Flashback Moment

A page of photographic memory and more…

Category: What?

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!

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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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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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First stop, France


I am one of those who like to document my travel experience and retold that stories through writing. (*hands up) So after ISfIT (last February), my most excitement is non other than being on Airfrance! Yes, it was one of that happy moment  because it has the Air + France! I’m going to France, at last!

We left Oslo very early in the morning saying goodbye to our ISfITers who I’m sure are all gonna explore Europe, just like us. What really upset me was when I missed the beautiful Oslo city lights view due to the exhausted trip on the bus from Trondheim. I kept complaining to my friend why he didn’t wake me up to see it or at least not showing me those wonderful pictures.

By the way, life on Airfrance was not as excited as the Areofloat ( or maybe because I was expecting too much from it?). After enjoying the never-ending food service from Areofloat, my point of flying have changed to the obsession of food service and unconsciously judging each airline by their foods. Then, when it comes to France, what I got was just a very small croissant for breakfast, I was in-a-complete depression mode (My DREAM airline gave me only ONE SMALL croissant!) and the flight attendant did not smile that often either (Is it a cultural thing?). However, around noon, all the grumpy feeling disappeared when I could catch a glimpse of Tour Eiffel emerged from the foggy clouds.

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Charle de gaulle  airport is a bit far from Paris, so we can only see the tower as small as a key chain, but that was enough to made my mood flew in the air of excitement already.

We needed to transfer to  another plane to Nice. I was so surprised to see that the airport here was not as modern and well organized like Incheon. I’m not really sure which one is larger, but we had to get out and took a bus for 15-20mins to get to the next flight and the system seems complicated at first. Again, I was overly excited when I spotted Ladurée shop inside the waiting lunge. Seriously, I was not a macaroon fan but many people bragged about it, so I planned to give it a bite once I got to France. In Korea, they also have macaroon which was just so-so. I circled around the shop several times before decided to pop in. Buying things in Euro is a lot easier than Krone as the value was not much different than USD. But one small macaroon for 1.75euro hesitated me a little bit (as a budget traveller heehee). I managed to grab several different flavors and to my surprised it did taste very very good. From that moment on, I am Ladurée macaroons super fan! ^^

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Nice amazed me with the airport right from the shore, it was scary though when the plane tried to land while it lower itself almost hitting the sea below (well nothing scarier than the thought of a plane crashed in the ocean for the one who can not swim, right?) Ok let’s not talk of the scary experience. In my whole life, I’ve only been to three beaches, the most pretty tropical one in my beloved Cambodia (^^ *tapping myself proudly), the fake one in Singapore, and the muddy one in Korea. Fortunately, in Nice though I couldn’t manage to swim,  the dark blue color ocean with the ray of sunset gave me the most romantic feeling I’ve never felt before. Along with the vintage French villages, the smell of expresso and the odd looking not-sure-if-it-palm tree-or-coconut-tree along the way made me pinned this seaside another must-visit in my bucket list. Oh yeah, and the carnival which supposed to be held that time of year even light up this little city. I love every thing about Nice even if sometimes it feels familiar like back home, Cambodia, which was once under the French colony.

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My friend’s relative hosted us and showed us around this beautiful city and even made us the most delicious Khmer food. Lucky for us, in France there are many big Khmer communities which made everything here a lot easier than Korea, by everything, you can imagine I was not talking of anything other than FOODs. They have everything ranging from Jasmine rice to all type of Khmer ingredients and his relative is the famous chef in town, so my friend and I who were bored up with bread and cheese in Norway, were eating like that was the time of life or death.

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In Nice, even if I am not biologically related to this lovely host family, I was treated like a long-lost-daughter. I did not even dare to think that I am so blessed to meet many nice people in this time of need. My host family in Norway was overwhelming with generosity and care already and now in Nice as well? They are so so nice to me that made me felt guilty of not being sure when I will be able to return this kindness. However, I am glad that there is one important thing I learned from this trip. That is to treat people the same way you want to be treated. And I couldn’t be happier without everything I experienced and the amazing people I befriended with along this journey.

Up next, Geneva-Switzerland

“let’s be friends with Cambodia” Event


Finally, our “another” miracle happened!

As you all well aware, CSA-K has been working so hard for a secret project several months back, which I tempted not to spoil the fun for so long, however now I’m so glad to eventually be able to update it here.^^

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First and foremost, this middle of June are the exam weeks for most students in Korea. By exam, I mean, students are stock up some  status update with hash tag of these familiar words: over dose of coffee, no sleep, library, reading room, or 파마brain..etc. Thus to have an event at this time for us was very huge challenge.

There were many times we wanted to give up, but thank to Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) that always there to give us direction as a big event sponsor and a supporter at the same time.  However, the challenge did not end there yet. Once in a while we ended up dissatisfaction and lack of motivation, the whole event organization is very time consuming and with the adequate human resource we facing, nothing could move on time.

One day, there was great news! SMG called up on us, and said they will organize a big event at Kwanghwamun and suggested we shall take part in it. That was a big relief. We are supposed to just be part of the whole big event, which mean we only need to add our Cambodian ingredient to already boiled water. As quickly as we can, we redrafted our plan, gathered our volunteer members, outreached to possible helpers, and spread the news. Then we received more and more positive responses from our wonderful people!

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Left to right (Hour Leng, SMG representative, and Oum Vantharith, CSA-K President)

Together with the help from Khmer communities including Cambodian Buddhist Center (KBC), and Cambodian Laborer Community in Uijeongbu(CLCU), and of course, many amazing Cambodian students in Korea, another wonderful memory was made right in the center of  Seoul.

The event highlighted exhibition of Cambodian tourist sites, books, souvenirs, and the unique taste of Cambodian food and dessert in which visitors could try for free. On stage, traditional performance, fashion show, and folk songs were also introduced. In the end, it was wrapped up with laugher and smile by a big circle of Cambodian dance “Rom Vong” together with a huge participation from national and international visitors.

IMG_0808@Kwanghwamun, Seoul, South Korea

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Once you wear Khmer traditional pants..you’ll end up like this..
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Khmer Traditional Dance “Robam Neang Macha”
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The graceful Khmer greetingsIMG_4171

Our MCs and a handsome Korean visitor who volunteer to answer some quizIMG_4296

Our new international friends enjoying Cambodian dance!^^

Thanks to  “Let’s be friend with Cambodia”  event, we were so glad to be able to spread our wonderful culture and made many new friends, more than this, thanks for made us feeling home.

IMG_4462For more photo of the event click here or visit our Facebook page.

Thank you! 시험 잘 보세요^^