Volunteering To Survey Villagers In Kompong Speu

 
Started in August, I was committed to taking an AP Statistic course, and this past weekend, Sunday, 4th of March 2018, I was given the opportunity to put some of the knowledge I had into reality. One of the main things I learned in the AP course is connected to producing data, and I wanted to actually do that. So on Sunday, a group of 17 students went to Kompong Speu, a province 44 kilometers west of Phnom Penh, to collect data about people’s livelihoods in three villages encompassing CamKids, an organization working to “help children in Cambodia who are either poor or whose parents are not there for them.” We collected a total of 103 surveys, which took us from around 8 AM until around 3 PM. These surveys will be used by an exploration group to do statistical analyses for CamKids. With the time we had, I finished five surveys, and some of the interviewees’ stories were really sad, and got me emotionally connected to it. Most of the families I talked to, didn’t get a high education, and that’s because of financial issues, which was either led by a death of one of the family members, or their parents didn’t get a high education, and are now, struggling financially.
Besides the different stories I heard, doing this was very intimidating to me, because approaching people as a stranger, and surveying them, is very difficult for me to do. Adding on to that, a lot of the questions were very tough to discuss in Khmer, because of our culture.
 This trip was a very productive, challenging, and at the same time, fun trip, and I’m glad I got to do something to help the community.

Practice doing surveys! | LMRT Trip 3

From the 16th through the 19th of November, the Liger Marine Research Team (LMRT) was at Koh Seh, practicing doing fish surveys and take our substrate identification exam. On the trip, I went on four dives, all of which, we were focusing on improving our surveying skills. Personally, the most challenging skill for me to practice was the swimming position. The swimming position for doing surveys is head down, legs up at an angle about 30 degrees. To achieve this goal, I had to get a good buoyancy, which was hard already. This ensures that I won’t be all the way up on the surface or, sink to the bottom of the ocean. After achieving that, I have to get into my position, lay the transect line, come back to the start of the line, and start the survey. 
 

 Beside the dives and the exam, I spent my Saturday morning looking under a microscope at a zoanthid that Karen, my facilitator, picked up. I used a pair of tweezers to grab a worm to look at closely under a microscope.

 This trip was very productive since we finished our second identification exam and we also got a chance to experience what it’s like to do surveys. I, now, have a sense of how the survey goes and the skills I have to improve on my upcoming survey practices.

Fish “Game” Exam and More Dives! | LMRT Trip 2

Not even a month later and I’m back at Koh Seh! This trip was way less intense than the other one. I left Thursday the 26th, October 2017.  Our purpose of this trip was to practice diving, because we don’t want to forget everything, and take our fish identification exam, or as our instructor calls it, “The Fish Game.” Amick, one of the people from Marine Conservation Cambodia (MCC), didn’t want us to stress too much about this test, hence he named it, “The Fish Game.” He also said that this exam doesn’t really matter much; it’s just to make sure that we know the main species of the fish. What matters is when we’re underwater and being able to recognize the different species of fish. We had around 70 species to study.
 
Beside the “game”, I went on three dives. We were practicing navigation using our compasses and dive computers; I would say we did pretty good. We didn’t end up in Vietnam, at least. My prescription mask arrived so I got a chance to use it on this trip. They, honestly, completely changed my diving experience. I was able to see way clearer than before, and they helped me identify fishes underwater, which was pretty neat. I spotted a bunch of wrasses, snappers (one HUGE blackspot snapper, which freaked me out), groupers, and more. My favorite spot was a school of fusiliers swimming right below me, in between gigantic corals. It was so unexpected and they were beautiful. I got a chance to swim with them for a bit before my dive leader called me to reunite with my group.
 
This was another successful trip, that was filled with productivity. For now, I’m back at school and we’re planning to go back in mid-November. 

ISPP Model United Nations 2017

Model United Nations! You didn’t think I would miss this year, did you? I just spent my past weekend attending my THIRD ISPPMUN! I was the delegate of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and I had a blast! I had about a month to prepare, but I had to do it with my own time because my schedule was full of other classes. Long story short, I was prepared for the event and the wait was finally over. Did I mention that this was my first time being on a committee that wasn’t Junior General Assembly? Yeah, it’s my first time attending the General Assembly. This year, the topics were, regulating small arms and light weapons proliferation, the use of private military and security companies, and the role of resilient healthcare in global security. I was focusing on the first question, the question of regulating small arms and light weapons proliferation. The previous years’ MUNs had been very scary for me. This third MUN was really exciting to me and since I know what I’m doing, I got to work with other students, network with them, make a pretty good resolution that later on passed, and had a lot of fun. It was my first time making an amendment but sadly, it didn’t pass. The resolution I worked on was controversial, especially the clause that says, “Strongly recommends strict gun license requirements and regulations such as; a valid reason for the ownership of the license, Self-defense isn’t a valid reason.” People tried striking the clause, which was very understandable. Because of that one clause, the house was really divided. It was my pleasure attending this event for the third time and like I said in my About Me, I will keep attending more MUN events as I have the chance to.

 

The Liger Marine Research Team | LMRT Trip 1

As you might’ve seen in my other posts, I’ve been talking quite a bit about the Liger Marine Research Team, in short, LMRT. The LMRT is a group of eight students from the Liger Leadership Academy that will be doing research on the marine biology in Cambodia, more specifically, Koh Seh. Koh Seh is an island off the coast of Kep, Cambodia. 

Ariel view of the island

We had our first trip to the island on the 28th of September, 2017. The purpose of that trip was to get us all certified as open water divers. I took the SSI Open Diver course in my summer so I was ready to get in the water and practice the skills. We consisted of about one dive per day (excluding the “pool sessions”). It was weird staying underwater for that long. I had to get up at 6 AM and get ready for my “classes” that take place underwater at around 7 in the morning. It was also very scary to practice all those skills and stay underwater for a long period of time. The scariest and hardest skills I had to practice were, taking off my buoyancy compensator (BC) underwater and putting it back on, and performing an ascend when I’m out of air; my instructor would come behind my BC and turn off my tanks. I then, have to give her the “out of air” sign and ascend to the surface, inflate my BC with my own mouth; usually, I would use the built-in system in the BC to inflate itself but since I’m out of air, I have to inflate it myself. I got a chance to go to an island nearby to dive at around six meters depth with HUGE corals and other organisms. The morning following the day I got certified, I went diving with my buddy, Nilroth. We went seahorse hunting, and no, we weren’t catching them. We spotted a seahorse, living with a lot of seagrasses. 

 

That was one of the best weeks of my life, filled with mixed emotions. It was one of the scariest, the weirdest, the most dangerous, the most tiring, and one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in my life.

ISPPMUN 2016

This year, I decide to do it again. I decided to take on a challenge of joining ISPPMUN once again. This time, I had much more time to prepare. Last year, I only had 1 week to prepare but this year I had about 3 months to prepare for this three-days conference. It started on Friday 28th, 2016 at around 5:00 PM in the Black Box theater at the International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP). There are about 300 participants in this year ISPPMUN. There’s 13 schools in total, 6 from Vietnam, 1 from Singapore, 1 from Siem Reap and 5 from Phnom Penh(including Liger). There are 14 students from Liger that joined this conference, 2 in General Assembly(GA) and 12 in Junior General Assembly(JGA). I am the delegate of Belgium this year. The three topics we had was:

The question of large dams in South-East Asia

The question of equality in access to education

The question of protecting animal rights across borders.

It was a great experience just like last year. Now, I said to myself “I’m doing this thing for the rest of my LIFE. Not my school years but my LIFE.” I have the best chair and deputy chair ever. They were so nice. This year, I finally know what I’m doing in MUN. We had great debates. I made a lot more speeches and Point of Information(POI) than last year. Both of my resolutions passes. This year, I am the Main-Submitted which mean, I need to make speeches, answer all of the questions I was asked and a lot more nerve racking things. There’s FIVE resolutions and FOUR of it passes which was very impressive for my committee. My resolution was about the question of equality in access to education. It got 14 out of 14 votes for it to pass so I felt pretty good about it. The last thing I want to talk about is the Quiz Night! It was a great experience meeting older people, networking, answering questions that we didn’t really know, work with other people and it was a fun thing to do after TEN hours of debating. Overall, it was worth all my hard works and it was just getting better than the previous year. I really want to do it again and I’m signing up for next year ISPPMUN and other MUNs.

Film Making Independent Discovery

This year, I decided to continue my passion, film making but it’s not just me who is doing it. My friends, Neang and Marady are doing it, too! So we collaborate and write some movies and shoot it. We were trying to participate in a film festival and we didn’t have time to make all so we only made one. In this independent discovery, we were writing movies, planning the shooting and talk to the actors and edit the film.

Check out my video!

https://youtu.be/mSwS02l-mts

Disclaimer: The film is in Khmer(Cambodian language) because it needs to be in Khmer for the film festival.

Games Around The World Exploration

It is time again for us to create our own exploration! This time, I want to do something fun. I want to do something I love spending my time doing and that is playing games. This exploration is basically about finding games that people play all around the world and put it in one blog so people from anywhere can play those games. We did surveys, research on the internet, read documents/PDFs, watch videos and do whatever we can to get as many games as possible. We played some of those games a couple times with our friends and on “Sharation.” Check out our blog! Disclaimer: Our blog is not quite done yet.

  • We played games with our friends!

I won an award at the Phnom Penh Youth Film Festival

On the 26th of March, a big event happened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It is the Phnom Penh Youth Film Festival(PPYFF). Some of my friends and I submitted some films. I submitted a documentary about Cambodia Fisheries. I didn’t expected to get an award or anything but I got an award. The award is the Best Documentary for people that is older than 13 years old but younger than 18 years old. I told one of my friend that if I get an award I will be super shocked. At the moment that the emcee announced that I got an award, my heart was beating so fast. I got goosebumps. I also got two membership cards from LegendCinema, a certificate and a 3D printed trophy. I will attempt the next PPYFF next year. I am so thankful of the people who helped me with my film.

 

My blender animations

I used to learn blender animation. Blender is a free software to design in 3D and animate. These are my two animations that I made. Enjoy.