Learning to Manage a Newspaper

In the second round of managing Liger Edge, we did something a little different. Diversity is a value that Liger has, so it only makes more sense if we reflect that in the newspaper. This means we extended the writing responsibility beyond the Liger Edge team to other senior students.

Students in the senior cohort were all required to write a Liger Edge article as part of their literacy class. Each of them signed up to write at least one article. They had the option to write it in any weeks or category they wanted and due dates are assigned to them.

A sample of the sign-up sheet with categories and dates

So what did I learn from that experience as the editor in chief?

  1. It takes patience to be a facilitator. This experience allowed me to briefly put myself in learning facilitators’ shoes. This experience is similar to giving an assignment to students, except this is me giving it to my classmates. I had to keep in mind giving clear instructions for everyone to avoid miscommunication. I realized that even with instructions given in a few forms, we can’t fully escape miscommunication and questions that can be answered from those instructions. So I simply learned to be more patient.
  2. A lot of people don’t like to write. Even though I find writing interesting, many don’t agree with me. When the assignment was given to the students, many of them didn’t look forward to it. There needed to be an incentive to motivate them to write, and in this case, it was the points for literacy class. Since Liger is not a point-driven academy, we don’t really like that idea. So we’re trying to find a better way to motivate more students to enjoy writing.
  3. Communication is key. Since last round of being Liger Edge, I knew I had to communicate with many people. This round, more people are involved in the project, meaning I had to learn to communicate better with more people. Often times, I reminded the writer when their articles are due and communicate with them when there are edits that they need to make.

Beside editing articles, I’ve also written some myself this round. Click here to see an article I’ve written about clean energy in Cambodia.

Writing a Play Depicting an Issue in the Society

We’ve learned so many ethical concepts here at Liger, and we want to have a platform where we can share those ideas with others, especially Cambodians. So this year, we started a mobile theater project, and I was glad to be part of the writing group this round. Our mission is to share with rural Cambodians ideas relating to healthy relationships amongst each other, as well as raising awareness about plastic pollution, marine conservation, and education, through short plays. This term I was part of the team that wrote a play reflecting a problem in the society, particularly body image.

It’s a challenge to create a play regarding sensitive issues, like body image. We want to clearly convey that it is a problem in a way that is not offensive and controversial. In order to do that, we need to be careful about every part of our play by making sure the play is not oversimplified (loosely communicate the problem), does not contain stereotypical characters or inappropriate joke relating to the topics. It is extremely crucial that we keep those things in mind as change agents. We want to raise awareness about a problem, while we avoid turning it into a controversial topic.

Why I Want to be a Part of Liger Edge?

This year, Liger initiated its own online school newspaper — Liger Edge. The goal is to keep track of and share with the world the abundant activities we do at Liger. The articles come in dual language and will help communicate opinions and experiences we have to create discussion.

I was chosen to be the English editor in chief. Being in this role, I hope to learn more about my classmates writing style and help improve their writing skills as necessary. Additionally, the reason I want to be part of the school newspaper is that I want to spread my love of reading and writing. I believe that people would love reading if they can find something that would interest them. In a similar way, I also want to give a voice to and project the beauty of Cambodia through my articles.

My first article was about the International Vulture Awareness Day, which happened on the 1st of September. Below is an excerpt from my article:

Saturday, September 1st marked this year’s International Vulture Awareness Day. The intention of the day was to communicate information about vulture conservation to a greater audience and spotlight the important works done by vulture conservationists worldwide. Opportunely, two organizations in Cambodia participated in the celebration of this event by sharing their work as conservationists in Cambodia.

Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity took the opportunity of this day to inform Cambodians through the popular social media platform Facebook about the “destructive consequences of using poison for hunting in attempt to encourage local hunters to abandon this practice.” The post came along with a 3-minute video discussing the decline of vultures due to hunters’ practices and what this means for us, humans.

Photo from BirdLife International Cambodia Programme

Dengue Fever Exploration | Writing Risk Analysis on Dengue Fever Outbreak

Dengue fever cases in Cambodia increased by 30% in the first three weeks of the year. A dengue fever outbreak occurs every 4 to 5 years. The last outbreak in Cambodia was in 2012, and it was expected that an outbreak would happen in 2017, according to Phnom Penh Post. However, there wasn’t an outbreak last year, so it’s assumed that it will happen this year. 

Dengue virus vectors, Aedes Egypti, mainly are found in urban areas, where they’re highly populated. In these areas, standing water containers and water storage such as flower vases, tanks and jars are commonly found and can be breeding ground for Aedes Egypti.

The information above has led us to do a risk analysis on dengue fever outbreak. We asked the villagers from two communities  Chompous Kaek and Koh Krobey ‒ questions related to their knowledge on dengue fever and prevention behavior. We also did observations to determine the presence of mosquito larvae.  We used this information to assess relationships between variables such as knowledge, prevention behavior, and perceived risk. 

  • Visiting WHO to get more information about Dengue Fever in Cambodia

The final report is a potential resource for the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization based in Cambodia to identify the risk of dengue fever in areas like Chompous Kaek and Koh Krobey. It’s also helpful for the villagers in a way that it will bring their needs to the attention of those institutions. For example, larvicide, Abate, hasn’t been given to the villagers for years, and many are requesting for it. 

Below is a section of the report that I’ve worked on.

Many people have some knowledge about dengue fever and are taking some actions to prevent mosquitoes from biting and breeding, but statistical analysis shows no evidence of an association between the two variables. In other words, none of the prevention behaviors are influenced by the knowledge people already have about dengue fever. Additionally, this particular finding is aligned with the result from the study on “Dengue knowledge, attitudes and practices and their impact on community-based vector control in rural Cambodia.”

In this observational study, there may be errors presented in this survey, such as response bias. For instance, people might most likely say they clean their water storage frequently, even though they don’t. Also, knowledge may not necessarily determine people’s actions; it is possible they can know something but not apply their knowledge to real life. By this means, we can’t make an appropriate conclusion about any causal relationship.

As mentioned above, villagers did exhibit some prevention behaviors against dengue fever; however, these behaviors were relegated to a few methods to prevent mosquitoes from biting and breeding. In addition, only about 30% of the people we surveyed have attended some forms of educational campaign related to dengue fever. This means those people would benefit from an awareness campaign, educating them more on methods to prevent dengue fever.

Set Design | Designing Costumes for the First Time

This year in June, Liger hosted a play for the first time! The play was called the Network; it is about the impact social media or the internet has on humans. I was part of the set design team and worked on designing the costumes. Since I’ve never worked with fashion before, I didn’t know much about costume designing and learned more about it along the process.

My teammates and I looked closely at the characters’ personalities and designed their outfits accordingly. We used Pinterests and Google images as inspirations. We collected pictures of many outfits for each character and elaborate on those ideas. To be honest, I wasn’t really good at drawing, so sometimes I used words to describe my ideas. By the end of the Exploration, we had plans for the characters’ outfits, but since we didn’t know the casts of the play, we couldn’t actually make them yet.

Collection of inspiration

Through this experience, I learned that costume designing includes skills beyond creativity. It requires organization and persistence; we needed to be organized with the ideas we collected and be persistent in finding more inspiration until we find the right costume.

Trip to WHO (Malaria and Dengue Fever)

On the 9th of April, as part of my Exploration, we went to World Health Organization (WHO) office in Phnom Penh to meet Dr. Luciano Tuseo, head of the malaria programme at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Cambodia. Our goal was to learn more deeply about Malaria and Dengue fever and what has been done about this problem in Cambodia.

Participating in the presentation

There are 36000 diseases in Cambodia, and this doesn’t include any minor diseases. Two of those diseases are Malaria and dengue fever. What these diseases have in common is that they’re mosquito-borne diseases. We’ve learned from Dr. Luciano that in Cambodia, “Malaria is the past and dengue fever is the future.” This simply means that the number of malaria case has decreased, while the number dengue fever cases are drastically increasing. The main question was why. The answer is: scientifically, dengue mosquitoes (Aedes) pass on dengue fever virus to their offsprings, while malaria mosquitoes (Anopheles ) don’t.  

People in the urban are more vulnerable to dengue fever. Aedes likes to breed in small and clean water sources such as flower vase, and other containers. These materials are vastly available wherever there’s a large population. This is why it is recommended to remove any source of water around your home. 

As a developing country, the access to drugs and vaccine is the main health problem in Cambodia. In order to help with that, WHO had drug distribution campaigns.  Lack of Education is also a factor of public health problem in Cambodia. This is why we’re hoping to work with WHO or other organization to bring resources to those in need. 

 

Gender Summit 2018

I believe that change can start with a small action, such as conversation. 

On the 27th and 28th of January, my team of 12 hosted an event called Gender Summit for about 100 high school students from both international schools and local schools. The goal was to encourage dialogues regarding gender issues. Our team realized that gender is not a common topic that Cambodian people talk about, so the first step of change is to enforce more dialogues about the issue. 

The event encompassed four main sessions: power, culture, language, and economics. I was a session leader in the latter session. In that section, I introduced the idea of how advertisement influences our thought about gender roles in the society. Companies advertise their products for female and male separately with a few differences, mainly the color along with a description that describes femininity and masculinity. We should take control of ourselves and buy products that we need and like, regardless of who can use it according to the advertisements.

A fun activity that was part of my session was called Atomic Circle. The goal of this activity was sharing with each other about personal ideas on certain statements. An example of a statement is, “all women are naturally better caretakers than men.” Many people agreed that this idea is true because that’s what they’ve seen in the society. What they didn’t realize was that most people have taught girls to be more caring than boys and it seems like this is natural, but it’s not. 

It wasn’t easy preparing a lesson for other people. It wasn’t easy to get them to talk or generate ideas. There are also times when they said something that didn’t seem right to me, even though there are no specific right or wrong ideas on this topic. Sometimes, it’s hard to stop the conversation when people say something that we don’t agree with. What I’ve learned is that if we want to change how people perceive something, we should enforce questions for them to answer (Socratic method), so that they will think about the idea in a different angle. 

Everyone who attend the event on the 27th

 

 

 

Paññāsāstra University Gender Course

My Gender Equity Exploration got a chance to discuss with university students about a topic that’s not common for Cambodians, gender equity. 

The workshop went very well. It was a great opportunity for us to open our mind to look at others’ perspective outside of Liger. It surprised me that university students who are studying gender still have some gender stereotype in their mindset. For instance, some of them view crying as a weak and feminine characteristic. This just shows how much work needs to be done in order to shape people’s view of gender, particularly Cambodians’ view. This just made me think how successful our summit will be in term of raising awareness to Cambodians about those stereotypes.

 

Trip to SHE Investment

Typically, organizations tackle gender issues regarding women’s right and aspects related to that. SHE (Support Her Enterprise) investment tackle this problem in a different way. This newly opened organization support women who create their own micro business. According to Lida Loem, Programs Manager & Head Facilitator at SHE, 65% of businesses in Cambodia are owned by women but a lot of them are micro businesses. 

SHE investment believes that what they are doing is not a charity, it’s an investment. They trust that women have the ability to lead their own businesses with the help of mentors from SHE. 

The group of passionate people for SHE has helped 67 women with their business since 2015. Linda mentioned about a particular tailor who worked by herself before she worked with SHE. Now, she has several employees and is looking for a few more.

This small organization has made such a big impact on Cambodian women in such a short amount of time. I am looking forward to seeing SHE expanding their potential, and hoping they will reach one of their goals of establishing SHE in other countries. 

Future Food Exploration – Green Roof

As part of the Future Food Exploration, I worked on a project to plan the installation of a green roof on the Visitor Information Palace (VIP) at Liger. The purpose of building a green roof on this container building is for decoration and reduction of temperature. By implementing green roof, people can save a lot of money. The plants can block direct sunlight from affecting the roof, which means people don’t have to replace the roof so often and pay for fixing the roof. The plants make the building cooler, causing people to use less power and pay less for electricity.

I would say we are one of the first Cambodians to do this project and there’s no reference on how to do this. It was a big challenge to find materials to use for our green roof. The existing materials used for the green roof are available in other countries and it would be costly to import it to Cambodia. We needed to be creative to find alternative materials that are available in Cambodia and cheap. Currently, we have the first prototype to test if the materials work. 

Layers of our green roof with their materials
Prototype of our green roof