Changing Cambodia 2016-2017

School gets more intense as we get older. In this school year, the first year of  high school I had been in a lot of explorations that have the potential to make changes in Cambodia, for instance, the Game Design, and Waste Management exploration.

 

It might sound silly to say being in a Game Designing exploration has the potential to make changes Cambodia, but this exploration does has the potential to shape this country. Through this exploration, we found that not many public school students have the knowledge of climate change and how it affects us. Due to this fact, and the fact that climate change is a current global problem we decided to make a game that is aimed to be fun and educational. So far, it isn’t completely done yet, but hopefully it will be ready shortly. Through playing this climate change board game that we had created, the students or anyone can learn about climate change and/or review anything they wish to. I and my team strongly believe that this game will raise the awareness of climate change, and perhaps get people to take action no matter if it is big or small. There were lots and lots of challenges in this exploration, but over time we learned to solve them.We have our favorite quote of our exploration that states, “Failing is not trying.” This quote kept me and  my team to try and do things at risk and overcome our “fear of failure”. An example of something we did was when we change the mechanics of the game or changing parts of the game without being afraid of failing, all we did was play-test the game and see if it works or taking the game to the next level. As mentioned before, the game isn’t completly, but hopefully, it will be in the near future because the only work that need to be done is getting it manufactured and/or improve the game because improvements never stop.

 

Waste Management is also a good example of a Changing-Cambodia exploration. The goal of the exploration is to educate farmers about the importance of waste management and how they can use their organic waste to turn it into something beneficial___compost. I really hope that this exploration will help to improve the environmental status, because if more people are making compost, then the amount of trash in the community will be reduced and the organic waste will help to save people’s money and potentially bring them money through selling their compost. To accomplish this goal, our team interviewed a lot of people about compost and their waste management method as well as trying to find the potential supplier(s) and buyer(s) of compost. Through this, our exploration will be able to start the project at a small scale to prove people that this project can really have positive effects for both, the people and the environment, so we will be able expand the project into a larger scale. As many people might have noticed, trash and waste is a really big problem in Cambodia especially plastic, if this exploration can really work some unestimated amount of trash would be reduced and someplace might become less aromatic.

 

Overall I feel as though I became an adult this year. I feel so much wiser now although I can get very silly sometimes. I feel like I and the rest of liger students are making some really good move for making big changes in Cambodia, our national country. Not only that I feel proud of myself and other Liger students, I feel proud of my village. Recently, there had been a dance club almost directly in front of my house. The club was  made for anyone at any age to go and dance every evening as their exercise. I thought the idea of a dance club is a great one, because many middle-aged and old people around my village have diabetic and/or hypertension disease, and exercising is a really good thing for them. Seeing this change the people are making in my village inspire me to think of something to do as a change agent. I at least distribute the scoliosis papers during the summer break, but I am hoping to come up with something big and change my village. I had been thinking about making a community saving, where a group of people would save money together and anyone could borrow the money anytime without having to pay interest, but the payment time have to decided by the group. Through, observation I realized that my idea would take a long time to get it to work. Most people there don’t like saving money, and in fact, they like to borrow the money from the bank, the fact that they have to pay to the bak monthly motivated to work harder. These habit and mindset is really hard to change. Often, when I talk to the elder they would tell me to stay out of their business.

 

Though my plan didn’t work, I will be looking changes to make in my community and in Cambodia. I believed that, everyone can see a lot that could be done better in a small area, and anyone could make a change. I will be watching how my country grow, as I try to help it grow. Soon I’ll be an adult, then I can get in the adult business and give people suggestion more effectively with my new appearance.

The 8th ASEAN+3 Student Camp & Teacher Workshop for the Gifted in Science

Offered by the government, an opportunity to represent Cambodia in Beijing, China along with students from other countries was given to me and two other students (Nilroth and Thiny). I was scared and excited about the 8th ASEAN+3 Student Camp & Teacher Workshop for the Gifted in Science at the same time. Excited because this camp is related to science and I hope to gain a lot from it. Scared because one of the facilitator told me that he visited China in January (the month the camp will be held) and it was the coldest country he had been to. I thought to myself, if a New-Yorker think it is cold China, how am I (a girl growing in a tropical country) suppose to survive there? In addition to the stress about the whether, I was put on the spot to rank the five topics offered at the camp; Bridge Model Design and Making, Model Airplane Design and Making, Soccer Robot Operation, Small Rocket Model Design and Making and 3D Print Study. It was tough ranking the topics because they are all so great, but at last I managed to rank it as follow, Small Rocket Model Design, Model Airplane Design and Making,  Making and 3D Print Study, Bridge Model Design and Making and Soccer Robot Operation.

 

When the camp started on the 15th of January I was assigned to the first topic in my ranking list. It was a trill for me to get the topic I wanted most and to meet students from different country that I was kind of already friend with in the short span we met before the opening of the camp. Within the session of my focus I assigned to be in a team with two other students from Malaysia and Sweden. Within our team we were supposed to design a mini rocket after listening to the lecture from the facilitator of the session. In my opinion, I think we make a great team. I was hard for us to understand each  other’s accent at first but soon after we talked more among our team w could understand each other perfectly. The only thing we could not get the hang of was pronouncing each other’ name. My team talked about together; we are all talkative people. We discuss beyond what we were asked to. While the other team were building their rockets quietly, my team built our rocket while we discuss what we want to become in the future and our favorite subject in school. By the end of the first day I felt like I know my teammates more than I know myself.

 

The process of my team building and testing the rocket goes on for day until we finally built the perfect one; the one that launched so high given the air pressure that it was caught on a building roof on its test trail. It was sad to loose our model rocket but at the same time it gave my team even more motivation seeing what we built is capable of. We went back into the classroom and built another model rocket with the exact dimension as the one we lost save it for the day where we had to launch and show it to everyone in our class and calculate the speed of our rocket.

On the last day of the camp, every team did a two to three minute presentation about their project  to the judges. Below is a picture of my team before we did our presentation.

 

From left to right: Amal (from Malaysia), Sythong (from Cambodia), and Lova (from Sweden)

My team was reward bronze medals for our work. It was a sad but also happy memory for me. As a team we accomplished something but at the same time it was the last day we were together; the camp has ended. It went quicker than I thought.

After the camp has ended, we (the other Liger students, our facilitator and I) went to the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB) to present about Liger and the culture of Cambodia and our experience. Then, we spent the next four days exploring around Beijing including, The temple of heaven, Forbidden city, Bei Hoa and most of all tasting the exotic food of China.

Below are some photos from the trip

 

Khmer Rouge Exploration

Khmer Rouge was the Exploration where we were learning about our history, the Khmer Rouge regime. In this exploration we had learned about the Khmer Rouge leaders and how the revolution started. To gain our knowledge and understanding about the revolution we went to Anlong Veng, Oddar Meanchey province and War museum in Siem province. The experience at the museum was very intense. There were so many different types of weapon including guns, artillery, helicopter, bombs, mines that come in many different size, shapes and capability. Moreover, our team interviewed the victims and former soldier that survived the regime. The data from the interview surprised me. It turns out that people in Anlong Veng district really like one of the revolution leaders, Ta Mok who was known as the butcher. They told me that Ta Mok is a nice man who always gives them all he has. Not even that they also added that Ta Mok redeem after the revolution had failed by building schools, hospital, roads and bringing back the culture and religion by logging woods for money. This district also had loose rules during the regime which other province doesn’t have at that time. After interviewing the people we went to visit Ta Mok’s house. His house was very big. It was filled with the painting of the Cambodia’s beautiful landscape, the temple and the map. It seems like he really liked art and the Cambodian culture. After this exploration I had a lot of questions that were impossible to answer.

My favorite quote from the trip is
“Last time they plant mine, this time we plant tree”. Our team got to plant trees at the War Remnant museum. I also came up with a quote after the studies

I also came up with a quote after the studies;

“We can’t turn back time to change the past and make it better today and learning about it doesn’t make any different, but we can use it as experience to help us choose a better path for our country”

 

Kampot Writer and Reader Festival

Kampot Writers and Readers festival is an unusual event in Kampot province, Cambodia every November. This festival brings the writers and readers together and share their experience also seeing and learning about the global issue, literacy, culture, history, and education. As a writer and also a reader I attend this event for my second time. The last I participated, I was the listener, but this year I’m a listener and also a presenter. I was presenting about the Wildlife Animal Guide Book  that I’ve been working on. The event went really well, I enjoyed listening to different presentations a lot. My favorite fart was going a boat cruise with the author of the book “Holiday in Cambodia”. She read part of the book to us while riding on the boat. We got to see a really nice view of the river, with “firefly fill the night sky.” I also enjoy doing street art, it was fantastic.

Street Art
Street Art.
View from the boat cruise.
View from the boat cruise.
Wild Life Book presentation.
Wild Life Book presentation.

Literacy, Reading and Writing 2016-17

In literacy class, we mainly focus on reading and writing. In class, we read a play called “Pygmalion”. After every chapter, we had to answer the questions using the literacy skill that we’ve learned in class. We also have the book club groups, where we form teams based on our reading level. Every Monday we would discuss our book and the goal for next week also dividing up the jobs . We have four jobs for; story mapper, vocabulary finder, summarizer, and question maker, which we will use to discuss every Monday during literacy.

At the end of the Pygmalion play, everyone had to find a pair to work on answering questions from the play with projects. My partner, Makara and I choose to make a project-cube. First, we answer the question together and started to divide it into six pieces in order to turn it into a cube. When everyone finishes their project we come together and share what we have made. There were varieties of forms of presentation. There were project-cubes, presentation, song, poem, posters and many more project. It was fun learning literacy.

NARIT Asia Astronomy Camp

This year I join an “Astronomy camp” competition called NARIT. NARIT is an annual competition for high school students in southeast Asia. This year, this competition will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  It will be from 24-27 of January 2016. Only 40 students will be select based on their essay. The topic for the essay is “How does Astronomy play a significant part in your daily life?” After I know all the information and the qualification I started to research to find out more about the solar system. I’ve learned a lot during my research  and started to write my essay. I was amazed how earth really depends on the sun. Later, it turned out I wasn’t selected, but I had learned a lot from it. It was a good experience entering the competition. 

IMG_0702

 

Educational Board Game Design

Our exploration is called Board Game Design. We are trying to make an educational and fun board game for Cambodian students who are learning in the public schools. As we’re starting our exploration we realize that not a lot or none of the Cambodian people had played board games including us. So for the first week of our exploration, our team started to play different board games including Catan, Ticket to ride, Pandemic and Forbidden island to have a better understanding of what is a board game. In this exploration, I had learned a lot. Here are the things I’ve learned;

what-is-a-game

Our team had watched a video about “What is a game?”. My definition of a game was something you do or play for fun. After watching the video I realize that my definition is not clear enough, because if watching TV entertain someone, does that mean watching Tv is a game? Well, I think it’s no. I’ve also learned about the difference between puzzle, contest, and game. In a puzzle, people are trying to solve a problem, for example, a maze or sudoku, while a contest is a skill-based competition like running swimming… A game has a really big difference because it had decision making, where every time a player make their decision it could the possibility of winning of losing the game and also how the other player would make their decision.

 

 

theme

As what I understand a theme is a story behind the game that explains that the players are doing that they’re doing. Themes can be very serious or very funny. For example, the theme in Pandemic is  to save the world from the contagious diseases while in Tokenoko is where China gives panda to Japan. To my opinion, I think a theme is the most important part of the game because once you have a theme you can connect it to real life and figure out your mechanic and component. If we’re using first them our exploration come up with below  “Developing a country while caring for the environment”, if you bring it to real life you could say that in order to build infrastructure sometimes people have to cut down the forest. Then you can use it in the game, you could say if the players are cutting down too many trees to build infrastructure the pollution rate in the game will go up and they can lose the game.

 

mechanic

Mechanics are rules that make your game work. Components are physical objects that are in your game for example; player’s pawn, card, dice…

 

Just understanding these is not enough to make a board game yet so we have a class activity of making our own game individually for about 10 minutes. Then we come up with a theme where players are trying to develop a country (Cambodia) while caring for the environment. We always add ideas to our game that we can’t simplify it down and turns out to be  a video game instead, it was also not playable. We have trouble developing our game so we reach out to different game design experts and we found a guy named Ear Uy and we talk with him about our problem. He suggested us to use reverse engineer method. Reverse engineer is where we look at other board game and define the mechanic, the theme and component of the game. Then we did our second 10 minutes make a playable game again then we throw our team’s theme away because we know that’s it’s not going to work. We finally have a math game when we combine different part from different games after doing the second 10 minutes make a playable game exercise. However, our is still in the developing stage and we are having trouble to find a theme that fit with our game.

As we had been playing and designing games our team had come up with this formula for a good game and we are trying to use this formula to develop our game.

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