2018-2019 Yearly Reflection

What is a Change Agent?

What does it had to do with me or you?

What requires to become one?

Living in the Liger Leadership Academy‒for more than six years‒where I always deem it as my “second home,” I never know the true definition of the word “change agent.” Specifically, this year, countless projects, events, and opportunities continuously occur and I realize I have accomplished so much. From marine-science research, LMRT to cinematographic internship, Minor Act. From then on, there were preparations for those common three-letter, two-letter and five-letter tests: SAT, AP, and IELTS, respectively. Assuredly, I know these projects and tests somehow assist me to a better “future,” to the place where change exists. However, they are not the core of me as a person or change agent. There is something I feel which is deeper: addressing gender and sexuality via collaborative dialogues.  

After I experienced the most confusing phase of my life‒trying to understand myself‒I finally know who I am. Therefore, I came out as bisexual. I remembered the sweats and tears I sacrificed, to uplift my courage so I could declare my sexuality. It was emotional and depressing, yet compelling and heartening. Beyond any doubts, in that indelible moment, it was when I thoroughly understood that identifying who I am, accepting who is me, and loving my own skin, the door which led me to “change” opens.

The aftermath of my coming out had been a wonderful ride: a roller coaster. Though there were ups and downs, I am still pushing myself through. The day I came out has impacted my life drastically; it motivated me to become the “voice of many” for the beloved people in my community, the LGBTQI+.

Last year, in 2018, I was one of the students in Gender Equity Exploration. It was the greatest opportunity for me to express my vulnerability by sharing my personal anecdotes and listen to others. As the exploration progressed, many touching gender-related discussions were held. Every member of Gender Equity was extremely keen to share their voice with interesting stories, critical perspectives, and intense gender-based questions. Excitingly, the team hosted a bilingual summit called “CHANGE” and invited students from private organizations and  government schools to engage in various dialogues. Furthermore, the project created a blog for students to share their writings in the reflection of gender issues of contemporary society.

Since this exploration, I learned more about myself, others, and my country. I was so moved by every moment of the project and was inspired to share my thoughts through one of my written articles which I always resonate with, A Human or A Robot.

Recently this year, 2019, I participated in another summit that is similar to CHANGE led by my friends, Makara, called “Rainbow.” The intention of Rainbow is “to encourage people to provoke meaningful discussion, to embrace differences, and to inspire Cambodian youth to create positive change in their own communities about LGBTQI+.” Throughout the summit, I always feel empowered, respected, and loved. Specifically, with the participation from students and teachers all over the places across the country, the summit was simply powerful and mesmerizing.

Based on my experience from both spirited events, I notice the change within me; I see myself now becoming the advocate, the role model, and the support for people who conflict with their identity. Also, I notice the change in Liger community. Since the summits, I have been hearing many  gender-based discussions between students, facilitators, and staff. Eventually, I notice the change in my country, Cambodia. Those youths who wholeheartedly joined CHANGE and Rainbows are now back at their communities, sharing what they have learned and disseminating the messages to their family, neighbors, friends, and others.

Without a doubt, voice has clearly impacted me, my community, and the people of my country. After I let myself sifting through every moments that have influenced me‒from my coming out, to the summits‒I found the key to unlock the question I was incapable to answer: What is a Change Agent?

My true definition of Change Agent is understanding explicitly who you are before understanding others. By knowing the real essence of you, you actually widen your path to creating change. By sharing your voice and stories, you actually give others the permission to share theirs. Undoubtedly, lack of self-awareness and not knowing who you truly are cause change to be unattainable. Therefore, start asking yourself. Who am I? What do I want? What can I do to get it?

 

My Changing Cambodia of 2018

My fifteen-year-old heart was pounding against my chest rapidly and uncontrollably. With those high-frequent heartbeats, I felt like I was running the marathon across the arid Saharan desert. My blood, sweat, and tears were merged perfectly, transforming into an unknown emotion. I was standing there crying while investigating the enigmatic eyes from all facets of the room. First, I felt compressed within my heart; then, I felt released. At that moment, my new self was truly born, and it believes that “it is okay to be your own skin.” Now, I courageously sense where I live for more than five years is now home, the Liger Leadership Academy.

Since I was a little, naive boy, I used to tell myself that I will live a normal-boy life like others. With no doubt, I defined a “normal boy” as a person who is straight and masculine. Over the past few years—it was about two to three years ago—I experienced an unusual phenomenon. There was no clue of when did it infected me; it was genuinely unexpected. I started to sense the chemistry in my head altering its bonds intensely. The chemistry manipulated my whole spirit until everything was unmanageable. After experiencing an unsatisfied feeling, the essence of me had changed.

I attracted to a person who is a boy, but it was happening the same with the girl.

Confusion, depression, and loneliness were invading my life, and all I was feeling was dark. At that time, my heart, mind, and soul were like a roller coaster. I felt strange until I could no longer act “normal” around everybody. Being lonely and not having any support were the setbacks to my positivity and optimism. For many days, I was indecisive on whether I should tell my enigmatic truth to a friend, but I was lackadaisical; I thought I was like a dead leaf. I discovered it was extremely difficult to talk to someone who I could relate to.

I must say this was my rite of passage, and I admit that it is still now a worthy experience. This brings me back to a specific and very special day and time; it was in August, the 31st at evening about 3:30. My tears were flowing freely from the pitch-black prison. My fifteen-year-old heart was pounding against my chest rapidly… What can I say about that day? It was indescribable. “Change Agent” becomes the new me and it is my designated role. The 31st of August was my “coming out” day. I had been a skeleton in the closet for a long duration, and it was the time to unlock the closet.

“I AM BISEXUAL!” I said.

I continued, “There is nothing wrong with being different; I am still Venghour that you wish to see and friend with every day.”

“You are all my beloved people, and I am so happy to have you warm-hearted people in my life.” I ended.

The blood, sweat, and tears were then released; I can see everybody’s eyes filled with tears. They felt very proud by giving a rapturous applause.

My journey does not end here. I was pushing myself further to reach out for the bigger picture. I want to change something in my country after experiencing the plight of me dealing with my sexuality and identity. In December 2017, I was a part of the Gender Equity exploration. It was a seven-week project under the mission of “raising awareness about global gender issues with a focus on Cambodian society. In order to affect positive change, we must examine the past to transform the future.” By participating in this extraordinary project, I was gaining many aspects of gender. Throughout the exploration, much strife and plights were introduced; solutions were implemented; hope is empowered. We generated the summit and invited many teenagers from a variety of schools to have a family discussion about the Gender Equity.

There were cryings from the people during the summit. There was also silence. The person who cries is the person who has a strong power to express them self. Furthermore, it takes voice to appreciate silence. The moments of crying and silence are actually the beacons of lights to fight.

In addition to the Gender Equity project, it had continued to be the lesson for literacy class. To reflect on all the love, ideas, and morals, I have gathered from the lesson both from literacy and exploration, I wrote an article called, “A Human or A Robot.” It is an article about my confession of defining myself as an effeminate boy, distributing the love and courage to other effeminate boys and men to confront the scars of criticisms, and being comfortable with their own skin. “And most of all, it is 100% okay to cry.”

Confession or coming out to the public about your true identity is very challenging and pressured. I explicitly understand that it has been like a teeter-totter; it is vacillating between voice and silence. I believe there are people who have the voice to speak and manifest themselves, but there are other people who are living in the silent, unilluminated, and hopeless world. They feel imprisoned by the world; in fact, they believe that they are having an endless journey of walking through an unrealistic world.

Therefore, it has to “change.” It is now 2018, and we are the inhabitants of this modernized civilization. It is now time for me to be the “real” change agent to change my country and the world. I wanted to be the advocate, the role model, and the support to other people who are conflicting with their identity. By sharing my personal story right from the beginning, I give others the permission to share theirs. There should not be any invasions of insecurity in our skin. Last, but not least, “Our true identity is to love without fear and insecurity. Our higher potential finds us when we set our course in that direction. The power of love and compassion transforms insecurity.” Doc Childre stated.

 

2016-2017 Yearly Reflection

My Changing Cambodia of 2017

           “Life will flow and change perfectly for others and you if you make some gesture.” If you wonder the definition of the word “change” technically, it means “Make or become different or an act or process through which something becomes different.” (Google)  For my definition personally, the word “change” means the process of you making baby steps while changing yourself and others through the course of action and it doesn’t have to be successful. I like to dream big and make small steps and my dream is to become an artist, but there are other significant passions that I passionate and help to change this remarkable, beautiful country. This 2017, I have three main, conspicuous changes that I made for my country which are the three projects I’d been through, which are Preventative Health, Waste Management, and Game Design.

           Preventative Health is an exploration of promoting the workshop about health to kids in rural areas, especially in the islands. I was a member of this exploration and we did some research that related to science and health, mainly about human health. We also did meet with other professors from different locations. This project overcame with the idea of promoting and raising the awareness and the prevention of dental issue. We set up a field trip to Koh Rong Archipelago including Koh Rong island, Koh Rong Songlem island and Song Sea Island to share and bring our workshop with them. At that moment, I was enthusiastically eager to share all the things we prepared for those kids all the islands who had lack of education and health care. It was a great opportunity for all of us in the group to be there, we prepared a small skit about the science of dental issue for those kids. When we arrived the island, it amazingly amazed us with the environment, view and people, especially those kids who are welcoming and looking ready for our workshop. After sharing all the information about the dental issue to those kids, I felt alive and optimistic again because I knew myself that I’m in the process of changing my wonderful Cambodia. Furthermore, I change myself to be a better person in Cambodia. During the trip, I got to introduce to new experience and accomplish my dreams. My dreams are snorkeling to see all the extraordinary marine creatures and scuba-diving into a deep underwater world. In addition, my teammates and I got to learn about the three main ecologies, including seagrass beds, coral reefs, and mangrove forests. This is the part we also do change Cambodia and get small young Cambodians to know about their environment and really show the passions about their country’s ecosystem. Right now, I still have a motivation of proceeding more actions for those kids and currently, I’m working on anti-trawling artificial reefs in Cambodia. Hopefully, I will come up with a new project that relates to health. Lastly, the whole project is really special for me because it made me be who I am today, finding my passion and helping me to push myself to be a change agent of Cambodia.      

          The second change that I made is the project called “Waste Management 4.” This project also relates to promoting to people. It is about promoting to people in the community, Champukaek of the compost business or idea. This is the project that working in the course of four rounds already and all the students are in the project working and trying reluctantly and being resilience by helping to improve the community into a better place with all the possible solutions that they came up with. I’m also a part of this wonderful project, it gave me a lot of experience of working with those delightful villagers. In this last round, my team starts to host a workshop of presenting our project with compost, also information about compost including the benefits and how can we implement of compost as a part of improving the family’s livelihood. This conspicuously demonstrates of me trying to help to change Cambodian society. I would like to continue this project in this round, but due to time constraint, we have to delay it. Truly, I really have a passion for helping people in Cambodia because I love commuting. Also, I already know that Waste Management project is going to change me to be a better person with outside society. Simultaneously, it also changes and improves the community society. Consequently, the reputation of the community will spread out and it’s going to have many delivering with this special project. Lastly, I will try to continue this project as hard and smart as I can in order to help my people in the Cambodia. Also, trying to help myself to another level, which is one of the essential importance for myself and the people around me. In addition, taking baby steps with a Waste Management project is only the effective way to move fast, since this project is involving with a business which requires a lot of trust and effort from customers and yourself.

          The last project that I help to change Cambodia is Game Design. Game Design is a project that had three rounds focusing on establishing board games. The main theme of the board game is Climate Change. The main intention of this board game is to distribute all the climate change board game all around Cambodian government schools because it’s really significant to all the students in Cambodia getting to know the problem that’s happening around the world currently. I might know that some other people’s perspective might think that how does it change Cambodia when all the students are working in class? As I stated earlier, change doesn’t mean that you do something to get the outcomes, it also can be something you do in the process to make a change. So, this project fully demonstrates to what I’m trying to speak about the word “change.” In this project, we worked reluctantly of trying to find enough information from government educational curriculum questions to implement in our board games so, the students can learn and answer. Also, designing the prototype of the whole board game including the layout design of the board, components that include pawns, bonus cards, question cards, dices and more. These were the works that required a lot of effort and determination from you as a dedication to the project of changing Cambodia. As the next step, I still join to be part of this project next year as an expertise. I will try to come up with new designs by improving and give feedback to the old prototype. Therefore, this project is an endless project because I think that Cambodia in the future will need this educational board games everywhere, also in order to make the change with this wonderful project, all of us including me to dedicate a strong firmness and performance as simultaneously being helpful to the holding group in the project.

          In conclusion, this is the greatest year so far and everything is running smoothly. Changing Cambodia is always a duty for every student in Liger Learning Center (LLC) to carry every year by taking big and small actions with them, participate actively in the projects that can make a change. As I stated all the three main projects earlier, it obviously demonstrates how hard I worked to help myself and everyone. Preventative Health was incredibly changed my mind with its cool plan of educating poor students on the island of Koh Rong, Song Saa, and Koh Rong Sanlem. Also, Waste Management does helping to change Cambodia by distributing the idea of compost business and the education of compost to the villagers in Champukaek which is a great way to contact with Cambodian people. The last one is Game Design. Game Design had been a wonderful, adventurous process to help Cambodian students. In addition, it helps to educate and improve their knowledge and learning style. Therefore, my last word is change isn’t something that needs the outcome. It also can be a process to make the change to the country and world. In my opinion, there’s nothing beautiful that the effort that you dedicated to the wild adventure to change the world, especially Cambodia to a better place.

2015-2016 Yearly Reflection

How I Change Cambodia

It had been for four years that I study and suck all those wise experience in Liger Learning Center. I feel really proud and enthusiastically, seeing change in a bigger picture, means I’m seeing change in a big place and I’m not focusing on the individual one. But for now I’m really passionate and interesting on one change that I observe in Cambodia is “The encouragement and braveness of showing something”. As I see this is the change that I really want to change in Cambodia and I have a lot of experience with this that I would like to share.

“The encouragement and braveness of showing something” is really precious and meaningful for me that it makes me want to distribute all of my dreaming ideas to other people (elders, young kids, teenagers, next generations) but substantially for the young kids that live all around the world. I understand and think deeply about those kids that they are easily getting shy. I agree with that because it happens to me a lot when I was young and I’m betting it happens to all of you too. Who want to get shy, but we need to show and speak to them about all of these things.

I like to talk all about the encouragement and braveness to my younger sister, my father and especially my friends. For me, my younger sister is a good speaker and every year in her school there is an event called Public Speaking by discussing and present the ideas of the topic that given. Every time when the event starting she always come to me and ask me to listen to her about how she presents and speaks. Also she tells me that she is scared and shy. So I tell her to calm down herself and be brave. I always support her because we can see that kids are easily getting shy so they need our support and sweetness. For one more thing my father always tells me, don’t be scared of someone else be brave and think of someone that supports you! So I feel relaxed and this is a massive encouragement for me as a kid to gather up all of my power together to talk or to wow other people.

Every day when I ever I go back home, I always dance during my free time. More than that my younger sister is always watching me dancing around like a fool person but I’m not actually. I know how she feels when she’s watching me! After that I encourage her to dance with me, but she says no I can’t, I just can’t do it. Then I reply to her back by using the encouragement that I feel to her. I ask her where is your braveness? Come on! Just try, maybe you get it. After she tried the dance she feels relaxfully and want to dance more. So I try to a role model of my sister that whatever I do she can too. So I tried to promote her by doing the activities like this. After one day there is a girl comes to me and asks me can she dance too. She had a conflict just like my sister. So I tell her everything that I told my sister. After one week all three of us dance together peacefully, there is no worries about something goes wrong, just enjoying yourself.

For one more thing that I experience of kids are being shy and having less encouragement is during my talent show, “Kingdom of Wow”. For the first week that we start to choose kids, who are would like to join, most of them are making an unsure face. They feel that they should join, they have talent or not. Our planning committee really want all of them to join so we just try to talk something that make them feel this is really special for them and it’s a phenomenon opportunity for them to show out of what they can do to the world. The day nearly for the show we start to count all the performers and it’s nearly a hundred performers! We are so happy and feel really proud to all those people that join the competition. That’s show how the encouragement and braveness in charge their whole body and mind to think positively.

My first baby step is on me to show something unusual to other people in order to make them feel great and interesting to what we do. Why I do like this because after they saw what I had do they can think can I do like me and they feel really want to try to things that are new. So it’s really important to show them how brave we are. So this is the demonstration to all the young kids to make them feel brave that they can do like what we do too.

This year I feel like I make a gigantic change for Cambodia because I had create the massive opportunity for the kids and teenagers in Cambodia. It is the talent show, Kingdom of Wow. This is not the show that I create, it is the planning committee, marketing team, also the special thanks to Liger for allows to make this show is available. This show makes all of the audience are feeling really proud and can see the true, innocent talent that Cambodian people have. It’s also make all the performers feel truly about scared isn’t the best strategy to success the aim but the encouragement and braveness are the path for them to a brighter and better goal. I feel solidly that this show will keep continue through my life and in the future.

2014-2015 Yearly Reflection

How I change Cambodia:

When I start to learn at Liger Learning Center I am starting to feel that Cambodia have a lot of problems. Such as: traffic, rubbish, poverty, and especially education for kids in Cambodia. But Cambodia still the beautiful country that had lots of tourists and investors are coming in the country to do investment, visit some popular places like Angkor Wat and some other places all over Cambodia.

One of the massive problem for me is education for kids in Cambodia. Everyday in Cambodia there are not a lot of kids have the chance to go to school because some of the reasons. The reason is because of their parent. Why their parents, because they want their kids to follow what they do everyday, so there perspective is not the same as the next generation is thinking. For example: They let their kids are helping them selling the stuff at home, do the houseworks, also let their kids beg for the money. But for some parents lets the kids go to school because they want them to have a good future for their life. One of the problem that make Cambodian parent don’t want their kids go to school is money because in Cambodia there are majority of poverty family, so they don’t have much money for kids to go to school. That’s sad because we don’t have a lot of human resources to help improve in Cambodia to get developed. So we need to change!!

I talked to my family about the education in Cambodia, also I talked about Liger and how Liger education looks like because they don’t know how do I learn in school everyday. So when my family heard that they are happy so much. So they can make the connection to their friends and share the information to them. So they can tell their kids how important education is because education is one of the big part of Cambodia too. One of my solution is making an advertisement to put in the village and some other provinces. Primarily we need to advertise at the rural places because they don’t get abundance of information. So it is important to advertise there. If we just advertise at in the rural village, we must get in their house to explain to them clearly, so it is better for them to understand what we have done. Go in the villager’s house and disgust with them it’s the ideal idea to make a networks with them closer, so they can tell and educate their kids. Also they will feel to let the kids go to school if kids have a good grade they will be impressed and happy.

One more idea is if I’m a principal of the school, we shall make a good curriculum like make a lesson in each class by have the experience through the trips. We do like that it’s helping the students to know more about how hard and how smart studying is because learning is not a toy for us to play and throw away is like our weapon to encourage us to succeed our aim in the future. This kind of learning by take a trip outside have in Liger Learning Center. Why come up with this idea because through of my experiment to the government school that I have learned it just let the students sit down in the class and listen to the teacher is teaching them and just have some relax time. So it give some education but it not like learning and searching in real life. We better to make the activities for them such as science testing (when learn about science) making the books example: about economy (Like what we doing at Liger) and more. This kind of activities are making students have more ability to make a good correlation and team working with other friends when work on the project. If the students make a good correlation and team working it can help them in the future too. So when they grow up they can make a good relationship with people outside the country not just in our country.

If we want to make a big change in Cambodia we need to need to do it step by step we can called “A baby steps” that how we can get the ball rolling.

2013-2014 Yearly Reflection

In my life, I dream that I have change Cambodia this year. I have change a lot of things in Cambodia. The first things that I have change Cambodia is I had taught Cambodian children in one organization in Takeo that name NFO. We taught the children in NFO to be a creative people in Cambodia for them thinking a lot of an idea for creating somethings new. The second is we make the fabric bags for instead the plastics because plastics are so bad to our environment and our health and one more to think a new idea and practice at painting. The third one is ecology we are writing our blogs to give more educations to another people that live in the world. Don’t let cutting the tree and killing all organisms because it is the bad situation and natural environments are important to us. If we don’t cutting the trees or killing the organisms, we can help our country and in the word. We can give the habitat to the organisms and we can help to grow the plants for the organisms having the diets and no more extinct of the animals in our country and the world too. Fourth is in my crisis management members went to the government school to give the education the the children to know more about natural disaster, crisis and crisis management. The students at there is very smart and they can understand what we talking and taught about the somethings that we taught. So this is the result that we get is good for them to understand. Fifth is public relations we helped the Liger students to help edit their work and give some educations for them to practice. In our class we have our own Instagram that we post our activities that we do at Liger to other people in the world know what we doing at Liger school. One more is Presentation skills to help student to know we acting when we present to other people and some another skills. The last one is about to give some information to the villagers to know more about how bad plastics are? We present to the villagers what kinds of plastics are bad for our health and environment. So I very exited that I have help my Cambodia country and all the people.