College Essay | Golden Voice

Golden Voice

 

All of our voices serve a purpose and we use them to help us through every day. I sing songs, divulge my passion, and vocalize my dedication to human rights.

But nothing lasts.

I grew up in a family of golden voices. My cousin is a famous Cambodian pop singer, I grew up listening to my mom sing, and in different Khmer ceremonies, my grandma uses her angelic voice to chant. My grandma is actually somewhat famous in our community for her voice. The local pagoda is near our house and sometimes she would sleep there, just so she could wake up and chant for everyone in the morning.

When I was about five, my mom left our hometown and, there I was with my grandma or Yay in Khmer. When I say I was with my grandma, I WAS. I went everywhere with her. I couldn’t even leave the house and play with my friends because I wouldn’t have enjoyed it.

I savored having a ritual every night before bed with Grandma. We laughed together, prayed together and even chanted together. I remember sitting there trying to imitate her golden voice. She was a mom and a best friend to me.

But nothing lasts.

Eight years ago it was a tragedy. One morning Grandma woke up and there was a change in her voice. She found it difficult to talk. She felt something was in her throat, blocking the fluency of her voice. She told me she’s going to get better, but I felt scared when it was confirmed by a doctor’s document that she was diagnosed with fluency disorder.

I remember being so confused about what was going on.

Days, weeks, and years after that there were no rituals, no laughter, and no more chants. Just silence. Grandma looked so miserable. She had lost her identity.

Grandma lost the power of her angelic voice, but she’s still a superwoman with the power that blesses my heart every single day. And lucky enough she’s still with me every single day stronger than ever at 79 years old.

Since her diagnosis, I realized that in order to make my family happy and to carry on the family tradition, I have to find my own voice. Initially, I didn’t know what to do, so I sang. I thought that was the only way of being vocal. I was never aware that this world is more than blue skies, clear oceans, and emerald jungles until three years after Grandma’s tragedy. I realized that the world can be pretty complex with unsolved puzzles and so I switched from focusing so much on singing for my own sake to making my voice more useful in different ways.

Grandma’s voice meant something to my hometown. So I want mine to mean something. I want to use my voice to change the world. Being able to have a voice is important. I am privileged enough to have grown up in a family where our voices feed us every day.

So I decided that it was time for me to go on a journey to find my voice.

At first, this adventure started a little rough. It all started when I discovered my deepest and most important secret at the age of thirteen. I was curious, confused and an utter mess. I found out that I am bisexual. Since then, I was pretty vocal in making my voice heard. Living in a country where LGBTQ is not fully accepted nor understood, I had no choice but to fight for myself with love and acceptance. I did a TedTalk back in 2017 to convey my passion for human rights and encouraging everyone, especially those who are different to discover their own voice. I felt so proud after the talk, but I was extremely guilty at the same time. I realized that telling people to be strong, to have high self-esteem and to discover their own voice is easy, but what’s hard is to actually do it yourself. Clearly, there were hesitations with my decisions in being vocal but as soon as I think about grandma the hesitations disappeared. I felt the need to make my voice heard more and more every single day.

About a month ago I was apart of creating a feature film internship where I get to sing. That was an opportunity for me to keep exploring my voice as a family tradition. I still very much love to sing and started to write more personal songs in order to hopefully inspire other people with those lyrics and melodies.

This is the journey of finding my voice. I want to empower everyone to find the treasure in their own voice. I believe that as long as we can find that gold, we can use it to better our world.

TripRean – Startup Weekend – Business Startups Competition

On September 29th to the 1st of October, 2017’s Startup Weekend was held in Phnom Penh. A few of my classmates and I attend the competition as the youngest competitors but was pretty good with our performance.

2017 is my second year of attending Startup Weekend. In 2016, I was in a winning group but the idea wasn’t mine. The idea was to create a platform that allow high school students to take test/surveys and find their interests and match them with universities, schools, internships and volunteers that will improve their life experience. But this year, I proposed an idea and formed a team of five people. Two of the Liger students ended up being the co-founders of my company, TripRean.

TripRean’s mission is to provide a platform and/or service that allows students to book trips and get real life experiences. We want highschool and college students to learn from the environment around them while also improve their collaboration skills with other students. We then pitched the idea to five entrepreneurs. At the end of the day we ended up third place overall, we were the youngest team to attend the 2017 Phnom Penh Startup Weekend.

After the competition, my co-founders and I decided to carry on with the business since we see some potential. But as we write the business plan for our business we figured that there are a lot of missing pieces of information that requires a lot of our time, so we’ve decided to pause the business plan and possible discuss about it in the future.

Here is the pitch (in presentation form): https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1yWll-GctU07k0WmBkFH_lWBzw5k6ZRVvHUI_m6O91Xc/edit?usp=sharing

This is our website: http://www.triprean.co/

 

SAIMUN MMXVIII

  • School photo

SAIMUN MMXVIII (2018) is a model united nations conference that took place in Saigon, Vietnam from the 30th of March to the 1st of April. This conference hosted different schools from Vietnam and Cambodia. Liger was a part of it. Liger has selected nine students to become a delegate in order to participate in the conference. I was chosen and decided to choose to represent Germany.

Representing Germany in the Human Rights Council was a pleasure. I was able to represent a country that stands in a positive position involving human rights. The topics that we debated on was: measures to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh, addressing equality and legal rights for the LGTBQ community, ensuring access to education for people with disabilities, ensuring human rights for migrant workers in the Middle East.

At the conference, I teamed up with six other delegates in order to come up with a reasonable resolution to be debated on under the topic of addressing equality and legal rights for the LGTBQ community. I was little intimidated due to the fact that the majority of the delegates in the house has so much more experience than me, but I manage to play along and made point of informations, amendments and speeches. Here is our resolution

Continue reading “SAIMUN MMXVIII”

Women In STEM – HEDY LAMARR an Amazing Inventor Who Happens to also Act!

 

Hedy Lamarr is an Austrian American actress and inventor that was born in a Jewish family on the 9th of November in the year of 1914. Hedy Lamarr was famous for her amazing acting skills and most importantly her outstanding look; many of the Hollywood stars as well as many fans have even considered her to be the most beautiful person in the world .

How can such a “beautiful” actress get involved in such a field as stem and even invent and co-invent some amazing inventions?

At the age of 18 Lamarr was married to Fritz Mandl, the third richest man that manufacture munitation and sell them to Nazi. The relationship between Mandl and Lamarr wasn’t healthy because Mandl is such a controlling husband and is not happy with her becoming an actress. Lamarr was found by an Austrian film director in her teen years and released her first movie, Ecstasy. Due to the unhealthy relationship Lamarr decided to flee to America and sign a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio in Hollywood. Her first movie, Algiers, was a success, her career started to take off and she started to be involved in so many other famous films such as Lady of the Tropics, Boom Town, Tortilla Flat, and Samson and Delilah.

In 1940 Hedy met George Antheil, a composer in the Hollywood industry. They’re neighbor and soon become close friends. As neighbors the both of them started sharing their thoughts and carrier. One day George showed Lamarr piano and the fact that it can hops from one note to another and can make a beautiful and distinctive sound. After that session Lamarr had an idea, “If piano keys can hope from one note to the other why can’t a radio frequency hope from one to another by torpedo.” Now this idea wasn’t really unique but the idea of manipulating radio frequency at irregular intervals between transmission and reception to make it impossible to break the code is. Their invention was “Secret Communication System” which is the basis modern cell phone technology, WiFi, GPS, Military communications and wireless communication. The main reason behind Hedy and George Antheil invention was because they wanted to help to combat the Nazi.

In the year 1941 Hedy and George got patent but their invention wasn’t that popular until a few decades later. Later on Lamarr and Anthiel proposed this invention/device to American government but it wasn’t interesting enough to them until in the 1960s the navy started to adopt it. Lamarr received very little recognition for her invention and innovative ideas but instead was labeled and known for her looks. As a self taught inventor, Lamarr never mentioned this side of her, even Lamarr’s own son barely knows that his mom is an amazing inventor. But, in 1997 she and George won Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award. Later on that same year Lamarr became the first female to be titled and won “The Oscar of Inventing.” Unfortunately, Lamarr was found dead due to natural causes in 2000 at the age of 86.

Hedy Lamarr will never be forgotten, on her 101st birthday Google has created a doodle in honor of her inventions. Additionally many people has created documentaries, storytelling, and have written many books about her.

Hedy Lamarr is a role model and a reflection to encourage women to not be ashamed to share their ideas or be a part of the science field. Lamarr is such an inspiration to so many people both men and women.

How People “Act Like a Man” or “Act Like a Lady” – Gender Article

 

WikiHow teaches us “how to be a lady” and “how to act like a man” with explicit steps. By the look of it, this is CLEARLY the only way.

Man is “an adult male with masculine characteristics that involve action.” Ladies are those who contain “ladylike behavior that is undying: elegance, courteousness, and sense of respect for oneself and others,” WikiHow continued on saying.

Society has influenced so many people to act and think a certain way, setting boundaries and limitations for men and women. Society usually says:

“Boys are strong because they play football”

“Girls are not strong or athletic”

“Men don’t cry”

“Women are more emotional”

“Men are more logical than emotional”

“Women shouldn’t be too loud”

Men are strong”

“Women are not as good at math and science”

“Men are leaders”

“Women are responsible for house and children”

“Men are aggressive and confident.”

What happen when a boy or a girl practices each other’s “characteristics?” What effects will that have on the people and the society?

Samantha Cody, a learning facilitator from the Liger Leadership Academy claimed, “I’ve seen a boy cry and people told him “stop acting like a girl! or you sound like a girl!” In this case, the society has declared that girls are the “ones that cry.”

Situations where “act like a man” and “be ladylike” was stated:

  • When girls, especially Cambodians laugh or talk too loud their parents often command them to “be ladylike” “talk softly and laugh silently.”
  • In a football tournament, when a boy is too tired and wants to rest, his coach often orders him to keep going and “act like a man.”
  • In a relationship, men have to “act like a man” and dominate while women have to act gently with her partner and “be the lady” of the relationship.

Yes, society has set those boundaries for us, but the only way we can be a man or woman is to be the best of ourselves. These are not always the reality but the they are the expectations society needs from us.

The only differences between “Act Like a Man” and “Act Like a Lady” is that we identify ourselves differently because we’re all human beings. Be the best version of yourselves, respect everyone’s story and personality.

Samantha also asserted that “I really want those commands to just leave our vocabulary because as long as we have a set of expectations of both men and women, that limits both of them. If we set those limitations then there will be a limited range of personalities and our world wouldn’t be better. Unproductive, might cause people a lot of emotional pains and self-doubt. Letting people tell their own story. Better than stereotypes. Not every person meets the standard and that’s the danger.”

We don’t become a strong woman by acting like a man.

 

We don’t become an emotional man by acting like a woman .

 

We become a strong man or woman by acting like ourselves.

 

Written By: Dalin Sao

BMC Startup Accelerator Competition

BMC Startup Accelerator an entrepreneurship competition where students from different universities in Cambodia submit their unique business proposals in order to win funds for their business. Down below is the level of the competition.

Semi-Finals: BMC Cambodia (Saturday, January 27, 2018)

Finals: BMC Cambodia (Sunday, February 4, 2018)

Mekong Challenge (Bhutan) (March 17, 2018)

IBMC Competition (U.S) (May 10, 2018)

This year’s competition the creator has opened up an opportunity for the Liger students to form teams and submit business ideas. Souyeth, Samnang and I submitted a business idea along with three other Liger teams. As a result, we got selected to continue this competition. Our business idea is under the category of technology because we want to create a platform that brings tourists who are looking for food around Cambodia to experience the real Cambodian food that is freshly cooked. It’s an opportunity for Cambodians to earn extra income during their free time or for those who want to find money but couldn’t leave their homes because they need to take care of family members or other reasons. The cooks, most likely to be Cambodians, gets to experience being around new people, learn about them, practice their culinary skills but also make money. For the customers, most likely to be a foreigner, will get to understand more about Khmer cultures, eat Khmer authentic meals and have a great time. Of course, restaurants would be our competitors but we believe that our application will provide a lifetime experience to both the local cooks and customers. Within the platform that we are creating, the local people will submit meals (and ingredients) that they are willing to cook. On the other hand, foreigners can look through the provinces, houses, dates, and locations. If the foreigners are interested, they will send us the money through credit card. We will send 90% of the money to the local families through Wing because it is one of the most convenient money transfer and payment services in Cambodia. WeLocal, Travel Global and Eat Local. We’ve submitted this idea and made it to the semi-final. Fun fact: we’re the only high school team that is selected for the semi-final! Here is a video summary  WeLocal Youtube Video of our business.

  • NUM University

  In order to continue the competition, Souyeth and I have joined two of their workshops. The first workshop, which was held on Saturday, the 9th was an informative workshop. On Saturday the 16th, Souyeth friend and I again participated the workshop in order to learn further more about the competition.

TEDxISPP 2017 – Creating a Hopeful Future for LGBTQ+

LGBTQ+ has been a controversial topic worldwide ever since the last century until today. People are scared to accept their true identify and being honest with themselves just because they’re scared of discriminations. In 2017, I took a risk. I challenged myself to talk about this controversial topic on the stage of TEDxISPP 2017 under the theme of ‘Creating a Hopeful Future’. My goal was (will always be) to spread the awareness and knowledge about people’s sexual orientation and that there are no limitations in how someone identify themselves.

In many countries especially Cambodia, if we were to mention relationships people will think of a female and a male. So I want  people to open their hearts and accept themselves as well as other people in order to have a hopeful future for everyone.

Cambodians tend to have a really limited knowledge about this because we don’t often talk about it with our family due to the culture we’re in. We’re not used to seeing a boy liking another boy or a girl liking another girl; it’s just not totally acceptable.

I’ve always been really vocal about human rights in my school, but this has been the most risky but it was worth the time and effort that was put into the researching process. This is the perfect example of who I am and who I want to be as a person; presenting in front of people and talking about important human issues that others are scared to set an example.

 

*Due to the controversiality my video is not up on YouTube yet. I will update the link as soon as I can*

 

Down below are direct quotes from my script (just some snippets)

Rights! It’s what we all desire. Cambodia is at a turning point when it comes to exploring rights for everyone.

Based on my experience talking to Cambodians about human rights, the main four that pop up in their minds are the right to be alive, the right to security, the right to access education and the right to be involved in one’s society. That’s because in government school, it is a part of our curriculum.

We have been saturated with it. We were born, raised and educated with these rights in mind. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that human rights is a very controversial topic. It is debatable, one can argue in favor, while the other can argue against it. I am appreciative that the government chose those four important rights to teach to Cambodians. It must’ve been hard for them to only select four to focus on.

Since we have given so much of our attention to these four valuable rights in the past, I believe that it is time to add on to this list. It is time for us to expand our knowledge and adherence to other rights.  

Across nations, we can see significant human rights deviations. Some nations might think people of color don’t deserve the same opportunities as white people, while others might prohibit same-sex marriage. There are reasons behind many of these perspectives, but I strongly believe that we can and should act in a way that doesn’t spread negativity on someone else, despite their personal beliefs or lifestyle.

To me, human rights are rights for all human beings, no matter what race, religion, sex, etcetera. As a representative of the new, modern generation of Cambodians, the most important right for me is the acceptance of diverse sexual orientations… Because this topic is so controversial, why would I risk talking about it? Well, that’s the first reason. It’s risky, but some calculated risks are worth taking.

I think it’s important to show that, as a Cambodian youth, I have a voice and I want to inspire others to raise their own. This issue is confusing due to misinterpretations and/or myths spread by different sources. Some might think that by talking about this issue in videos or showing gay relationships in movies that we are encouraging and promoting people to join the LGBTQ+ community, but research shows it clearly is not. Here’s an example of a myth: Mr. Srun Srorn, an inspiring Cambodian activist, said, “A majority of Cambodian society is reluctant to accept homosexual relationships. Movies are an “educational tool for people” to show the lives of homosexuals. Movies is not about promotion, It’s about education… You cannot change anyone’s sexuality.”

Hearing about the challenges my society faces in accepting gay youth can be hard for me because I have a friend, a really close friend, who came out, but was scared and ashamed to talk about it for so long. It bothers me that people can be threatened and discriminated against simply by showing their true colors. We should all try putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes as a way to support and extend human rights to everyone…  

I absolutely believe that accepting the truth about people, whether it’s yourself or your friends or a stranger, is the first step toward reaching a hopeful future because “love is not a crime.”

 

Khmer Poem – កំណាព្យ៖ សេចក្តីតស៊ូ (Determination)

កំណាព្យ៖ សេចក្តីតស៊ូ (Determination)

 

ជិរីតខ្ញុំហេតុអ្វីអភ័ព្ទ                           ខ្ញុំកើតខ្ញុំរស់តាខ្ញុំស្លាប់

ជីវីតខ្ញុំលេបគាត់ទៅបាត់                            លោកតារសាត់តាមវេហា។

             ជីវីតខ្ញុំពិតជាមហន្តរាយ                          ហាក់ដូចអសូរកាយចាប់កំណើត

រស់រាននាំតែអត់ប្រយោជន៍                         ជីវីតតែលតោលគ្មានជម្រក។

ជីវីតខ្ញុំមានតែទុកសោក                     ជីវីតនេះថោកជាងលាមក

គ្មានញាតិសណ្ឋានបន់ឲ្យរស់                            មានតែនរកបើកផ្លូវចាំ។

ឧ! ជីវីតអើយដកថយទៅ                                         បើអ្នករស់នៅអ្នកគ្មានត្រើយ

គ្មានម្តាយឪពុកគ្មានអ្វីឡើយ                                ឧ!ជីវីតអើយរសាយទៅ។

ប៉ុន្តែនេះជារឿងធម្មតា                                      ចំណេះប្រាជ្ញាគឺជាស្ពាន

ចម្លងឧបសគ្គដែលបៀតបៀន                              ដែលចង់បំពានអនាគត។