Panha Suon

An Autodidact & Lifelong Learner exploring Regenerative Agriculture | Social Business | Personal Writing | Decentralized Technology

Four pages in an hour [0019]

My current comprehensive reading pace is 4 pages in an hour.

Comprehensive Reading. I read comprehensively by stopping frequently and asking what I have just read (almost after finishing every paragraph). I also take note on the margin of the text book for better understanding. I use digital drawing board to take note on a digital textbook.

From this data, I can calculate how many hours I need to spend each week (7 days) to cover all the reading material (assigned number of chapter). This can allow me to strategically plan out my week and be aware of how many hour I need to spend each day.

This term I took only one course,
"Basic Accounting BUS1102", but it is different from the other courses I have taken. In this course, I am assigned to read 2 chapters for each week. Two chapters consist of about 170 pages. Hence, for week 2, I need to spend in total 42.4 hours to cover all the pages in the 2 chapters meaning I need to spend at least 6.06 hours a day to read.

I hope that through practicing and sticking to the "active recall" and "space repetition" method, I will be able to increase my comprehensive reading pace to 8 pages an hour. Then I only need to spend 21.26 hours to cover two chapters which equivalent to 3.04 hours per day for 7 days.

Made up my mind. Became less motivated. [0016]

I decided to not continue working with an agriculture cooperative (AC) that I am working for after my contract with Cambodia Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture is over at the end of 2022. I want to start my own regenerative farm.

Having made up my mind on this matter weakens my motivation to work on the lemongrass project with the AC in the moment. I am not excited anymore. Now the tasks have become purely my responsibilities to fulfill well. My body is still with the AC, but my mind has already left. Now it is more exciting to think about and plan what I am going to do next to start-up a regenerative farm business.

Coming back to the AC after Khmer New Year today, I didn't feel motivated or excited at all. I was worried about how I am going to successful start lemongrass business here in the AC. I was a bit stuck with what to do next with the production members. Luckily, a member called me at lunch time to discuss about what he should do with his current lemongrass farm. He asked me to have a look. I didn't expect his call. Hence, I was a bit hesitated responding to his request because I was just finishing my lunch, and it is literally mid-day, but I said, "Yes", anyway. I went to his farm and spent a whole afternoon helping him regrow his lemongrass.

This event gives me an idea of what I am going to do next and how I am going to approach my day-to-day work. From now on, my work will focus on helping those members, who have already grown the lemongrass, take care of their lemongrass and those, who have not grown, start growing. Apart from that, I will help the AC to do mounthly accounting and improve their business administration system. The rest of my working hours will be used to empower Lyka and Phally to able handle these jobs when I am not here.

Not something to take lightly [0015]

Taking online class at UoPeople while working full-time is not easy. I am not even attending the university full-time. I am already taking only one course per term whereas a full-time student can take up to four courses per term.

This term I am taking Basic Accounting (BUS1102). From my personal experience, it is different from the other courses I have taken. Instead of reading one chapter per week, I am assigned to read two chapters a week. That's a lot of reading for me.

I am not a fast reader. My current reading pace is 2 pages in 25 minutes which is 4 pages per hour with a 10 minutes break in between. On average, a chapter has around 70 pages meaning I can comprehensively read 4 pages in an hour. Therefore, I need 17.5 hours to cover 1 chapter, and 35 hours for two chapters which is 5 hours a day for a full week.

To read at a college level is not always fun especially for me because I don't really enjoy the reading. Instead, I need to consciously force myself to read. Also, my reading comprehension is still weak. Part of the reason that I don't enjoy reading is also I have not built reading habit.

At the moment, following retrieval method and space repetition consumes a lot more time and feel longer. They get me anxious and thinking if college course was too hard for me, if I were going to make it, or if I should give up already. I think it could take time for me to become fluent and improve my reading comprehesion. I need to just stick to it and trust the process believing that it is best for the long run. I need to get comfortable with the feeling of anxiety and be patient.

I hope that by discipline myself to read actively integrating active retrieval method and space repetition into my reading, I will be able to improve. Respect to those who perform well in college as a full-time or part-time student.

Acknowledge the positive sides [0006]

My cousin volunteered to help organize Bun Phum.

This is the first big event that he sought out for the information, applied for, and got selected. I should have acknowledged it in front of him and given him a kudo. He did well. Good job to him. I didn't do with him, but I can say it to him when he is done with Bun Phum and back home. I can take him to go for a walk or a drink.

Also, today is his birthday. I didn't say many nice words to him. I was joking with him by asking him if he was paid to volunteer and why tried so hard for nothing. Translated in Khmer, គេឱ្យប៉ុន្មានលុយមកធ្វើការងារហ្នឹង? ហើយប្រឹងអ្វីៗប្រឹងម្ល៉េះ? This joke or these words are useless. I should learn to be careful with this kind of joke. Better to say nothing then causing pain in other people.

My cousin is a good guy. There are many good sides of him which I have not noticed or paid attention to. I need to learn to pay attention to those positivity and acknowledge them in front of him.

Do or Don't? [0005]

Working on a lemongrass production business in an agriculture cooperative, I am responsible for putting together a financial projection for each potential producing member so that they can see, for that much amount of land they have, how much they can generate as a revenue, how much they need to spend, and how much they will make as profit. This analysis is very crucial to convince agriculture cooperative members to join the producing groups and start growing lemongrass. Financial projection helps us get a picture of how viable a business idea or model is. It can also give us an idea of when the business will break even or start generating profit.

Two weeks into collecting data and making the financial project, I realized that I made a mistake. I over-calculated the yield of lemongrass per hectare. I think my calculation formula and method are correct, but I didn't put into consideration the dead space to be left out for walking paths in lemongrass farm. Using some raw data, procurement, mathematics, and drawing, I calculated the yield of lemongrass on 1 hectare of land to be about 42.5 tons. There are two ways that lead to this result. First, I used the dimension of the farm, length and width, spacing within row, and spacing between rows to find number of holes per row and number rows in the farm. With the total number of holes, I then multiply it with the yield per hole expected in Kilogram. It gives me the the total yield. Second, I used the number plants per square meter to find the total number of plant per hectare. The outcome is similar to the first method.

However, this calculation alone is not accurate enough to identify the yield per square meter. With the two methods above, I found the yield of lemongrass per hectare to be 42.5 tons, but it is twice the number of yield we got from other agriculture cooperative who have been growing lemongrass for many years and become experienced with it. They told me, "They can get 27 tons per hectare if the soil is good, but only 16 tons per hectare if the soil is not fertile." Because of this error, the profit that was estimated was skewed up leaving the farmer with high hope and positivity.

What I can take away from this mistake is that standard calculation alone is not enough. To be accurate, we need to also ask for raw data from experience farmers or people who have done what I want to do to collect data to compare with the result of our calculation. For example, for the case of lemongrass, we still do the standard calculation, but we also should ask the other AC or farmers, who have grown lemongrass before us, about the yield per hectare. Then we can find the average of all the results to find a number that is the most accurate.

Not the right time [0004]

It is difficult and maybe even rare to discover someone or a group of people you like and want to work together with toward pursuing a common goal or purpose. I have found just that group of people whose energy, life and work values and principles, mindsets, and visions are very similar to mine. Yet, I don't think it is the right time to share my dream and start working on it with them. Why?

I don't have solid credibility in term experience, wealth, and success to really convince them to support what I want to do or influence the way they do things yet. They are already very experienced with their work in agriculture and agriculture cooperative. They are also quite established with their business endeavor. They raised themselves up from poverty. I myself on the other hands am not up to their level yet. On a couple of occasions, I heard the head of the agriculture cooperative(AC) said, "You can't lead poor fa​rmers if you are also poor like them." Translated in Khmer, "ចង់ទៅដឹកនាំពួកគាត់បានទាល់យើងមានសេដ្ឋកិច្ចគ្រាន់បើដែរ។ បើយើងក្រដូចតែគាត់ដែរទេ ពិបាកទៅដឹកនាំគាត់ឱ្យគាត់ជឿហើយធ្វើតាមណាស់។" For me, this doesn't only apply to poor farmers, but I think it could also apply to the leadership team in the AC if I worked with them.

Their belief in Dr. Yong Saing Koma's teaching is very strong. Thus, they aren't very open to new ideas especially if they are from outside of the country. For example, it would be difficult for them to open up and study Muhammad Yunus's way of doing business, social business. At one point, I tried to introduce the head of the agriculture cooperative to the idea behind Dr. Yunus's social business, but I ended up hearing from him, "I don't think his thinking, Dr. Yunus's, is up to Dr. Koma's yet. Dr. Koma gave a lot of thoughts on it (agriculture and community in Cambodia). He also taught and led us to do many things." Reported in Khmer, "ខ្ញុំគិតថាគាត់គិតយ៉ាងណាក៏មិនទាន់ដល់លោកគ្រូកុមារដែរ។ លោកគ្រូកុមារបានគិតច្រើនណាស់ ហើយបានបណ្តុះបង្រៀននិងធ្វើជាមួយពួកខ្ញុំច្រើនទៀត។" I am not against Dr. Koma. I do admire, respect, and value his work. However, I think some of his work, approaches, or principles, which worked in the past might not still work in today local and global society. On top of what still work, I need to bring in new trends and ideas and localize them to fit our national and regional context. I need to teach by example.

If I decided to work with them after my contract with Cambodia Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture, it would be difficult to negotiate with them so that I can run my own vegetable business independently the way I want to within their community. So far, they only thought about​ hiring me to work for them.

Even if they agreed to let me run my own vegetable business the way I want to independently, I think I will still be hearing different negative thoughts and feel various negative energies around me. That might jeopardize my drive and positivity to start up and follow through with my vision. I need to be surrounded by positive people or energy especially when I just started. It is crucial to keep me in the quest.

Why 1-2 Hours Each Night? [0003]

What is my goal for spending 1-2 hours every night learning about market gardening?

In the next 6 months, I will transform Pu Den's backyard (in an agriculture cooperative in Kompong Cham) into a market garden that generates side income to sustain its operation and demonstrates to the villagers this new way of regenerative gardening. The extra income here is not really the main objective. What I find very valuable is the experience I can get from this opportunity to test out this model of smallholder farming. It will allows me to learn hands-on about how to establish and operate a market garden in Cambodia, which is quite a new idea and hasn't been done widely yet.

This experience is very important to prepare me for what I am going to do next after I finish my 1-year work with CPSA and the agriculture cooperative. I want to start my own market garden and eventually establish a regenerative agriculture center.

Even though I decided to begin my regenerative organic farming journey with market gardening it is not the only thing I planned to explore and master. There are other types of farming such as regenerative agriculture, no-dig gardening, square foot gardening, nomadic gardening, agro-forestry, biodynamic farming, permaculture, and syntropic farming that fascinates me tremendously. All these models, philosophies, and wisdoms of farming are still alien to farmers, youths, and the people of Cambodia. That's why localizing these knowledge both in theory and practice is very crucial.

Therefore, my 1-2 hours investment in learning about market gardening is a start to many more broader concepts and tasks.

Don't know what to write [0002]

To write everyday is not easy, but I think it is also not impossible. Well at least Seth Godin has proven it possible.

I really have no clue what I am going to write now. I am just literally writing what is in my head. They might not be useful to anyone, but I think it is at least useful to me.

"Getting started is often the hardest part. Once you start, it's easy to keep going." I read this from a book called "The Motivation Myth" by Jeff Harden. Hence, the goal for today or for this article is to just write something.

This is the second article into my 1000-article challenge. I will be writing an article everyday regardless of the topic or length starting yesterday on April 03, 2022.

I really don't know what the journey or challenge will bring to me. How is it going to be like? What am I going to experience? How is it going to change me? What kind of struggle I am going to face? But I am excited. Let's see!

I am not living, but thinking. [0001]

Instead of living my life now, I am thinking. I still don't truly get this. It feels like a romantic idea. It feels too good to be true to many people including myself sometimes. Or at least that is just how it feels for me now.

Visualizing it just makes me feel happy, free, light, and relieved of all the burden, the expectation, the desire to become someone the society view as normal if not someone who is successful, the constant anxiety about the future security and stability, and the endless competition against one another for monetary profit. It gives me a glimpse of a sense of freedom, independence, and liberty.

I just want to live off on a permaculture homestead growing and raising whatever I need for food on it. I would also like to build my own house using earth. Maybe I can even weave my own clothes. Or I don't think I need that many clothing really. These already cover most of the basic Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This already allows me to survive. What else do I need?

Is it possible for a civilized person like me to only live off what I grow or produce. How hard does living this kind of life have to be? How much monetary wealth do I need in minimum to still be a functional citizen of the local and global economics?

I can conduct an experiment to really test this. I can live on my land in PTT2 for a year eating only what I can grow or raise, sleeping in a tent, traveling on a bicycle. What really concerns me is my land mortgage. How am I going to pay my mortgage while having no salary? This is one of my insecurity that I have to get rid off.

Whenever I start to think about how I am going to make money, how I am going to grow enough vegetable to sell to people for money, how I am going to do marketing so that they know about my vegetable and decide to buy it, how I am going to make enough money to be like this person or that person in the society, or would I fall into what the society call a low-level class, those without much money or societal wealth, I get anxious and sad. It seems like my soul from deep down don't want me to do or think about all these. It feels like this is not where I really belong, but somehow I feel like I have to think about them. Maybe this is because I have only been conditioned to think like this.