person you add to a swimming outing  inevitably leads to a drop in the likelihood you will actually work out. With some exercises you feel sore and strained the next day, but after a couple of weeks swimming you will feel refreshed. The more time you spend in the water the better you will feel. So next time you are hot and bothered, sort yourself out with a swim.

by: Dara Saoyuth
This article was published on Lift, Issue 44 published on November 10, 2010


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