Sophie’s World Book Review

Sophie’s World is written by Jostein Gaarder. He is famous for writing books about children’s perspective for young readers. However, Sophie’s World is suitable for different ages. In this book, Sophie turned fifteen during a course taught by a complete stranger to her, who then known to her as Alberto Knox. The book is subtitled as “A Novel About the History of Philosophy,” which Gaarder put together 2000 years of western philosophical thoughts into this thrilling book. Gaarder taught high school philosophers for 11 years, so he knows how to turn this very complicated subject into an understandable language for teenagers, which makes the book even more fascinating. This Norwegian author often wrote each chapter of Sophie’s World focusing on one philosopher with their philosophical projects. Those old philosophers include some famous ones, such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

Socrates was a philosopher from Athens and is famous for his quote, “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.” He is a very ambiguous philosopher because he never wrote a single line about his project, but he had a great influence on European thoughts. People know about his project through Plato’s writing. Plato wrote a lot of Dialogues and he made Socrates as his main character. We are not sure if the words were actually Socrates’s words. Socrates didn’t like to instruct people, instead, he discussed. He liked to listen and ask questions. He started conversations as if he knew nothing. Socrates believed that his conscience told him what’s right, “He who knows what good is will do good.” He was concerned with the universal definition of right and wrong. He conceived that the ability to think what’s right or wrong is in people’s reason and not in society. He also thought that doing the right things make us happy and when we do wrong things we don’t know that it’s wrong since no one would choose to be unhappy.

Plato was a student of Socrates. Plato concerned about the relationship between what is eternal and immutable in nature and society. He believed that everything tangible in nature can change. Those things are made of the materials that can be eroded over time, but they are made of the mold or form that is eternal and immutable. He called this idea. Plato believed that all tangible objects will eventually become a soap bubble because nothing that exists last forever. He has a point that we can’t have true knowledge of things that keep changing. We can only have opinions about. We can only have true knowledge with the things we can understand using our reasons. Everyone has the same reasons, but our senses vary between different people. For example, if we ask thirty people what color is the most beautiful, we’ll get many different answers. If we ask them what 8 times 5 is, they’ll give the same answer, hopefully, because that’s what the reason tells us. Plato found mathematics very interesting because it never changes. In short, Plato divided reality into two regions. One is the world of sense, which we only have incomplete knowledge with because it always changes. Two is the world of ideas, which we can have true knowledge by using our reasons and it is eternal and immutable.

Aristotle is a pupil at Plato’s Academy for almost twenty years. His father is a physician, and therefore he’s interested in nature study. Aristotle was obsessed with the change in nature, nowadays described as a natural process. This philosopher was very different from Plato. Plato used his reason and Aristotle used his senses. Plato wrote poetry and myths, and Aristotle wrote precise encyclopedia. Aristotle thought the opposite from Plato about the ideas. He thought that the idea or form came after the actual form. The idea came from people after seeing the actual thing. Aristotle decided that the reality is made of two things: substance and form. What things are made of is substance and form is the characteristic of each specific thing. He also thought that substance always has the potential to become form. For example, a chicken’s egg would potentially turn into a chicken, but it doesn’t mean that all chicken’s eggs will become chickens. Aristotle also concerned about nature’s scale, so he divided living things into two categories: plants and creatures. Creatures can then be divided into animals and humans. Those categories are distinguished by their characteristics. For instance, living creatures have the ability to perceive the world they’re living in.

Those are just three famous philosophers that were introduced in Sophie’s World. There are more philosophers with amazing projects that made people notice the reality of the world we’re living in.



2016/2017 Yearly Reflection

This is the fifth year and the first year of being in high school at Liger. A lot of new things this year are much more advanced than last year. Despite the changes from the previous years, Liger’s intention is still the same. It is to positively change Cambodia. Cambodia is a developing country, which means there are a lot of areas that this country needs to improve. As a Cambodian student, I’ve used my knowledge to enhance the condition in Cambodia. So, I’ve made, as well as promote changes in Cambodia on different fields such as health, climate change, and managing waste.

Health is one of the big issues that a lot of Cambodians are facing. There are many areas in health, for examples nutrition and dental. In fact, 40% of children under 5 years old are continuously malnourished, and 28% are underweight. Moreover, a lot of Cambodians start to have diabetes due to the importation of new food from other developed nation. Currently, it’s hard to find a food with the amount of sugar less than the amount we need a day. For example, a can of coke has almost double the amount of sugar a kid needs a day. Furthermore, sugar can cause dental problems for people, especially for children. So in order to raise the awareness of consuming a healthy and balanced diet, my team created a play to educate young students on an island in the Koh Rong archipelago about these problems. The play included the consequences of eating too much junk food and not brushing teeth, while also telling them how to brush their teeth. In addition, I also did a TED Talk on the lack of nutrition in kids diet and the potential food shortages in Cambodia. I also raised a lot of points of how Cambodian people can implement more nutrition into their diet and reduced food waste. I really want to work in the food science field because I am concern about the health of Cambodian people and I’m aware that some of the causes of those problems are the chemical and the lack of nutrition in food.

An issue that the whole world is facing is climate change. It’s important for Cambodians to be aware of the problem and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. If the whole world doesn’t take any actions, climate change can lead to many consequences, including causing natural disasters, the effects of agriculture (which causes food shortages) and shortages in water supplies. Because of these issues, I was involved in a project to develop a board game about climate change. The board game consists of a booklet with the information about climate change and the consequences of it. As the players play this game, they will realize a lot of alternatives (known as the solution in our game) to burning fossil fuel, which can be the potential energy sources for Cambodia. Besides the alternatives, we also introduce them to the idea of Carbon Credit, which people use to offset their Carbon Dioxide emission. Players will receive Carbon Credit when they built solutions. This game will be implemented to secondary government schools in Cambodia. When my team first brought the prototype of this game to a school, we found out that they don’t even know what climate change is. This would be a great tool for students to learn, and this is what the government wants: a fun way to teach students. The game hasn’t been implemented to the government schools, but it is on its way. Hopefully, students around Cambodia will understand that climate change is a significant issue and they can take action to prevent climate change from becoming a very serious problem.

Another problem is with waste since there are abundant of waste in many parts of Cambodia. Besides the problem of throwing waste away improperly, there’s also a problem with organic waste. People don’t know what to do with it. All of the Liger students are aware that we can reduce organic waste and transfer it into a useful product: compost. My team picked up the project from the previous teams and start to figure out how we can implement a compost business for farmers or villagers. Our team surveyed villagers to see whether they are affordable to make compost or interested in making compost to sell. We found one potential compost producer, which we helped her to start her business. We also did a workshop for around 30 villagers, in Chumposka-ek school, teaching them about the different types of compost and that compost is a potential business for their family. There were a few of them who are interested in starting this business. Making compost is a win-win strategy for villagers, farmers, and the environment. Villagers who don’t have enough income for their family can get profit from making compost. Farmers can use compost to effectively run their farm. By making compost, villagers can reduce organic waste, which is abundant in markets and many other places. I really believe that if this project continues to the next year, it can really make a big impact on villagers in Chumposka-ek community.

Above are just some main ways of changes I’m aware of. There are many more changes I’ve thought of and started this year. I believe that those small changes I made can really help me be prepared to make greater changes for my country in future.

Waste Management Exploration

Currently, many people are concern about plastic trash, but not that many people care about organic waste from each other. In this Exploration, we were focusing on raising awareness about the use of organic waste. Organic waste can be used to make compost, which farmers can use for farming. We conducted many surveys to know how much the villagers understand regarding organic waste and compost. After we gathered information on the topic, we present that information with villagers from around Liger. We explained them about the benefits and the different types of compost, which they can produce to sell. By the end of the presentation, we got a few audiences who are interested in starting a compost business. It would be amazing if those few people start doing this and they can become role models for their neighbors.  

MAD Scholarship

There was an opportunity given by our former art teacher for those who are passionate about art. Participants were required to create art pieces related to the theme “The Inner Me.” Two participants that were selected was able to visit Australia. I wasn’t selected, but I’m grateful that I had this opportunity. 

Geology of Cambodia Exploration

Not a lot of Cambodia people know that much about the geology of Cambodia. They don’t know the age of the land they’re living on or the creation of mountains around them. In this Exploration, our goal was to research about the geology of Cambodia and share the information with Cambodians. We traveled to six provinces and did geological analysis at many sites. We found out that the oldest rock in Cambodia existed since 540 million years ago. The rock is quartzite and it’s located in Kep Mountain. Among the outcrop we found, bauxite is the youngest one, 1 million years old. Bauxite is found in Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri. 


On the 27th of January, 2017 I submitted a science paper to an international competition, ISWEEEP. It is a competition that we can work on projects related to energy, engineering and environment, to solve a problem. I’ve worked on a project to make a type of biodegradable styrofoam/packaging, since styrofoam is a hazardous substance for the environment. The project took me a year to work on it. This was a very amazing experience for me to write a 16-page paper. I learned a lot on how to set up any experiments. Along the way, I made a lot of mistakes that would ruin the experiment, which means I had to do it again and again. I always learned from those mistakes, even though it’s a small thing. For example, once I baked my sample all at once, but forget to label it, so I don’t know which one is which experiment. The next time I did it, I make sure that I won’t forget to do any important things. Below is the paper that I wrote, you can check it out to know more about my project.


Game Design Exploration

Everyone in the world has a risk of being affected by climate change. It is important for young people to understand this problem and start to take action. Most of Cambodian students weren’t aware of climate change. So, to raise the awareness regarding that issue, my team created a board game. When playing the game, players need to implement solutions, which are alternative energy sources to burning fossil fuels, and some activities that offset carbon emission. When students play this game they will understand why is this a problem and what they can do to reduce the intensity of climate change. We’re planning to distribute the game to secondary schools in Cambodia, so they can have the opportunity to understand more about the world they’re living in. 

First showcase of the game to government school students
Prototype of the game

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

On January, I got an amazing opportunity to represent Cambodia in The 8th ASEAN+3 Student Camp & Teacher Workshop for the Gifted in Science held in Beijing, China, along with two other friends and a learning facilitator. Under the theme of “Dreamer, Thinker, Maker,” students were divided into teams to design bridges, rockets, soccer robots and 3D printing products. I was in a team to design a bridge with another student from Chinese Taipei. This was a new experience working with someone from another country. It was hard to communicate with him because he doesn’t talk much, and I usually have to ask him for ideas. As a result, my team got a bronze medal. This is the first medal I’ve gotten! 

As part of the science camp, we got tours to many places. The first day, we were toured in the Beijing No.35 High School. This school is huge and fascinating. We also visited Beijing technology and science museum. My favorite place that we visited with the team was the Great Wall of China. 

  • On the plane

After the Science camp has ended, we went to Western Academy Beijing (WAB) to talk to some students there about our experience during the camp and give them presentations about Cambodia and Liger. After that, we got to explore more around Beijing. We got to visit Beijing well-known including Summer Palace, Beihai Park, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven. My favorite place was the Summer Palace because it was quiet and tranquil. There were also beautiful structures. I used to see those type of buildings in movies, but it was amazing to see them in real life. 

Beijing is a very big capital city with great infrastructure and transportation. Even though I heard people said that the traffic in Beijing isn’t great, I think it’s a lot better than Phnom Penh. Currently, Beijing is working on being environmentally friendly, since this city is one of the main contributors to Climate Change and pollution. One thing that they do to be environmentally friendly is installing solar energy to their public bus. I’m hoping to see Phnom Penh be this developed in the near future!