Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New Blog - KURTSEE.NET

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Hey Readers!

Thanks for visiting this blog and remain a reader here. I would like to let you know that this vuthychour.com will be solely for my diary and self reflection.

For the rest of the topics, I am going to blog at www.kurtsee.net.

Thanks!
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

News Release Blood Donation

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Mission accomplished!  Over 999 donors give blood in nine locations across Cambodia over nine days with Loy9.

Phnom Penh, 19 June 2013

Popular youth engagement programme ‘Loy9’, along with United Nations Volunteers and the National Blood Transfusion Centre (NBTC), have worked together to secure over 1,000 blood donations for the NBTC over nine days.

The challenge was set by the Loy9 team and kicked off with a TV drama that featured a youth-led blood drive. The real-life equivalent ran from the 9th of June for nine days and aimed to help increase the nation’s emergency blood supply as well as to raise awareness of how young people can contribute to their society and help others.

The NBTC, UN volunteers, and partners including Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE) raced against the clock to meet the challenge, and hit the target of 999 with about an hour to go on Monday. The final result of 1048 donations is the biggest ever given in Cambodia under a single blood drive.

Welcoming the result, Dr. Hok Kim Cheng, Director of the National Transfusion Centre, said: “I’m delighted with this outcome; it’s our pride and honour to have worked with Loy9 and other partners in order to achieve such a remarkable donation.”

“This will not be the last chance for donors, especially young people, to register to give blood. There will be more events with NBTC” he added. “Giving blood is safe, it’s free of charge and it helps the lives of others.”

The challenge kicked off on the 9th of June in Battambang and blood donations also took place in Siem Reap, Kompong Cham and Sihanoukville, with the final three events taking place in different locations in Phnom Penh City.

Over nine days the team welcomed many first time donors and thanked them for their contribution. Friends of 17 year-old Chan Ratana, a student at the PSE school and a first time donor, gathered around their buddy cheering him on, while the nurse set up the donation equipment.

“I’m fine and in fact, I feel great. I decided to come and volunteer for a blood donation because I believe my friends, they told me that it doesn’t affect my health and it doesn’t hurt. Now I see that that’s true and most of all I wanted to help and support Loy9”, he said.

Colin Spurway, Loy9 Project Director, believes that the turn out shows that young Cambodians are committed to helping others and contributing to community life.

 “I thank the Cambodia National Transfusion Blood Centre (NTBC) and UN volunteers for their support in reaching this target. BBC Media Action’s role in the drive was to use the Loy9 programmes to inform young people of the importance of giving blood, and to dispel any fears they have of donating”, Spurway said.

“We wanted to help young people understand that it's not unpleasant to give blood, and it can save lives. It’s a really clear and useful act of civic participation”, he added.

Loy9 is an entertaining youth civic education programme made by BBC Media Action – the BBC’s international development charity – with funding from UNDP and Sweden. The final episode of the Loy9 TV Series Two is on this Thursday at 6.30pm on MyTV.  The weekly Loy9 radio show, online and live events will continue throughout the year.


Find Loy9
•             On TV: Loy9 Series Two concludes on Thursday 6:30pm on MyTV. It’s repeated on CTN Saturday at 9.15pm and on CNC Sunday at 8:00pm.
•             On radio: Every Sunday 12:00pm- 13:00pm on FM 103 MHz
•             Online: www.loy9.com.kh or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Loy9kh                     or watch on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/loy9kh
-   ends    -


For interviews with BBC Media Action or NBTC please email the media team, find contacts below.
BBC Media Action
Colin Spurway, Project Director               
+855 (0) 77-275-363, or colin.spurway@kh.bbcmediaaction.org
Thon Sonina, Communications Officer 
 +855 (0) 77 666 524 or thon.sonina@kh.bbcmediaaction.org 
Yen Chenda, Event Producer                     
+855 (0) 12 382 402 or yen.chenda@kh.bbcmediaaction.org 
National Blood Transfusion Centre, Ministry of Health
 Dr. Hok Kim Cheng, Director                     
+855 (0) 16 849 966 or hokkimcheng@gmail.com


Notes to editors

§  BBC Media Action is the BBC’s charity for international development. It believes in the power of media and communication to help reduce poverty and support people in understanding their rights. Its aim is to inform, connect and empower people around the world. It works in partnership to provide access to useful, timely, reliable information. It aims to help people make sense of events, engage in dialogue, and take action to improve their lives.
§  BBC Media Action has been operating in Cambodia since 2003, building extensive experience in the media around health, governance and livelihoods issues. Our country programme has a particular focus on working with young people, creating positive civic engagement through the use of media. See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaaction/where_we_work/asia/cambodia


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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My Qingming Festival 2013

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Every year, both Khmer people and Chinese people celebrate for their ancestors. For many people in Cambodia, we celebrate both Pchum Ben Festival and Qingming Festival. April 2, 2013 was the day that my family chose for Qingming festival. For this year, I went for the festival with my parents, sister, and an elder brother. We managed to arrive Oudong at around 9:00AM and went straight to the first tomb who my father's grandparents

My Father's Grandparents
My Brother Preparing on the Top

Paying Respect to His Grandparents

We brought along a battery fan and umbrellas for such a hot weather

After Everything is prepared, we have monks saying prayers to the ancestors and the living
After spending the morning seeing my ancestors at their tombs, I went to my grandparents' house which is about 5 kilometers further. Here is a picture of my lovely grandma walking on her own with a stand and my grandpa sitting on a chair. They are both in their 80s and not very strong but are pretty healthy. 

Grandma (left), Grandpa (right)
We relaxed a little bit at my grandparents' house. Probably after an hour, we went to another tomb which belong to my grandmother's grandparents. Interestingly, it is my first time to be there!

The tombs last for more than 200 years, I guess.

We can't drive directly to the tomb, here is a picture of my parents walking to their great grandparents' tombs

This man newly cute his palm fruit for us for free. How lovely! However, we paid him some money as well

It normally costs 2000 Riel only. Can you believe that?

My grandparents' grandparents' tombs

Just hope that the next generation of the Chour family visit their ancestors here every year. The year is being added from time to time :D

Here are pictures of my elder sister and brother



These kids are lovely. They helped with the festival and lined up for some give away




How about you? Have you celebrated the festival for this year? 

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Kid City and Its Development

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When the building was first started, I had no idea it is all about. A few months after they started the construction, I came across a post by Project Cambodia. Source

I knew that the building is for kids which is so wow to me because not many businessmen would focus that specific, especially on kids. 

From this post, I would like to tell you a bit more about Kids City. 

Kid City is located on No. 162, Sihanouk Boulevard, Cambodia which is next to Gold Tower 42. It is an indoor Edutainment Center. What does it mean by the way? Edutainment Center? I guess it's a combination between Education and Entertainment? :D 

The building is composed of
1. Playground
2. Daycare
3. Kid Activities 
4. Clip & Climb
5. Laser tag
6. Science center
7. Ice skating
8. Children clothes and Accessories
9. Cafe and restaurant
This is the most up to date news I have known so far. Let's see when it's all done. 




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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Massive Certificates Printing at Once

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Technology has made things lot easier for us to perform tasks conveniently, but the thing is we do not know how to use them wisely. I had to print out name of participants with many mistakes on the name, and it is very time consuming if the participant number is up to more than one hundred.

In this post, I am going to guide you on how to print certificates on many papers without having to rename them one by one.


This probably does not benefit everyone as you may not have to use it, but if you do, you can do it smarter with the guidance you are about to read.

Requirements:
- Microsoft Publisher
- Typed Participant Name in Microsoft Excel

First, open the typed participant list in the Excel file. Edit what you have to edit. (Don't worry if you want to edit the names later because it will automatically apply to the Ms. Publisher)

Leave it there. Do not close it.

Next, open Microsoft Publisher and design your certificates. You may use the templates available in the publisher if you do not want to spend more time on that. Below is a sample certificate with name in English and in Khmer.

Say you have 40 names to retype. Without having to retype one by one, all you need to do is to merge the typed participants name in another excel file to the designed certificate in the publisher through:

1. Go to Tools > Mailings and Catalogs > Mail Merge 


Then, it will guide you to select a Recipient List (that Excel file). 
Click on Use an Existing List, and Click on Next: Create or connect to a recipient list

There will be a new window opens, Browse to find your Excel file. 
At this stage make sure that you have a proper typed Excel file


Untick those that you do not want them to appear on the certificates. Just tick those rows that you want to appear (Names). Then, click Ok


Notice the left hand side column (F2, F3, F4, F5, F6)
One of them contain the Khmer name. 

Select Mao Sopheak and click on F2 (for example, if it contains Khmer names). Then, it will apply the names. 

There, you go. Do the same thing to the name in English if you have one. 
Then click on Next. It will take you to Step 3. 

In this stage, you may print the document automatically. All of the certificates will come out consecutively. 
Cheers! 

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Increasing Wage, Lowering Down Strike for Garment Workers

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              Cambodia garment workers strike for minimum wage hike   Source

Cambodia is famous for its attractive low wage to the investors in the garment sectors, regardless of having no more quota to export to EU and the US. That manufacturers includes both footwear and apparels. 

This means our government's policy on attractive low wage works very well. Many garments manufacturers move from Vietnam and Thailand to Cambodia because they could spend less on labor here in Cambodia. Despite transparency issues, investors keep moving to Cambodia as wage is the main factor.

However, garment workers are not happy with the given wages. Many of them has been going on strike to claim for raise of the salary. It works very well if they strike, but if they don't, the manufacturers will not raise the salary as well. It seems to be so necessary to go on strike go get higher pay. 

But is it good for Cambodia in terms of investment attractiveness? Is it a pro to government policy? The answer is No. At least, that's to what I think. Our government tries to keep the wage lower than in Vietname and Thailand. For example, in Vietnam, the minimum wage is 6 USD per day and in Thailand 10 USD per day. Thus, Cambodia government shall keep it low; for example, 4 USD per day. In this way, Cambodia could attract more investment in the sector. 

"There will be a minimum wage adjustment every January every year, there is no need to go on strike" - said Mr. Tun Sophorn, National Coordinator at International Labour Organization in a meeting at ILO BFC on March 05, 2013.


The quote above means a lot to me, Mr. Sophorn raise a policy which could satisfy workers without having to go on strike to get higher pay. Also, our government would be ready for adjustment from years to years. For example, there will be 15% increase to every garment workers January next year, it helps a lot I think. Garment workers needlessly listen to union leader to strike and also the government could prepare for competition with other countries. 




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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sach Phak Lov, Orussey Market

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Do you like trying Street Food? I myself like trying new food. It doesn't have to be at a popular restaurant, it doesn't have to be very healthy or clean. As long as the local could eat it, I have the gut to try. :)

If you are one of a kind. This is one of the types you shouldn't miss. Last Sunday, I and my friend went to a stall nearby Orussey Market for Sach Phak Lov (សាច់ផាក់លូវ) and its drink (ទឹកយ៉ាវម៉ា). This place is quite popular, I even heard a family who came from Australia came to this stall three days consecutively just before they travel back home.

Sach Phak Lov (សាច់ផាក់លូវ) Food Stall at Front Yard of a House Near Orussey Market 

A dish of Phak Lov for two people. 
I guess the best part of the dish is its sauce and veggie. Yum!

How tables are arranged and you probably could recognize the location

Another great drink! Soya Bean (left), Yav Ma Drink (right)
Oftentimes, people would travel a long way just to buy the Yav Ma drink. My dad and I like it alot. The taste is sweet and you could feel some sort of herbal. I think it is a healthy drink.

Price Range: 
For drink: It costs about 1000 Riel per glass, and 2500 Riel per bottle
For Phak Lov: It probably cost 15000 Riel for two persons. 

Location: around Orussey Market, if you are standing right in front of the main gate, then the stall is on the right of Orussey market. You need to talk and turn left, then walk straight til the third gate of Orussey market.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Networking to Employment

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I used to think that getting a job through network is not rewarding. It always made me feel like I have no ability to find a job on my own.  

But then, I think about the use of having a Recommendation Letter. If you could get a Recommendation Letter from a supervisor at workplace, then you are more likely to find a job. It is actually from the higher, the better. The thing is that people could know that employee better through the letter or the network before they decide to employ. They do not want to risk employing someone they have never heard of before. 

The problems could be both on the task fulfillment and also on the behaviors at workplace. Some might just come to work and is not that sociable so it might be hard to communicate; and some might be sociable, but is not very proactive. To avoid such problems, employment through network takes place. 

However, I still think it is not very rewarding and discouraging for employees to seek for a new job. It took me about four months to find a new job. It made me feel so discouraging that I would not be qualified for any workplaces; and moreover, I could see lots of fresh graduate looking so fine and found a new job in just a few weeks.

Also, from here I also want to raise a problem arising nowadays; and that is good positions are often filled. For example, one workplace wishes to employ a new employee, then announce the recruitment to public. Hundreds have applied, but at the end of the day, it's the internal employees who also applied got the position. 

Why? Because the internal people know better about the organization and its needs; and also the organization knows about that person better than the other candidates. Also, that individual is of course better qualified than others where he could answer most of the questions during the interview.

Here is another answer to that why, a NGOs posted a job announcement on Cambodia Daily, again hundreds have applied, but those people might have very slight chance for an interview because normally NGOs work on project and when the project ends their staff contract will be ended as well. Some of those people might be lucky and find a new job, but some would wait for the same NGOs to start a new project. So, who else should they employ beside their previous staff? and those people know about the NGOs better than the others.   

Personally, I have been employed through network twice. Once was at HML Law Firm & Consultants, at that time, my friend Chenda told me to apply for the Translator position at HML. I applied just like the other candidates. However, I had a network which was Chenda. I guess not just through the network that could get me the job, but it was the network which could facilitate the recommendation and the job announcement to me. I did not know much about the internal issue. However, after I was recruited, Chenda said the boss did ask her about my characteristics and some of my personal background.   

Later, in late 2012, after I resigned from ITC, my friend Sokha was on Maternity Leave and told me to apply for a short-term contract at her workplace - ILO. Again, that's what's so called network. There were 5 candidates as I was told. However, I was recruited for the position and later was favored by the  supervisor and he recommended me to apply for another higher position at the same workplace. So far, I have not been informed about the higher position whether I will get it or not. However, the intention of this post is to illustrate the bad and the good of networking to employment. 

Only til that day that it completely changed my mind regarding having a network to employment because now I believe that not everyone could reach us. It does not matter how good we are. It is better to have a network in addition to our qualifications. It is cool if you could get a job on your own hunt. However, many times jobs are filled by the network; and I am not saying those who are recruited through network are not great people. They are of course great people with great opportunities. If they are not qualified, those workplaces would not risk employing them, no matter how good behavior one has.


As above illustrations, I still have the negative ideas regarding networking to employment since it is a burden to people to find a job. The recruitment process could never be based on merit of the individual. 

Here, try not to confuse with Nepotism. Nepotism is completely a different thing. :) Anyway, what do you think about recruitment at workplace? 
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Riding Big Bike in Cambodia

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In the past, at least to what I think, Phnom Penh was full of C110 or C90 motorbike. Not many people would buy any bikes with machine over C230 or maybe there were not too many available for all. However, in the late 2010s, quite many youngsters tend to buy Yamaha R6 which is C600 or CBR C1200. Those bikes are very fast; and who could afford such bikes are not poor. It is unlikely that they might pickpocket or rob; it is only possible to say that they might have their own clan. I actually want one of that if I were physically fitted.


In Cambodia, riding big bikes could be considered as gangsters, robbers, or pickpocket because the truth is many of them have their own gangs. With fast bike, they could escape easily. Thus, it has become a stereotype for people here to judge big bikers; and I am not saying they are wrong, I just want to open up another perspectives to all of the Khmers thatt not all of them are gangsters. There are several other reasons behind owning a big bike.


1. First, I would like to introduce you to a type of big bike - FTR 223 which was made in Japan, model 2002. I bought it two years ago for 2000 USD which is pretty reasonable if you compare it to other smaller bikes which possibly cost up to 3300 USD. I chose this bike for its shape and weight. It has that little gangster look in which I consider charming :D and it is not too heavy for a small guy like me. Furthermore, I am sure that I will not lose a lot of money when it comes to selling since quite many have asked whether I want to sell with their offers. 

2. The bike consumes pretty less petroleum. I normally pay 5 USD for 150 Kilometers which is somehow less than other sorts of smaller bike.

3. With its uncommon manual gear, I feel safe when I get home at night time despite the fact that robbery/crime rate in Phnom Penh is not low. I guess people would not spend time chasing after the big bike and not everyone knows how to use it.

4. I feel the strength and masculinity for those who own such big bikes. As you could read on the Vehicle Ownership Card, you will see that those small bikes are considered as female bike while a bigger ones are considered as male's bike.

5. With such well-made Japanese bike, I could travel short distance to province or to my land nearby Phnom Penh. Others might possibly use small bike on those roads as well, but the thing is, with the stronger forks of FTR, I would feel less rough.

6. With the speed which is just right for city ride, FTR could get me to work or to places faster than others. However, I also bear in mind that safety first and I would not ride over 50 Kilometers per hour inside Phnom Penh; and also, I don't ride that zig-zag like teens do.

7. When it comes to rainy season, I do not have to worry about the flooded street like others do. It is pretty safe for me to travel within the flooded part in the city.

And yeah, these are my reasons for owning a big bike. Will you continue to pre-judge or change your mind regarding big bike owners? Well, remember when you educate younger generations not to judge a book by its cover. I hope you can do the same here. 
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