Flashback Moment

A page of photographic memory and more…

NPA’s Humanitarian Disarmament Team in Cambodia


This morning, Norwegian People’s Aid has arranged a field visit for me to get to know their works. Like Dan mentioned, it would be boring if I stay with just the quadcopter training. Lucky for me though, they have two girls accompany my trip. Not just two ordinary girls but someone who I could get along well and make my trip an even better experience.

Chan has a cheerful personality, she’s around 22-24 years old but she is an Operation Officer with some people under her supervision. Despite her small figure, she impressed me with her driving skill and even more impressive is her co-worker, Sorphorn, a lady of my age also jumped in to replace her to drive that big truck. My jaw dropped, it’s just feel like a movie scene from the Hollywood. Did I mention that all NPA staff have to wear this super cool military-liked uniform? Now you can imagine how cool they are!

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Chan was playing with explosive detection dog

After hand pick some fresh mangos along the road, we took our mini road trip to Kaun Mom district in southern part of Ratanakiri (RTK) province where NPA’s target landmines are located. After two days spent in RTK with all men during their training, little did I know that there are many NPA’s women working under the sun and rain in the mine field. “People run away from explosive bomb, but why do you run back in the land mine, Chan?” a common question that Chan always heard from her friends and anyone who get to know what she’s working with.   This is when I learn that NPA is an organization that not only promote diversity but also empower young women to have opportunity to serve their communities. Chan joined the team 4 years back as a member of Cluster Munition Remnant Survey (CMRS) team with little knowledge but a strong commitment to learn. “When I started, I know NPA will train me so I wasn’t that scared. As of now, I feel brave and strong as a super woman who can carry UXO and demolish them. I’m more scared of worms, still” said Chan.

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When we got to their site where the grasses were just burnt (thanks to that!), to my surprised, five women were waiting to greet us before they start their daily work. A lovely young team leader introduced me about CMRS work to ensure the areas are safe from unexploded munitions. They use the F3 Compact detecting devices to search for metal objects under the ground before inform it to the clearance team if they found some explosive remnants of war (ERW). One shovel in one hand and F3 in the other, they dig and search the area while carrying a strong sense of responsibility. Several hundred people fall victim to explosive objects every year including young children.

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CMRS team was giving presentation16649574_10211497160295870_8721660735075587863_n

Being able to contribute directly to minimize casualties of innocent people, Chan and her team are proud of their jobs and I am so proud of them.

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We could not help but to notice that the chicken is way too sexy!

240


Yesterday I went home on a different route. It was a stressful day so I plan to drive to change the scenery. To my surprised, I didn’t feel like it was a boring journey anymore despite having to stuck in different congestion.

At one point, I arrived on the st. 240 along the Royal Palace. It always has traffic congestion there so it allowed me to have a look around the street. It wasn’t my first passing this street at all as I often come for some foods along this street. Then an Idea came to life, I suddenly want to reside along this road one day. Some houses here are pretty small but peaceful. It must be because it is near the Royal Palace which there don’t seem to be much going on nearby beside the nice atmosphere when the evening came.

I hope, though, one day… ^^

Journey to Secret Waterfall


IMG_6635So last weekend my families and I went to celebrate Tean Vorsar ceremony at our regular pagoda in a remote village. This time, we planned to visit a nearby (in reality, it’s not that near) waterfall that we heard about. My brother who once visited there had recommended that it will be worth to visit since he described the place as:

“The view is beyond amazing like what you would see in a beautiful painting”. He added “be careful though, because we had a flat tire once and it was hard to find a place to fix as it’s so remote”.

I was thrilled to hear about this place as we had been to Oudong areas quite a lot and to finally discover a waterfall? This is beyond my expectation! ^^ To think of the waterfall, it should be somewhere in the north or Kirirom or southern Cambodia. Thus, this journey  reminded me of the quote from the Little Prince book “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well…”  So I was looking forward to the journey and the surprised with the swimwear packed and ready.

To find the waterfall is pretty easy. All you have to do is ask around “Which way to Orm Laeng?” Just kidding lol. Here how we found it. From Phnom Penh along the national road 5 after you passed the Oudong market turn left then you will be on the beautiful smooth road all the way to Orm Laeng. It took about 40 mins drive, you will see a big green sign on your right (saying Turn Right for “Chhrok Teuk”), then turn right from there to a small dusty road. To clear the doubt, just ask people on the road they are all aware of the secret waterfall.

And from there, the real adventure begins.

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The dusty road will lead you to the treasure which is called  “Chhreav Waterfall” as it is located in  Chhreav Village, Om Laeng Commune, Thporng District, Kompong Speu. It is near on the mountains areas of Cambodia’s high­est moun­tain, Phnom Aural. There are few sellers selling food so it’s better to pack your own lunch and drink. I heard one Kiosk would sell only 3 chickens per day as they don’t expect many tourists.

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Photo by: Mai Channeang (Fb) from Phnom Penh Hike

 

By the time we got there, we could hear the sound of the waterfall and the green scenery and of course, the butterflies. It’s only 3 minutes’ walk up the hill, you will reach the first stage of the waterfall where you can enjoy the cold water and there are small fishes giving the foot massage as well. And its’ all natural!

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I love the pave way up the hill as it’s only made of stones and soil to build the steps. Once inside, the weather get colder and the rain start to pure but afraid nothing, as you are under the green roof of only trees. The tourists here are mostly people from the nearby provinces and some from Phnom Penh. We saw the buses full of grannies and monks also came to explore as I bet it’s Buddhist ceremony season.  We went to explore the second stage of the waterfall and all the way up there, you will hear the sound of excitement and laughter echoed in the midst of the forest as young Cambodians are enjoying the water slide, the famous activity there!

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The whole atmosphere of this trip was far beyond my expectation. Due to the limited time, I could not hike up to explore more amazing view. Sure enough, I will go again!

Deactivate Facebook


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Oh yeah!

I’m back again with something to share today because guess what? *winked..I just deactivated my Facebook for awhile and it couldn’t be better! I feel a lot better! Well, I miss it tho, also sometimes wonder what’s going on with some friends..but…the pros outweigh the cons, so yeah..not planning to go back anytime soon.

Once you are offline,  you know who your bestie are…because they will call and text to see if everything alright. They will find all means to get in touch with you (which is so much fun!). One things they assume is none other than i’m having a heartbreak…well… not quite…but not totally out of the topic either. *Grinned.

So here I guess I like to share my thought on why deactivating Facebook sometimes happen to some of us. Let’s get started!

  1. Not Seeking Attention: The thing is, deactivating wasn’t my first time and my blogging bestie buddy (La1) also did the same. We are not attention seeking or to hint to someone to run after us after they can’t reach our Facebook (which is now like our phone number) but it just for our personal mental well-being. To have a short-term peace.
  2. Reduce Un-productivity: For me, there are loads of stories happening on Facebook every hour and second. I guess, there are certain things that I couldn’t resist but to keep scrolling and curious to know (*Guilty) which is not at all productive at time.
  3. Reduce anxiety: There were time when I keep checking Facebook and waiting for a reply or a text or a comment or notification – it just happened. And sometimes this anxiety could ruin you. When I stop it  I know that I will get a call or only important message. and I have more time to focus on things that matter – a lot more than checking my phone.
  4. Reduce temptation to log back in just because if I still using, I will log in easily and then scrolling and then… over and over again – two hours passed. Knowing that I can’t log in – I will focus on other things – news or hobbies …etc

After all, I still need to use Facebook – I was just trying to be cool with those reasons above! haha. JK. Have you tried living your life without social media for a week? I wonder how it would be without it entirely as well. But so far – I haven’t done it yet. Share me if you did, how amazing it feels like?

 

MN

Hello October


I have had one of the amazing time of the year, especially during August.  There was a big step I took in terms of (secret). I couldn’t thanks all the people involved that I am fortunate to have those moments.

However, great things doesn’t last. September had been a crazy month for me. Glad that it passed now. It was too bad that I can’t even describe it. Thanks to this experience I learn to appreciate the beauty inside the imperfection, the challenge. I am sure that one day I would be grateful for that September.

October seems like a good month so far because time heals, like, literally. There is so much that I’ve gone through and teach me to be stronger. Things move forward and I am back to reality! I got so much to do from this month on, but let’s me share you a secret I found to help me feel better. That must be the playlist of indie music! Every time I have them on, I was brought to the moments on the road like standing in the car with your favorite people and exploring new places and cultures – and that feeling is incredible!!!

I can’t wait for the next adventure!

Small Step Everyday


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September Her


After my two weeks trip to Korea, I got back to catch up with the girl that I missed the most during my visit and that is no other than my beautiful- Kagna! The time I stepped my feet on a taxi at Sinchon, the great memories of her walking with me holding each other, laughing about whatever stories we talked about with a big shopping bag from that mart probably just some mushroom and shrimps for our dinner Tumyum? or maybe just a uniqlo shirt that we got on sales? Giggling with endless stories about life in general, family, study, friends, or just simply enjoying each other company. And then the image of that one night, me and her with a group of our Sogang families crossing that street light at Sinchon exit 1 pointing out to that Naturr ice-cream store, introducing the neighborhood to our guests who came from other province of South Korea, and wrapped up a night at the house packed with so many Cambodian and  endless conversation up till morning. It was, after all, the great memories to remember for life.

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When life isn’t about anything with our decision alone, to have someone stay with you no matter what is not easy either. This is why I am so grateful that (like many of my friends who are not mentioned here) one day I met her and, she decided to stay. We have been through so many things together but with her openness and caring attitude, together we made this friendship stronger. So today, we met again and I secretly smiled because I missed her. I couldn’t pluck up my courage to express the feeling with words but I was indeed happy. While she talked about her life in general, I was filled with happiness because she is doing great, work, life, family…all great! And yes, of course, I do not need to worry about her because with her personality and willing to work hard, she can success in everything she chooses. September is approaching and September called “Kagna” in Cambodian language and every start of September, I always remind myself of how lucky I am to have a friend like her!

Oops! Forgot that now it’s still August! ^^

Reasons to Come to a Café in My Penh


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Café has become a new trendy place for young and adult khmers alike to spend their quality time alone or with friends (*feeling excited). I’m surprised in a good way though that this new culture has encouraged many new café chains to start up their ventures in our charming kingdom. If we take a closer look, we, Khmers has some unique characters that coming to a café are somehow different from other nation (probably!).

Through my own observation (not thoroughly, I’m afriad), I found some reasons behind this craziness about café (or coffee shop (in English), 카페(in Korean), Brown( in Khmer). Yep, we call it by brand name, it feels more awesome and who doesn’t know brown? 😀

1-    To take selfie and post it on facebook. This is probably coming from how many Khmer people (especially young one) are living in the generation that they can have a cute version of themselves with selfie and thanks to the camera 360 for making it even more cute *salop. Many are at the café for selfie, but nope, their huge face, winked eyes blocked the entire cozy background of “Brown”. Who cares?

2-    To post the picture of coffee cup in which everybody knows how it looks like already *winked. But to some of them, they are learning photography, and probably after the 100 cups, they can have a correct angle with some effects that make the cup look more irresistible and their fri (yep, why takes time to write friend?) commented “wow…ci arom” or just “cute nas”. But that’s enough to make them happy. Thanks *nop!

3-    The check-in status of facebook are perfectly fit (like apple and pie) to this new trend. With many holidays in the country where we can spend more time to hang out and travel around, people come to café to check-in. So yes, their fri, cousins (which we also call sis and bro even if they are not in one family) can knows how cool we are that we come to a *kalip place like this. And secretly, expecting those likers envy that.

4-    The Wifi empire! It seems the three above reasons are somehow facebook oriented, but this forth one is also not somewhere far from facebook topic. Up to now, Wifi are still limited at some Khmer houses due to monthly expense that we are not willing to pay, but of course, we will be happy to pay for the coffee and AC with the other benefits of the three above. So who wants to set up the wifi at home? Stuck at home? and check in “in my lonely room”? Nope.

5-    Last but not least, there are still those who in general come to café to work on their laptop for a cozy feely with random music in the background (I love this one) and do people-watching or silently listen to some gossips. Business meeting, group assignment, delicious foods, dating, feeling home (for some foreigners), just coffee for coffee’s sake or to come to a café for blogging about coming to a café (guilty as charged ^^) are also included.

Though, café or coffee house is still limited in some areas, but I’m sure this business will grow really fast and won’t be old in anytime soon. Admit it or not, people love the finer things in life and they are more than willing to pay for their happiness. At the end of the day, when money can happiness, I don’t think why not?

By N. Molyna

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…because I miss this girl, Lavorn!

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Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust


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@Blue Lime Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

SWIMMING BACK THEN

Many years ago, my idea of swimming was to hang out with friends in the pool, in which we didn’t actually swim, just to splash the water around as my little Phnom Penh was pretty hot over the summer or let say our lovely one-year-round summer!

Like many people here, I can’t swim back then. First, I drown once. Thus, the idea of on, in, or near the water freaked me out…like… all the times.  Second, there was no second reason.  One day (I don’t know when), I plucked up my courage and decided to take a swimming lesson, which didn’t end that well but good enough to know the basic kicking as I spent almost three weeks just to kick around with my fellow sexy trainees, Korean Ajummas ^^.

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@Blue Lime Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

SWIMMING Aujoud’hui

After arriving Phnom Penh, I met many swimming lovers (Yay!!!) and some are willing to teach me some moves  (Yay Yay Yay Yay!!!). but had to give up ( 😦 ) because I’m not that good student (guilty as charged). Well, beside those moves, swimming needs to be coming from the inside. It’s a solo sport, nobody can help you, except you, yourself. Therefore, I need so much time and practice to be able to get through my dark old drowning day before I can believe in the water again (You, water, be nice to me!).

So I learn the basic fact that to be able to swim, the secret ingredient (Kong Fu Panda hash tagged) is to believe.

1)   Believe that you won’t die even if you put all your head inside the water.

2)   Believe that if you let everything go, your body will float! Like seriously, please no struggle, no fighting to survive, just keep calm and float around! (don’t expect pixie dust like in Tinker Bell, mother nature is kind enough to gift us to float in the water).

Back to the tip in swimming, I would recommend “floating” to start for a new beginner because once you trust that you won’t sink it, you will have that confident to try to move your body and that will be the next step or your trainer can show you how. With many times of practices, there you go, my newbie swimmer!

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That excitement for my first time backward swim like a mermaid! ^^

At the end, you don’t have a choice but to believe in “if somebody can do it, I can too”. We are the same human being after all.

IMG_7243You will be amazed how things are easier than you thought, or maybe how the impossible is just derive from the word “I’m possible”, who knows?