Category Archives: My intern

My farewell dinner


I am a bit sleepy now, but I come to leave a message that I have a very good time tonight having dinner and hangout with some reporters of the Star publication, where I have spent my two-month internship. It’s not a big party actually; we just went out to have dinner together and chitchatted.

There were six people tonight- 4 reporters, my friend from Cambodia, and I. I like them so much, and I think I am closer to them than the others at the workplace here, maybe because I followed them on assignments more often:)

Last but not least, I’d like to say thanks you to them for coming up with an idea of having a joint dinner before my friend and I go back to my country. I would say that it’s a nice farewell that I haven’t expected. I will see at least 3 of them again soon because they will spend their holiday this year in Cambodia.

Good night and thanks you again Justin, Christina, Karr wei, andΒ Sharmila.

My farewell dinner / by: Dara Saoyuth

01/10/2011
By: Dara Saoyuth
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My assignment today_27 Sept 2011


I am back again!

Well, today assignment made me get up so early at 7:30am (maybe early for me only lolz!). I set my phone alarm at 7am, but my fingers faster than my eyes that they reached the phone first and turned it off right away. As soon as I got up, I had to rush because I hadn’t prepared anything from last night since I was so tired and sleepy. First, I put some packs of snack and a full bottle of fresh water into my bag because it’s the lesson I learn from my last year intern place at Agence-France Presse (AFP) that a photographer told me to be ready before going out if we have to go somewhere far away that we never know. “The two important things you have to take with you are ‘food’ and ‘water’,” he told me while handing me two packages of instant noodles.

Besides food and drink, I had to search on my messy table for a camera, a recorder, an earphone, a notebook, 2 pen, and reserved batteries for my recorder. Then, I had to surf on the internet for some information of the place before I left.

Sungai Buloh train station

Sungai Buloh train station / by: Dara Saoyuth

At 8:30am, I arrived the KL Sentral, where I have to take a train to the Sungai Buloh station. At 9:45am, I arrived the Sungai Buloh station, and had to wait for a Cambodian to pick me up. His name is Tar Sovan, and he is a nice, friendly, and helpful guy. He brought me to the Cambodian village and introduced me to some other Cambodian people. Over there, I first sat on a table order Banh Chhev (a kind of Khmer food), and coffee ice with milk. I was so surprised to see everyone around me is Cambodian even the seller of the food I was eating. While I was eating, I also chit-chatted with some Cambodians to know some backgrounds of the village and to listen to their experiences before leaving for Malaysia. They all have very different but interesting stories to tell.

Lok Pu Savan (‘Lok Pu’ means ‘uncle’ in Β Khmer because in Cambodian culture, we always call people who are a bit older than us as ‘uncle’) brought me to a Cambodian market and left me there staying with her wife because he wanted to take some rests at home. I went around the market talking to other Cambodian sellers to know more information, and then back to Lok Pu Savan’s wife because she also sells some staffs in the market.

At Cambodian market in Malaysia

At Cambodian market in Malaysia / By: Dara Saoyuth

I stayed at her store from 11am until around 2pm before going to her house. We just spent time chit-chatting about this and that. She asked me a lot of questions, especially about my experiences working as a journalist and about my life here in Malaysia. I was happy to tell what I know, but I was stuck when came to a question “Do you already have a girlfriend?”. I think for a moment before replying that ‘I don’t have at the moment’. I was also surprised when she joked that she want me to be her son-in-law. πŸ™‚ I supposed that my face turned red at that time, so I used my flexibility to change the topic and move to talk about life in Cambodia.

I left the market for Lok Pu Sovan’s house at around 2pm. His wife asked a girl to give me a lift from the market to her house, but I became a rider after not trusting her to be able to ride motorbike with me at the back. This is my first time to ride a motorbike in Malaysia, and someone shouted from behind that “Please ride on the left hand side! This is not Cambodia!)”. His house just around 5 minutes riding from the market.

Cambodian market in Malaysia

Cambodian market in Malaysia / By: Dara Saoyuth

I have spent the rest of my times at their house, but just to talk with their uncles and aunts and watch TV. I could not interview at that time Β because Lok Pu Sovan wanted to take a nap. His wife also arrived the house later, and I just continued chit-chatting with her.

At around 6:15pm, Lok Pu Sovan said I could stay at his house for tonight or I better go now if I want to come back because it’s almost dark already. His wife also asked me to stay there for a night and back in the morning, but I felt so tired and I had many more tasks to finish that I decided to come back.

I arrived the KL Sentral at 8pm and I had to take a taxi back. This is the first time that I have to bargain the taxi fee. He said the taxi from KL Sentral not uses meter, and he demanded RM20 from KL Sentral to my living place while I spend only RM11 this morning to get there. He said how much will I give him. I decided to give him RM15, so he asked me to go inside the car. πŸ™‚

He’s not a Malaysian. He’s a nice guy and he speak English very fluently. I’ve talked a lot with him, and when I asked him a question about “What do you think about life in Malaysia?”, I seemed to get a satisfied answer. He told me that “Life here is not bad. And I think one thing that is the same for all country, Nothing is free. You have to work for it.” He also asked about Cambodia “IS Cambodia going up now?”, and also ask about Vietname “How about Saigon?”. I think he knows a lot of histories about countries in South East Asia.

Now, I am at my condo again feeling so comfortable but also tired and sleepy. I might sleep early tonight and get up early tomorrow to try finishing works as much as I can.

There are a lot of interesting things happened to me today, but I could not write it all into a post. I hope I could review my post again when I am a bit more free.

27/09/11
By: Dara SaoyuthΒ 

My assignment today_26 Sept 2011


It’s 10:30pm already here, but I just come back from the assignment. Not many cars on the road while the rain were dropping. I know I would be more afraid if I went out for this assignment alone, but luckily, my friend from the same country followed me tonight.

Residents enjoy having dinner

Residents enjoy having dinner / by: Dara Saoyuth

At first, I didn’t have any assignment because I was supposed to finish my feature writing. Then, in the afternoon, my boss reached me and asked if I could go for tonight assignment. Without hesitation, I agree immediately. The assignment is about the Hari Raya Opening House which many people can join and have dinner for free. The assignment started at 8pm, but I have to stay there until the organizer, aΒ parliamentaryΒ member YB Wee Choo Keong, free to give me an interview.

YB Wee Choo Keong giving an interview with TV reporters

YB Wee Choo Keong giving an interview with TV reporters / by: Dara Saoyuth

I was worried at first because everyone talked in Malay that I could not understand at all. I asked my photographer to tell me what they said, but still I could not get the interesting information for my writing. With the help from my photographer (because he could speak Malay), at last, I have chance to interview YB Wee Choo Keong. He’s a nice person and he speaks a very good English. Now, I think I get enough information for the story.

A concert during the event

A concert during the event / by: Dara Saoyuth

Meet a fresh reporter

Because of tonight event, I also met a female reporter from a Chinese newspaper. She’s so nice and helpful, and just started working for four months. She translate for me when people use Bahasa Malaysia language. I’m sure we will be able to maintain this networking.

What for today

Well, I’ve finished my feature writing about Cambodian maids coming to live in Malaysia, and tonight, I will try to finish writing about this event tonight.

I’ve also contacted with a Cambodian student who got scholarship to study in Malaysia. She’s also a nice girl and she’s very helpful. She introduced me to her friends who also studying and working in Malaysia. I’m sure that we will meet each other soon to listen to their experiences and combine that information with what I got from an interview with Cambodian students studying at Limkokwing Malaysia.

What for tomorrow

I have to travel a long distant alone again tomorrow, but as always, I love this kind of travel. I will go to visit Cambodian village in Sungai Buluh, one part of Malaysia. I got a contact from the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia of a Cambodian who came to live in Malaysia since 1990. He is a nice guy and he said that tomorrow, he will come to pick me up from the train station at 8:30am.

I have to get up early again tomorrow and catch a train at 8am from Kualalumpur to Sungai Buluh station which take around 30 minutes traveling. Then, I will travel with him to the village. He told me that there are around 400 Cambodian families living in that area. I should not say much right now because I want to wait and see the real situation when I arrive that place.

I better end my post here for tonight because there are a lot of things I have to finish.

Thanks you all for reading my posts and come back for more. Without all of your supports and encouragements, I would not have feeling to write these posts.

Good luck and Good night!

26/09/2011
By: Dara SaoyuthΒ 

My assignment today_23 Sept 2011


Today, I don’t have to go out for an assignment because my boss said that I can stay in the office trying to finish my story as much as I can.

Besides that, it’s my turn today to present in front of my bosses and colleagues. I’ve chosen a topic about Khmer manuscript to present since it’s one of Cambodian heritage.

My presentation today

My presentation today / Photo by: Noy Kimhong

I’m so happy after I’ve tried my best for this public speaking:)

23/09/2011
By: Dara SaoyuthΒ 

My assignment today_22 Sept 2011


Dear Student Blog visitors,

Since I’ve been here in Malaysia, today marked the second time for me to have a meeting with Cambodians. Yesterday, I met the Cambodian ambassador in Malaysia, princess Norodom Arunrasmy, and some of the embassy staffs. Today, I went to meet some Cambodian students who come to study at Limkokwing University here.

This meeting is for my article which is about the lives of Cambodian students who come to study abroad. From the article, you can expect to know what challenges they have to face, and how they can adapt to the new environment without any relatives around except their friends from the same countries.

Today also marked the 1st time for me to travel for a far distance alone for an assignment. It took around 45 minutes from my office, the Star publication, to the Limkokwing university in Malaysia which located in Cyberjaya. I’m so exhausted, but at the same time excited to meet people from the same country using our national language in our conversation.

Group photo with Cambodian students in Malaysia

Group photo with Cambodian students who come to study at Limkokwing university in Malaysia / photo by: photographer from the Star pubication

I’ve chit-chatted with them for around 3 hours before I came back to the office. I prefer not to call it an interview because I don’t think that I can get the real feeling inside my interviewees if I make this conversation into something too formal.

So, it’s just about friends sharing what they have learned and experienced, and I just bring what they told me for other people who will read my article.

I will try to finish the article as soon as possible because I have only 12 days more in Malaysia. Please stay tune for the article!

Tonight, I have so many works to do, so I’ve decided not to have a look at my Facebook page. I have three more feature stories to be finished – Cambodian maids working in Malaysia, Lives of Cambodian students coming to study in Malaysia, and Dog breeding sharing experience. I might be able to finish only 1 of them by tonight because I also need to prepare some slides for tomorrow I have to do public speaking in front of the Star metro staffs and bosses. I’m so excited and hope i can do it well tomorrow.

Have to say good-bye from my blog now; otherwise I cannot finish my plan for tonight.

Thanks for coming back to read my personal stories as well as some other information on this blogs.

Hope to see you all again soon.

Yours,

Saoyuth, Student Blog author

22/09/2011
By: Dara SaoyuthΒ 

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

Briton arrested in Cambodia on child sex


A 50-year-old British man has been arrested for a second time in Cambodia on suspicion of sexually abusing underage girls, one as young as 11, police said on Monday.

Michael Julian Leach, from London, was arrested at a guesthouse near Phnom Penh on Sunday, said Keo Thea, chief of the capital’s anti-human-trafficking and juvenile protection unit.

“Police had followed him from Phnom Penh because we knew in advance that he would go to find children in Kandal province,” he told AFP.

Leach, in Cambodia as a tourist, was being held for allegedly soliciting sex from two girls aged 11 and 13, Keo Thea said, adding that three Cambodian people were also arrested for procuring the girls.

Leach was first arrested in Cambodia 2005 – when he was working as a doctor at a children’s organisation – for allegedly having sex with three underage girls, police said.

He was freed after the court dropped charges against him, citing a lack of evidence.

Dozens of foreigners have been jailed for child sex crimes or deported to face trial in their home countries since Cambodia launched an anti-paedophilia push in 2003 in a bid to shake off its reputation as a haven for sex predators.

by: Dara Saoyuth
Edited by: Mr. Suy Se, Cambodian news correspondent for AFP, and AFP editors
This article is under AFP copyright
06/09/2010

‘Microphone’ bomb kills four Cambodians


A drunk Cambodian man accidentally detonated an old grenade that he was using as a pretend microphone, killing himself and three other men and wounding three women, police said Tuesday.

The rocket-propelled grenade, a remnant of the country’s decades of war, exploded on Sunday near a small gathering in Pursat province in western Cambodia, local police chief Pich Sopheap told AFP by telephone.

“The explosion occurred after a drunken man used an unexploded B-40 grenade as a microphone while he was singing and later hit it against a wooden stick,” said Pich Sopheap.

The blast killed the 30-year-old man and three male farmers instantly, and critically injured three women who were chatting nearby underneath a raised house, he said.

Cambodia, one of the world’s most heavily mined countries, is littered with unexploded ordnance from nearly three decades of civil war and the secret US bombing of the nation in the Vietnam War.

In May, five plantation workers were killed after their vehicle hit an old anti-tank mine in a former stronghold of the communist Khmer Rouge rebels.

Around 670 square kilometres (258 square miles) still needs to be cleared of explosives, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in February.

by: Dara Saoyuth
Edited by: Mr. Suy Se, Cambodian news correspondent for AFP, and AFP editors
This article is under AFP copyright
31/08/2010

Illegal Drugs Confiscated in Cambodia


Various kind of drugs / by: Wikipedia

Various kind of drugs / by: Wikipedia

Cambodian police have seized nearly 13 million smuggled pills which contain an active ingredient for manufacturing millions of illegal drug tablets, they said on Wednesday.

The seizure of 12,864,000 pills, the country’s largest-ever bust of smuggled medicine, happened during a Sunday raid in a wherehouse in Cambodia’s northwestern town bordering Thailand, local police chief Hun Hean said.

The pills contain an active drug ingredient pseudoephedrine, a precursor for methamphetamine and amphetamine, Hun Hean told AFP by telephone, adding that a 35-year-old man was arrested in connection with the pills.

Hun Hean said the crackdown took place hours after the man picked up the medicine from Cambodian-Thai border cross checkpoint in Poipet.

A health official told local media that the medicine could be used to produce two million to three million of illegal drug pills. Cambodia has become a popular trafficking point for narcotics, particularly metamphetamines and heroin, after neighbouring Thailand toughened its stance on illegal drugs in 2002.

by: Dara Saoyuth
Edited by: Mr. Suy Se, Cambodian news correspondent for AFP
25/08/2010
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