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.

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.




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.


As I carefully entered the haunted house, the door shut behind me and I saw a shadow walking behind as I walked. I was terrified, my heart was pounding rapidly. As I continued to walked, a creaking noise came from above my heart. Spine-chilling wind blew across my pale face. It seemed that there were eerie footsteps following me as I examine the dark corridor. “Is anyone out there?”, I screamed from far away. A moment of silence, the creaking noise and the shadow were gone. All I heard was my own heart beat. “ARGH! WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT?” I shriek. There is a gross slimy cold hands that has this putrid aura to it. I screeched a kitty on the table and suddenly it turn to be an repulsive creepy woman. It’s look like a evil bloody rapscallion. It has huge slimy eyeballs with blood running down its face. There were no nose but long sharp teeth were sticking out of its mouth. I have no clue what I was going to do next. I can’t even screamed or move my legs. It’s like sleep paralysis where I can’t do anything, After that monster scream, I manage to run away, I then feel extremely confident and tell her to go and take shower. She denied my request, I was so mad at that ghost, so I decided to carried her and threw her into the swimming pool, “SPLASH!” Hehe. The swimming pool turned red because of the blood. I though she is already drown but she did come back up and pulled me into swimming pool too, But it turned out that, I was on my bed.

This I Believe

This I Believe that education is the secret weapon that helps to fight through obstacles to have a successful life.

My uncle has been struggling to find a good enough job to support himself and his family. Nith was an excellent uncle to me. He cares about me, and he always looks after me. Uncle Nith was always being push to study from my grandpa, but he was then repelled because he wants to enjoy his time with his friends. The consequence of this action is that he can’t get a good job that will provide enough salary for him to live a happy live. He tried to apply for five different jobs, but no one is interested in him. This happen because he doesn’t have the secret weapon to fight the problems that they gave him, meaning that he doesn’t have the education to fulfill the company needs. Uncle Nith moved to Thailand for six years already. The reason he went there is that there is a job opportunity for him and now he is a driver for one of the company in Thailand. By doing this, he had sacrificed many things such as break out from his parents, family, live there alone without knowing any language and culture.

After seeing what had happened to my uncle, I realized what I couldn’t believe was becoming true. My family tried to take my uncle as an example to proof that I must study harder. At that time, I was so careless about my learning, meaning that after I came back from school, I would throw my back on my bed and turn on the TV to watch my favorite movie Sen Ou Kong. My dad usually come back from work at around 8:30 to 9 o’clock at night with tired eyes, hungry and worriedness about me. The quote that he said to me every night is that “I learn so hard to stand where I am today and at the time, I didn’t have any electricity, no really school, no transportation, no anything. And work every day, to provide you the money and everything for you to learn and you don’t even learn, then what is your future going to look like? I can help to provide material, but I can set you, future son.” This quote has stuck in my hard until now and this quote is always pushing me to study harder.

At that time, I was in grade four and I was doing okay in school, but I was not a good student. I always play in the classroom, didn’t do homework most of the time and always went out with my friends after school. After I saw my uncle and many others people who don’t have education life and my father quote every day, it had inspired me to become a better kid and a better student. Therefore, I began to think of a few things. One thing was that my uncle experiment shows me that education is very important and I need to have that weapon as soon as possible because I will need to use it one day. So, I started to learn more at night, do all the homework and focus on school more. Moreover, when I have free time I helped my mom with her gasoline business and read more book as well. After I did that for 6 six months, my learning and my grade are significant difference.  I never know when I will need my knowledge, I have to study hard everyday to fulfill my dream. Surprisingly, in at the start of 2011, Liger Learning Center school came and recruit the potential student to learn at their school. Because of my hard work, out of over 12,000 students, I was selected to be a student there with a full scholarship. This achievement proofs me that my parent and my believe is true, that education is the secret weapon that helps to fight through obstacles to having a successful life.

After this achievement, I didn’t stop, I even work harder because I believe that my belief is the best path to take, in order for me to complete the task that I want to accomplish. I want to be a change agent for myself, my family and my wonderful country, and to do that I need education.


Eleanor and Park novel reflection

Eleanor and Park was amazing book for me because the scene and the character is about the same age as me, plus the authors used a lot of creative words. As I read the book, there are many aspects in the books that made this book as a not modern era likes the technology, transportation, and the society around it. I believe that Eleanor and Park was take place in the Omaha, Nebraska, over the course of the character school year, which is from start of fall 1986 to the end of summer in 1987. The book was very interesting to read because Rainbow Rowell wrote in a third person perspective, which allow me to see and analyse each of the characters clearly and better. Eleanor by far is my favorite character of this book, she is a grade ten student that has move from other school to the new high school that Park learned. She was famous by her uniqueness apparent like her giant red curly hair, wearing men’s clothing and have unusual accessories on her body that the other student in the school doesn’t have. This is not enough to know Eleanor Douglas, she is more interesting than that. At her first day of school, no one in the school bus want to room for her and many students bullied her in any ways they can. After, a while Park’s was open for her to sit near him, but not in a wanting way. Eleanor is a very intellectual student and she is very good in her literacy class. Beside having to deal with kids who bullied her, she have to deal a serious problem at home. Eleanor got a big family that have seven members total in it, include Eleanor herself, her mother, her abusive and very alcoholic stepdad named Richie and her four little brother and sisters. Moreover, her family is in poverty, which make everything harder, she sleep in a bunk bed with three of her other sibling. Because of her family living condition like this, she got no privacy because and no freedom like the other teenagers.

Coming of age narrative is tough but powerful!

The first unit of literacy essential for me was the Coming of age narrative essay. The essay is to write an event, or someone have marks a major transition in a person’s life. This writing will reflect the moment of my life that have changed me to a wiser and more matured person. One of the challenges in this assignment was choosing the ideal theme to write about, because my life have many moments that changed me as a person. There are nine main theme to chooses, I decided to choose a theme called “Something that I’m grateful for”. The reason that I choose this theme because I very grateful for a person to come into my life , which has help me to become a stronger person. Another issue that I had when I tried to form this essay together was the finding the most appropriate hook that most convince the readers and turned my event into life. No matter what the challenges are, I managed to work through the problems and learned from the problem that I had. “Love is in the air; love is everything, love is about caring, and love is everywhere.” In my narrative essay hook, I used three main skills such as parallel structure, anaphora and metaphor. My essay titled as Love has transformed my whole life. I’m not going to tell you what is it about, but I’m going to spotlight some of the best part.

“She was the key that unlocked my door to this new and better world. After, I learnt from her more, I had progressively started to understand that time management and choosing the right works to do are very essential aspects to being a good student and prevailing in life.”

“People around me have said relationships have adverse effects on student learning, and they are risky and foolish. However, this phrase does not apply to me; it has the opposite effect.”

“One thing I can say from this love, I believed I have proved those people and myself wrong. Love has transformed my whole life and made a better person out of me.”

Stay tune to my upcoming post!

Past Tense and Irregular Verb Review

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.