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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 
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DMC Film Premiere Screening of “Until Today”


in Battambang

Preparing films screening in University of Battambang / by: Dara Saoyuth

Starting from Monday to Thursday, my TV production lecturer and all students in DMC batch 08 had brought 9 short documentary videos to screen in 3 provinces in the Kingdom.

“Until Today” is a DMC Video Project focusing on outgrowing the shadow of Democratic Kampuchea. Throughout the 9 videos, you will know ‘how do events from the past shape our future?’ and ‘how does that affect our daily lives today?’.

Short descriptions of these 9 videos are: A Child Soldier disperses the ghosts of his past with music; After more than 30 years, a man is reunited with his family; Men and women abandon Buddhism to avoid punishment for their sins; Ruined villas of Kep are waiting to take their place among the national heritage; After her abuse under DK, a transsexual now tells her story at the ECCC; A woman joins a mine squad to save others from her own fate; Indigenous tribes in Ratanakiri remember how they turned from friend to foe; The hunt for lost manuscripts as a treasure of the past is on; and The prosecution of intellectuals under DK – reason of unoriginality today?

To produce these videos, my classmates and I had to go to different places in Cambodia talking to various people and capturing everything we thought it would help making our videos good to see. All of us had one week for shooting and around three weeks for editing.

With the financial support from GIZ Entwicklungsdienst,Β we successfully achieved these 90 minutes video consisting of 9 stories on different topic. Sooner after finishing editing, we had brought these videos to screen at French Cultural Centre in Siem Reap, University of Battambang in Battambang province, and Apic Arts in Kampot province.

04/06/2011
By: Dara Saoyuth
Consult the screening announcement written byΒ GRIGO Andreas, a TV production lecturer at DMC

Nokia E7 now available in Cambodia


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Phnom Penh, Cambodia –Nokia Cambodia announced the arrival of a latestbusiness smartphone modelNokia E7 in the Kingdom at agrand launching eventyesterday in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Held at Studio 182, above Topaz Restaurant, the event ignited excitement among some 60 participants including members of the local media and prominent corporate people from both local and international companies. They were all fascinated about how powerfulNokia E7was in meetingtheir professional and private needs.

Nokia E7 is equipped with a 4-inch AMOLED touchscreen display featuring Nokia’s ClearBlack technology. Business users will find that it is the perfect shape and size to work on documents, review spreadsheets, or read and edit slides. With Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync on board, the Nokia E7 provides direct, real-time and secure access to corporate email inboxes and other personal applications.

The device captures High-resolution photos and HD video with the its 8 megapixel camera and dual LED flash and provides a wide range of music, games and socials apps. It also supports 3G networks and Wi-Fi connections.

β€œPeople are continuing to look for solutions that suit both their work and personal life; in business circles this is known as the β€˜consumerization’ of IT. The Nokia E7 gives people the confidence to bring their own smartphones to the workplace to connect securely to corporate messaging servers,” said Mesbah Uddin, Business Development for Nokia Cambodia and Laos.β€œOn the other hand, whether you are an artist or entrepreneur, the Nokia E7 is the only smartphone you will need to handle your work, to conduct your dailypersonal lives,” he added.

During the launching event, Daniel Parkes, Country Manager for CB Richard Ellis (Cambodia) Co., Ltd, who is a user of Nokia E7,enthusiastically shared with the audience that Nokia E7 was key to having a successful day in or out of the office. β€œIt is a perfect device for me. Having it with me, I feel that my office is where I am. Being on the move, I am still able to open and read corporate emails that I have received, make a response, edit attached office documents, etc.” β€œYou don’t have to scrutinize screen as it is wide, giving bigger display of characters. Typing is fast with its QWERTY keyboard,” he said.

PreapSovath, Cambodia’s most well know pop star, who also runs salon and restaurant businesses in Phnom Penh laid out how useful Nokia E7 to him. β€œI spend most of my time singing and performing. But I have to manage my business too. I am really excited about Nokia E7 and to my view it is a small laptop. Not only does it enable me to access all my emails, but it also my home of entertainment: watching movies, listening to music, playing games, just to name a few. What I find amzing is its HD camera that you take pictures and make a video of high resolution, edit it and share it with colleagues and friends connecting it with HDMI cable.”

DanielParkes and PreapSovath, as well as the rest of the participants, were particularly impressed with Nokia E7’s high capabilities of safely keeping important work files and protecting important data with remote device management options.

Estimated retail price at US$650, Nokia E7 will be available from 19 March 2011 in two colors, black and silver andaccording to Nokia’s representative, Nokia would present a Nokia Mobile Holder, a Nokia Mobile charger and a pouch to the first 100 corporate consumers for every purchase of Nokia E7.

Original Text by NOKIA Company
Issued on 12/03/2011

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Is the Sam Rainsy Party’s candle burning out?


Sam Rainsy Party

Image via Wikipedia

People are sitting in a room looking at a large TV screen. They are watching a person on the screen and if they want to speak, they have to get out of their seats and go to a desk and talk in a microphone so that the person on the screen can hear and respond. This is the method employed by Sam Rainsy Party members to communicate with their leader, Sam Rainsy, who is now living in self-exile in France.

Sam Rainsy was convicted in January 2010 of destroying public property and racial incitement with Vietnam by pulling up border posts along the Vietnamese border in Svay Rieng province in 2009. On March 1, 2011, Cambodia’s Supreme Court rejected his appeal and his sentence of two years in jail still stands.

β€œThe court is used as a political tool to shut Sam Rainsy’s mouth or eliminate him from the political arena since he is the leader of the opposition party,” said Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the Sam Rainsy Party.

On the other hand, Cheam Yeap, a senior Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker, said the ruling party did not order Sam Rainsy to remove the border posts. β€œOur country has law, so Sam Rainsy has to face court because of his wrongdoing, and if one day in the future I do something wrong, of course, I will face the court as well,” said Cheam Yeap.

A press release issued on February 22 by the Cambodian Center for Human Rights stated β€œthe convictions against Sam Rainsy may leave the country’s largest opposition party without a leader at the next general election”.

Sam Rainsy fled the country in early 2009 and will serve 12 years in jail if he returns to Cambodia because in a separate case, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced him to an additional 10 years in jail on charges of forging public documents and disinformation after convicting him of disinformation and falsifying public documents.

The executive director of the Khmer Institute of Democracy (KID) in Cambodia, Hang Chhaya, said what has concerned him is that Cambodia is a democratic country, so Sam Rainsy’s case should not have reached the level of removing his parliamentary immunity and sentencing him since he had rights as a politician. β€œWhat the ruling party want is to make a good leader who people see, love and support, have to stay abroad as long as possible,” said Hang Chhaya.

While Prime Minister Hun Sen can stand and talk to CPP members and his supporters directly, Sam Rainsy needs support from technology to be able to communicate with SRP members and supporters.

However, Yim Sovann said the fact that Sam Rainsy is not in Cambodia is not a problem for the party. β€œIf you want to meet the party leader, we can make a phone call or video conference that you can see the picture and there is no difference in communication by having or not having him present,” said Yim Sovann, adding that Sam Rainsy is still the party leader who leads meetings and keeps communicating between all levels of leaders and members.

To gain more support in the upcoming election, the HRP and SRP have been working on merging the two parties. After the 2008 national election, on January 15, 2009, Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha singed on a joined declaration officially establishing the Democratic Movement for Change. Since then the alliance has not reached 100 percent agreement and recently each party created a working group of five people to discuss the merger.

Mu Sochua, a SRP lawmaker and one of the five people in a merger group on the SRP side, said some conflict of ideas and misunderstandings from the past were the reasons for slowing the merger. However, she said she believed it would be successful soon. β€œWe are democratic people and we have the same goal,” Mu Sochua said.

Mu Sochua said she was sure of success in the next election when the alliance reaches full agreement. She gave as an example Kampot province, where the SRP needs about 10,000 votes more to get one more parliament seat, however the HRU gets more than 14,000 votes. β€œBecause we were not united at that time, about 14,000 votes were useless because none of us got any seats from there,” she said.

β€œPreviously, we didn’t work well on the merger, but now we have a clear objective and we have clear steps to take,” Keat Sukun, a coordinator in merger group on the HRP side, said. He added that both sides had recently found common ground for a lasting unification of the parties.

Keat Sukun said that in Cambodia, each party cannot do everything alone and unification is very important in terms of exchanging human resources.

β€œIt is the right decision to join as an alliance,” said Phnom Penh-based political analyst Chea Vannath, who explained that the seat allocation formula in Cambodia makes small political parties waste a lot of votes if they are not united.

However, she said she is not sure if this unification can last much longer because based on her observations, it would be easy to break up.

β€œTo unite successfully, it’s very important to have trust building between the two parties, as wife and husband do,” said Chea Vannath. β€œWe have to think that there will be a lot of obstacles with each step we take, and if we can trust each other, this unification will last forever.”

β€œWhile the frog tries harder, the snake also tries harder,” said Cheam Yeap, explaining that the ruling party was also working harder. Cheam Yeap said the ruling party did not fear the union of opposition parties.

However, Cheam Yeap said: β€œAll CPP members are not advised to ride a horse with a free hand.” He added that they are not just sitting there happy with their victory, but they are working to keep it.

By: Dara Saoyuth

Additional reporting by Sok Eng
This article was publish on LIFT, Issue 61 published on March 09, 2011

TEDx hits Phnom Penh


Dara Saoyuth

TEDxPhnomPenh

Dara Saoyuth while joining TEDxPhnomPenh

I was very lucky to be one among the 150 people who had the chance to join the first TEDxPhnomPenh. I arrived at the event some time before it started, spotted some people I knew and we enjoyed chatting while waiting for the auditorium doors to open.

Then it was time! An event organiser announced some rules we should know because the presentations would be live streaming to people around the world and I felt a bit nervous to hear them say that everyone should choose to sit at a table with people they hadn’t known before. The reason for this was that they wanted us to get to know different people and share ideas after each session of the presentations.

A few minutes later, the people at my table were not strangers any more. We started sharing basic information including our names, where we were from and so forth.

Our conversation ended when the moderator announced the official start of the programme. Everyone concentrated on what each presenter was saying. Our conversation started again in the form of a discussion about the subjects given by the moderator.

Kung Nai, a Chapei Master, and Keeda Oikawa, a live painter and illustrator, came together to show their talents at playing Chapei and painting as a welcome addition to the event. After that, 12 presenters came on stage one after another to present their topics.

Even though it was a mix between Cambodian and foreign presenters, to me all the presentations were great. I can see very little difference between these two types of presenters, apart from the use of English. I felt that some Cambodian presenters could not show their full potential because of a lack of English skills. However, they all managed to keep it interesting, convincing and they inspired me through their expressions and meaningful content.

If I was asked to choose my top two Cambodian presenters, Kounila Keo and Phloeun Prim would be my choices. As the author of the Blue Lady Blog, Kounila presented the topic β€œBlogging: The New generation of Cambodia”. Blogs are also my favourite things to read in my free time. Putting a few letters, but big and mostly fun pictures, made me easily catch and remember the points she made. With her clear explanation and convincing voice, I decided to choose her as my first choice.

As a Cambodian who was raised in Canada from the age of three, Phloeun Prim was my second choice of the most convincing speaker. He didn’t focus much on the slides he showed, but used his facial expressions combined with his great intonation which nearly made me cry as he started narrating his own story from childhood. He made it very clear about why he loves Khmer art and culture and why we should try to protect it.

If there is another chance in the future, I would love to go to this event again.

Tivea Koam

TEDxPhnomPenh

Phloeun Prim during his presentation in TEDxPhnomPenh / by: Dara Saoyuth

Building the Future” was the theme for TEDxPhnom Penh, which was held last Saturday. Since there was going to be many great people who would be really amazing for me to meet and talk with, I would have felt very regretful if I missed the event.Β  However, I was fortunate enough to get the chance to join in.

TEDxPhnom Penh brought both Cambodian and foreign speakers from different backgrounds together – artists, social entrepreneurs, filmmakers, bloggers, human rights activists and software developers – who had interesting experiences in life and wonderful ideas to share on the stage with a passionate audience.

While I was part of the audience at the event, I could see most of the speakers were really energetic and inspiring in presenting their great perspectives for how we could build the future of Cambodia and the world and how individuals could contribute to development and peace around the globe.

Some speakers made me laugh, some made me think critically about their topics, some aroused my emotions on what they were talking about and some made me thoughtful. I can say that the topics which were presented during the event were undeniably motivated and beneficial to me as a part of the audience.

Though some speakers like Kounila Keo, Sithen Sum and Phloeun Prim were Cambodians, they provided interesting presentations with global visions for the development of Cambodians. However, the topic that impressed me the most was β€œMidlife Crisis”, presented by Mike Rios. It was so compelling to me, for he gave a charming and humourous presentation, but he also gave me an idea that I had not thought of.

He showed the evils of some advertising he had done, which made people think of being cool and awesome if they possessed those advertised goods, and then explained what made him quit his job and his push to use advertising for a better way of life for people. He said that sometimes people do not even know they inspire others to achieve what they want, and that people were interdependent, with one inspiring another. That really pushed me to think more of what I am doing and what I have to do to better my life and my country.

Chris Brown, a software developer, talked about how to fail in business by focusing on customers first rather than moving straight to product-focused issues, which gave me more ideas about to how to start a business successfully.

Colin Wright’s talk on β€œExtreme Lifestyle Experiments” gave me another taste of life, on how to make positive change to lives. Chris Noble’s presentation of β€œFrom Little Things, Big Things Grow” did inspire me to feel that the small thing I did today can make a bigger change tomorrow.

Besides gaining knowledge from the speakers, I was really delighted to share my ideas with the people at my table and get more ideas from the discussion sessions which TEDxPhnom Penh provided.

I am so proud that I took part in TEDxPhnom Penh for the first time and it went so successfully, but what I think they could do to make it better would be to have more speakers so I could learn more from them.

I can say this is the greatest event I have joined in so far and I would love to engage myself more in such events with the hope of knowing more people, sharing ideas worth spreading and listening to meaningful, motivating and fascinating presentations demonstrated by passionate speakers, both local and international. I do hope we will have TEDxPhnom Penh next year, but with more speakers.

By: Dara Saoyuth & Koam Tivea
This article was publish on LIFT, Issue 57 published on February 09, 2011

CAMBODIA – Kingdom of Wondering about how new laws will change our lives


Born in Kandal’s Ponhea Leu district, this young man decided to leave home for Phnom Penh in 2009 to get a better education. Chan Sokneang, 22, is now a sophomore in English literature at the National University of Management.

Staying independently in Neakvon Pagoda, Chan Sokneang is struggling to make a living as an intern at an organisation in the city, hoping to gain some experience for his future goal as an NGO staff member after graduation. He hopes to land his dream job so he will not have to follow in his parents’ footsteps and become a farmer.

β€œI am very concerned about job opportunities that NGOs provide since the draft of the NGO law might affect their recruitment,” said Chan Sokneang.

Released on December 15, 2010, the draft law on Associations and Non-governmental Organisations aims to β€œset out formalities and conditions for forming, registering and operating associations, domestic non-governmental organisations and foreign non-governmental organisations in the Kingdom of Cambodia”.

Chan Sokneang said he was worried that the law would decrease the number of NGOs, which could cut down his opportunities to work for an NGO in the future.

In Samrithy, the Executive Director of NGO Education Partnership, said the new law constrained the cooperation between national and international NGOs, but it will not lessen NGOs’ careers. Instead, the law would make the recruitment process more complicated.

He added that this law did not attract donors to provide funds to Cambodia. He said: β€œIf the donors stop funding Cambodian organisations, many NGOs staff will be laid off,” he said, adding that the law should be made to attract donors rather than to discourage them from helping Cambodia.

However, the concern of not having many NGO job opportunities is not the real issue in Cambodia’s job market. Sandra Damico, the Managing Director of HR Inc Cambodia, said NGOs do not provide the overwhelming majority of jobs in the market. It was the small and medium enterprises sector that employed the most people with sectors such as garments, tourism, finances, telecoms etc providing the most formal and documented employment.

She said: β€œI don’t think that the law will have a significant impact on creating employment opportunities – the private sector is the sector that will and does generate the most employment.”

Although the law does not greatly affect the job opportunities of young Cambodians, it may act as a barrier in framing NGOs’ activities.

Associations and NGOs draft law sample

Associations and NGOs draft law sample

There are 11 chapters with 58 articles in the draft law. Sok Samoeun, an executive director at Cambodian Defenders Project, said the government tends to control and limit NGOs and association’s activities by using the law.

β€œAt the start of each month, they have to draft and send their activities to the government and also at the end of the month they have to do activities and financial reports to the government, which seems like they have to report everything,” Sok Samoeun explained.

According to Article 6 of the law, an association and non-governmental organisation or alliance of associations or local non-governmental organisations which are not registered or do not have a memorandum signed in accordance with this law shall not be allowed to operate any activity in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Sok Samoeun said the registration should be the right for NGOs and associations.

On January 21 this year, there was a meeting to discuss the draft law at the Ministry of Interior between the government and NGOs representatives including Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, NGO Forum, Medicam, Adhoc and Oxfam.

People who attended the meeting said the new law is going through a process and it is very important to understand each side so the law will work for all after being implemented. They said the law was not being made to violate anyone’s rights.

β€œIf any NGO or association feels that any point in the law is violating their rights, please raise the specific article so that we can discuss it with each other,” said Try Sokheng, who was at the meeting.

Try Sokheng said the law was not being made to close any NGOs or associations down, but the government just wanted all NGOs and associations to register at the ministry of interior within 180 days of the law pass being passed.

β€œIt depends on them. If they don’t want to continue, they can close and if they want to continue, they have to register,” said Try Sokheng, adding that some NGOs and associations that don’t have clear goals might not be able to exist anymore.

By: Dara Saoyuth & Tang Khyhay
This article was publish on LIFT, Issue 55 published on January 26, 2010
You can download this draft law in English by CLICKING HERE

Nokia X2-01 launching in Cambodia


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It’s Tuesday afternoon that we don’t have class and want to relax after a big quiz at school in the morning, so luckily I was invited to join a party at the Cambodian Country Club (CCC), about 15 minutes away from Phnom Penh.

At 5pm, I arrived the place looking around to see a lot of journalists except me and my other 4 friends who are all bloggers that only use their hands and keyboards to spread out information to the world.

That is the third time I have joined party organized by Nokia company for its new product launching and it is as good as always since each party were made in different places. I felt warmly welcome by everybody especially a music band which play very wonderful songs in both English and Khmer.

The entire event is made to welcome an arrival of Nokia X2-01, a phone that makes mobile messaging simpler, easier and more affordable. It will be available in Cambodian phone shop from tomorrow on and its price is $99.

A presentation by Mr. Mohammed (Md.) Mesbahuddin, Business Development Manager for Nokia Cambodia and Laos, started around 6pm when everybody arrived. I was really impressed with lots of features including 1-click access to email and chat via Nokia Messaging, 1-click access to social networking directly from homescreen, and 1-click access to music provided by this new mobile device.

A happy game to win Nokia X2-01 came after the presentation and followed by a nice buffet dinner. The program went on and on until 3 different kinds of Nokia cellphones were given to one winner in the game and two lucky people from lucky draw. You know what?Β Two bloggers among the five who join this afternoon party win 1 cellphone each. (Don’t be confused! I didn’t win!)

Music band was still playing, but for me, it was end at 8pm when it’s time I had to leave that place to prepared myself for tomorrow mid-term exam.

by: Dara Saoyuth
04/01/2011

Pine Plantation Area in Mondulkiri


Dear all Student Blog visitors,

As mentioned in previous post, our trip to Mondulkiri 3 weeks earlier is not only a fun but also a study tour. We were assigned to do a project under Eco-tourism theme. My group has done a short video clip on Pine Plantation Area in the province. Let’s see what we have for you! Cheers,

Reflections on a different of the Kingdom


Sunset in Mondulkiri

Sunset in Mondulkiri / by: Dara Saoyuth

The eight-hour trip on the bus to Mondulkiri was the longest journey of my life. To reach the final destination of our class trip to one of Cambodia’s most beautiful places we passed through Kandal, Kampong Cham and Kratie provinces. It wasn’t going to all fun on the trip, as my classmates at the Department of Media and Communication at RUPP and I were divided into groups to do class projects about eco-tourism, however, we were sure to find plenty of time for fun on the trip.

Being used to watching never ending traffic and looking at buildings that reach high into the sky, I really enjoyed the view along the way to Mondulkiri, filled with various types of trees, expansive fields and rolling mountains. Once the long trip was finally over we were dropped off at the city centre, where we checked out the central market and surrounding parks. The market was small and unimpressive and the park was filled with dust instead of flowers, so we weren’t anxious to stick around.

Since 80 percent of the population was comprised of ethnic minorities, making me think it would be rural and lack a lot of modern influence, I was surprised to see there were plenty of guesthouses and karaoke bars nearby. It seemed there were very few differences between life out here and back in Phnom Penh.

But, after talking to some of the native people I began to notice a gap between Cambodians in the city and ethnic minorities in the country side. The indigenous people often live alongside nature and make a living by farming and growing vegetables. Among other things, living deep in the forest or far away from civilization makes it harder for ethnic minorities to get to school and receive a proper education.

 

Development in Mondulkiri

Development in Mondulkiri / by: Dara Saoyuth

Now that industry is beginning to get started in the province, people are able to move about more and even start their own businesses in the area. We saw an example of this two nights during a party at Angkor Forest Guesthouse, where we were staying, when people were invited to dance to Khmer music and indigenous music from local minority population.

The hardest part of staying in the northern forest of Cambodia was the cold weather in the evening and especially in the morning. Β I had to cover myself with two blankets just to sleep, and wear a sweater whenever I left my room. Beyond that, I liked everything in Mondulkiri, especially the natural tourism sites. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to say yes if anyone asked me to go there again.

By: Dara Saoyuth
This article was published on Lift, Issue 50 published on December 22, 2010
You can also read the article on Phnom Penh Post website byΒ CLICKING HERE
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