Panha Suon - សួន បញ្ញា

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Dissecting OCC 01 : The Real Problem with GMO Food

On a crisp day in early August, 50 activists tore down a fence. They stormed through the barricade in the Bicol Region of the Philippines and ran towards the rice field beyond it. Then to the shock of onlookers, the group began to tear out the rice plants by the handful. They did this not because they were hungry or had any desire to eat the grain, in fact their motive was the opposite. The activists sought to destroy the crops because the plants were part of a field test of the genetically modified plant golden rice. A strain that scientists claimed would help cure blindness in young children by supplying them with needed vitamin A. If this genetically modified golden rice was so beneficial, why then was that group of protestors in the Philippines angry enough to rip it from the ground? Today we're not only going to figure out exactly why genetically modified organisms like golden rice have inspired such hatred and have devolved into polarized debates like this, but we're also going to dig down underneath this debate to understand the real consequences of GMOs in our modern food system.(Panha, 2018)

What is a GMO?
GMO or genetically modified organisms can refer to a lot of things, but in the case of food, it refers to crops that have had their genes specifically altered to express a certain trait. In very simple terms, this means taking a certain gene from one organism like "repelling insects" and transferring that trait into a plant's DNA sequence so that the plant expresses an insect-repelling trait as it grows. While genetic modification of crops has existed since the birth of agriculture, this new form of genetic engineering is a bit different. In the past, if a farmer wanted to create a sweeter apple; for example, they would need to breed two apple trees with sweet traits and hope the next generation might produce even sweeter fruits. The process requires luck and years of persistence. Gene editing on the other hand is much more precise. It uses specific genes from one organism to modify the genetic code of another. You know exactly what trait will be expressed. But the process of gene editing in organisms is not new, in fact, it's been honed and tested for more than 40 years, and over those years genetic modification has become easier and more precise as the technology advances. So, then why has genetically modified food become so controversial?

The GMO debate
That conversation on the Indian news network NDTV epitomizes the GMO debate. Full of passion and a time hyperbole. Often, it seems like there is very little common ground in the genetic modification debate. Indeed in 2015, a Pew research poll found that in just the U.S., only 37% of adults believed that GMOs were safe to eat. A percentage which stands in stark opposition to 88% of scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science who believe GMOs are safe. How does a gap like this happen? In part misinformation, and politicization. But also, as we'll see a little later on, fear of GMOs can also be fears of a much larger problem. First, though, let's quickly look at the general outlines of the GMO debate. On the anti-GMO side of the conversation lies those who view Genetically Modified Food as mutated Franken-food. Poisonous crops that will harm humans if we eat them. [Video clip] While the other side, GMO advocates claim that genetically modified foods can help solve world hunger, mitigate climate change, create more durable, drought-resistant plants, and increase yields. [Video clip] These are extreme cases of a more nuanced conversation, but they are some of the core through-lines of the debate.

Some of these claims though are just false. For one, GMOs are not bad for your health, and they are not mutated Franken-food. A meta-analysis of 698 studies found that all of the research concluded that in terms of health there have been no observable differences between genetically engineered and conventional foods. And yes, while genetic engineering might help create more durable crops or drought-resistant varieties they are by no means a panacea for world hunger or climate change. There are only a handful of drought-resistant crops on the market right now, and most, like Bayer's DT crops, only perform a couple of percentage points better than conventional crops, and that's only in specific drought scenarios. Also, as a whole, most GM crops in the U.S. are commodity crops-used to create ethanol, to feed cows, or as base ingredients for products like high-fructose corn syrup. So, most of these crops are not solving a food shortage problem, instead they're adding unneeded products to the market like corn syrups. And considering that we waste 1/3 of food produced every year, world hunger is not an issue of more or better food, it's about infrastructure and logistics. Genetically engineered crops have been used to do good, however, like in the case of the Hawaiian papaya. From the 1950s to the 1990s Hawaiian papaya farms suffered a 50% drop in production as a result of the ringspots virus. Farms were decimated and their owners were reeling. But in in 1998, a new breed of papaya genetically modified to withstand the virus hit the market. Called the Rainbow papaya, it began to replace conventional papaya plants for its durability in the face of the disease, and after a disease of use accounted for 75% of all Hawaiian papaya production.

The Real Problem with GMOs
So we know that GMOs are safe to use and, in some instances, can be applied in beneficial ways. Then what's the issue? The real problem with GMOs is not actually GMOs themselves, but the industrial farming system behind them. We're using GM foods to bolster an unsustainable system. One of the more popular GM varieties of crops in the U.S., Monsanto's Roundup Ready seed, exemplifies this interwoven nature of GMOs and industrial agriculture. From corn to soybeans to sugar beats, the Roundup Ready plants are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, which is commonly referred to as Roundup. This resistance means that farmers can indiscriminately spray over their fields without worrying about damaging their crops. As a result, glyphosate use has skyrocketed in the U.S. Toxic runoff from over spraying is causing dead zones throughout U.S. waterways, and Monsanto, which is now owned by the German company Bayer, not only profits off of their roundup ready seeds, but receive bumper profits from the additional increase in glyphosate demand. To top it off, companies like Bayer patent and restrict seed saving claiming that the research and development of these seeds takes time and money. This means that not only are the seeds more expensive because one company has a monopoly on them, but also once a farmer has bought seed, they're not allowed to practice seed saving to cut costs in the next year. The problem with GMOs then, is that it allows for a system in which just a few companies hold immense power over our food supply. Through that power these companies perpetuate a food system wherein highly toxic chemical sprays are the only solution to pests and weeds, just a few "perfect" and "uniform" crops trump a variety of diverse plants, and size is valued over taste.

Are there other solutions?
At the end of the day, GMOs are just a technology. They're not a food system. So GMOs, like most technologies, can do good when used in a just, ethical, and sustainable manner. But unfortunately in our modern agricultural system the history of GMOs is fraught with unsustainable applications, and they most often fall into the wrong hands. Just four companies control 60% of the seed market and thus, can influence what food is grown. GMOs, however, might be able to help us tackle issues like climate change by transferring traits from the American chestnut, a carbon storage powerhouse, into other plants to crops, but they are a small part of much larger needed overhaul of our food system. GMOs are not a silver bullet to climate change, hunger, or drought. And while it is important to continue exploring genetic engineering, it's equally essential to relearn and foster a more ethical relationship with our land and food. In fact for many of the problems GMOs seek to solve, we already have solutions. Agroforestry, integrated weed and pest management systems, no-till, and polycultural systems represent just a few of the diverse paths forward, and not only are these tecniques sustainable but they can also increase yields, create more durable crops, and suck carbon from the air. Within these systems, GMOs might have a place, but not until they are produced as public goods untethered from the bonds of patents and large multinational corporations. Genetically engineered plants should be seen as just one small addition to the collection of thousands of other rich varieties of crops in the world. It is a technology that can be used to perpetuate a destructive and extractives system, but it also has the potential to do better, it has the potential to create crops that can work in conjunction with a sustainable food system that produces nutritious, diverse and tasty food.

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ខ្ញុំគិតថា "ទុនខ្សោយ" និង "ស្លូតត្រង់" គឺមិនដូចគ្នាទេ។ ភាគច្រើនគេតែងតែនិយាយថា "ពេលដែលយើងស្លូតពេក គេជិះជាន់យើងហើយ"។ ការលើកឡើងនេះវាហាក់ដូចជាបង្កប់នូវការយល់ច្រឡំ។ ខ្ញុំយល់ឃើញថា វាគួរតែពេលដែលយើង "ទុនខ្សោយ" នោះទេដែលយើងនឹងត្រូវបានគេជិះជាន់ ព្រោះថាពាក្យ "ទុនខ្សោយ" សម្តៅដល់ ភាពល្ងង់ខ្លៅ ភាពអវិជ្ចាមិនយល់ដឹងពីសង្គមឬច្បាប់ផ្សេងៗ អសមត្ថភាពក្នុងការក្តោបក្តាប់ព័ត៌មានផ្សេងៗ និងភាពក្រីក្រដោយសារមានសេដ្ឋកិច្ចផ្ទាល់ខ្លួនទាបដុនដាប។ ពេលនោះហើយ យើងមិនអាចមានប្រាជ្ញាឬព័ត៌មានគ្រប់គ្រាន់ក្នុងការគិតពិចារណា ចាប់ជំហរ ហើយប្រើហេតុផលដើម្បីចងខ្លួនទៅនិងច្បាប់យុត្តិធម៌បានទេ។

សម្រាប់ពាក្យ "ស្លូតត្រង់" វិញ យើងអាចជាមនុស្សស្លូតត្រង់ មិនប្រើសម្បីឆេវឆាវ មិនប្រើប្រាស់កម្លាំងបាយ មិនចង់បោកបញ្ឆោតជនណាម្នាក់ មិនចង់គេងប្រវ័ញអ្នកណា និងមិនចង់នាំទុក្ខដល់អ្នកដទៃ។ យើងចង់សូមតែសេចក្តីសុខ។ យើងប្រាថ្នាសូមត្រឹមតែមួយរួចខ្លួន។​ ប៉ុន្តែយើងត្រឹមត្រូវ យើងចេះដឹង យើងក្តោបក្តាប់ព័ត៌មានបានគ្រប់គ្រាន់សម្រាប់ត្រឹះរឺះពិចារណាមុនធ្វើការសម្រេចចិត្តអ្វីមួយ ដើម្បីធ្វើយ៉ាងណាកុំឱ្យអ្នកដ៏ទៃបោកប្រាស់គេងចំណេញពីលើយើងបាន។ យើងចង់ឱ្យអភ័យដល់គេ ក៏ព្រោះតែយើងចង់ជួបតែអ្នកដែលអោយអភ័យដល់យើង។

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ឥលូវឆ្នាំ2022ហើយ នៅមានក្មេងស្រីអាយុក្រោម ១៨ឆ្នាំ អត់បានរៀនសូត្រហើយត្រូវបង្ខំចិត្តមកធ្វើការឱ្យគេតាមផ្ទះដើម្បីជួយដោះទាល់ជីវិភាពគ្រួសារប្រចាំថ្ងៃ។
ខ្ញុំឃើញ ខ្ញុំជួបប្រទះ ប៉ុន្តែបានត្រឹមនឹកអាណិត ហើយតូចចិត្តព្រោះខ្លួនឯងអសមត្ថភាព គ្មានប្រយោជន៍មិនអាចជួយអ្វីបាន។

ពេលឃើញទឹកមុខក្មេងនោះធ្វើការងារទាំងស្រងូតស្រងាត់មិនដឹងថាក្នុងចិត្តគេគិតអ្វី។ ពេលឃើញក្មេងនោះទាញសៀវភៅមកអង្គុយអានយប់ឡើងតែម្នាក់ឯង មិនចុចទូរស័ព្ទ មិនមើលទូរទស្សន៍ បានត្រឹមមានអារម្មណ៍ខ្លោចចិត្ត។ ធម្មតាទេពេលនៅជាមួយអ្នកដទៃវាមិនដូចនៅជាមួយគ្រួសារខ្លួនឯង 100% ទេ។ វាមានពេលខ្លះ គេនឹងមានអារម្មណ៍ថាខ្វះភាពកក់ក្តៅ។

ដឹងហើយថាម្ចាស់ផ្ទះខ្លះមានចិត្តល្អ មានចិត្តបុណ្យ មិនមានបំណងអាក្រក់ចង់ធ្វើបាប ចង់គេងប្រវ័ញអ្វីទេ។ ហើយក៏ដឹងដែរថា ពេលខ្លះវាជាតម្រូវការចាំបាច់ដែលទាមទារអោយក្មេងម្នាក់នោះចេញក្រៅផ្ទះដើម្បីដើររកលុយ។​ បើសិនជាមិនបានចេញមកធ្វើការរកលុយដូច្នេះទេ វាពិតជាពិបាកកាន់តែខ្លាំង ពេលឃើញជីវភាពប្រចាំថ្ងៃរបស់គ្រួសារដុនដាបហើយពោរពេញទៅដោយទុក្ខវេទនា។

គិតៗទៅ វាហាក់ដូចជាពិភពលោកនេះមិនមានយុត្តិធម៌សោះ។ កើតមកជាមនុស្សដូចគ្នា ម្នាក់មានឱកាសរៀនសូត្រ ម្នាក់គ្មាន។ ខ្ញុំពិតជាមិនដឹងថាខ្ញុំអាចធ្វើអ្វីបានទៅលើរឿងនេះ។ ដោយសង្កេតឃើញថាក្មេងម្នាក់នោះចេះអានសៀវភៅបានខ្លះ ដូច្នេះខ្ញុំចង់ផ្ញើរសៀវភៅលើកទឹកចិត្ត បណ្តុះគំនិតមួយចំនួនដើម្បីឱ្យគេអាចអានបាន។ សង្ឃឹមថាគំនិតល្អៗទាំងនេះអាចជម្រុញទឹកចិត្តឱ្យគេខិតខំប្រឹងអានអោយបានច្រើនហើយទូលំទូលាយបន្ត ហើយយកបទពិសោធជីវិតនេះមករុញច្រានខ្លួនឱ្យកាន់តែរឹងមាំ។

Minor vs. Important Task

As a member of our team working with an agricultural cooperative to assist their members in implementing their lemongrass business, I am so happy, content, and proud to witness harvesting, packaging, and selling phase.

My role is to help form producer groups, facilitate the growing, and finding market for our lemongrass. Ideally, my work will be considered a success if our farmers grow lemongrass and can sell them.

It was a pretty difficult job given the fact that everything was sort of new to us; for example, convincing people to join the lemongrass business, to start growing, and to take lemongrass production serious, forming producer group, finding market, negotiating with buyer, harvesting, packaging, and transporting. In the beginning, there were people who didn't get on board with us because they didn't believe in us or the business. It was difficult to convince them to start growing lemongrass for sell. It was almost like we beg them to please start growing lemongrass.

We had to tried different approaches to explain them or make them see why they should grow lemongrass. After first quarter, we told ourselves, for our production, if we could just get our farmer to grow a batch of lemongrass in front of their house, we would call it a success. Eventually, we got 7 people growing lemongrass on 0.5 hectare of land.

In quarter 2, we started working on finding market/buyers. By the end of quarter two, we were a bit hopeless not being able to find good market for our farmers. Also, our production encountered some issues, and it was not doing well. It is still a small and weak production.

In the middle of quarter 3, we found a local buyer who bought about 20-30kg of lemongrass a day from us. That lasted only for about a week, and he stopped buying the lemongrass. We started to doubt ourselves again and became anxious that we might not be able to find buyers for our farmers. We didn't really know what to do for about 3 weeks.

Last week, we found a big buyer who is willing to buy any lemongrass we have. Three days ago, we sold lemongrass in huge amount for the first time. One of our farmers sold 300kg of lemongrass. Yesterday I helped two farmers harvest 150kg of lemongrass. Today another farmer sold 100kg of lemongrass. To be honest, we didn't expect this. But it happened. Now we know that we need to increase our production. We keep in mind also that 100-300kg a day is till a small production.

Overall, it has been a tiring journey, but we have had a lot of fun. It feels like a very rewarding work full of joy for both, our farmers and us. The farmers got to sell their produce and make some money. The brave souls, who believe in this project and jumped on board since the beginning, got to feel a sense of victory and success proving the naysayers wrong, and for us, we got to feel proud, content, and relieved.





លុយកាក់សេន vs. ផលចំណេញវែងឆ្ងាយ

កាត់ស្លឹកគ្រៃខុសប្រវែង។ អ្នកបញ្ជាទិញ ចង់ឱ្យកាត់ឱ្យវែងបន្តិច ដើម្បីឱ្យជាប់ស្លឹក
ច្រើន ព្រោះគេត្រូវយកទៅហាន់គ្រឿង។ ព័ត៌មានផ្តល់ឱ្យអត់ច្បាស់ អត់មានប្រើ
ខ្នាតជាក់លាក់។ ប្រើភាសា "កាត់យកលើធាងវាបន្តិច"។ ទំនាក់ទំនងប្រាប់
ព័ត៌មានធ្វើឡើងតាមទូរស័ព្ទ អត់មានរូបភាព អត់មានប៉ាន់គម្រូជាក់ស្តែង។
ដូច្នេះ ធ្វើឱ្យមានការយល់ច្រលំហើយប្រាប់តទៅសមាជិកខុស។ ម្ល៉េះហើយ ពេល
សមាជិកធ្វើ គាត់កាត់ស្លឹកចោលច្រើនពេក ធ្វើឱ្យខាតគីឡូ។​ ឧទាហរណ៍ ពេលយើង
កាត់ស្លឹកវាចោលតិច វាធ្ងន់ជាពេលដែលយើងកាត់ស្លឹកវាចោលច្រើន។ ធ្វើអ៊ីចឹង
យើងចំណេញគីឡូ។ ក្នុងស្លឹកគ្រៃដែលយើងត្រូវកាត់ឱ្យគេ ១០០ គីឡូ យើងកាត់ខុស
១០ គីឡូ។

ថ្នាក់ដឹកនាំឬអ្នករកស៊ីខ្លះ អាចគិតល្អិតល្អន់មែនទែនជាមួយការខាតលុយ
កាក់សេនមួយនេះ។ គ្រាន់តែឃើញកាត់ខុសអ៊ីចឹងស្តាយអឺយស្តាយ។ មិនត្រឹមតែ
ស្តាយក្នុងចិត្តទេ លើកឡើងមកនិយាយរំលឹកពីរទៅបីដងទៀត ប៉ុន្តែគាត់អត់បាន
ឆ្លុះបញ្ជាំង ថាមូលហេតុអ្វីបានជាមានរឿងហ្នឹងកើតឡើងពីដើមគ្រា។

ពេលជួបរឿងរាវបែបនេះផ្ទាល់ ខ្ញុំមានអារម្មណ៍ថាពិបាកទទួលយកនូវចរិតបែបនេះ
ភ្លាមៗហើយខ្ញុំមានអារម្មណ៍ថាទើសចិត្ត។ ខ្ញុំសួរខ្លួន​ឯងថា តើមកពីខ្ញុំមិនចេះគិត
ល្អិតល្អន់ដូចនេះមែនឬ ទើបខ្ញុំមិនពូកែធ្វើអាជីវកម្មដូចគេ? តើខ្ញុំគិតគូពីអ្នកដទៃ
ពេកឬ? តើខ្ញុំស្លូតត្រង់ពេកឬ? តើអ្នកធ្វើអាជីវកម្មខ្លាំងគ្រប់រូបសុទ្ធតែពូកែគិត
ល្អិតល្អន់ មានល្បិចកិចកល់ច្រើន មានឧបាយកលច្រើន​ ចេះរិះថាំបែបនេះមែនឬ?
ប្រហែលមកពីខ្ញុំអ៊ីចឹងហើយបានខ្ញុំចេះតែមិនត្រូវធាតុគ្នាជាមួយកិច្ចការងាររកស៊ី​ ឬ

បន្ទាប់ពីទុកពេលពីរបីថ្ងៃ ឱ្យអារម្មណ៍និងព័ត៌មានទាំងអស់នេះស្ងប់ហើយជ្រាបចូល
ទៅក្នុងខ្លួនខ្ញុំអស់ហើយ ខ្ញុំសម្រេចចិត្តសរសេរកំណត់ហេតុនេះដើម្បីឆ្លុះបញ្ចាំង ដើម្បី

ខ្ញុំយល់ឃើញថាក្នុងនាមជាអ្នកដឹកនាំ ជាពិសេសពេលដែលយើងធ្វើការជាមួយ
កសិករជាសមាជិកដែលមានជីវភាពទុនខ្សោយជាងយើង៖ (១) យើងគួរ ឱ្យអទិ
ភាពលើសមាជិកយើងមុនគេ។ ឧទាហរណ៍ បើយើងក៏ដាំស្លឹកគ្រៃ ហើយសមាជិក
យើងក៏ដាំស្លឹកគ្រៃ ពេលមានការបញ្ជាទិញ យើងគួរសម្របសម្រួលផ្តល់ឱ្យកាសឱ្យពួក
គាត់បានកាត់លក់មុនយើង។ សមាជិកទទួលផលមុន ថ្នាក់ដឹកនាំទទួលដោះស្រាយ

(២) គួរគិតពីផលប្រយោជន៍វែងឆ្ងាយឬផលប្រយោជន៍ធំរួម​ ចៀសជាងផ្តោតចង់
សន្សំលុយចំណេញកាក់សេនឬបង្ការចំណាយផ្ទាល់ខ្លួនតិចតួច។ យើងគួរហ៊ាន
លះបង់។ អាចគិតថា សេដ្ឋកិច្ចយើងប៉ុណ្នឹង សមត្ថភាពយើងប៉ុណ្ណឹង យើងមិនទៅ
មានបានឬក្រនិងលុយកាក់សេនប៉ុណ្ណឹងទេ ប៉ុន្តែសម្រាប់សមាជិកយើង លុយកាក់
សេនប៉ុណ្ណឹងអាចមានឥទ្ធិពលខ្លាំងទៅលើជីវភាពប្រចាំថ្ងៃរបស់ពួកគាត់។ ម៉្យាងវិញ
ទៀតកុំដោយសារតែផលប្រយោជន៍កាក់សេនធ្វើឱ្យខូចការធំ។ ឧទាហរណ៍ ព្រោះចង់
កាត់លក់ស្លឹកគ្រៃខ្លួនលក់ឱ្យអស់ឱ្យហើយៗបានច្រើន សុខចិត្តដាក់ស្លឹកគ្រៃដែលមិន
សូវល្អ ស្លឹកក្រហម ដើមតូចៗទៅជាមួយ ដោយគ្មានការនិយាយបើកចំហឱ្យអ្នក
បញ្ជាទិញដឹង។ កុំអាងថា ប្រហែលជាមិនអ៊ីទេ ដាក់សិនទៅ។ បើគេថាយ៉ាងម៉េច
យ៉ាងម៉ាចាំកែឱ្យត្រឹមត្រូវវិញ។ ចំណុចតូចទាំងនេះជា មូលដ្ឋានគ្រឹះនេះទំនុកចិត្ត

ខ្ញុំដឹងថា គោលការណ៍ទាំងនេះមិនងាយស្រួលធ្វើដូចនិយាយទេ។ ប៉ុន្តែវាចាំបាច់
ដែលថាយើងត្រូវដាស់តឿនខ្លួនឯងឱ្យមានសតិដឹងជារឿយៗ ហើយឆ្លុះបញ្ចាំងទង្វើ

Is this an ego?

Your senior is supposed to fill in a document. He's busy, so he can't do it. He asked you to help fill it and send it to his work partner—a stranger to you—in a Telegram group where there are only your senior, the stranger, and you.

You wrote a nice message addressing that stranger and sent the document file along with it.

The stranger saw it. He didn't say a thing about it, but went on to talk about something else with your senior. Even your senior kept referring to you to handle it, the stranger still insisted to talk to your senior, but not you. You were just there in the background.

In your mind, you questioned yourself, "Is this person ignoring me? Who does he think he is?" You were kind of pissed. You probably felt like you were offended, and your self-importance was decreased. You hated that stranger and swore you would never talk to him/her.

Temporary Recharge

Temporary Recharge

A quiet house, a room, or a place. It is ok to have a few people who don't really care about what I am doing or want to talk to me all the time in the same place with me.

I do need a good internet with fast enough speed for online movies or documentaries.

I need some fresh and instant food already stocked in with some ice and drinks in the fridge. I can cook for myself whenever I am hungry and make a cold drink for myself whenever I am thirsty.

A perfect evening would be me watching movies or documentary video alone, eating Korean ramen noodle or a pot of instant Miso soup with any cold drink. If I am feeling too sad or happy, a bottle of iced Jinro or a couple of cold beers would definitely work.

That's it. I would be happy and content.

#100Days [020] - Money & The Now

Thinking about how to make money stresses me out. It stifles my excitement about the idea I have. I then ask myself, "Can I just do what I want to do without having to think about money? Is this even a legit or realistic question?"

I have known and worked with/for people who get excited about any opportunity to make money. They seems to be quite embitious when it comes to obtaining money. I don't know if we are wired differently.

Why am I feeling this way? I think I am not used to selling things. The idea of me selling something to someone would scare me or get me very anxious. I don't like the game people play in business talk. I also I don't like competition.

Partly, the reason I feel this way is because I might be thinking too much about it, what I am going to do. I am not in the present.

How about just set goals and timeline of what I want strategically achieve next year without worrying about whether or not I am going to make it, if I am going to be ready, if the idea is going to work, if I am going to make enough money to survive... Then just in the now. Do what I have to do with all my best. Then whatever is going to happen will.

What would be an ideal life for me?

#100Days [012] - Morning Ride After Two Years

Today I went out for a morning ride with a new cycling team. It was a first proper road riding after almost two years. I was not really at the level I was two years ago. We rode to Prek Ta Mek. I struggled a bit on there, but I managed to do a bit of pulling on the way back. Many riders have got stronger, I think, just because they have done a lot of riding for the last two years while I was away. We were riding at around 40Km/h on average for 50km. Somehow speed is what everybody is always bragging or talking about in cycling since I was in the national team. It hasn't really changed much.

What I felt different this time is how I experienced the morning ride. I was in the present and enjoying everything around--the other riders, the small talks, the coffee, and the bicycle ride itself. I took time to greet people I know. I smiled. I talked to other riders during the ride. My mind was in the ride. Two years ago, it was different. When I was riding with other riders in the group, I would think about my training for that day after the ride. I was very fixated on my cycling dream and training. I didn't really take time to enjoy anything else.

Getting back into cycling community, I was anxious about what people could have reacted to me. Surprisingly, many people welcomes me back. They were surprised to see me back on the bike riding. They asked me about where I had been, what I did now, and if I was going to start riding regularly from now. I felt warm and welcomed, and I am very grateful. A couple of days ago, I didn't feel the same.

When I was in Siem Reap, I asked my road cycling team captain to borrow his bicycle for a 8-minute documentary film shooting about my cycling journey. He saw my message, but he didn't reply on the same day. It made me feel very anxious and embarrassed with the fact that I asked him, and he didn't reply to me straight away. I wish I hadn't done that. It put me in a pretty low self-esteem and insecure mood. I wrote about it in #100Days [008]. Two days later, he responded to me and asked me to go pick up his bicycle. Everything was fine. He texted like normal. I felt relieved and better on that day. I realized that it was just me overthinking.

On top of that, today I realized that many people from my cycling team respect me, and they just want me keep riding bicycle; I don't have to race. I think that is the beauty of cycling. It is all the about supportive community. It is about the early morning ride, the small talks during the ride, the shouting when someone crossing the road in front of the bicycle train, the rickshaw making a turn, the car overtaking us, the jokes at a coffee shop, and the friendship that will last.

#100Days [008] - Bad Mood Becasue of Money

When I asked Leah about what I should translate and what I can skip in those interviews we conducted, she said without looking at me but her smart phone, "Translate what Sreymom said." I felt as if she was being a boss, an employer, or a customer, who is giving me an attitude. I felt like she told, "Don't ask too much. Just do what I said."

Then she added, "The good thing is that you are being paid. I think it is 40USD per interview. With that you can buy yourself a bed." I felt like she said it as if I really need that money from the translation. To be honest, I actually can decide not to do it. I am kind of a bit upset or angry. I FELT LIKE I AM BEING JUDGED AND LOOKED DOWN UPON.

It hurt me really bad. I became sad and contemplative. I wanted to weep (feeling heavy on the chest អួលដើមក) to release the pressure or whatever I was feeling. I felt this way because it seems like Leah thought that I can't afford a bed and I am doing the translation just because I want the, what she calls, "extra money". I know this is not what she thinks or means. She probably genuinely wants me to have a bed. She probably wasn't judging or looking down on me. But still it was difficult to accept it when I heard it.

On top of this event today, there is another factor that has led to have all the feelings and put me in such a bad mood for the last two days. I chat to Bong Pisal to discuss with him about the shooting of short bicycle documentary and to borrow his bicycle for the shooting. He has seen my messages, but he has never replied till today. He's probably busy. I probably put him in an uncomfortable position, so he doesn't know how to reply. Or he has just had enough of me and decided to ignore me. I don't know. lol

This two events revolves around a topic "not able to buy/have the things I want", a bicycle and a bed. It relates to money again. It says to me that I was not making a lot of money like these people, Bong Pisal and Leah. They are rich. I am poor. They're living a fancy life; I am surviving. They're spending money; I am trying to be as frugal as I can. It makes me feel very in secure and in great doubt of the life I have lived and the values I have hold. Do I need to want more money to live peacefully in this society? Am I capable of earning more money?

Having to choose walking over taking Passapp, sleeping at a cheaper hotel or at my mom's house over a 5-star hotel, drinking 5,000៛ coffee and eating cheaper food over drinking brand coffee or eating expensive food, just because I want to save money hurts me sometimes especially when I am with someone who is doing the opposite from me. The above two events are good cases to learn about how I feel.

To feel better, I thought about running away to live somewhere alone far away from civilization. I feel like that's the only place where I can be myself without caring about what other people think of me or comparing myself to them. To be truly myself.

I feel like I need deeper reasons to validate my values and actions or thinking at the moment. I feel like I need to make decision now on what I really value and want to adhere to with strong personal arguements.

#100Days [003] Business Plan. What for?

Business Plan. What is a business plan really? What is the use of it? What part of it do you indeed find helpful or useful?

From my past experience and with my current level of knowledge regarding the topic of "business plan", what I have found handful are the introduction (who we are, vision, mission, goals, activities), customer identification, market study, financial projection, and business model canvas.

What usually tends to happen is that we forget about the business plan after we start executing the business. People create business plan to (1) organize their thoughts and structurally design their business, (2) to make sense of their existing business, and (3) to raise fund or seek for investment.

The best way to learn to make a business plan is to make a business plan. It doesn't have to be supper accurate and perfect. Then you can jump into implementing it. There are two ways to make that happen. First, you find a program that hires you to create a business plan, execute it from scratch, make mistakes, struggle, reflect, adjust, and learn. This is the best way because the pressure is lower. You aren't putting your own money at risk. The worth case is that you lose your time and energy in exchange for experiences and knowledge. Second option, you jump into running your own business. This is a lot more risky, and has more pressure because if you make mistakes, you will lose not just your time and energy, but you money as well.

We don't create a business plan and wish for it to stay true forever. We create one to give use a guidance and a mental image of how your business will operates. It allows us to somehow feel some level of peace in mind. It is not like we're heading into our business blindly head first. Throughout the execution of the business plan, we need to regularly revise our business plan. Doing so will allow us to reflect on our current business and reflect to come up with better strategies or models.

#100Days [002] Lemongrass Price vs. Bigger Business Opportunity

Selling lemongrass. The work that I am doing now in an agriculture cooperative is to people to buy lemongrass from our members. For the last one week, we have sold one of our members' lemongrass, farmer A, 30kg a day to a collector in a local wet market near by. He pays us 700 Riel for 1 kg. We decided not to negotiate the price with him yet, because we want to build relationship with him and let him know we want to work with him long term.

Today I called another member, farmer B, to ask if she has lemongrass to sell. She asked about the price, and I told her the collector buys in 30kg everyday for 700 Riel per kg. She was surprised, and told she used to sell to him also for 1,000 Riel per kg. I was also surprised when I heard that.

Now we know that he used to sell to others at 1,000 Riel per kg, just a couple days ago. That's what farmer B told me. I am not sure if that's true, because why hasn't she brought him lemongrass everyday since then? Also, she only sold it in smaller amount like 18-19 kg (គាត់លក់រាយរងទេ ដោយសារគេត្រូវការដែរគេទិញទៅ). To sell in huge amount maybe it would be different.

Our intention is to find buyers that give us good price for our members' lemongrass. And the objective for now is to study the collector we work with to potential collaborate in a bigger business of collecting lemongrass and selling them in Phnom Penh. We are looking at a bigger picture. However, our member, farmer B, seems to be looking for a higher price not an opportunity to do business in a bigger scale. That's why she went out to sell the lemongrass to collector herself. We as a community can't control or know what every member think or does.

It seems difficult to negotiate with him to increase the price. He keeps explaining to me that he can't give more than 700 Riel during this time of the year because there're plenty of lemongrass. He just tries to keep the transaction going everyday so that there's lemongrass being bought and sold.

A voice in my head question if he's really honest about the price situation with us or if he's only trying to take advantage of us? But I did witness his wife, a vegetable seller, complaining about not being able to sell all the lemongrass, and I saw the left over lemongrass.

As a collector, I think they prefer to work with a producer group other than individual.

What to do now?

I feel like if it were just me growing and selling vegetable by myself, I for sure could focus on selling directly to retailers for better price then selling to a collector. But when we work as a producer group, the dynamic is different. It requires a lot of information gathering, facilitation, negotiation, and communication.

Dealing with perfectionism - Content creation [SC]

[Stream of Consciousness - SC]

You have no idea how many time I uploaded my work on Facebook or YouTube and re-uploaded them and uploaded them again. I am talking about Facebook page cover picture. I changed the mission and vision at least 5 times before I found the acceptable, for myself, version. I used to think about just using Dassatek to share my life experiences and lessons and think that I don't need to think too much about what the audiences want. My mindset was like this, "Here is my life's experience. I don't care what you think about it. I am going to share it anyway. Hope somehow find it helpful." It was more like Aaron Swartz's approach to blogging. Then I was having a hard time deciding wheather I want the page to be very specific or to just share random topics, the ones I am interested in. It was like an experimental process because I was not sure about myself too or what I want to focus on. Eventually, as I learned about myself better, I decided to have the page focused on agriculture in particular regenerative agriculture, and business in particular social business. So the vision/mission statement goes something like this, "ចែករំលែកចំណេះដឹងនិងបទពិសោធលើប្រធានបទ កសិកម្មនិរន្តរភាព និងកសិធុរកិច្ច ដើម្បីបំផុសគំនិតគាំទ្រឱ្យខេមរជនក៏ដូចជាមនុស្សជាតិ ធ្វើកសិកម្មជាសុខជាមួយធម្មជាតិ". Then I started making static video podcast about my experience working with agriculture cooperative. In the process, I uploaded and re-uploaded several times, hopefully the the 45 audiences don't find it annoying because I had to upload, delete, and re-uploaded it again just to edit. I would edit the size of the letter in the background image, the flow of the audio record, the order of how I want to post the teaser first and then video/podcast later. That was the structure I am following.

I was chasing a point where I am satisfied with my work, well at least for the moment because there is always room for improvement as we are learning the craft.


When I stayed at Bong Phearom's SdabStudio, I showed him my podcast I made to document my experiences working with the agriculture cooperative. After he heard it for the first time, he just commented on the content of the podcast. He said that it gave him new insight about the community, how they do business in particular their payment term.

Then I asked him to comment on the quality of the audio. He said that the quality wasn't really good.

When it comes to content creation work like this, it is very difficult to accept criticism. It felt hard to listen to Bong Phirom's comment on my podcast quality. I got defensive a bit at first, when he mentioned about recording with my laptop and not having a good recording equipment. I think I got defensive because I knew I have ok equipment, microphone.

Also, when he mentioned about they way I talk and implied that my style is not energetic enough, or fun, or attracting, or មានឡើកដាក់សំឡេងល្អ, I also got a bit defensive. I thought to myself, the heck with all that, I just be me. I don't want to act to try to be like those podcasts Bong Phirom showed to me. I was like, I just be myself then the right I will attract the audiences that fit with me.

Only after he took me into the studio and asked David to show me how to properly edit the audio, I realized that it wasn't really because of my equipment or the way I talk, but it was because of my editing.

What I learned is that my editing needed to be improved. I actually didn't do much editing. I recorded with a window built-in voice recorder. Put it into Audacity to cut, trim, and edit it. For editing, I only remove background noise. Then I just make it louder in Kdenlive. I didn't do it right. I made it too loud to a point that it distorted my voice "បែកសម្លេងក្រឡ័រៗ ឬឮកង៉ួៗ". If I did it in Audacity, it would be different​ and better because it would tell me how much I can raise the volume louder without distorting the original voice. Now to edit, I need to use "Compressor", "EQ Filter Graph", "Amplify", and "Noise Reduction".

ការលើកដាក់សម្លេង ខ្ញុំអាចប្តូរពីអាចតាមសំណេររបស់ខ្ញុំទាំងស្រុង មកមើលឱ្យយល់យើងនិយាយពន្យល់វិញ។ ធ្វើដូចនេះវាស្តាប់ទៅមានអារម្មណ៍ថាធម្មជាតិជាង។

Tone របស់ខ្ញុំរាងកំបុតៗ សង្កត់សម្លេងខ្លាំង។​ ប៉ុន្តែខ្ញុំអត់គិតថាចង់ប្តូរវាទេឥលូវហ្នឹងព្រោះវា feel ធម្មជាតិសម្រាប់ខ្ញុំ។ ចឹងវាស្រួល មិនពិបាកខ្ញុំសំដែង ដូច្នេះប្រើពេលតិចដើម្បីថត។ សំខាន់ចង់ថតអោយបានជាប់លាប់សិនចាំគិតពីវា។

Not only did I become defensive. But I started to feel discouraged for a bit, bitter, and sad because it made me compare myself to Pichirith or David Toj. It also made me doubt myself. I was like I am not as good as them. I might never become that good. This is all no making sense, because we actually do different things. They make music, I make podcast. They have at least 3 years in music making. I just started making podcast.

In the end, it is just a craft I want to build. I just need to practice. It is going to take time. I am going to make many shitty podcast, but that's just part of the refining process. Eventually, I will master it.

#100Days [001] Don't know why I keep writing

[Stream of Consciousness]

I don't know why I keep coming back to writing. I don't know if I really enjoy writing. But I keep telling myself that I want to develop a writing craft, and I want to be a writer despite the fact that I have never really been a formal or professional writer. What I have normally done is journal writing.

Only lately I think for the last two years, I have looked into personal writing or creative nonfiction writing which is more structured and purposeful than my journal writing driven mainly by pure stream of consciousness.

Writing gives me a way to clarify my thoughts or make sense of my emotions as well as feelings. However, it has not always been that straight forward or easy when it comes to identifying or expressing my own feeling, be it in spoken words or written words. Somehow I find doing it in written words a bit easier. In addition, it helps me organized my thoughts and practice communicating them to other people. Sometimes it is just a way to release the pressure, anger, frustration, and sadness that have been built up inside myself. To write them out of my system.

There are moments when I doubt my writing capability. I still doubt myself sometimes now. I don't know what type of writer I am or want to become. I don't really have a deep connection with writing like most writers. For example, many great writers or music writers have difficult childhood or traumatic general life experiences, which make them alienated from the rest of the world. They normally find it hard to verbally communicate what they are experiencing to the people around them. But they find comfort in writing to express themselves by writing it all out on paper.

I think I might not have such experience or story. But maybe I also find writing as a way to express myself too even though I might not be aware of it. I do believe that everyone always has something within them to express whether they admit it or not.

One of those Unproductive Days [SC]

[Stream of Consciousness - SC]

There are days when you feel like "Oh shit, it's already 3:47PM. I have not done what I am supposed to do. Instead I have been scrolling through YouTube videos, from Thai 'The Wall' series to professional athletes' prank videos 'The Return' by Redbulls. I am not productive at all today. What is happening with me? Where are my motivation to write; I should be writing articles? Why am I so undisciplined, unlike when I was training as a national road cyclist?"

Today is one of those days. I have been watching YouTube videos all day. I know I am supposed to translates three 50-minute interviews for my qualitative research work, translate WildFit videos for my cousin as my side work, and above all to write two articles for Dassatek post. In the opposite, I have done none of them.

Why do I feel very difficult to be discipline when it comes to writing or most work that aren't physical? Is it because I don't have a routine? Is it because I don't have a clear goal? Or is it because I don't break my goal down to a small enough milestones to achieve on a day-to-day basis? What is going on with me? Why it felt much easier when I was training as a national road cyclist?

Then you beat yourself up!

No purpose. No drive. Bitterness. [SC]

[Stream of Consciousness - SC]

I have programmed myself to be driven, committed, determined, and persevered to do something if it is related to what I want in life or my goal. Because of that working for other purposes, which aren't aligned with my dream, would drain me to a point where all I could feel is bitterness. I guess it is because I am doing something for myself.

For example, when I set myself a goal to the Olympics, I was mostly motivated and discipline to do what I thought it would take to get there. I didn't feel like I was working for someone else, but myself. It was my dream. Moreover, I did have down times when I was tired, unmotivated, undisciplined, and unfocused, but I always managed to find a strength and overcome those moments.

Now half way through my 1-year internship in the agriculture cooperative (AC), I have lost all the drives to be excited and motivated to continue working there. I feel like I am just staying because of the money. I am not as focused as in the beginning. I don't have many initiatives now. I feel like time is going so slow and I am counting down to the end of my contract, which will be in the end of December 2022.

I am actually more excited about what I want to do next year. I really want to just stop working with CPSA and go ahead starting with my new plan.

I feel this way not because the work I am handling is too difficult or anything. I just don't have the purpose to stay. Before I came to work in the AC, I wanted to learn about the AC and hopefully find what it is the really problem that farmers are facing. I think I have now found the answers to those questions and have decided an approach to tackle as well. Therefore, I want to just executing my plan right away.

The feeling is very similar to when I completed what I wanted to do in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai for my solo bicycle trip in 2017, and I had to ride harder and longer each day wanting to get back to Phnom Penh faster because I had things I need to do to carry on pursuing my cycling dream. It feels the same way now.

I don't know how to really deal with it. But I am kind of stressed frequently, so I could easily get mad or angry because I think I am just being impatient. I am not in the moment. I am so focused in the future. I really don't know how to switch these, but I know I am not going to be fully happy if I am not in the present.

When I trained as a national road cyclist, I also experienced moments when I felt discouraged, unmotivated, and doubtful, but I had a clear training plan for each day. Thus, regardless of how I felt that day, I told myself to just get out there and get the work done. After the completion of each training, I was happy. I knew I did the right thing, and I was on the right track. This is very important. It is the clue to my above question, why am I not as motivated, disciplined, committed, and persevered training to be a writer or learning in class in general as when I trained as a cyclist?

Two YouTube videos help me make sense of what's going on with me. One is a video on Rich Roll podcast where Dr. Andrew Huberman explains about the Dopamine system.
Another video is on Film Courage YouTube channel where Dr. Ken Atchity talks about how he manages his daily time to make the time to write. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6nshRTjSFw&t=20s