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Posted by: | Posted on: January 30, 2012

Near Cambodia’s Temple Ruins, a Devotion to Learning

Tear seems drop down unconsciously while I was reading this article. My life has come through what those individuals in the interview are breaking-through. The belief in higher education and persistent struggle for it is really honorable. Each time, when I looked at the great ruins and sandstone structures, it reminds me of education and ingenuity of Khmer ancestors to master on those architectures. Somdech Song Pang-Khat preached that if you look at the stones of Angkor Wat and other temples, you must communicate with the stones!
Published: January 24, 2012

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA — Millions of tourists come here every year to visit the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, an influx that has helped transform what once resembled a small, laid-back village into a thriving and cosmopolitan town with thumping nightlife and more than 10,000 hotel rooms.

Adam Ferguson for The International Herald Tribune

Students at Build Bright University in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

But the explosion of the tourism industry here has also done something less predictable. Siem Reap, which had no universities a decade ago, is now Cambodia’s second-largest hub for higher education, after the capital, Phnom Penh.

The sons and daughters of impoverished rice farmers flock here to work as tour guides, receptionists, bartenders and waitresses. When their shifts are over, they study finance, English and accounting.

“I never imagined that I could go to university,” said Hem Sophoan, a 31-year-old tour guide who is now studying for his second master’s degree. “There’s been so much change and opportunities for young people.”

Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: November 30, 2011

Life in a Cambodian rubbish dump

While Cambodia is notorious for its current prestige of success by just comparing to the horrible KR regime, another corner of Cambodian life is living in the dump near the prestigious Angkor Wat monument. Peace without justice is a fake peace. Peace without social equality is a murderous one…Sophoan

Updated November 11, 2011 19:12:39

Map: Cambodia

Just 30 kilometres from Cambodia’s world famous Angkor temples is an astounding sight tourists don’t see.

Tucked away from foreign eyes on the outskirts of Siem Reap is a community of about 500 people who live – or survive – in a rubbish dump.

Spanish photojournalist Omar Havana spent seven months from October 2010 to April 2011 getting to know the people at the dump and documenting their lives.

He says what he saw was was “from another world”, but that the people are happy.

Here Havana shares his photos and stories with ABC News Online.

One day in Cambodia a boy told me he had been living for many years in the rubbish dumps. I tried hard to get permission to visit them but I didn’t, so I made the decision to go without permission. What I saw there was from another world.

In total there are about 500 people working there, most of whom also live, sleep, eat and drink there. After working for several months in the dumps I even saw a child birth.

With 34 per cent of the total population living on less than $1 a day, those in the dumps, at least they can find food and shelter. They earn about 35 cents per day for 14 hours’ work.
Posted by: | Posted on: September 17, 2008

Pride or shame ?

Tuol Sleng Museum applies for registration with Unesco intrigued the question that this initiative will bring shame or pride to Cambodian people? If we check in the listing numbers of world cultural heritages subscribed by Unesco, we seem not see any genocidal or brutal place being put as World Heritage. But if Cambodia can achieve her purpose to register Tuol Sleng Museum with Unesco, it would be possibly questionable to the intent of this orientation.

Conceivably, many foreign visitors have always laid their expectation when they visit Cambodia: to experience the well-known greatness of Angkor Wat and the horrible notorious legacy of Khmer Rouge. Weighting these two expectations rationally reflect the pride and shame of Cambodia. The reputation of Angkor Wat highly honors the Cambodian people in the past, present and future. But the legacy of Khmer Rouge and Tuol Sleng prisoners’ camp ambiguously construes Cambodian people.

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Posted by: | Posted on: August 30, 2008

World Cultural Heritage of Angkor Watt: pride of the nickel-and-dime

Douglas Gardner, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative addressed at the “Cambodia Outlook Conference 2007” (ref.1) Read More …

Posted by: | Posted on: August 29, 2008

Cambodia Blogging

Last night I slept late. I was inspiring by the new discovery in wordpress blog. It is the easy compact software for all bloggers to enjoy. I was not hesitate to take this chance to be creative though I am really drowsy and busy with study.

During blogging, my mind wandered far and near especially thought about Cambodian peoples at Cambodia: How many of them who can access to internet? How many of them who can blog? How many of them who can use PC or MAC? And how many of them who know about the latest technology development of computer? More than 80% of Cambodian peoples are farmer. They are living in destitute, suburb, rural and remote areas. Significantly, major of them cannot access to electricity, clean water, and health care center.

In developed countries as well as some developing countries, internet has become their daily gadget and it is the magic buttons that their wishes can be unbelievably fulfilled. They buy, sell, communicate, entertain, and study just by clicking the buttons on the computer. And internet is the world wide web connectors for them to personalize as well as to globalize themselves. They can reach far away from their tiny room through video, audio, map, pictures, and online chat. Many peoples have delved themselves to trust and worship computer as well as internet as their new religion. Many internet surfers can accumulate wealth and strong social network. Many of them can seek their partner and become cute couple eventually, incredibly.

Look back to Cambodia, the trend is on the track. But it is really a creeping trend. However, many Cambodian young children are very innovative and creative. Though they don’t have sufficient tools to get into computer and internet, but there are mushrooming users. Many blogs are built and online communicate is so popular among them.

The future will be shed in light by our young generation who will not only the players of internet, but we further hope for their new inventing of modern technology. Cambodian young generation will absolutely not different from their ancestors who were very creative and urbanized such as several huge temples were astonishingly constructed entirely Cambodian Empire, those are rapidly attracting millions of people worldwide.

The pride and hope of future Cambodia doesn’t fall upon the past, the glory of Angkor Wat, but the competent younger generation, well-trained children. They are the responsible future architect and catalysts!


Sophan P. Seng