The Man Who Build Cambodia

“The Man Who Build Cambodia”, a 30 minutes documentary produced by Christopher Rompré was an inspiration to Cambodians and especially to students in the field of architecture. I remembered watching this documentary, with my best friend and my favorite engineering facilitator a year ago, it gave me goosebumps all over my body. 

The documentary pictured the beautiful design concept and innovative architectures that Vann Molyvann has built during the 1960s. All of the design he produced incorporate all the surrounding aspect including people, nature, technology, and culture, which made very uniques and sustainable. 

The documentary motivates me to write a biography about his personal life and career live. Below is the biography. Please Enjoy!


Vann                  Molyvann        (1926 – 2017)

 Image result for vann molyvann

Vann Molyvann, known as the “The Man Who Built Cambodia”, was one of the most well respected and influential architects in Cambodia. He was the state architect leader, assigned by the King Norodom Sihanouk, who oversaw over 100 projects both national and international during the “Sangkum Reas Niyum”, the man who blend modern styles to make it suitable with Cambodia climate, culture, geography, vernacular, and ancient design to his works, and the man who lead the New Khmer Architecture movement. To understand more about his unbelievable achievements and spirit, let understand his early life.

Molyvann was born on November 23, 1926, in Ream, Kampot provinces (which is located at the lower west side of Cambodia), Cambodia. His parents’ hometowns play an important role in his successful career. He has his father live in the rural side of Cambodia, while his mother lives in Phnom Penh, the Capital city of Cambodia. Being raised in two completely different environments has led him to fully immersed in the environment and the atmosphere surrounded Vann. Vann grew up with one younger sister and one older brother. He was a successful student in his school life; he was one of the only few students to get his national diploma in 1955 from Preah Sisowath Highschool Phnom Penh. Afterward, at the age of 20, Vann received a scholarship in the Law degree in a university called Sorbonne, in Paris, France. The reason that he apply for Law because at that time no one knows that is architecture and that lawyers make a lot of money. However, after being a law student for one year, he switches from law management to architecture because he failed the Latin part of his Roman law exam. In 1951, Vann finished his architecture degree at France, which is one of the first very international degrees that Cambodians receive. By majoring in architect was very brave and smart of him, because not many people are considering into this field and there is a myth in Cambodia that “if you are an architect, you won’t get a wife”. He continues to live in France for another decade and returned to Cambodia in 1956, which is three years after Cambodia gained its independence from France.

What makes Vann’s so special and essential to Cambodia architecture was his genius ability to adopt modern principle styles to Cambodia that really comprise the geographical landmark, perverse culture, and socioeconomic condition. His biggest influencers in architecture that crafted him as a passionate and cutting-edge modern styles architect was a combination of  Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (known as Le Corbusier), a swiss-french architect and urban planner, modern architecture philosophy and ancient Angkorian tenets. Vann’s is so skillful and soulful of what he is doing, he caught so much attention from the public and especially the king, which then the king designated him as state architecture. After he is in control, Cambodia building is full of love, creativity, and simplicity and in 23 years (1957 to 1970) Vann has helped to design over 100 projects. Those structures ranging from the Independence monument, National Olympic Stadium, and Chaktomuk Conference Hall to the Institute of Foreign Languages, Bassac Riverfront project, and National Bank of Cambodia. In addition to his amazing design in the building, but he is also very superb with planning infrastructure of the Phnom Penh city, which made the city the most eye-couching city in the region.

Vann’s has everything as an architect including good communication skill, strong in drawing/sketching, excellent sense of design, great sense of business, and passion. The three principles that help Vann to be a successful architect were: passionate with his work, creativity, and good communication skill, He was so passionate in what he is doing for his country, he was the forefront of the New Khmer Architecture movement, known as nationwide of building design school, along with Lu ban Hap and Mam Sophana. This movement has Influenced and encourages buildings all across Cambodia, between 1953 to 1975, to use of new construction materials, references to pre-existing techniques, to use the natural airflow and shade and landmark, and ornamentation from the Angkorian style. Vann’s works are full authenticity, creativity, heroically, and soul, and as a result, his works inspired many people around the world and better than British architecture. The architect is different from the artist; the artist can pick up paint and do a painting, however an architect need benefactor to believe in their vision to make it become real. Since Vann was so trustable and communicable, he had made a strong bond with King Sihanouk, which made the king as his benefactor for all of his novel visions.

Despite his huge impact on planning and building Cambodia, many Cambodia’s and people around the world known Vann very little. Many of his great legacies have been destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime, such as the National Bank of Cambodia and Medical lab. For his buildings that are not being disturbed by the Khmer Rouge are still very much appreciated and being studied all over Cambodia. Moreover, through these vibrant achievements, Vann Molyvann has brought Cambodia to its stand on the international stage, receiving the Nobel Prize in the Nikkei Asia in 2013, and proof the world that Cambodia is as capable of during great works as the world.

Works Cited

Bertin, Rémy. “New Khmer Architecture.” New Khmer Architecture, 1 Jan. 1970,

Eimer, David. “Vann Molyvann: the Unsung Hero of Phnom Penh Architecture.” South China Morning Post, South China Morning Post, 8 Feb. 2014,

“Learn about Vann Molyvann.” Famous Birthdays,

Marissa. “Remembering the Works of Vann Molyvann, the Revered Khmer Architect.” Culture Trip, 28 Sept. 2017,

Nakura, Zaie. “Legacy of Vann Molyvann.” LXC, 6 Oct. 2017,

“New Khmer Architecture.” The Vann Molyvann Project,

Developing educational add ons for Bambujaya

Bambujaya is a new private primary school that is planned to open later in 2019. Not like Liger, ISPP or Northbridge, Bambujaya targeted on middle-class families who want to send their kids to a school with a better atmosphere, teacher, and curriculum. The school is based on the Cambodian curriculum, but incorporate more STEM and challenging activities that supplement with the lesson to enhance student comprehension, collaboration, and creativity. The school hired leaders from the Liger to be the inventor for the add-on content. I was chosen to be one of the consultants to develop the add-on for the grade 2 books. I was happy, however, I know that it going to be different from the previous projects. This was a real work, I got clients expectation and due date, then I have to bring the best quality add-ons for them with no accuses. A quality add-on needs to have a clear learning objective, a unique cross-curriculum program, and useful resources.


Example of an add-on I wrote for grade 2 mathematics on a topic of Multiplication:

Name: Multiplication Olympics Competition

Duration: 40 – 60 minutes

Learning Objective: Students will apply their multiplication skill to solve various levels of multiplication activities in a competitive and time-constrained activity.



For this activity to work, it requires a lot of plannings from the teacher and many resources. But, besides that part, this activity is one of the most exciting, interacting, and hands-on activity of all the previous activities that had been created.


This activity is similar to a relay race, therefore, the number of activities that teacher will need a plan is the same as the number of students in each group.


The activity:

Students will be put into teams, and each team will be given a baton. The baton determines when a student can start their activity; they can only start when they have the baton. Within each team, every student will be assigned a number. Students who are assigned number one will get the baton and do the first activity. Once they are finished, they will pass the baton their teammate who will be doing the second activity. Students will complete their own activity and pass on the baton to their teammates until everyone on the team has done their activity. The fastest team to have every member complete their activity wins.


Note: Because of the requirement of hard work from students in doing this activity, the winning team deserves something. The teacher can award them with small gifts like candy or a pencil to motivate them. By giving the gifts to the winner, students may learn to understand the reality of a game, there will be a team that will do better than the others, and know not to get upset about it, but try harder the next time.


Liger Leadership Academy presents its first full-length play called The Network. I’m so honored to be a part of this accomplishment. My job’s in this project are the sponsorship organizer and play the role of the Network. Here’s a short description of the play: Life in the Network can be fun, confusing, and scary. Depending on the individual, the Network can become a helpful friend or an evil enemy. Users are able to do anything and everything such as connecting with their beloved ones and sharing their emotions, thoughts, ideas, activities. Just like reality, the Network has people who take this platform to the next level. People allow the Network and their friends to influence their minds. “The Network is my life!”, “I’m in a relationship with D”, “Can you send some of your private pictures to me?” These are just a quarter percent of all the activities in the Network.  

The moral behind the play: At the Liger Leadership Academy, we like to do things differently. We chose to perform The Network because we want the audience to question how social media influences their day-to-day interactions. This full-length Comedy-Drama also explores how the virtual world impacts reality, how “information bubbles” shape our perception of the world, and how different sources of information inform people’s behavior. Are we in control of the Network, or is the Network in control of us?

My response to how social media has affected me as a person. Social Media had made me become a more social type of person, but not really. I use it to chat with people from different places about life, social problem, lifestyle, adventure, etc. While I take time to chat with people from the new world, it has stopped me from interacting with people around me. Sometimes this platform gets me distracted and challenging to find the balance both the time and the conversation. 


The poem that kill me

After many problems

With bordering countries

and French colonization,

Cambodia rose up again.

Again after the “Angkor Wat” Empire

Many considered as the “Golden Age,”

Which was controlled by Sihanouk.


Can you imagine how it feels like?

A modern city, with a high education system.

Music was diverse, like in an ecosystem.

Banks were created, the economy expanded.

Overflowing with optimism and hope,

Dancing freely, people enjoying entertainment.

Internationally, they knew who we were.

Awesome, peaceful place – Cambodia.


Dreadful massacre happened unexpectedly.

Eventually, everything was ended.

Are you educated, an actress, indigenous, wear glasses?

Then, your eyes will close with sorrow.

Humans were forced to work, 12 hours a day.

Starvation snuck in, leaving the land dripping with death.


Phnom Penh became a ghost city.

Over 3 years, 8 months, 20 days.

Lives of animals were meaningless.

Poverty was rising at a 100% rate.

Obey each other to leave the country for safety…

They left behind the brutality of POL POT.


Do NOT step on the same footprints!

Or else, people will die in sorrow.

Learn from the past, improve tomorrow,

Think carefully before you take action.

Do NOT be evil like Pol Pot!


Investigating on the potential dinosaur footprints in Cambodia

The first exploration of 2017-2018 school year for me was the Investigation on Dinosaur footprint in Cambodia. It was a seven weeks long. The project have a team of 10 and two facilitators. The biggest mission of this exploration was to investigate and validate if there actually any dinosaur in Cambodia. In 2015, the DMA of Thailand have found some dinosaur footprint at Battambong province, Cambodia. The problems was that no one have actually verified that it was a real footprint or not. For that reason, it inspired our group to do a closer look at the investigation. We went to Battambong, to see the real site of the footprint. We have found sixteen footprints in that site. After, knowing that there are some potential footprints, we need to do more research. We thought that we can’t do this alone, we are not paleontologist. Therefore, we created a report that contains all of the informations such as, the site and the landmark and the footprint itself, in order for us to send this report to other experts. So, we then worked with five paleontologists around the globe to validate and help us on the footprint that we have discovered. While, waiting for the paleontologist to do their job, we also worked a lot with validate it ourself as well. What we did was, we read many scientific reports about the footprint that have been found that relevant to us such as the theropod and the pterosaur. After, talking with paleontologist and doing our own research, we have found out that out of 16 difference dino footprint that we have found, five of them are 95% sure that it was real the dinosaur footprint. The project have not end, there are some people still continue to work on the project, in order to have the final decision on the footprint and also focus more on the outreach part and the preservation part.  Stay tune to my upcoming post!

Liger Digital Currency

Liger Digital Currency (LDC) is a project that influences everyone in the Liger family, and the outside world as well. It’s basically about creating a platform that allows people to send and receive money through technology, such as smartphones or computers. The idea of this project was started by the Founder of Liger Learning Center, which is Trevor Gile. He says that we should create a digital currency system that will be used by everyone at Liger. It must be safe, secure and convenient . I chose to take this opportunity as an Exploration. The first week we started to explore the Bitcoin Mechanical System and their features to learn more and see what features that we could in corporate in the LDC. Then, we learned that Bitcoin is a decentralized system because they use blockchain. After many discussions about the platform, we decided to have three main teams in the LDC exploration, that teams are the Database, UI & UX team and a Communication team. The UI & UX team is the one who designs the website and makes the user interact with the website easily. Database is the team that best fits me because I have some experience coding JavaScript. The two members on this team are Sreyneang L and I. My team’s task is not a very fun job to code because there were no visual displays. Most of the time the database team is the one who is responsible for the back-end of the platform, like storing the data of the user in a very secure place, and making sure it doesn’t get lost. For example, if you are sending me 10 Pedros (name of our currency, where one Pedro = one US dollar), my job is to add that transaction to the transaction record and also to subtract the money from your account and then add the 10 Pedros to my account total. The most challenging part for me in this exploration is seeing the big picture of the whole project. This means that I am only working on my task and it’s hard to think about the other parts of the project and how they will all combine together. In the end, I managed to start understanding it better and the team was working well as a group and our first prototype was successfully made.Don’t miss my next post!

Cookbook exploration

In the senior generation, Liger students will cook their own food. Not all students know how to cook, right? So, they need some references to help them. That is why this book was created.

This book contains a lot of different food styles including Khmer, Western, and fusion. A group of nine students worked really hard to find the recipes and make sure it is acceptable for the students to cook by themselves. We broke up the styles of food into many different sections such as, salad, meat, poultry, seafood, and etc. These dishes can be cooked for breakfast and dinner (also maybe lunch).

We hope from now on everyone can cook by themselves, no matter where you are. Also, we hope that this book will help you to cook delicious meals for your friends, family, and yourselves. 

Liger Visitor Infomation Palace (VIP)

The idea of making Liger Visitor Infomation Palace (VIP) is because Liger school have many visitors come to visit our school. So, instead of taking students to host them, we create this VIP to host for us. To make it happen we create 4 differents team that focus on differents type of jobs. Those jobs are Landscaping, designing, Solar electricity system and 3D model design. I a part of the Solar electricity team and basically my team works on installing the Solar system to run in the VIP. To complete this massive work, we have to work with the experts from the NRG solution solar company and work with our school director to get the budget. My second job for this Exploration is designing Liger Main Building and the new dormitories with my partner Mengthong, using Blender (a 3D modeling software) with the scale of 200 times smaller. Down here are some of the picture and video of our work. Please, don’t miss my new post.

These are the photo of the activities in this Exploration

Tropical Forest Ecology Description

Name: Tropical Forest Ecology

Date: May 5 2014 – June 17 2014

Number of People: 12

Essential Questions:

1. How are organisms and the nonliving environment interconnected in the world around us?

2.  What is the value of tropical forest ecosystems for Cambodia?

3. How do humans impact tropical forest ecosystems in Cambodia? Is it possible to use tropical forests sustainably?

Description: In Tropical Forest Ecology we learned about Ecosystems. Ecosystems are a community of organisms that are interconnected and connected with non-living things. We went on two trips because we wanted to experience and see forest directly.We went to Preah Vihear and Koh Kong provinces. When we came back we compared the dry deciduous dipterocarp forest ecosystem (Preah Vihear province) with the evergreen forest ecosystem (Koh Kong province). In Preah Vihear we went to Tmatboey community and in Koh Kong we went to Chi Phat community. We learned about conservation. Conservation means taking care or protecting something. While we learned about conservation, we also learned about sustainable and unsustainable. Sustainable is the action that does not destroy the ecosystem. Unsustainable is the action that destroys the ecosystem. We learned about ecotourism. Ecotourism is tourism that uses and benefits the ecosystem. That is one way that we use ecosystems sustainably.Also we learned about ecological services. Ecological services are the benefits that people get from ecosystems. There are three ecological services such as provisioning services, regulating services and cultural services. Provisioning services are how the ecosystem provides us directly. Ex: Trees give us resin. Regulating services are how the ecosystem regulates the climate. Ex: Trees stop the floods by absorbing the water. Cultural services are how the ecosystems give us something culturally. Ex: Bambuti people use forest plants to smoke for their ceremonies.  We answered our essential questions by using the knowledge that we got from our trips.IMG_2369 (1024x683)