Khmer Literature and Culture Festival

110 change-makers hosted the First Khmer Literature and Culture festival at the Liger Leadership Academy — The biggest event yet for the academy.


We spent more than two months in the Khmer essential class to organize the entire event. 

The hard work and the inspiration from all the students is an exemplary demonstration of how much preserving and promoting literature, history, tradition, and cultures to other high school peers mean to us.

To put together a successful event with over 400 participants from five different public and government high schools, there was a lot of hard work, creativity, and responsibility from everyone. 

I started as the planning committee to help structure the plan for the event. I have the leadership and the vision to ignite the motivation, momentum, and mission for the team to begin. I was contented that my skills were a valuable asset to the team; I also knew that there were people who are better at designing interactive booths, organizing advanced logistics, and communicating with hundreds of participants. According to Phil Jackson, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” This shows that it is more efficient and effective to organize a successful event if everyone’s focus on their specializations and trust the team expertise on other tasks.

Not all things go as planned, therefore in the middle of planning, the team had faced some challenges: not enough educational booths and shortage in funds. Since the end goal was too precious to give up, no matter how challenging the problems and how busy I was, I assist the team by leading a brainstorming session, finding two new sponsors, and lead two teams to organize two competitions: debate and public speaking while my teammates continued to work tirelessly on their different parts of the project. 

As a result, there were more 12 booths that share insights into our culture, literature, tradition, practice, and religion. Those booths range from illegal fishing, Human of Cambodia, Traditional instrument and music to debate, traditional costume from each era, and guest speaker.

The festival offers the opportunity for the Liger and other institutions to exchange each other knowledge and practice networking, communicating, and collaborating skills.  

Lastly, this success of the festival is almost impossible if there were not wide collaboration, concentration, and consensus from everyone.

College Essay – Two Cans of Beer

Prompt:  The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Two Cans of Beer

It was the last weekend of my summer break. On a Saturday evening, sitting in my mother’s shop at the front of our house,  my family discussed about education. We rarely spend time together. As the discussion came to an end, my sister cracked a joke about me and we all burst out laughing. I felt content and was enjoying the moment.


Abruptly, a man approached, with two cans of beer, and asked my dad if he wanted to drink with him. Immediately, the feeling of cheerfulness shifted to stress when he grabbed the beer. I glanced at my mom, her smile dropped as she knew what was coming.


As more people joined this impromptu party, my dad ordered me to buy more beers and my mom to cook dinner. He drank for hours then became increasingly loud and rambunctious. I sat quietly and observed my father turned from being responsible to irresponsible, sweet to aggressive, and respectful to disgraceful.


I knew I had to do something; however, I felt like if I did so I would be disrespectful. In Cambodian culture, the young have limited voice within the family. To me that is unacceptable! Kids should respect the experiences of elders while being able to share their ideas. My mind raced as my heart beats rapidly, worrying about what should I do. After the party, I gathered the courage to confront my dad and told him how I felt.


This moment of confrontation and change has shaped me in every facet of my life. As a future change maker of my country, I have placed myself in many uncomfortable and challenging situations for personal growth as well as the betterment of my country. With this vision, I performed in the school full-length play called The Network to raise awareness of the harmfulness of social media. I developed an educational add ons for a school to enhance student comprehension, collaboration, and creativity through experiential activities. I argued with my neighbors about gender equity and the equity of the world. I thoroughly educated different communities about the topic of malnutrition and sanitation after I went into the project not knowing much about it.


I knew that breaking the silence and making positive change for the world isn’t easy. Being a change agent requires time, commitment, and resilience, but I feel the duty to both start and carry out positive changes to myself, my community, and my country.

Flame Test Lab – Colorful Elements | Chemistry Experiment

In Chemistry class, I was introduced about color, light, and electromagnetic spectrum.  To better understand these concepts and make chemistry more interactive, we did an experiment about compounds element light and wavelength. 

In the flame lab, I took 5 different elements and excited with the flame to see the changes in the flame color from the chemicals reaction. Below was my lab report for the experiment. 

Objective: To observe the relationship between various elements and their emission spectrum.


  1. Why do we see colors of the flame in the experiment? 
    1. We see colors in the flame test because when the elements get burn, it then becomes excites the elements electrons and move to a higher energy orbital level (called the excited state). Then, excited electrons release energy as photons of light in order to get back to the ground state. Therefore the difference between the excited state energy and the ground state energy allow seeing different colors because of its frequencies of energy are emitted.
  2. How will we be testing the substances qualitatively?
    1. We will be testing the substances qualitatively by observing the color of the fire after adding the elements and use the wavelength and frequency level chart in Google Classroom and google search.
Related image
Wavelength and frequency level chart



  1. Light the Bunsen burner (turn the gas on so you can just hear it, then use the striker)
  2. Place the wood splint for each compound into the flame using tongs or tweezers- ONE AT A TIME!
  3. Take note of the color of the flame and return the wood splint to the solution.
  4. CLEAN UP YOUR STATION! Carefully put the stoppers back on the solutions! Make sure the station looks like it did when you started! Let me know if you need new splints!
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly before leaving the laboratory


Data Table: make a section of your lab labeled Data Table and make a data table similar to the one below to record your observations.


The color of Flame (qualitative)

Wavelengths of light (in Å) (quantitative)

Barium Chloride Yellow 590 – 560 nm
Calcium Chloride Orange 635 – 590 nm
Copper (II) Chloride Green 560 – 520 nm
Lithium Chloride Magenta 530 – 500 nm
Potassium Chloride Lavender 450 – 400 nm
Strontium Chloride Red 700 – 635 nm
Unknown #1 Magenta 530 – 500 nm

Observation: As the different compounds were added to the flames, various colors were being displayed through the flame.


Discussion and Analysis:

  1. What observation did you make that allowed you to come up with the wavelengths for each chemical? What happened to the atom (and more specifically the electrons) that caused you to see that change?
    1. The observation that I made that allowed me to come up with the wavelengths for each chemical is to record the reactions when different elements are added. When the differents element gets burn, the atom (and more specifically the electrons) happened to excites the electrons and move the electrons to a higher energy orbital level (called the excited state). Then, excited electrons release energy as photons (wave) of light in order to get back to the ground state. Therefore the difference between the excited state energy and the ground state energy allow seeing different colors because of its frequencies of energy are emitted by atoms of the element.
  2. The unknown compound is one of the other six. Identify it and explain HOW you figured it out using the results of your experiment.
    1. The unknown compound is closest the Lithium Chloride compound because of its flames color. I observe the flame of the unknown compounds is magenta which is the same as lithium. Magenta has a wavelength range between 500 -530 nm.



The two possible sources of error for this lab are the flame color that was being observed by me and is the effect of water that was used to make the elements stick. Our eyes are never near as precise as the spectroscope, this can lead to a misinterpretation of the wavelength of each compound. Second, water that was used to make the chemical stick onto the stick can affect the color the flame because of its reaction. One change that would be very beneficial is to have more compound to do experiment with because it gives more data for the lab person to analyze with. The other change that will help with more accurate data is to repeat each compound on the flame three times.


Lab Team


Tackling the Wonderful SAT TEST

SAT is literally in 3 days! That is scary but excited at the same time. In Math essential, 95% of the class time is strongly devoted to SAT math section preparation and I been doing that for over 4 weeks now.

Most of the time, we worked on filling the individual math content, such as the system of equation, right triangle, circle theorem, and remainder theorem. I pretty confident with the materials, but my two biggest flaws are the limited time and strategy that I approach the questions.  

Jeff Boucher, our math facilitator, had guided me through the differences approach to solving a problem. Those approaches include the plugin, read the desire findings, and work back from the answer choices.

As I spend some time working on different types of problems, I started to see some patterns and methods that work for me.

The only way to beat the time constraint and the test is to practice. So, I hope everything going to turn out well.

See you SAT!!


An introduction to Doppler Echocardiogram

Doppler Echocardiogram is a test of frequency shift that bound off from and the heart and the vessels. To make this concept clearer, we going to break this into two words, doppler, and echocardiogram. A traditional echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create the visualization of the heart. The echocardiogram is cool, it can only show the edge of the structure of the heart, but it doesn’t have the capability to detect the speed of the heart. To do that there is a technology calls the Doppler techniques. These techniques allow us to identify the speed and the direction of the blood flows. Doppler Echocardiogram transmitted certain frequency sound waves directly into the heart. The frequency will reflect back from the moving tiny blood cells that are traveling through the heart and the vessels. Therefore, the movement if the cells move toward the tools, it will create a higher pitch result, and it moves back it would result in a lower frequency shift. These formations will then help cardiologists to identify the speed and the direction of our heart every day.

Respecting the Why: Understanding the Complexity of the Entertainment Industry in Cambodia

I just learned an important lesson that I no one should overlook, it’s about “GENDER”. I came to literacy essential every day in the third round, which is approximately two months with enthusiasm, curiosity, happiness, and optimism to discuss the global issues, specifically, issues related with gender from different regions, time, economics, and conditions. A lot of what we did in this unit was read, read, and read articles from all sources, including GirlsGlobe, The New York Time, and books to absorb as much information about the past and current information as possible. As we read these articles, we tried to pay attention to the styles of writing, the complexity, and the variety of stories that represent gender. The end product of this assignment was to write a news article on a topic of gender. Choosing what to write on was a struggle for me, but I always wanted my topic to speak about something that no one brought up. I have chosen to write about the Entertainment industry in Cambodia, the job’s condition, the society view, the positive, and the negative of it. This topic might be a bit sensitive, but I highly recommend everyone to read this because it’s going to change your perspective about those “Entertainment worker” and understand the complexity of the industry.

You have two option: one is live your life as an unemployed person which equates to being homeless because you are uneducated, two is live your life in a deeply ashamed and dark industry in order to survive, which option would you want to spend the rest of your life in?

Care Organization declared that “The garment sector in Cambodia employs approximately 600,000 people and up to 85% of workers are women.” Thus, among those people, there must be an enormous “WHY” that motivates women to decide to leave this female-dominated workforce to work somewhere else that is less respected but higher paid. Changing vocations is very difficult and limited due to the lack of education, low income, and, primarily, lack of options.

Newton’s first law stated that “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same velocity and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” This law pertains to many women in Cambodia; they have tried diverse types of jobs such as domestic workers, garment work, street trading, and small businesses, but it was not enough to support their family’s demand and their own hunger. Meaning that most women had tried to work for all of the jobs listed above, but because of the family’s economic condition, the women are forced to work at other places. The entertainment industry often offers more lucrative, flexible opportunities and are often more “pleasant.”

Not all entertainment workers are sex workers

The entertainment industry includes hostess bars, karaoke bars, massage parlors, and freelance prostitution, which is not common knowledge in Cambodia and around the world. Not everyone who participates in the entertainment sector, which is approximately 35,000 according to 2012 UNICEF report, involved in prostitution or sex. The women that work in this market deserve the same respect as those in other careers. The same principle as any cycle in the world, every part shared equal responsibility to maintain. The reason it’s called the entertainment sector because people are working to entertain national and international tourists. Entertainment doesn’t mean only sex, it is also about companionship, attention, relationship, romance, friendship, and relaxation. This profession also plays a big role in the country’s economy. According to the Phnom Penh Post, Sokhoeun, a waitress of one of the KTV in Phnom Penh, stated that “The hours is much better, and I earned more money.” While she’s having more money to support her family, housing, and school fee, she also faced stress and struggle. “A lot of the male clients try to touch or grope us,” Sokhoeun said. Similarly, Ms. Chamrong, a beer promoter in Phnom Penh, said she has always been treated with disrespect by male customers; they used unsuitable language with her. Some asked her to have sex with them and she refused, saying she is a beer seller, not a sex worker.

What is your view on the women working in the entertainment sector?

Western views

Some foreigners view women engaging in the entertaining sector as pitiful because many of them are forced to do these types of jobs even if it’s against their inclination. Because of these images toward women, many foreigners are working to get funds to support these women in a different manner, to get them out of this industry. Not everybody has the same sympathy or perspective toward this sector, and some people view them as criminals who have broken a big part of Cambodian social mores and the country laws. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, however viewing these women as victims could cause a problem. Helping those women to live a better life doesn’t always mean forcing them out of the bar or the place they are working in because many of them do not want to leave their job. There are other a small group of foreigners seen those women as “greedy” which only go out just to get money. This is a misconception because, in the long run, many of the women get emotionally affected by the money they are getting. Interestingly, Steben Linbom, an expat, and chef from the United States of America who is working as a chef in a restaurant in Phnom Penh has been living in Phnom Penh for two years and has a very different view of the women in this sector. “I love them. …. I don’t think they are bad people because … they tell you a lot of stories.. maybe their husband ran away or they got pregnant and had to take care of their baby. Therefore, I do not have an opinion of those women.”

Cambodian views

Preserving culture is a serious task for Cambodians. Cambodian mindset is that a woman is expected to act gentle, well-mannered, stay in the house as households, take care of the children, and be supportive of the husband. These perceptions of on women are very strict and still highly preserved. Because of that, some Cambodians see the women who work in an entertainment industry as an absolute contempt because their action has broken the “Chbap Srei,” which translated as the women’s code rules/law of our tradition. “I’m always afraid that people in my hometown will discriminate against me now,” Sokkhoeut says. “People assume that if you’re working in a KTV, then you’re not a good girl. Even my family thinks I’m having sex with men,” she continued. Having to work so hard to save money to support their family, while simultaneously being encompassed by condemnations from their friends, their family, and their society can be painful for the girls. Nonetheless, there are many other citizens who support and respect the girls’ options. “I felt pity for those women because they did not get the chance to study. So, choosing this option is convenient for them, although they did not receive high dignity. Besides people’s criticisms, working in this field has many effects including breaking the culture, health issues, and emotional breakdown,” Chanthorn, a driver at the Liger Leadership Academy, responded.

What are the factors that force women to choose that job?

Many people who work in the entertaining sectors in Phnom Penh come from rural Cambodia because most of them lack economic opportunity. Choices are very limited for them. The number of people working in this field is increasing, which is a big problem for Cambodia.

Is 50 cents a day enough for you to survive? Surprisingly, Sochua, a former Minister of Women’s and Veterans Affairs and an anti-sex trade activist, said that millions of Cambodians are struggling to live on less than 50 cents a day; many women turn to the sex industry. Poverty is the colossal factor that drives women to enter this market. The most effective way to fight poverty is education. The reality is that more than half of the children in Cambodia do not complete primary school at all, according to ChildFund International. Lack of education, lack of choice. Sometimes, family health conditions can be a motivating factor for those girls. Besides all of the factors, personal desires, learning English, exploring romance, and experiencing outside Cambodia can also influence the choice. Chanthorn said, “sometimes some of the women receive high education, but sometimes their friends drag them to these fields.” The last factor can be minimal, but it happens more frequently than people aware; parents have sold their daughters at the price of $10 to $100.  International organizations — such as UNICEF, ECPAT and Save the Children — says that between 50,000 to 100,000 people involved in the sex-industry are children.

How do you think those women feel working in this condition?

A lot of women feel unsafe about the places that they are working in. Depending on the jobs positions and the condition of the places, some are more emotionally affected and some are more physically affected. Sokhoeun, a woman interviewed by Phnom Penh Post said, “Sometimes they [create] problems, they come in drunk with a gun or smash their glasses on the ground.” Some of the women’s conditions are even worse; some are being forced to drink beer with customers while some are being raped. “The worst scenario that could happen is having to drink with customers, leaving many of the women drunk and vulnerable,” says Ou Tepphallin, the vice president of the Cambodian Food and Service Worker Federation. The Phnom Penh Post reported that 170 of the women that were surveyed said that they are all forced to drink, which on average, the survey reported that is approximately 18.7 days in a month. A more serious issue for all the women is that they start to lose value in themselves and feel useless and hopeless. According to the Phnom Penh Post, almost one out of five people who worked in the entertaining sectors attempted suicide. A study shows that there is a strong correlation between the risk of having a positive test for HIV and psychological distress, with an estimate of  16,800 adults in Cambodia.

NGOs that help

There are many NGOs that are tackling this issue and trying to rescue the women in the “entertaining sector” to shift them for a better career. Many of the NGOs are working tirelessly towards the same vision, to strive for similar vision, but just in different paths and with different target audiences. The two main aspects that all NGOs should consider are: first, all of the women don’t want to go back the place that they are dying to get out, so training them to go in the menial labor, sewing as an example, just doesn’t really help; second, most of the vocational training that is provided by  organizations are stereotypical types like housekeeping, hairdressing, and social work. For example, NGO Acting for Women in Distressing Situations (AFESIP) provides skills training in fields that include sewing, housekeeping, hairdressing, weaving, handicrafts, small-business management and social work. Why not take into consideration about computer skill, art, cooking, and English because these skills will benefit them in long-term approach even though it will require more resources.

the ACTED organization, which has reached around 7000 took another creative approach to support the fact that some women don’t want to leave their job, through ACTED’s program, all women can come to do a monthly family discussion about the problems or concerns that they have from their job, which together they will come up with ways to solve those problems. For example, the discussion can be from how to drink responsibly and techniques to avoid the customer request without being offensive to them, how to turn down unwanted sexual advances (a type of sexual harassment) and how to practice safe sex when both parties consent. Doing this will help to increase confidence to speak out about what is wrong and right, which will reduce the potential cost of the problems.

A call for support does not mean motivating more women to choose the entertainment industry. The support helps to prevent discrimination and more social acceptance. The image of Cambodia as a sex tourism destination is shameful for Cambodians. To change this negative image, everyone must work together towards a common goal: respect. Governments, citizens, tourists, and workers themselves should join hands to establish guidelines, rules, codes of conduct, and value.




Writing Poem in Khmer Essential

For the last two weeks, in khmer class we are being shifted from a normal writer to a more creative writer. We are song writers and poem writers. Producing a song is a very tough task to accomplish. Producing a song that would last for generations is even harder. One of the most well-known song writer in the 60s, Mr. Voy Ho said the three components that every songs or poems must have in order to make it last longer than the writers are weather/season, atmosphere and figurative language. The vision of the my poems are to raise-awareness to people in the society to understand the current problems and ways they can takes to change. For this particular poem, I wrote about what does it means to have a kid.


ខ្លួនជាមនុស្សរស់អោយមានន័យ                      ហាកកំុគិតខ្លីខ្សាញ់ឧរ៉ា

មើលគេមើលឯងគោរពទេវតា                          កំុខ្ជួតស្រីស្រាល្បែងពាលា។

ម៉ែខំទ្រពោះធ្ងន់យ៉ាងក្រៃ                                    ៩ខែ១០ថ្ងៃចេញនាវា

គ្រួសារភ័យអរទាំងអស់គ្នា                                   នេះហើយគឺជាទិតភាពពិត។

កូនកើតមកជីីវិតម៉ែផ្លាស់ផ្តូរ                             ម៉ែមានជំហរមួយថ្មីគិត

ខំប្រឹងបីបាច់កូនយ៉ាងស្និត                                ឲកូនចេះគិតជ្រៅជាងមែ៉។

ព្រោះតែកូនម៉ែសុខចិតអត់                               រស់នៅទាំងខ្សត់ប្រឹងធ្វើស្រែ

ឲកូនទៅរៀនចិតមិនប្រែ                                   ខំបន្តូសផ្លែឲមានក្លិត។


This is the khmer version, the english version coming soon. Stay tune to my upcoming post.

The Lamb of the Slaughter

In Nefarious November, we will study four of the most well-known stories around the world. For two of the stories that I’ve learned, all of them are very frightening and very interesting. The two stories were written by Roald Dahl. Both of the stories, he uses two main kinds of literacy devices, which helps to make the stories more interesting and more suspense to the readers. Irony is one of the device that we learned from the story called “The Lamb to the Slaughter“. To make our understanding of irony deeper, I was asked to write a pace response explaining examples of ironies used by Roald Dahl in this story. So, please take a look at my pace response. 

There are three types of ironies that were used throughout the short story “The Lamb to the Slaughter” written by Roald Dahl. Irony is a literary device that display a situation in which something which was intended to have a particular result has the opposite or a very different result. Roald Dahl uses many ironies because it makes the readers feel excited, angry, shocked, or sometimes relieved to the story. The three types of irony device are verbal, situational and dramatic irony. Situational irony occurs when the actual result of a situation is totally different from what you’d expect the result to be. One of the major section of situational irony is found in the introduction of the story when Mrs. Mary Maloney depicts as a calm, loving lady, who really miss her husband and show a lot of career. However, after the story progresses, we saw a shocked result, in a moment of madness, she then killed her husband without regretting. “She laid aside her sewing, stood up, and went forward to kiss him as he came in. … She loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man, and to feel – almost as a sunbather feels the sun – that warm male glow that came out of him to her when they were alone together.” In the introduction, Dahl presented Mary Maloney who obsessed with her husband and nothing is more comfortable and more meaningful than having Mr. Patrick. Then, after having some conflict, she killed him with a frozen leg of lamb: “At that point, Mary Maloney simply walked up behind him and without any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she could on the back of his head.” Verbal irony occurs when a speaker’s intention is the opposite of what he or she is saying. “The man glanced around his shop. “How about a nice big slice of cheesecake? I know he likes that.” “Perfect,” she said. “He loves it.” The fact that she said he love it is completely opposite of what she mean. Her husband already died, but she still want cheesecake, which no one was going to eat it. And saying he loved it, but maybe in her mind said he hate it. Dramatic irony occur the most in this story and it happened when the audience knows a key piece of information that a character in a play, movie or novel does not. For example, when Jack Nooman, a police detective said, “Get the weapon, and you’ve got the man.” The reader knew that the weapon that killed Patrick is the frozen leg of lamb. However, Jack doesn’t know that, so the lies in better the two action is a representative of the irony.

Past tense and Irregular verb story

To practice the past tense and irregular verb, I wrote a short story in past tense about one of my favorite childhood memories. The paragraph below is my story:

About six years ago, I was a grade four student in my local government school in Takeo province. I walked to school throughout my life as a student since the start of the first grade to the end of 3rd grade academic year. Sometimes while I walked from school back to my home, I felt upset about myself because I did not get access to transportation so I couldn’t go out with friends. however, rather than allowing this problem to stop me from working hard, I kept myself strong and instead I pushed myself to tried harder and helped with my mom’s business more and more. I was shocked when I saw my dad bought a brand new bike as my birthday present. At that moment, he made my dream came true, so I grabbed his face and kissed him for the first time of my life. At my first day of 4th grade, I rode my bike to school for the first time. When I rode my bike, I thought about all the work that my parent has put into getting this bike, which made me cried every time I’ve thought of it.