How I Changed Cambodia 2017-2018

I’m just a kid grew up in a small town, who decided to persevere her unknown passion which later is discovered. From the first time I’ve been introduced to science and its branches,  I’ve already found my area of focus. It illuminates me into the world of satisfaction; I get it, I learn it, I feel safe, and I want more. A strong bond has made between us since that time on—we’re like uranium 235 and uranium 238—almost inseparable isotopes. Everything I did in science is going to last. Undoubtedly, science is creating immense impacts on generations; scientific discoveries and inventions will continuously formulate extraordinary progress; as said by Edward Teller, “The science of today is the technology of tomorrow.”

Nevertheless, STEM education and hands-on learning often weren’t exposed to Cambodian students. Just like many others developing nations, Cambodia is one of those who is still struggling to enhance quality education or even access to education. Approximately 31% of Cambodians live under the poverty line which leads to the unaffordability for children to go to school and yes; illiteracy rate is high.

However, even though some get the chance to attend regular schools; subjects weren’t fully incorporated into the curriculum. Public schools’ atmosphere in Cambodia every day is just students listening to teachers explaining. It just wasn’t a healthy environment. One of the reasons was because our model of the education system was adapted from French model of education system during the French colonial period. Another major reason also derived from the loss of educated people due to the tragic genocide during the Khmer Rouge regime. Our education system steadily develops since.

Privileged by attending a unique school—Liger Leadership Academy—I now know what education should really look like. Students at this school are committed to being the future “change agents” of Cambodia and by perceiving quality and high education, this is the future hope of Cambodia. They taught students to look at the world in a bigger picture and use it as a classroom. During my school year, I became really interested and wanted to pursue further in the science field. Science, in general, is very broad in terms of how many branches it covered; however, the one that really matters the most to me is biology.

Given the opportunity to join an exploration, a seven-week course, on HIV/AIDS; my blood is pumping every day. In this exploration, students dove deep into the science behind HIV/AIDS. We discussed how this virus was often mistaken and was badly connotated in Cambodia. We put ourselves into people living with HIV position: how extremely hard it can be to find treatments, preventions, and how bad of the stigmas & discrimination that they receive from the surroundings. Furthermore, we’ve discovered that topic like HIV/AIDS is forbidden in Cambodia; they don’t even talk about it. Therefore, we felt the importance to normalize the conversation, making it as our daily conversation. As a result, our final product was to conduct a workshop raising awareness on HIV/AIDS!

Through this marvelous experience, I’ve become confident in disseminating information relevant to HIV/AIDS. Before the workshop begins, I took a deep breath because I’m about to do something remarkable, I’m about to share something my heart feels authentically proud of. We divided the workshop into four sessions: Basic science of HIV/AIDS, Transmission & Prevention, Treatment, and Stigma & Discrimination. We are educating people to understand that HIV is just the same as other viruses, that AIDS is not a consequence of bad activities, that people living with HIV are just like people living without HIV, and that the only difference between them is people living with HIV need to take their treatments. This is a big step towards real change with 13-, 14-, 15-, 16- year-olds to be able to talk about such sensitive topic. One of my favorite moments was when I asked participants to share their personal experiences regarding HIV/AIDS and to me, it felt like I’ve made a special connection and created a safe space for them to share. We’ve reached a step towards combating HIV/AIDS discrimination through normalizing conversations, dispelling common myths, and raising awareness about HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention, and treatment.

As my knowledge keeps expanding across the biology spectrum, I am currently pursuing marine biology which I found really fascinating. I felt the confidence to join a team—Liger Marine Research Team—which is a group of eight young passionate marine researchers that devote themselves to protect the Cambodian ocean. Our project is to recolonize the overfished and damaged Marine Ecosystems of Cambodia. As this team keeps progressing throughout the years, big accomplishments have been made! We created a baseline survey on a damaged ecosystem, which used to be a seagrass meadow and try to restore the beauty of it. A few months later, we deployed our first artificial habitats 300 meters away from Koh Seh, an island runs by a Non-profit organization called Marine Conservation Cambodia, MCC. Koh Seh located far down the Kep archipelago next to Vietnam border and is a conserved area meaning only certain activities are permitted to happen. Those artificial habitats encompass a 21 concrete block artificial reef and a “cluster” which is a fish aggregation device acts as the alternative of plastic buoys to mark the location of the artificial reef as well as providing shelter for fish.

All these activities allowed to happen because of a proposal that is made by MCC to the Cambodian government; proposing the Marine Fisheries Management Area (MFMA). MFMA is an 11 354 hectares protected area and is the second one in Cambodia after Sihanoukville province. In this process, they will be working on protecting sensitive habitats from illegal unreported and unregulated fishing and restoring the “dying jewels of Cambodia.”   

We know that it’s really working. A month after the deployment, it attracted more than 50 catfish, various Jacks, and we know exactly that with the more hard amount of efforts, there’s going to be more chances of rehabilitating lives.

In addition to that, whenever I’m underwater, I can’t take my eyes off whether to see the improvement or the destruction that is happening. It’s like magic, everything else disappears, except the magnificent view of this underwater paradise. Those priceless moments will always inherit into my memory. We made history here, the youngest certified scuba divers and marine researchers in Cambodia.

However, what we are doing are not going to be enough. Therefore, we’re doing this to inspire many more individuals how ignorance some human beings are to overlook the importance of understanding the world’s problems and to truly open their eyes and feel the irritation when they saw all those destructions. Approximately 40 percent of Cambodian lack knowledge of HIV/AIDS. Sex education, which is helpful to reduce risks, is prohibited in school curriculum.  MCC said, although plastic is not designed or produced in Asia, 82% of leakage into the ocean occurs in Asia. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish population. Rate as having the highest IUU fishing, up to 34 percent of the overall catch, in the Western Pacific; as said by World Ocean Review. How long are we going to stay blind? As young kid, I’m investing my time and my energy to what I love doing and I know others should too.

Model United Nations Khmer version

On May 23rd, Liger host the first ever Model United Nations modified in Khmer version. In my committee, feeding the world’s growing billion and air quality control topics are being debated on. Followed the MUN rules, we have changed them to our Khmer language. It was a successful experience; it allows our students to improve their public speaking in Khmer and to actually learn technical terms that were being discussed. I was a delegate representing Germany, a great country for these topics, I now have gained confidence in public speaking. Undoubtedly, we have to have this kind of experience again in the near future. 

Here are some pictures:

Plenary Session

Going Back | May 24th-29th

Going back home! We were welcomed warmly by MCC for our return. This trip is probably the last for the rest of the year. We’ve learned a lot!

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do any underwater survey due to the overwhelming destructive fishing. With bad visibility, we can’t do any survey. However, we took this opportunity to get our heads on dolphins survey, cluster, and work on some presentations. 

According to what we’ve seen this trip, to everybody who thinks that we shouldn’t care about the ocean, put your head down there and see the destruction that human made. Because compare to deforestation, the destruction is much more visible while we can’t really see the destruction underwater. This trip has forced us to step out of our comfort zone, we had to dive with bad visibility, reflect, and think that’s why we’re here. 

Seagrass washed up on the beach, plastics pollution, trawling, dead fish, bleached coral, and bad visibility. We’ve seen them all and we’re going to show this threat when we go to a Marine Conservation Congress in Kuching, Malaysia. We are privileged to join this conference as the youngest Marine biologists and get to present our project. We spent most of our time working on how we can proudly represent LMRT, MCC, and Liger. We’ll make a video, a scientific poster, and a presentation. With the best effort, we hope to raise awareness about Kep archipelago, Cambodia. We won’t stop here and we’ll live up to the hope. 

Just because we can’t do the survey this trip, this doesn’t stop us from being productive. There is a lot more work we can do out there.

Doing cluster
Practicing dolphins survey
Doing an official dolphins survey–The observer and the note-taker
Irrawady dolphins spotted!
Making art items from trash
Working on a conference presentation
With our dive instructor

Physics Behind Dr. Strange’s superpowers

Doctor Strange

Dr. Stephen Strange known as Dr. Strange is a fictional character appeared in the Marvel Comics and debuted in 2016 as one of the superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His first movie, “Doctor Strange” initially released on November 4, 2016, was a successful science fiction movie starring very passionate actors and very quality content. In the movie, Dr. Strange suffered from a severe traffic accident caused him to broke both of his hands. Then, he decided to go on the journey of finding a cure to his broken hands; his last choice was to get a mystic healer from the “Ancient One”. In the process of healing; he’s also learning mystical arts from the ancient one, gaining his superpowers in various ways in order to protect this universe. All of his superpowers seem like magic; however, it isn’t really magic; therefore, let’s go debunk Dr. Strange’s superpowers by science!

Astral Projection

One of Dr. Strange best superpowers is Astral Projection. Astral projection is allowing your body to travel in a spirit form. To do that, one must be separated completely from the physical form. However, this is not really a scientific event that can be proved, but rather a psychological theory. Nevertheless, this superpower is fantastic in a sense that it can allow you do different things in your body form and your spirit form. This might happen a lot to those who usually do meditation.

The Eye of Agamotto

An incredible item that wore by Dr. Strange is the eye of agamotto. It allows for time manipulation, dimensional travel, and see through illusions and lies. As seen in one of Dr. Strange’s scenes; he has the ability to travel through a hole and appear in another place and that is called “Dimensional Travel”. The eye of agamotto makes that happen! According to a physicist Lisa Randall, “the only possible interaction between dimensions is through particles.” In the movie, Dr. Strange manipulates the particles inside the eye of agamotto that can hop into other dimensions, then those particles can create a black hole for him to travel through! Since we know that particle is the only way to interact between dimension, it is possible for dimensional travel if we can manipulate those particles.

As said that the eye of agamotto can also enable the user to see through the illusion. For example, one of the scenes showed the illusion of a city in various dimensions:

People might question what are these weird dimensions of the city. To explain, Ancient one once said, “We harness energy and shape reality.” This illusion is not magic and so does every magician, they did not create something that is “magic” instead they “shape the reality” for people to fall for. There’s no such thing called “magic”; however, because our perception is limited, magicians are trying to shape and alter it so that we believe in it. They did not change reality, only perceptions did. That same thing applies to Dr. Strange’s ability to see through the illusion, the image above is neither upside down or sideway; however, it “appears that way through a refracted repeating image.” So, how do they shape reality? Well, when Dr. Strange first met with the Ancient One, he saw crystal lights. It started with photons; according to a scientist Mikhail Lucan, “They created a special medium in which photons interacted so strongly that they began to act as though they had mass and banded together.” When photons interact so strongly, it becomes atoms, then they become solidified light or light crystals. When Dr. Strange first knows how to use his power he created a crystal wall:  

As you can see here, there are multiple Dr. Strange’s faces on that wall which basically means it is refracted repeating image. In addition, the city’s image case is when it happens on a bigger scale!

Cloak of Levitation

Last but not least, an item that is worn by Dr. Strange is the cloak of levitation. It is capable of giving its master the ability to fly, providing aids and assistance during battle, and even have emotional feeling and affection with its master! Well, that’s unexplainable. There is a possible chance that the cloak is made out of a unique material that allows that master to fly; however, having affection and feelings are sort of magic since it is not a living object. It doesn’t really follow any science rules and that is normal for movies. In order for any science fiction movie to look incredible, something in it have to look impossible!

To sum up, Dr. Strange is capable of doing awesome super powers and following physics rules. At the same time, the MCU is a really well-known company of creating powers that are relevant to our science rules and using it as an entertainment and also education for all ages.


Works Cited

“Doctor Strange’s CLOAK OF LEVITATION Explained! (MCU).” YouTube, YouTube, 10 June 2017,

FilmTheorists. “Film Theory: Doctor Strange Magic DEBUNKED by Science.” YouTube, YouTube, 16 Nov. 2016,

Hybrid0027. “How Doctor Strange Travels Dimensions | Super Science.” YouTube, YouTube, 22 Oct. 2016,

“The INFINITY STONES: Part 6 | The Time Stone (MCU).” YouTube, YouTube, 1 Mar. 2017,

“What Are DOCTOR STRANGE’S Powers?” YouTube, YouTube, 3 Oct. 2016,

fluidicbeats. “The Powers of Doctor Strange Explained.” YouTube, YouTube, 3 Nov. 2016,

LMRT Trip | April 5th-8th

LMRT has really made a fantastic and big progress this year! We have our own new reef that located 300 meters from Koh Seh. We deployed an artificial reef involving 21 blocks and a cluster on top of it. An artificial reef is an Anti-trawling marine habitat for lives and cluster is a triangle shape bamboos that tied together that can also act as habitat for fishes. Every time we go down to Koh Seh, we only made things progressed by being productive. We finished a cluster in 2 days and we managed to do replicates of surveys. 

This is our 4th trip to Koh Seh of 2018 when we first deployed the blocks in March, after a month, it has drastically progressed. As usual, we did three surveys: fish, invertebrate, and substrate. In just a month, we recorded around 50 catfishes, 20 snappers, 20 Jacks, 14 paradise whiptail, and so on. We spotted a stingray, shrimp, anemone, collector urchins, and conch. We have brought a bucket of rocks to drop around those areas. Hopefully, in the future, we can bring corals to there as well. The more things we put down there, the more chances of bringing lives. This is what we’re proud of, we’re restoring the marine habitat in this sandy areas; just by having an artificial reef, we already made positive changes to the place and even more in the future. Definitely, we’re going to do more, deploy more, survey more; that way, we give shelters, we protect the ocean! The young Cambodian marine conservationists are rising!

Here are some photos:

The cluster we did
The type of anemone we found at our reef!


Doing the cluster
Heading off to survey!
Doing more cluster!


Greek Mythology Project

In literacy, we’ve been learning and researching about Ancient civilization specifically Ancient Greek; therefore, we were assigned to write a research report about Ancient Greek mythology and Greek god or goddess. Everyone was assigned a god/goddess to do research about and I’m the goddess of marriage, women, and childbirth, HERA. Researching about the family trees of Greek gods/goddesses were quite complicating, but managed to pull out vital information about them. Here is my research report about my goddess:


General Information

HERA was one of the goddesses of the Olympian gods. Name “HERA” derived from a baby girl’s name which means “protectress. Therefore, Hera was the queen of Greek gods with certain roles including goddess of marriage, childbirth, and women. She had super strength of immortality, resistance to injury, and since she is the goddess of marriage, she had the power to bless or curse marriages; furthermore, she also had the ability to protect women from all causes and to help preserve women’s health longer. She didn’t have the physical weapons like swords or bows, all she had was the power of her cleverness and affection. This queen of heaven was found at Mount Olympus where most gods and goddesses live.

Family and Relatives

HERA was a daughter of the Cronus and Rhea along with her siblings: Poseidon, Hades, Zeus, Hestia, and Demeter. She married to Zeus (her brother) and gave birth to five children including Eileithyia, Ares, Hebe, Hephaestus, and Eris.


HERA had been swallowed by her father, Cronus, at birth. However, she was saved by Zeus who tricked and poisoned him to vomit her out. Her siblings also suffered the same fate of getting swallowed by their father. The reason was that there had been a prophecy saying that Cronus will be deposed by his children. Therefore, to prevent that, he swallowed each and every single one of his children at birth. However, when it was Zeus’s turn, Rhea decided to switch Zeus and let Cronus swallowed a rock instead. Then, when Zeus grew up, he successfully overthrew his father and became the king of the gods. HERA didn’t have many memories during her childhood because she spent most of her time inside her father’s stomach.

Physical appearance and symbols

HERA was described as stunningly beautiful. Everything that was on her body was pure gold including her sandals, chariot, and throne. She wore a high cylindrical crown! She always dressed up elegantly, feminine, but not exotic fashion. She was serious about her appearance and no one could beat her on that; she was considered purely beautiful even topping the beauty of Aphrodite. HERA’s most known sacred animals are cuckoo and peacock. Cuckoo symbolized Zeus’s love for HERA because he disguised himself as a cuckoo as he first approached her. Since HERA was immortal, peacock exemplified immortality. Other minor symbolisms were: lily flower which is believed came from HERA’s breast milk when she gave births, pomegranate which symbolized fertility since she was the goddess of childbirth.


To honor HERA, they created a game called “Heraia” that was like Olympic, but only women can participate which is a foot-race. They celebrated every four years in August. HERA’s Roman name was JUNO. Likewise, the month “June” was named after her; furthermore, since she was the goddess of marriage, most people prefer to get married in the month of June.

Important Myth

On the other hand, there was one major myth that involved HERA. It was called the tale of HERA and Heracles or Hercules. To start, Hercules was a son of Zeus and a mortal woman named Alcmene. Since HERA was known for her vengeful character, Hercules and she never had a good relationship. She was always jealous of Zeus’s extramarital affair and illicit child and Hercules was one of them. Due to HERA’s jealousy, she made Hercules’s life miserable. She hated him so so much that she caused troubles at every opportunity. For instance, as part of his sentence, he had to do 12 labors, but HERA didn’t let it go smoothly. She stirred up the Amazons against him or sent gadfly to destroy the herd in one of his labors. After these labors, he was known for Greece’s greatest hero which increased HERA’s hatred towards him to its ultimate. Even after the labors finished, HERA always got into his way, notably, when the hero sailed the sea, she sent violent storms that cast the boat around like a toy. Hercules did try to calm situations between this angry queen and him down, but HERA doesn’t seem to lessen her anger until he died. Once Hercules died, HERA’s hatred seems to cool down, surprisingly, after he died and ascended to the Olympus, he married to Hebe, HERA’s daughter!


To sum up, HERA was one of the most respected goddesses. Despite her vengeful character, she was a symbol of fidelity because she was always faithful towards her loved ones. Once again, she was a goddess of marriage, childbirth, and women. However, don’t ever forget her vindictive characteristics!

Works Cited,,

“Appearance, Personality, and Special Abilities – Per,.3 Hera.” Google Sites,


“Goddess Symbols: Hera.” Goddess Symbols: Hera Symbols and Myths.,

“Greek Stories about Hera-The Sacred Wedding of Zeus and Hera.” Greek Gods,

“Hera’s Powers.” Hera the Supreme Goddess,

“Hera: Goddess of Love and Marriage.” Crystal Wind™,

“Queen Hera (Juno), the Olympian Goddess of Marriage.” Greek Gods,


HIV/AIDS Workshop

Over the course of seven-week exploration, learning about HIV/AIDS, we’ve established a workshop in order to combat HIV/AIDS discrimination through normalizing conversations, dispelling common myths, and raising awareness about HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention, and treatment.

In this workshop, we’ve divided into four sessions including general information about HIV/AIDS, Transmission and Prevention, Treatment, and Stigmas/Discriminations. We covered main information and some activities that would help them to understand aspects of HIV/AIDS. We’re trying to compress every content into a four-hour workshop without sounding too scientific. 

The workshop that happened on the 28th of March was successful with audience engaging, session leaders explaining, and the atmosphere turning this topic into an influential one. We are educating people to understand that HIV is just the same as other viruses, that AIDS is not a consequence of bad doings, that people living with HIV are just like people living without HIV, and that the only difference between them is people living with HIV need to take their treatments. We have established this workshop to be a safe space for everybody since it covered some sensitive topics that people might have a hard time dealing with. It turned out that everybody was honest and opened themselves to this topic and that we as the session leaders were touched and grateful for everyone’s participation. We’re also doing a modified version of this workshop in Khmer targeting the high school Cambodian students as well. 

Our mission statement: “Cambodian youth combating HIV/AIDS discrimination through normalizing conversations, dispelling common myths, and raising awareness about HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention, and treatment.”

Here are further details on Google presentations that we’ve made:

General Information about HIV/AIDS

Transmission and Prevention



Playing “Circle Busters” activity
Conclusion Time
Our team 

Independence Discovery

As part of our curriculum, we are permitted to have classes to further research our own interest subjects. This round, Venghour and I partnered up and studied Korean language. Without any tutor, we used resources from Korean textbooks, Ewha, and an online website, Korean 101.  We started off by studying basic grammars and daily vocabularies. Our goal is to be able to read, write, and understand Korean language. We’re starting off with very basic steps and we will continue to expand our knowledge in this language as much as possible. 

Example of how we learn

VEX Robotics Competition 2018

On the 3rd of February, there was a VEX robotics competition that held by NIST international school in Bangkok, Thailand. A boy team, Botjitsu, and a girl team, Beta-B represented Cambodia and participated in this competition.

Likewise, we’re required to create a functional robot that can lift a cone (Yellow) to stack it on the Mobile goal or Stationary goal, lift the mobile goal to the zone, and park the robot at the end of the game (The red and blue tiles). 

Therefore, the girl team has decided to build a diagonal Omni-wheel base with a reverse bar lift and a claw. Due to robot’s dimension limitation of 18 inches cube, we decided that our robot can only stack yellow cones on goals; therefore, we abandoned the mobile goal lift. 

The game ended well. We made it to the final with two other alliances and come back home with Tournament Champion award.

Gender Summit 2018

In one of our 7-week explorations, there is an exploration called ‘Gender Equity’. This exploration talked about how the world nowadays giving equity to both genders. One of their final products is to host an event called, ‘Gender Summit’, and participate by liger students and other schools that are invited. 

On Saturday 27th, the discussion of gender equity was held in English and Sunday in Khmer. They’ve divided into four main points including Culture, Power, Commercial, and Language usage regarding gender issues. 

We talked about how culture shaped our perspective on many points especially the idea of boys being masculine and girls being feminine and talked about how we still keep that perspective functioning in our brain. Power, how this male-dominated society gives opportunities to male, female, and LGBTQ+ community. On the other hand, we also discussed how commercials, TV-shows, and other entertainments shaped our young adults’ perspectives. For example, those funky dresses that girls on TV wear influenced the young kids of how girls should look like. Furthermore, the color, Pink, that should only be girl’s color while in fact, it’s just a color. Lastly, we talked about connotation and denotation that the society refers and uses to describe female and male. For instance, the word, ‘male’ the society connotated this word as masculinity, strong, while in fact, it’s just a sex to describe a person. 

After all these discussions, we’ve concluded to the point where we are all equal and we’re trying to change the new generations’ ideas upon this. We all are capable of doing what we want to do, achieving our dreams, and living to the best of our lives. Therefore, we’re trying to fight through gender barriers that happen currently and it should be an issue that concerns everybody, that urges the eager of everybody to keep fighting. 

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