Cambodia versus Afghanistan!!!



Yesterday, June 16, 2015, we were all thrilled to be invited to the 2018 FIFA World Cup RusSia and AFCYesterday, June 16, 2015, we were all thrilled to be invited to the 2018 FIFA World Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 by our two classmates, Sunner Kea and Rithiya. This was my very first time watching an official national game and there I was lucky enough to get quick photo with Cambodia’s team player number 7, Prak Monyoudom. The game was tied up until the very last few minutes of the game. Afghanistan won, but it was a memorable game and I would say my best memory of this trip! AND this all happened on Moniphal Bing’s birthday!

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Paradise in Sokha Beach Hotel Resort


Over the weekend, my classmates and I were staying at Sokha Beach Hotel Resort in Sihanoukville providence. Sokha Beach is absolutely gorgeous filled with coconut palm trees and international tourists. Sihanoukville is like the Miami of Cambodia. My classmates were busy lying down near to the ocean shore, while I was strolling around in the area alone. I was itching for adventure, and hoping to capture some interesting scenery with my DLSR camera. I wish I brought my tennis racquet with me, because there was a tennis court by the Sokha Beach. Tennis is my primarily sport. I had been scrolling back and forward the whole time, especially when I was walking on the brick road between two aisles of palm trees. Some reason, I feel a sense of wonder when I like to look up to the palm trees. But I have to be careful though, because there is a sign said “beware of the falling coconuts.”One time, I went to the bar alone and feast on the Barricuda fish Fillet with their local beer called “Angkor” and it was awesome. For a gourmet dish, the food was inexpensive. Sokha Beach Hotel Resort is filled with authentic architectures and scenery that make me appreciated my cultural heritage of its art and beauty. This whole day, I was mediating and channeling my energy as I was harmonizing this paradise.


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Sihanoukville: Sokha Beach Resort

On Friday, June 12th, We arrived to Sokha Beach Resort at Sihanoukville, Kompongsom Province in the late afternoon. It was about a 4 hours drive from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. The resort is the biggest resort in the area. It has a spa, with back and foot massages, and a pool with a built-in bar right in the middle of it. The beach is about a 5 minutes walk from the resort, and the best part is the resort has TENNIS courts. Unfortunately, I was not able to play on it since I was too busy relaxing on a beach chair drinking a coconut and enjoying the cool breeze flowing from the ocean. The beach was the best place to fall asleep even with the sun beaming down on us at 35 Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), we could not feel the heat. The water was nice and cool, not too cold or too warm. I would recommend this resort to others to check it out, the only downside is it is really pricey to stay there. If you really want to visit the beach in Sihanoukville, there are other more affordable hotels and resorts nearby the area, so get up and go, you will not regret it.




Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum: S-21

On Wednesday afternoon, June 10th, we visited the notorious Khmer Rouge prison at Tuol Sleng, also known as S-21, located in the Capital of Phnom Penh. Two of our classmates from AUPP, Nicole and Sievlan, came along for their first visit also. Tuol Sleng was a high school that converted into a prison by the Khmer Rouge to torture and interrogate those considered to be enemies of the state. About 12,000 men, women and children were sent to S-21, accused of being Vietnamese spies, who were sent to Cambodia to sabotage the country’s rice farming. The prisoners were tortured till they confessed their crimes and gave the names of 5 other individuals who were supposed to be their associates. This was another motto of the Khmer Rouge, which was “to dig grass, you have to dig the root” meaning to destroy the enemy, you have to destroy all his family and friends, no matter how old or young they are. There were no factual evidence that any of these people were actual spies sent by the North Vietnamese government. In fact, many of the prisoners were Khmer Rouge cartels who were in charge of villages in each region. Since they could not make the 3 tonnes minimum of rice harvest, they were accused of conspiring with the enemies. Only 4 male adults and 4 children survived from this extermination center. All of the others were sent to be executed at Chhoeng Ek, also known as the Killing field, or died from starvation or the pains from being tortured. On January 7th, 1979, the Vietnamese forces finally reached Phnom Penh, and pushed the Khmer Rouge out, ended their almost 4 years rule.  The KR guards quickly ran away but not after killing the last 14 remaining prisoners that they tortured. The bodies were found by the Vietnamese forces as they entered the prison, still lying and bleeding on the metal beds that held them down. The bodies are buried in the yard when the prison was made into a museum, for others to give respect. This prison was one of the atrocious acts that the Khmer Rouge had committed to its own people. 1.5 to 2 millions Cambodians died under the Khmer Rouge regime, due to starvation, diseases, long hours of hard labors, and execution. The museum is a reminder to the people of Cambodia of its darkest hours and to the rest of the world that such horrible events did happen and to never forget those who had lost their lives. Above all, it is to display the resilience of the Khmer people of how far they have come for the last 35 years. I have no doubt that the Cambodian people, especially the youth, have the potential to achieve more and move toward an even brighter future.



Group Discussion with AUPP students and Questionnaire with the Cambodian Youths




Selfie with me and Jennifer.

Here I am as Mr. Bing arriving “fashionly-late” to his first foreign class at AUPP! Although I still have jet lag and only have three-four hours of sleep, my mind is mentally prepared and excited to experience a whole new level in Dr. Chigas class. The moment when Dr. Chigas told me to introduced myself, I immediately was waving my arms up to the sky and shouting “woot woot, da name’s BING” right before class was about to start. Everyone chuckled and laughed! Dr. Chigas sarcastically said, “We all learned that Bing is the shyest person in class.” In the beginning of class, I sat next to my arranged group members. My group members name were Sievlan (Sue-LONG) and Nicole. Now, according to my friends, these AUPP students’ intellectual levels are absolutely amazing! They said they spoke English fairly-welled as if they were a native to the language. Some of my friends said that their English is better than ours.  When I was discussing with Sievlan and Nicole during group discussion, I was surprised of their vocabulary levels. We were tossing big words back and forward, and I felt comfortable as I maintained the conversation with them. But sometime, I got caught up speaking too fast and they couldn’t understand me. During group discussion, it took me a while to understand what our research study is all about.  Our topic question is, “How accurate is Cambodian Youths’ perception on job availability?” One out of the five UMASS students, I’m the only UMASS student in our class who is not a Psychology major. I’m an English major, so this is a whole new level for me in tackling this assignment. During our group discussion, we were generating questionnaires and used them to interview Cambodian Youths from non-profit organizations and also from a secondary or post-secondary educational background. Once we have everything setup, it was time for our group to interview Cambodian Youths from two separated non-profit organization. For me personally, I have a difficult time interviewing Cambodian Youths from the Cambodian Indigenous Youth Association because of the language barrier. Since my Khmer is in elementary level, I have to ask my group members to translate for me during the interview. Even though they know some basic level of English, I feel like I made them nervous from my American accent.  It’s interesting to interview the indigenous Cambodian Youths, because they came from a strong authentic background. Nonetheless, I am able to interview some of the youth from Khmer and Youth Social Development. They speak fairly good English, but I have to be careful of the vocabulary I’m using. Sometime, I have to ask my group member again to translate for me in Khmer to English. Despite of the language barrier, I am very amazed in hearing the passionate voice coming out from the Cambodian Youths during the interview. Seeing into their eyes, they really dedicated their time in being educated and tackling new things in life. I see their virtues in saving their community and becoming the next generation in Cambodia.  I glad I took the opportunity in speaking with them. Overall, I learned a lot from my first day of class despite of my jet lag, lack of sleep, and all the classes I missed out. Here are the photos I took with my DSLR camera. These photos are the scene taking place during the class interview with the Cambodian Youth. Hope you all like it.


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Garment workers

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Textile manufacturing is the biggest industry in Cambodia, employing tens of thousands of workers, predominantly women, in the many factories lining National Road 4 leaving the center of Phnom Penh.

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Driving home yesterday from a visit to my wife’s relatives in Kompong Speu at 4:30 pm, I witnessed the crush of traffic as truck after truck crammed with garment workers made their way to work the evening shift.

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The minimum wage for these workers is $100 a month for 160 hours (about 62 cents an hour), up from $80, following demonstrations by the garment workers unions last year. The factories are long, metal, windowless structures without air conditioning or adequate ventilation. In addition to the health risks on the job, the workers are in danger during their daily commute as they speed down the national road crammed into open air trucks.

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Inside the Exhibit of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

DSC_0272 It’s my first visit to Cambodia. I arrived one week after everyone else in order to attend my baby sister’s high school graduation in Seattle, so I missed out on few adventures.  Although I missed the tour of AUPP and visiting the Royal Palace, I knew our Study Abroad experiences were just beginning. My very first place to explore in Phnom Penh was Tuol Sleng, the former Khmer Rouge torture center. I know my classmates have already posted things about Tuol Sleng, but for me personally, my heart dropped as if a sailor dropped anchor. I captured some photos that seem significant to me. It’s shocking to learn that this building DSC_0277used to be a high school before it was converted it into a prison. Inside the former class rooms, there are brick walls setup in cubicles that are poorly done by amateurs. Probably, the KR were in a rush making them or they may have never done it before?  There are also wooden cubicles that are roomier than the brick cubicles, but very stuffy with a scent of old wood.

One of my classmates ElizabetDSC_0246h was checking the floor and noticed there was leftover dried blood from one of the prisoners.




Overall, Tuol Sleng is a historical museum that taught me the reality of a former prison and the history of the Cambodian Genocide. I just wish this museum never existed, but the museum is a memorial to the victims during the KR era.


A Weekend Getaway to Sokha

Just us 5 roomies heading to the beach, Sokha in Sihanoukville. We were in the van for about 4 hours before we arrived at Sokha Beach Resort. The photo to the right is us girls riding the Tuk Tuk to the hotel. The image to left is the inside of the hotel with an open view above the green plants. The last photo at the very bottom is the pool view at night time before on our way to eat dinner at 10pm. Yes, I know very late..

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Reunited and it feels so good

The hospitality and generosity of Cambodian families and relatives is insane, in a good way. Having spent an entire day with my relatives on both my mother’s side and my father’s side here in Srok Khmer was a very emotional, yet pleasant experience. I was blown away by their generosity and willingness to make sure that I was well rested, fully fed, and safe. It had been roughly ten years since I’d last seen them in person. Some of my relatives that I visited don’t exactly live a life of luxury but their hospitality was through the roof..