Critical Teen Issues – Round One

Aiming to talk about and help with teen issues, the exploration is divided into four rounds with different themes. The first round focused on teen’s relationships with peers, partner, parents, and society. Its product is a two-hour workshop on consent, healthy and unhealthy relationship, and teenager’s brain.

I personally find this exploration to be really helpful for my mental and emotional health. I get to discuss my “teen’s life” with other teenagers with the guidance of my facilitator.

Khmer Round I

I was born in Kandal province

I moved to Phnom Penh and lived there ever since

At 9ish I got accepted to Liger

All of a sudden my life become much brighter

I got no idea where this is going




Khmer poems look and sound similar to the first 4 lines of the above poem. There is a structure that needs to be followed: each stanza has to have the same number of line, each line needs to have the same number of words, and rhyming have to be consistent throughout the poem. We spent a lot of time reviewing, editing, and finalizing our Khmer Poetry book. It needed to be done before the Khmer Literature Festival; all the parts managed to join together at the last minute. It turned out really nicely even though it’s not fully finalized.

Chemistry Round I

CHEMISTRY! I get so excited every time I walk into the classroom. I find it to be truly incredible. I got to learn about atom –which make up everything–, electron configuration, emission, and so many more molecular things that I have no idea if it even truly exists or someone just made it up so it can be in the education system –I guess, I’ll never know it! We also did so many labs: testing pH from red cabbage juice, messing around with gums, and working with FLAMES –which is super lit!

Literacy Round I

The first round of English Literacy has been focusing on the American History. Every week we read a new excerpt relating to different historical events such as The Great Depression, The Cause of American Civil War, the Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech, etc. All the excerpts were printed on paper, and attached to them are comprehension-check questions. In class, we discussed in detail, read external sources, and explored vocabulary relating to the excerpt.

I personally feel that in addition to gaining new knowledge, this unit has really enhanced my reading skill for the upcoming SAT.

Math Round I

This school year, my math class will be studying pre-calculus. I know this even before the year began. I came to class on the first day full of excitement about calculus because I’ve asked many questions where my teacher’s answer was that “it has to do with calculus”. That day, I thought I’ll finally get to study and experience its difficulty and awesomeness.

Little did I know, we focused our first math term for the upcoming SAT test. Despite the fact that it’s not something I’d like to do, I have to do it because in order to apply for many scholarships, one of the criteria colleges look at is my SAT score.

Many of the math content in the SAT have already been taught to me. I spent some time studying the rest — of course, with the help of my math teacher.

The majority of the time was spent on developing strategies to answer certain types of questions quickly and correctly. We also did a lot of SAT practice in the math section to get used to the time constraint.

Hydroponic Team’s First Harvest!

The month of April has been a very busy month with all things that happened; at the same time, this is what makes Liger so special. On the bright side of this business, the Hydroponic team (used to be an Exploration that happened a while back) got their first harvest! Fortunate enough, I am one of the members in that exploration! I have to say soooooo much work was put into this, both by the students and the amazing facilitator, Waseem. One of the facilitators regards our group as the Pipes Group since we did so much work with pipes: measuring, cutting, and joining them together. We repeated this process for quite some time during our exploration; nonetheless, it came together at the end. The ideal end product of the system would be to have it self-run; we aren’t there yet, but it’s coming up. As if of right now, students have to test the pH twice a day and add more nutrient solution if needed. The first vegetable we planted was green and red cos lettuce. We planted them only on three of the eight available rows of pipes since we are still testing it out and haven’t got to the final product; again, we’ll get there. We harvested only a row, and it gives us 1.5 kg of lettuce. We gave it to our chefs, and it was enough (more or less) to make lettuce salad for our whole-school lunch :); of course, there are other dishes as well. I’m very excited for the final product of the system! And can’t wait to see it!

Round Four Exploration | Surveying

I really like my round four exploration which was about creating an effective survey, implementing it, and writing a report on the data collected. We focused on a school down at Komspeu province called Chbar Chros Community school (CCC), the only school for three remote villages. There was a survey done before the school was built and another one after the opening of the school to Chbar Chros (CC) village, the village where the school is located, to assess their medical, education, nutrition, and development, the four focusing areas of CCC. During our exploration, in 2018, our group did another survey to follow up and see the improvements in those areas by comparing it to the previous one.

While creating the survey, we divided the responsibility up based on the four areas. I worked very closely with the Nutrition part. Because there was a lack of nutrition-based questions in the previous survey, I didn’t have any baseline to work with; so I kind of set a baseline for the nutrition status. I wanted to make a strong baseline, so I looked at reports done at other places that assess nutritional status and used it as a guide.

Once the survey was created, we did many trials to make sure the questions make sense and are easy to understand. Each survey took 30 to 40 minutes so we recruited other students to help us out during the implementation of the survey at the villages. We spent a whole Sunday, the day which people aren’t working, interviewing 103 families. Afterward, we input the data into a spreadsheet to maximize our efficiency in analyzing it. The input and analysis process definitely took quite a while (more than two weeks). Turning our findings into a report was the last step before our exploration ended. Our report will go on CCC website to attract potential donors by showing them what they’re money will be used for, and showing the past and/or current donors what they’re money has done to the villages.

Overall, I am really proud to be part of this exploration.

Literacy Article Writing – Hair

My third term Literacy focused on Gender. As part of the term’s assignment, the other students and I were given a task to write a gender-related-article. I chose hair. Have a look at my article writing: 


“What have you been doing during your three-week-break? You couldn’t find a time to cut your hair?” I was asked before I returned to my boarding school.

Stereotypes and perceptions about hair are deeply-rooted in Khmer’s mindsets as well as many other people around the world. This idea dates back all the way to at least the Romans and the Ancient Greeks. Archaeologist Elizabeth Bartman states that besides the “bearded, long-haired philosopher,” females, in general, had longer hair than males.

In Cambodian government schools, males are required to have really short hair while females have the freedom between short and long, but preferably long hair. I remember being in grade four and seeing one of my friends get punished by our teacher because he didn’t cut his hair over the weekend. He went up to the front of the class, after being called by the teacher. I could see her fingers reaching out for his sideburn and pulling it upward. She announced to the class that this is our punishment for keeping long hair; she really meant it toward male students. His hair wasn’t even long enough to cover his ear. I was terrified and always cut my hair once it seemed a bit long for a schoolboy.

Despite this rule, there are still male students that keep their hair long. I’ve seen some with hair so long it completely covered their ears. These people have gone through many punishments because they violated school rules, and must not have listened to their parents when they instructed them to cut their hair because it’s “long.”  Cambodian society has viewed long-haired men as “gangster”. This makes it really difficult to be seen as an educated man with long hair.

I later got accepted to the Liger Leadership Academy, a non-government school where there’s no rule regarding the length of a person’s hair. My school’s director has really long hair, almost reaching his shoulders, while one of my female friends has really short hairshorter than many males.

Since I came to Liger, I have always wanted to keep my hair long and experience what it’s like, but my aunt always asked me to cut my hair. Because she has been more like a mother than an aunt to me, I can’t deny her request. Nevertheless, I found a way around it. Considering my literacy class is gender-focused, I have just the perfect excuse to keep my hair long. By now, I have longer hair than any other male students in the school.

Although my aunt doesn’t mind my hair being long because of my literacy unit, I still got told and asked so many times about my hair in school and outside of school.

“Why don’t you cut your hair?”

“What have you been doing on your holiday?”

“When will you cut your hair?”

“You should cut your hair.”

“Go and get your hair cut this weekend.”

I knew these comments would come to me, and I am ready for it too. But what is really strange, but kind of makes sense considering Cambodian people’s mindset, is with the comments that my short-hair-girl-friend received from people on their first impression, “Wow! Really nice hair!”.

I asked her the other day with why she cut her hair short?

She said, “That’s the hardest question for me. I guess it just feels right.” She hesitated and continued, “It’s just being more like myself.”

I strongly agree with her answer. I think it is a person’s decision on whether or not they cut their hair and should not be told by the society and especially their family.


Protecting Our Ocean Presentation

I was given an opportunity from my facilitator of the Speech and Debate expertise class to put together a talk and a presentation for an upcoming event called Cambodia Youth Speak Out. There were four speakers chosen to speak at this event, one from university, 2 already have a profession, and one from Liger; I happened to be the one; I am really thankful for that. The speakers got to choose any topic that they’re passionate about and give a 10 minutes talk about it. I made my presentation about the ocean and the marine ecosystem. Others were about getting lost, an online platform, and a campaign. In my presentation, I talked about how I was introduced to the marine ecosystem, LMRT, ocean’s problems, and solutions. It was a really great experience for me; I got to meet new people, made new friends, and raise awareness about the ocean. 

Link to my presentation:



An Amazing Start To My December

I have to say I had an amazing start to the last month, December, of this year, 2017. The other 14 seniors and I have trained very hard to prepare for the 22nd Angkor Wat Half Marathon running race. We trained at least twice a week, one’s at six o’clock in the morning and the other one in the evening; if we have time, we could do another run on the weekend as well. Because we designate so much effort into training, we also had the option to do the 37-kilometer biking with the second cohort.

On Friday the first of December, 25 LLA students, 10 of which are from the second cohort, drove to Siem Reap for the race. We arrived JPA, a very generous academy that allows us to stay over (thanks a lot!), settled ourselves down and relaxed for the biking race the following day. Saturday came, we woke up at 3:30 am! Once everyone was ready, we left JPA and headed straight for the race. The ride took awhile. The race itself actually start at 6 am; we were there early to get our bikes and make sure everything works properly. I took the bike race as a relaxing one, I didn’t go very fast. As the sun rises, I could see the beautiful Cambodia, the rice fields that expand to the horizon, the temples that were built by the Khmer Empire, and the forest that covered the leftover. My friends and I made couple stops to take some pictures. We spent our afternoon in JPA playing card games, soccer, and many more fun games. We slept early to be prepared for the upcoming 10 kilometer-running race; only the first cohort did it though. The next day came, we woke up early and did the same thing again except that we have to pack everything onto the bus because we won’t be coming back to JPA. There were so many people in the race! It took me about 2 minutes after the race started to cross the starting line; some students took longer than that. It was so crowded that the whole 10 kilometers were filled with human being! This made the race much easier for me because every steps I took, I am getting ahead of someone and if I was to stop, I will fall behind; this made me push hard. I gave the race my best. As a result, I broke my own record by about five minutes! That is enough for me to cover around a kilometer! My current time is 53 minutes. After the race, we had breakfast and some time to cool down. We didn’t wait long before returning to Liger.

I had an amazing weekend. I am also looking forward to doing the half marathon next year 😉