TEDx ISPP 2018 | Empowering Literature in Cambodia

Literature is one of my main passions, especially reading and writing. However, I found out that there are several challenges that Cambodian authors face nowadays that can threaten the Literature including copyright infringement, unbalanced interest towards technology instead of reading and writing, and the tremendous loss from the Khmer Rouge Genocide. 

My goal is to encourage other people to preserve and cultivate the value of Literature because of its various advantages that can benefit individuals as well as the bigger communities. I wanted to create a bigger community of help to empower literature in Cambodia as well as the world. Therefore, I gave a public speech in the TEDx ISPP event on the 1st of December, 2018 about Empowering literature in Cambodia. There I talked about the numerous importance of literature and the reasons why it is worth empowering and very important to me and all of us, as a part of citizenship and the factors that contribute to its decline in usage. 

To elaborate, there are 4 main reasons that explain why Literature is very essential to us. The four core benefits of literature include critical thinking, writing, and comprehension skill building, imagination and creativity expansion, the learning of cultures history recording and the support of social development, and last but not least, it showcases of the state of humanity. Despite that great benefits of literature, there are many factors that contribute to its decline in usage. 

It was a wonderful learning experience that helps me with my researching, networking, public speaking skills and more. For example, when I needed to email the author of a book and a director of a film to ask them for permission to use their works. It also gives me the chance to raise my voice, encourage others and be a part of the change. 

For more information, visit this slide presentation that I used for my TEDx talk: 

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1whqrjmhyBHWs2K1etxIWI37mawBwKSAuuOjywg99jnA/edit#slide=id.g46dd97658e_0_0

  

ត្រីខៀវ និង ក្រហម (The Blue and Red Fish| Khmer Poem Writing)

ត្រីខៀវ និង ក្រហម

(បទបន្ទោលកាក)​

 

នេះនឹងស្រដី          ថ្លាថ្លែងពីត្រីពីរហ្វូង

ឈ្លោះគ្នារំពង         ពីព្រោះតែហ្វូងទីទៃ។

ម្ខាងជាត្រីខៀវ      ស្រែកឡើងកញ្ជ្រៀវហាស្តី

ថាយើលោកត្រី      មានពណ៌ដូចស្អីក្រហម។

ត្រីម្ខាងថាយើ       ខ្លួនយើងទេតើម្តេចខ្វល់

ម្តេចនៅអំពល់      រសាប់រសល់ធ្វើអ្វី។

ត្រីខៀវក្រេវក្រោឌ   ចាប់ផ្តើមតម្លើងសម្តី

ស្រែកថាអើវៃ           ខ្លួនឯងចេះស្អីតូចទាប។

មើលយើងនេះណែ   ចេះអបចេះអែក្សត្រី

ដោយចិត្តភក្តី           ដោយសារសម្តីទើបមាន។

មិនដូចឯងទេ            ចេះតែសរសេរនិងរៀន

ចេះតែបង្រៀន           កុំមកបៀតបៀននិងយើង។

នេះហើយរឿងក្តី        សូមលោកប្រុសស្រីជួយគិត

ជួយកែរពិនិត្យ            បញ្ចេញគំនិតផ្ទាល់ខ្លួន។

 

Inspiring Action in Quality Education (Goal 4)

Quality Education is very crucial for nearly all aspects of our developing societies. However, it seems that girls and children who live in poverty or difficult circumstances do not have a chance to enroll and get the education that they deserve. But although those children and girls are struggling to get to schools, there are many people and NGOs around the world which are helping to solve parts of this problem.

Mohammed Ayub teaches children from slums at his makeshift school in a park in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 12, 2015. Ayub turned a promise to his dying father to make sure his siblings got an education into a life dedicated to teaching the less fortunate of the city.

(Photo from Newsela article) 

For Instant, in Pakistan, there is a promising man who has been helping thousands of Pakistani people get the education that they have longed for. He is Mohammed Ayub who is a 57-year-old government worker. The inspiration for opening an open school at the Pakistani Capital is from his father, who had a request for him to get all of his siblings a good education. One day when he saw a boy working and washing the table in a shop, he started thinking “He is not different from my brother”. After all, he began to teach the boy and constantly asking new people who do not get access to education to study with him. First, he started to teach for about one hour to two hours a day at the market. Then, he moved to different other places because his school takes up the space of others. Those students who have finished studying in his school later return to help teach the younger generations. In addition, there are several other volunteers who helped him with this Out-In-The-Open School program. Overall, he has left a great influence on his students and the people around him, leading him to win a national award called “Pride of Performance ” from a worker for the prime minister.

Another significant project is from lady Michelle Obama from the United States. She said that the US will help 200,000 girls to get to school. Obama has a strong passion for developing education for girls and started launching the help in Pakistan which gained a huge praise from the government of the country. She also leads a program called Let Girls Learn which will help about 62 million girls to get an education. In support, there are several other countries including Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom that are willing to help run this program by supporting the financial field. Obama has inspired and been a great role model for many girls and has left a huge impact in the education development field.

For more information related to this text, read this two articles: 

https://newsela.com/read/michelleobama-pakistan/id/12669/

https://newsela.com/read/pakistan-teacher/id/8163/

Precious Plastic Exploration

(Photo from https://www.independent.co.uk/) 

Like everyone knows, Plastic is a huge damage that has been threatening our planet for decades. Despite the many problems caused by Plastics, not that many people have come up with convenient solutions for it. Therefore, the consequences of those plastics are continuing to threaten all forms of lives on Earth. 

In the goal of trying to solve some parts of this problem, my exploration called Precious Plastic have come up with different ideas on how to prevent plastics from going to the ocean, how can we reduce plastics, and especially “How can we INFLUENCE other people to help solve this massive problem?” 

At first, the goal of our exploration was to build machines that can shred plastics into small pieces, melt and put it into molds so that we can create different products. The four machines that we have studied are “Shredder Machine, Injection Machine, Compression Machine, and  Extrusion machine”. 

However, after discussing the price and our skills with our teacher, we found out that building an actual machine requires a lot of money, work, and skills which we do not have. Therefore, we instead find different ways to recycle plastic in our school by sewing them to make different products including bracelets, key chains, pom-pom, etc. 

We also went to Siem Reap province to visit two companies, Naga Earth and Rehash Trash to learn about their projects which are helping the planet a lot. 

The first day of the trip, we went to a social enterprise company called Naga Earth to study their innovative methods to create Eco-friendly products including hand-wash soaps and paper from wastes. When we got into the organization, there was a friendly staff who did a splendid presentation and demonstration to the machines for us. He introduced the machines and how he turns used-cooking oil into Eco-friendly soaps. First of all, Naga Earth has collaborated with many restaurants and food-courts and asked them for the cooking oil that is left from their kitchen and delivered it into the company. The first step of turning it into Eco-friendly soaps and fuel is doing a chemical reaction in molecular scale to separate the molecules into soap molecules and fuel molecules. Then, they will heat the liquid and make their final products which are Eco-friendly soaps. In addition, I have made my own recycled-sheet of paper by using cardboard, wasted-paper, and cornstarch.  

 On the second day, we went to another organization which is called the Rehash-Trash and joined a workshop that taught us how to make different products including bracelets, key-chains from plastic stripes.

Image result for rehash trash

(Photo from http://www.aha-kh.com/members/rehash-trash/) 

There had been many new experiences and lessons about recycling plastics into innovative products that I have learned. I see that those creative ideas of recycling wastes into products that we can use provides many positive solutions to our environmental problems along with the smaller problems that are connected in the activities such as poverty, education, tourism, and economic growth. It changed our minds to see that wastes or trash can turn into beautiful and valuable products that can even help to solve the problems in our community. In addition, we reduced using plastic for 70 percent and that impact us as well as the community that we went, too. They started to realize the problems of plastic and their minds ought to have cared about plastic a little more than when we did not go to the community. There ought to be campaigns or other forms of sharing the lessons and ideas to as many people as possible in order to create a big community of support.

After I have some experiences of recycling those wastes, I have taught other students about recycling paper in a workshop that our exploration have prepared. 

(Me during the workshop in our school) 

For more information, please visit these websites: 

https://preciousplastic.com/en/machines.html

http://www.nagaearth.org/

Rehash Trash

 

Kolab Pailin (The Rose of Pailin)

Image result for kolab pailin

(Photo from http://www.elibraryofcambodia.org/)

Kolab Pailen (The Rose of Pailin) is one of the most famous literary pieces in Cambodia from generations to generations. There are many reasons why this novel is loved by many people in many generations. One of the main reasons is that this novel reflects the society and mindsets in Cambodia.

There are four main characters, Khun Neary (Lady Khun), Chao Chet, Balat (Provincial Officer) and Lhoung Ratanak Sombat (Lady Khun Father). Khun Neary is beautiful and bossy but, she is also considerate and kind. She is the daughter of a rich man in the village whose name is Lhoung Ratanak Sombat. Her father is the master of the gemstone digger group. One day she met a new worker who is Chao Chet, who is hard-working and really helpful to her whole family. One day, when her whole family and she went into the forest, their car broke and had to sleep inside the forest for the whole night. That night, there were thieves who attacked the family. Chao Chet, the new worker, went and shot back and forth with the thieves with full bravery that he nearly died at that moment. At the near-death moment, he confessed his true feeling for Khun Neary, saying that he has longed for her since he met her for the first time and Khun Neary also confessed back to him. However, Balat who is the provincial officer also liked Khun Neary and he was strongly opposed to this engagement. However, the two main characters fought with any obstacles they face until they could marry each other in the end.

This novel reflects on many problems and development of Cambodian Society. It is one of the treasures of literature in Cambodia

Poetry Workshop

To continue on my journey with Literature, I have attended a Poetry Workshop that is held at Phnom Penh with the other 7 participants. During the workshop, I have learned new techniques to improve my writing skills, specifically writing poems.

One of the new techniques I have learned is “Show Don’t Tell” strategy when the writer does not just tell the story by saying What is It but writing to explain why and how it becomes what it is and show the depth of the objective. To practice this, we did a writing exercise where we have a picture as our prompt. I have inspired a lot from this activity because using a picture as the prompt for our writing is a new insight for me. It has improved my writing piece a lot when having a picture near me to look up to. 

The picture she showed us to exercise the concept of “Show don’t Tell” was a scary room that is haunted. This is the short story that I wrote inspired by that picture: 

The Haunting Room

The moment I walked into the house, the doors were slowly moving, creating a strange and haunting rhythm that shook my body. The rooms were like relics from a mysterious past that contains countless painful memories. I shivered as the smell of blood reached up to my nose and realized this is horrifying. 

Then, Jessica, who is the facilitator in the workshop, gave us a chance to Meditate about a place that reminds us of a memory or our favorite place. Then, we did freewriting activity and here is a piece of my free writing, 

The Warmth of Childhood

Sounds of Calmness and joy, the universal rhythm of nature when water and Earth blend together. The picture is fading in and out, The picture through a little girl’s eyes making a strange shelter out of the sand. Not knowing what is happening around her, she built the sand shelter with concentration. It was her world, it was the place where she belonged to and that moment is the moment she feels the most like herself. as a unique person. She started to step out and into the water of souls calling out to her, the peaceful waves smoothing her steps. She was walking to a loving person’s arm, the word “mom” crept in her mind. At that moment, her world was so small, her mom was the queen and das as a king. They are the only people she truly knew, The arms were holding her close she could hear the beat of the mom’s warm heart. In that moment of joy, the waves splashed as though it seems to be enjoying the warmth of this vast ocean of love and pleasure. It was that wonderful single moment, that all mattered. 

The Course of Ratio

Imagine you want to compare the numbers of women and men in the entire globe, but there are billions and billions of them. How can you easily compare those big numbers? 

Well, Ratio is our solution in this case.  “Ratio” is the comparison of two numbers in relevant to each other in the simplest form. Back to our problem, the ratio of women and men can be 1:4(one to four)meaning the number of men is 4 times greater than the number of women. 

(Photo from newsx.com) 

Ratio allows us to compare two related numbers easily and it helps us to understand the comparison faster in the simplest form. 

What do I mean when I say the simplest form? For example, in math class, there are 20 girls and 30 boys. We can say the ratio of girls to boys is 2:3 because we divided 20 by 10 and 30 by ten and we get its simplest form. If we want to make the number as its simplest form, we need to divide both numbers with the same number just like the upper example. 

Ratio is very useful when it comes to cooking. It allows us to cook in any size of the meal using the same formula. For example, the recipe is created for a 2 people meal but you want to cook that meal for a big party, you can look up its ratio and just multiply the number to make it suitable for your situation. 

For example, we need 2 eggs and 3 kilograms of flour(The ratio of eggs to flour is 2:3)to cook for 2 people. If you are using that same recipe for 18 people, you can multiply 2 with 18 and 3 with 18 to follow the ratio. 

Philosophical Chairs | The Practice of Giving Letter Grades

 

In order to write a good piece of an argumentative essay, we need to understand different fields of arguments and debates.

I have involved in an activity called Philosophical Chairs, which participants are required to get up and speak to defend their claims or position (against or for) of a particular topic. This activity is similar to debate, the only difference is that it has a different structure of the argument.

In my Literacy class, our topic for the Philosophical Chairs was “Schools Should Stop The Practice of Giving Letter Grades

I  was in the “in favor” team because I believe that letter grades do not fully reflect on the student’s progress, causes the student to have a huge amount of uncertainty of what particular or specific field to improve on, and it decreases the interest for many students who do not get good grades. Neattoday.org stated that “It seems that letter grades are no longer making the grade when it comes to measuring student progress.”   In addition, an education expert (Alfie Kohn) stated that letter grades are relics from a less enlightened age. To add on to this, I have also experienced two different scenarios when my teacher gives me a letter grade and feedbacks. I noticed that feedbacks help me to work on the specific things that need improvement and it tells me, personally, how I have completed the tasks or the tests while letter grades give me a vast comment on my work.

Photography Basics

Photography is one of my favorite hobbies. In our multimedia class, I have learned about the different features of our cameras and the exposure triangle.

We learn about two of the three types of the camera which are DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflect) and Mirrorless cameras. This two camera processes the light that comes through the lens in different ways. DSLRs have a mirror and sensor to reflect and then capture the light while mirrorless just captures the light that comes with the shutter without traveling through the mirror and the sensor.

Exposure is the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor and there are three things that affect the exposure in photography which we call the exposure triangle, consist of Shutter Speed, Aperture & ISO.

(Photo from lightroompresets.com) 

Shutter Speed is the amount of time the shutter is open to permit light in. It is measured in a fraction of second (1/20, 1/500) The longer the shutter speed, the more light can come in through the lens. Besides affecting the light, Shutter Speed also is used to capture the different type of motions well including sports, etc.

Aperture is the size of the lens that let light into the camera. Adjusting Aperture will affect the depth of field (how blurry or clear your background is) Wide aperture has a shallow depth of field (causes the background to be blurry) whereas narrow aperture has a deep depth of field (clear background).  

(Photo from mynomadiclens.com)

ISO is the control over how sensitive is your camera to the light (the higher the ISO, the more sensitive it is to light which makes the photo brighter). However, increasing too much ISO can cause the photo to be noisy so we should increase it only when adjusting shutter speed and aperture is not enough.

In addition to that, I have learned about the different types of photos including long shot, full shot, medium shot, close up, extreme close up, low angle, high angle, eye level, dutch angle/tilt, over the shoulder and bird’s eye view.

Here is the slide presentation of this lesson (from teacher Cindy) 

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1UHovX2GQ6lKqH9Zj0wr0QhAcgqFfZc93gt6TAEXaGZo/edit#slide=id.g35f391192_00

Covalent Bond and Ionic Bond.

As we learned before, all matters are made of different atoms and chemical elements. During the round 2 session, I have studied about Covalent Bond and Ionic Bond which are the combination of elements chemically as well as lessons about the elements in the periodic table. The atoms that are combined together to make different structures including molecules, crystals, etc; are joined together by the force of attraction from the chemical bond. The attraction is made when atoms share or transfer electrons. The electrons that can be shared or transfer are called the Valence Electrons which are located in the outer energy of an atom.

Ionic Bond: Some atoms share their valence electrons, but some atoms transfer their valence electrons from one atom to another. Ionic Bond is the transfer of valence electron from metallic ions to non-metal ions. Usually, the metallic ions give away their valence electrons to become positively charged and non-metals gain valence electrons to become negatively charged. Ionic Bonding creates Ionic compounds that include sodium chloride (salt) and potassium chloride (supplement to lack of potassium in the blood), etc.

Covalent Bond: Covalent bonds are the action of atoms sharing their valence electrons in order to be stable and have a complete outer energy level. Interestingly, covalent bonds only occur between non-metal elements. The two atoms that together share the valence electrons can be the same or different elements. According to ck12.org, if the bonds form between different elements, a covalent compound is formed. An example of Covalent Bonding is the creation of Hydrogen molecules. Hydrogen only has 1 valence electron and they need two in order to complete. Therefore, Hydrogen atoms each share a valence electron to the other and create  Hydrogen molecule.

Some properties of Covalent Compounds are: 

  • Exist as an individual rather than crystal
  • Covalent Compounds require less energy to pull them apart (weaker compounds compared to ionic bonds
  • lower melting and boiling point than an ionic bond

There are many types of covalent bonding including a single covalent bond, double covalent bond or triple covalent bond. Single Covalent Bond are the bonds that atoms share only a pair of electrons. Double Covalent Bond are the bonds that atoms share two pairs of electrons. Triple Covalent Bond are the bonds that atoms share three pairs of electrons.  

Another Example of Covalent Bonding is the water molecule, which consists of two hydrogen atoms (each with one valence electron) and oxygen (with 6 valence electrons). After they do covalent bonding with each other, they become the covalent compound.

Fun Facts: 

  • Noble Gases (Group 18 on the periodic table) have complete outer shells, which make them stable.
  • There’s a machine to see electrons and the structure of the atom. 
  • When an element is unstable, it is shaky (as viewed by scientists). 

Extra Experiment

This is an experiment when we pour water into the tubes, followed by cooking oil. We could see that the oil always stays separated from water. After that, we poured in food colorings and it slowly goes through the cooking oil but stays separated(as color droplets) and then slowly, the colors dropped into the water and created a wonderful sight.