Sopheap Chak

Riding the wave of change in Cambodia

Category: Community Work (page 1 of 5)

A nature of love and a must to conserve: Cambodia’s Chi Phat Eco-tourism

People would need a space for an escape from their routine life and environment sometimes. So did I when I managed to have a weekend escape with my partner in late August 2014 to Koh Kong province where this turned to be the greatest escape weekend ever in our lives. However it was not a really proper escape as when you would suddenly met the person you have known: I met a participant attending blogfestasia—in which I co-organized in 2012—on the mini-bus and he just sit next to me. Our conversation started with where and what was our plan to do in Koh Kong province. Another newly met middle-age man sitting after him started to jump in our conversation about tourist spots and his community work as Areng community activist. I was first thinking in my head: What an escape I had now, as this was a familiar discussion in almost day-to-day operation!

Suddenly the man introduced us to visit Chi-Phat community. Without any clue of this area but an Eco-tourism spot that managed by community, we did not think long but thanked him for guiding us the location:

It was a bout an hour drive from Sre Ambel toward to Koh Kong province and there will be sign a long the national road noting “Community-based Eco-tourism, Chi Phat”. Then we could take motor-taxi or boat to reach the area. We took motor-taxi that would take 30-45 minutes depending on road condition after the rain for example. After that we need to cross a small canal which it just took us few minutes. Then, it is about 500 meter where the community-based office is located and they could explain us further about the sites and plan together the spot visits. A two or three night-stay is recommended. Find out more the accommodation means, which they offer alternative and interesting affordable choices.

Here I came to stay at a very nice bungalow:


A great stay at Chi Phat Bungalow (Photo by the Author)

A great stay at Chi Phat Bungalow (Photo by the Author)

There were many tourist spots but I could only visit few of them given my accidental plan that allowed only a night stay there. Yet, it is still the worthwhile adventure ever. We had done hiking in the forest to see the beauty of many waterfalls:

Chhay Khpus in Chi-Phat Eco-tourism. Chhay mean 'waterfall' for Chi-Phat residents. (photo by author).

Chhay Khpus in Chi-Phat Eco-tourism. Chhay mean ‘waterfall’ for Chi-Phat residents. (photo by author).

DSC_1200 DSC_1121 DSC_1066 DSC_1060

Then we could do another adventure on the motorbike to O-malou waterfall and at some point we had to stop and walk along the motorbike as the road condition would not allow and I feel it would be best to do hiking (yet it is a bit far as it took us more than an hour). There I called it a hidden beauty waterfall.

O-malou Waterfall, the hidden beauty. (photo by author) DSC_1265 DSC_1243 DSC_1215 DSC_1210

I could not help myself to be trapped under this hidden beauty and amazed at the combination nature of love as this ecosystem complement and treat each other well to make a lively creature on earth. Having seen this and aware of many illegal logging and natural resource destruction which some were under the so-called claim of development (that environmental and social impact assessment were often neglected and conducted in a secret manner), I encourage everyone to visit the place and join hand with communities to support their force in protecting and promoting the nature, such as save the Areng Valley for example, so that it could return us back with healthy life and our children could have the chance to live with these remaining natures. I could see the potential model of Eco-tourism where it could generate income for government as well as the support directly to communities and such model shall be repeated in other places for the better off for both nature and people.

Find out more and how to contact Chi-Phat community via (the same for

ហ៊ានសុបិន្ត និងហ៊ានផ្លាស់ប្តូរ (Dare to Dream and Dare to Change)

(The English version is available after the Khmer text)

បន្ទាប់ពីលទ្ធផលប្រលងបាក់ឌុបត្រូវបានប្រកាសរួចរាល់ហើយនោះ សិស្សានុសិស្ស​នឹងកំពុង​ស្វែងយល់ពីដំណើរផ្លូវឆ្ពោះទៅអនាគតរបស់ខ្លួនជាក់ជាមិនខាន។ អាស្រ័យហេតុនេះហើយ ខ្ញុំសូមចូលរួមចែករំលែកនូវបទពិសោធន៍ជីវិតផ្ទាល់ខ្លួនជូនដល់ប្អូនៗសម្រាប់ពិចារណា៖

ទស្សនរបស់ខ្ញុំ៖ ហ៊ានសុបិន្ត និងហ៊ានផ្លាស់ប្តូរ

Your life pathway can be blur yet you have to move on to the direction you are envisioned. (Photo by the author in 2013 at Rubber Plantation in Kampong Cham Pronvince). (cc-2013, Sopheap Chak)

Your life pathway can be blur yet you have to move on to the direction you are envisioned. (Photo by the author in 2013 at Rubber Plantation in Kampong Cham Pronvince). (cc-2013, Sopheap Chak)

ខ្ញុំធ្លាប់មានសុបិន្តតាំងពីវ័យកុមារអាយុប្រហែលជា ៣ ឆ្នាំថា ចង់ក្លាយខ្លួនជា​វេជ្ជបណ្ឌិតដែលប្រើប្រាស់ដៃឆ្វេងដ៏ល្បីល្បាញមួយរូប ដើម្បី​ព្យាបាល​ពលរដ្ឋ​ក្រីក្រ។  ដោយសារ​តែ​ខ្ញុំជាអ្នកសរសេរដៃឆ្វេង ខ្ញុំតែងមានទស្សនវិស័យបែបនេះ ហើយ​ខ្ញុំរៀនពូកែខាង​ជីវសាស្ត្រ តែខ្ញុំមិនបានត្រៀមលក្ខណៈគ្រប់គ្រាន់ដើម្បីប្រលូកក្នុងវិស័យនេះទេ ដោយសារ​ខ្ញុំ​ពុំមាន​សាច់ញាតិ​ដែលប្រកបអាជីពខាងវេជ្ជសាស្រ្ត ហើយក៏គ្មានអ្នកផ្តល់ប្រឹក្សាថាត្រូវសិក្សា​ភាសារ​បារាំងពី ក្មេងដើម្បីអាចប្រលងជាប់សាលាពេទ្រនោះដែរ។ ពេលវេលាមួយនោះបាន​ចូល​មកដល់​ ហើយ​ខ្ញុំបានប្រឡងជាប់ខាងសាលាមធ្យមវេជ្ជសាស្ត្រ​ ដោយសមត្ថភាពរបស់​ខ្ញុំផ្ទាល់ (ដែលខ្ញុំពោលបែបនេះ ដោយសារសម័យនោះគឺភាគច្រើន​កាអី​ដែល​ជាប់​នោះ​ត្រូវ​បាន​គេ​ទិញ/សូករួច​បាត់ទៅហើយ) ​តែ​មិន​បាន​ជាប់​នៅ​សកល​វិទ្យាល័យ​​សុខាភិបាលនោះទេ។​

ឳពុកម្តាយរបស់ខ្ញុំបានផ្តល់យោបល់ថា ប្រសិនបើខ្ញុំនឹងប្រលូកក្នុងវិស័យនេះ នោះនឹងត្រូវចំណាយពេលវលាច្រើន​(ប្រហែល​ដល់​ទៅ​ ១០ ឆ្នាំ​ដែល​អាច​នឹង​ក្លាយ​ជា​វេជ្ជ​បណ្ឌិត​បាន) និងធនធានថិវកាច្រើនណាស់។ ដោយសារតែធនធានមានកម្រិត ខ្ញុំមិនមាន​ជម្រើសនោះឡើយ ក៏ប៉ុន្តែខ្ញុំក៏មិនបានសោកស្តាយអ្វីនោះដែរ ហើយខ្ញុំមានតែត្រូវអរគុណដល់​ឳពុកម្តាយរបស់ខ្ញុំ ដែលបានគាំទ្រ ជួយត្រួសត្រាយផ្លូវ ឲ្យខ្ញុំអាចឈានជើងលើផ្លូវជីវិតរបស់​ខ្ញុំ ​មកដល់ពេលនេះ ដោយខ្ញុំសម្រេចចូលធ្វើកម្មសិក្សាការី ជាមួយអង្គការសង្គមស៊ីវិលមួយ។ នោះ ជាវិថីដែលបានផ្លាស់ប្តូរទស្សនវិស័យរបស់ខ្ញុំទាំងស្រុង​មកដល់ពេលបច្ចុប្បន្ននេះ។ ខ្ញុំ​កំពុងតែរីករាយក្នុងអាជីពរបស់ខ្ញុំជាមួយអង្គការសង្គមស៊ីវិល និងប្រព័ន្ធផ្សព្វផ្សាយសង្គម ហើយ​ខ្ញុំយល់ថា នេះជាខ្ញុំពិតប្រាកដ មិនមែនវេជ្ជបណ្ឌិតដែលខ្ញុំធ្លាប់បានស្រមៃនោះទេ។​

ទោះជាយ៉ាងនេះក្តី នៅពេលដែលខ្ញុំធ្វើការសាកល្បងក្រឡេកមើលទៅវិថីជីវិតខ្ញុំ ត្រង់ចំណុចដែលខ្ញុំត្រូវនឹងអាចជ្រើសរើសអាជីពជាវេជ្ជបណ្ឌិតនោះ ប្រហែលជាខ្សែជីវិតរបស់ខ្ញុំអាចនឹងមានការប្រែប្រួល ហើយខ្ញុំអាចនឹងពេញចិត្តនឹងជីវិតបែបនោះ ឬប្រហែលជាមិនពេញចិត្តក៏ថាបាន ហើយខ្ញុំតែងតែលេងសើចជាមួយក្រុមការងារខ្ញុំថា អ្នកដែលខ្ញុំស្គាល់ពេលនេះ អាចជាអតិថិជនដែលត្រូវការសេវាកម្មពេទ្ររបស់ខ្ញុំ ឬក៏ម្យ៉ាងទៀតនោះ ប្រហែលជាយើងនឹង​មិនអាចស្គាល់គ្នាផងក៏មិនដឹង។​

ខ្ញុំសង្ឃឹមថា បទពិសោធន៍មួយផ្នែកនៃជីវិតរបស់ខ្ញុំនេះ អាចសរបញ្ជាក់ដល់អ្នកគ្រប់គ្នាថា យើងអាចសុបិន្តនូវខ្សែជីវិតរបស់យើងបាន ហើយ​អាចធ្វើឲ្យខ្សែជីវិតនោះក្លាយជាការពិត​ត្រង់ចំណុចណាមួយ ប៉ុន្តែ​ក្នុងករណីដែលសុបិន្តរបស់អ្នកនឹងអាចត្រូវបានផ្លាស់ប្តូរនោះ ចូរអ្នកកុំអស់សង្ឃឹម ក្នុងការបន្តក្តីសុបិន្តរបស់អ្នកឲ្យសោះ។ អ្នកត្រូវហ៊ានបន្តសុបិន្ត​ដោយ​ធ្វើការត្រួតពិនិត្យឡើងវិញ ហើយ​ចាប់ផ្តើមធ្វើឲ្យសុបិន្តផ្សេងៗដទៃទៀតអាច​សម្រេចបាន​។ តើអ្នកណានឹងដឹងបាននោះ ថា​សុបិន្តដែលអ្នកធ្លាប់មានពីមុនមិនមែនជា​សុបិន្តពិតប្រាកដរបស់អ្នកឡើយ ហើយដរាបណាអ្នកអាចធ្វើឲ្យសុបិន្តនោះក្លាយជាការពិត​នោះហើយជាសុបិន្តពិតប្រាកដរបស់អ្នក៕

English Version:

After the recent high school examination result released, the students must be now seeking for their future path, I therefore would like to share a piece of lesson from my personal life with the hope that this can somehow contribute to your food of thought:

My Philosophy: Dare to Dream and Dare to Change

I had a dream since I was 3 years old that I could be a famous left handed doctor to help curing poor people. As I am a left handed writing type of person, I had that vision and I was good in biology yet I was not well prepared to jump into this major as I have no relatives who are doctors nor anyone could advise to study French in younger age. So when time come, I could only manage to pass the nursery examination on my own [referring to the climate that majority seats were already allocated with bribery], not the high level of medical university.

My parents advised me that it would take years (probably up to 10 years) with much financial resource to make my dream realized. With financial resource limited, I have no choice but I did not regret and I must thank my parents for supporting my life path to move on in another lane of dream, which was to start an internship with a civil society organization. It was the pathway that has changed my vision totally up to present time. I am now becoming obsessed with civil society work and social media platform and I have realized this is the real type of me, not the doctor I had dreaming about.

However, putting my life-path back to the intersection where I had turned my way to medical doctor career, probably other scenario would has happened and I may satisfied with myself or maybe not, and I kept making a joke around that probably those who have known me now maybe become one of my clients for medical service or we could not meet in this life-path.

This piece of shared lesson is aimed to prove that anyone of us can dream about our life and could make that dream come true at certain point but although your dream may have changed, do not feel discouraged to stop dreaming. You must continue revisit your dream and make another possible dream realize and who know, probably the dream you used to dream about is not the real dream or unless you make that happen.

Smile with Young Volunteers at BlogFest Asia 2012

As an individual blogger, an excited moment for me personally is when meeting with other bloggers to exchange dialogue on internet freedom while I have never ever thought that I have been taken my role as a participant for granted to interact more with other participants that this would hardly be possible if I would be taking a role as an organizer. I have realized that I have been missing my privilege role to interact with great bloggers from the region when I actively engaged as one of main organizers to host BlogFest Asia 2012 that gathered around 200 individuals from several Asian countries from November 1st to 5th, 2012. This third BlogFest, held this time in the historic town of Siem Reap, was earlier held in Hong Kong in 2009 and later in Penang, Malaysia in 2010. The rational of organizing this BlogFest is to offer a venue where people actively share information about media and technology.

However, a great privilege for me to gain and this has been strongly convinced a worth time for me in this role was the fact that I could work closely with young volunteers whose passion with initiative, talent with pride, energy with a sense of humor has filled with hope and put a smile on my face all the time [probably some who met me during the BlogFest may not notice my smile, but I had a hidden smile in my heart if this may have not explicitly shown publicly].

Passion with initiative: I have been inspired in the way that young volunteers had invested their time in arranging and providing their service accordingly to their assigned role ranging from registration, minute taken, social media, and logistic arrangement [it shall be noted that once should talk with our logistic volunteer who had smartly managed his role perfectly while he only sit still at the desk].

They did not wait to follow instruction, but they initiated the way they would handle their role. A young man came to me and another organizer who managed the list of participants for registration, after the pre-event arrangement meeting, asking for the update list of participants in soft copy so that he can make an order in the list in his own way to smooth out the registration process.

Talent with pride: Not only great passion and initiative in work, these young volunteers have not been shy away in showing their potential talent [which I had to admit that I had to push through myself many time, when I was in the same age like them, in order to stand up to show my hidden talent if I may had].

I was mute when a 15-year-old man came to me while I was moderating the MC stage during a dinner gathering of roughly 200 people including Asian and Westerners and only after few foreign participants showed their guitar and music skills, he said: Sister, I will play guitar and sing a song called, Tear of a Gangster Child. I have to be proud to show Khmers talent in this international stage too.

I thought he just make a joke with me, but he did it and I was listening with sense of pride. I miss the record during that day, but later I capture this one during our working break:

Energy with sense of humor: Regardless how busy and tiring days we had, these young never complaint that this was a tiring day for them, yet they even could manage to play hard after the each day of the event. Pub-street, a well-known nighttime gathering for local and international tourist in Siem Reap where full of club and restaurants, was filled up by most of BlogFest Asia 2012 participants including our volunteers throughout the days of event. I spent the last night of the event with these young. I could not imagine how to have fun with my sex on the beacha favorite cocktail I always orderwithout them, while they shared me a lesson to laugh with drinking. A code among few volunteers who I interacted with most often is a laughing code when counting 1, 2, 3

It shall be noted that this was not the first time for them to volunteer in such event, their face are familiar with many event organization and support including a known blog gathering Barcamp. Wonder who they are, check their bio here.

I must admit that I am inspired to write this post in a personal writing style that I rarely did because of the memorization of their passion with initiative, talent with pride, energy with a sense of humor and I owed them with a thank note to fill up my smile for nearly-end of 2012 and some reflection for my 2013 resolution. Stay-tune next with my resolution blogpost.

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