Announcement Appreciation Health

My Birthday Cause for Kantha Bopha Hospital

These few days, I have been back and forth to hospital to see my newly born niece who had health problem and she was advised for operation. It was a critical moment for our family to bear the pain of this little girl. Her operation has been completed and she is okay now although doctor requires following up her condition still.

I thought the moment our family is burden is that tough, but when you would expose to other child’s condition at the hospital especially the newly born up to one-month old baby who were placed at a large room together, while two babies may share the same bed altogether, the moment was even more trouble-some. You would hear different stories: a child was left out by her mum who has never now returned to take care of him, yet thank to hospital profession for continuing taking care of him and even hiring the baby-sitter to ensure his condition is watched out closely like other child who is accompanied by mother or both parents. Suddenly, you would hear other story: a mum was crying loudly while her kid was already gone given that his/her condition was serious and doctor could no longer assist him/her (I dared not even look at the scene but only hear the cry of the mother). You would see other scenario where the mother has to stay fully at hospital alone (while my sister would be accompanied by her husband and also an often visit by me) and could not even afford to a mobile phone and she would need to get out hospital to give a call by using paid call service to her husband (who maybe on job-mission of income generation). This are few examples where I have been exposed to amid other poor and venerable parents would have been relying to the effort of the hospital who hardly bear the cost of the service, building, and other associated cost to doctors etc.

Wait, I have not yet named out that hospital and I am sure this is not new to all of you: It is Kantha Bopha Hospital. This hospital offers a free of charge medical service to the families in Cambodia who are simply too poor to even make a small contribution for the service. According to the hospital source, without this hospital, 3,200 additional children would die in Cambodia every month. The figure is quite shocking amid the fact that the hospital sometime and recently has faced financial crisis to sustain its operation. I was glad that at least I jointly with other fellows to contribute to the cause during that time. But, the moment even convinced me that more continuing effort from each of us would ensure children access to health service.

I therefore wrote this piece, not merely to thank to the hospital for professionally taking care of my niece, but also to encourage all of you to make a contribution to the hospital so that this could be partly ensure its sustainability that ultimately help surviving many poor and vulnerable kids in Cambodia.

To make direct donation you could go to the foundation website directly but you could also join my cause here:

From now up to 30 March 2014, please jointly celebrate my 29th year old by gifting me $1 each or more so that the sum will be contributed to Foundation Childrens Hospitals Kantha Bopha. Please contact me via for any inquiry about this cause or way of donation.

Development & Education Enviromnment Health

The dream of a greener and healthier capital for Cambodia

The dream of a greener and healthier capital for Cambodia

Written by on . Published in The new city on .

Cambodia is admired for its rapid transformation and infrastructure development. Recalling French colonization (1863-1953) and the Khmer Rouge period (1975-1979), Phnom Penh, the capital of the country, is rapidly becoming the latest Asian tourist playground with boutique hotels and new buildings.

Ron Gluckman, an American reporter who spent much of his time in Cambodia, labels Cambodia as one of Asia’s “economic basket-cases’ that has recently become the region’s surprise new tiger, roaring with double-digit growth rates and fueling a frenzy of new development projects. Cambodia has had its first construction boom in a thousand years and dozens of high-rises now reshape the skyline of mostly three-storey buildings in the capital Phnom Penh. Gluckmam also noted that the greatest economic growth in Cambodia could be seen along the highway of the capital towards the airport where cranes crowded in fields that only hosted stray cows just two years ago. The cranes are now gone, leaving vast buildings  topped with signs touting future plazas or a “Charming Tourist City.”

The success of illegal slum clearance efforts under the cloak of beautification, transformation and modernization of the capital in the last decade is reflected by the fact that the Phnom Penh governor, Kep Chuktema, was chosen as one of the finalists for the 2006 World Mayor Awards, an annual project organized by city majors. This project seeks to raise the profile of mayors worldwide, as well as  honour those who have served their communities well and contributed to the well-being of cities, nationally and internationally. The Phnom Penh municipality has adopted the 10 year-framework of a City Development Strategy (2005-2015) which aims to transform “Phnom Penh into the pearl of Asia.”

Despite the recognition given to government efforts in city development and beautification – efforts that come with the price tag of the cries of evicted residents – the city has not yet turned itself into a greener and healthier place. The city as it was in the late 1960s with the classical charming design of a city with towering trees along the main roads and main buildings  can hardly be seen today. The recent planting of small flowering trees along the roads is still not enough to make the city look as green as other cities in neighboring developed countries that I have seen.



Other  problems facing Phnom Penh are the apparent lack of any coordinated effort to implement the city’s urban development strategy and the absence of pedestrian sidewalks almost everywhere in town. If you are an environmentalist and want to commute to work or elsewhere hoping for a pollution-free and safe walk, you will  be sadly disappointed by this city which offers no  safe or secure pathway to walk along. If you’re lucky you will have just enough space to walk  alongside the heavy traffic without risking life or limb. The city’s sidewalks are now being used as parking lots or for commerce.

Here are some more images taken from travellingmark blog and you can also view this video :

Fortunately public parks have been recently established where the  public has free access to playgrounds for kids or exercise. These help  raise the social well-being of  people  as they can choose to do more sightseeing or take more exercise, and generally such parks also offer positive external benefits to society as a whole. In Japan, for example, where I spent two years studying,  I saw at least one large national park in each village where residents could meet up with their families and friends after work or on weekends and have BBQs. Such social arrangements contribute to the  well-being of people and the country and make for a healthier and more social society. People can enjoy their lives more with all these positive external benefits and also get together more often which has follow-on effects for the economy as they spend more money in the country for travel, eating out  or other consumption.

The rapid city development would be even given value addition if the Government would envision the town to be greener and healthier by planting more trees along the main roads as it had done in the past. It could also alot more public spaces for public parks or other spots for social well-being, rather than  transforming the country  into concrete buildings. To add further, while most of city development has been exchanged with the eviction of poor residents who are often not well compensated, development notion should be revisited. As Michael.Todaro and Stepen C. Smith posits that development must “represent the whole gamut of change by which an entire social system, tuned to the diverse basic needs and desires of individuals and social groups within that system, moves away from a condition of life widely perceived as unsatisfactory toward a situation or condition of life regarded as materially and spiritually better.”

Clogher Gender Health

Cambodia: Health Organization for Women

Cambodia: Health Organization for Women (Khmer Version)

Written by Sopheap Chak in attribution to Open Institute’s Women Program
The article is part of Open Institute’s Women Bulletin issue #5, October 2010