by Sopheak Sun
Sopheak Sun is the Operations Officer for PEPY. She is responsible for assisting the Executive Management Committee through documentation of meetings, preparing reports for PEPY’s Board of Directors, and preparing schedules, agendas, and deadlines. As a young leader in Cambodia, she attended Khmer Talks this summer to exchange ideas with her peers and discuss the rich potential of the future of Cambodia.
On June 5, 2011, Khmer Young Entrepreneurs created the first official Khmer Talks event. It combined ideas from young Cambodian volunteers under the theme "Sharing success together".
The idea for the event came from PEPY team member, Rithy Thul, who joined TEDx in Thailand in 2010. TEDx is a global event, where people create talks in countries around the world. After TEDxBangkok, Rithy strongly believed that sharing ideas is very important to Cambodian society. He decided to bring this initiative to his country by starting to collect a team together with different skills after he returned home. The young Cambodian volunteers came from different places and careers to make KhmerTalks with passion and excitement.
When the door to Khmer Talks opened, we heard “I am 16”, an original 60s song from Ms. Rosery Sother, covered by Ms. Srey Thy a singer from Cambodian Space Project band. This welcoming song called 250 audience members to walk in and find their seats in the huge hall at ZAMAN University in Phnom Penh. The clapping sound from audience cheered the owner of the lovely voice. Srey Thy announced another song called “I do everything for my lovely child go to school”. After clapping finished, she started to free her voice again with her own written song.
Her life was hard. She lived without education for more than 30 years. She only had her voice to support her family. “I am just an uneducated singer. I looked fancy on the stage, but people did not see the fear inside of me, living with worries about how my life will be”. She is thankful for Cambodia Space Project to make her life better. Now she is using her beautiful voice to educate other people to do everything to get education because she knows the importance of education in life. With her song, she dedicated to everyone in Cambodia to try hard to educate themselves with happiness. We don’t feel Srey Thy is uneducated at all! She has done really good job to her society. Her son will be proud of her!
After Srey Thy’s song, there were 13 speakers from different backgrounds. There were different topics that shared the idea amazing people make many things possible: a business man who used to be tour guide; a medical 5th year student who produced a film called “Boy Friend” successfully; a young Cambodian girl who has a lot of experience in adventure; a man who teach us to love ourself before we love others, just as a butterfly, beautiful and free; a young leader just in high school from Prey Veng, and a hip hop music maker/designer who studied art in France. Mr. Yut, who is inspiring tour guide from PEPY Tours, was also present on that day. His topic was “Responsible Tourism in Cambodia”. They come on the stage one by one and all ended with screaming and clapping from audience.
I learned a lot at Khmer Talks about how cool Cambodia people are right now. It’s important to share and learn. Even when we think other people not interested, at least people hear what you said, and they will keep that in mind. Maybe you feel it’s not necessary to tell other people, but when you share, the idea will become a different idea in other people’s mind. Something is gain inside like knowledge, but I don’t know how to express it. We at least know, we at least hear even if we aren’t doing yet.
All the audience learned a lot from speakers’ different personality and experience. We learned commitment to work hard and be creative, to have goals and not stay still, to update your thoughts and the things in your mind. Below are the advices/quotes that speakers left:
“I do everything for my child go to school.” –Srey Thy
“Success comes from yourself.” –Sor Udom
“No one is smarter than you!”
“Life is just like a train. We need engine to move more carriages forward smoothly” –Chi Sela
“You have to know yourself more. Not create problems for yourself.” “Do everything by yourself because only one is YOU” – Srun Sron
“Responsible tourism minimizes negative environmental, social, and culture impacts through the way people travel, give, and live.” – Chun Chea Yut
Finally, Rithy Thul expressed excitement on behalf of team members and was thankful for the audience and the sponsors that supported the event to make it run very smoothly. He was especially thankful to the KhmerTalks team who donated their time and energy, working together to make this event happen! He encourages, supports, and welcome young people to join KhmerTalks and bring more ideas to make this kind of event happen again in the future.
Congratulation to KhmerTalks team! We can see how amazing people they are! Details about the speakers are available online.