Two more years till my graduation, I might attend a university oversea, therefore to prepare for university, I took two AP (Advanced Placement) courses, AP Statistics and AP Computer Science A. The courses are university-level course and they are extremely difficult. To prepare for AP exams on May, I studied statistics during Math class and part time in school prepare for AP computer science.
The last Exploration of the year 2017-2018 was performing a play, titled “the Network”. The play displayed the view of using social media, concerning in relationship, advertising or even abusing by inappropriate posts on the network.
My character was a flighty guy, who flirted with a girl and then posted her hot photo to social media during her birthday. After that breakup, I flirted with another girl, but sadly it was not successful. However, the main character didn’t enjoy using social as I did. He faced many social problems when using the Network (social media), so he wanted to destroy it by spreading a virus and he did.
Four years ago, Ministry of Education hosted the first STEM festival in Cambodia and yet, the festival remained to happen every year; I never missed a year to exhibit or participate at the event because I want to see as many projects as possible. During the first festival in 2015, I was exhibiting my Tech Support Exploration with my mates and the crowds rumored around our table amazed what we did. This year I was honored to present my self-balancing robot I engineered during my after-school activity. Beside exhibiting my projects, I observed others’ as well and I discovered that there were new faces from public schools, around my age, presenting their STEM projects. I have seen countless projects from organizations, companies and international schools over the last couple year, but I have amused to see robots, Arduino projects, insect spray from lemongrass, even games that were done by these high school students. I remembered two years ago, I gave a lecture of using Scratch software to the Secretary of State of Ministry of Education purposely to implement this coding software in public school, and then surprisingly, I saw some of the students were using them for making games and displayed in the festival! This made me realizes that I made a “change” for Cambodia in STEM field.
I love STEM subjects, but when magnifying it closely, I am marrying with coding and robotics. I took online courses on coding when I was 13 then I realized I love it – it inspired me to pursue coding. To me, coding is a magic that can spell phones or computers to do whatever we want. Last year, my team started developing a PayPal-like website called Liger Digital Currency for our school. The entire site took my team a lot of work for designing, planning and, programming. We couldn’t be proud enough when this site officially launched last October. This application is being used by Liger students and staffs every week for catering and maintenance around the campus. This is the greatest achievement my team and I honored for our school.
I could now proudly call myself a web developer!
Technology brought humanity into a revolution. There is significant growth in many sectors such as education, construction, medical and more. It certain that countries’ economy has boost exponentially when technology evolved in our society.
I have seen a new mobile application trending in Cambodia: PassApp. It helps people saving money when traveling via a Tuk Tuk, a motor with a cart, as well as Tuk Tuk drivers would more customers. This is the innovation that Cambodia needs, the innovation that beneficial to people.
Steve Jobs, a founder of Apple Company quoted that, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Related to the quote, I believe that Cambodia would be a place where there are many innovations, sustainability and I am committing to make this a reality.
Robotics is another factor to my passion. With this passion, I joined a VEX robotics competition at Thailand in February. I love robots. By participating in this competition, I could advance my mechanic, programming as well teamwork skills. The experience I had, I shared with students who went to STEM festival and encourage them to be like me.
How could robots change the world? It could change the world in a devastating way, but we see the benefits it gives to people. People sent a rover robot to inhabitant Mars, so we don’t spare astronauts’ life. We sent robots to explore the ocean so people couldn’t be crush by enormous pressure. However, robots would likely take over people’s job by its automation technology. Almost every labor force would replace with robots, but the productivity, performance, reliability would be advanced and cost of each product would be reduced.
A part of expanding knowledge about STEM subjects, I also gave away. An example was in Bambujaya Exploration where I wrote addons about Khmer, Math and Science subjects of the 3rd-grade book for a new private school, called Bambujaya. Bambujaya’s mission is to make sure students are more engaged by implementing these STEM activities since Cambodia’s government curriculum is a French teaching style and there is lack innovation for the students.
During my volunteering at Khmer Sight Foundation’s mission, I was fainted to see poor conditions of the community we went, to see many families couldn’t afford a sunglass for themselves and to see people struggle to see their grandchildren, children and their world. I helped doctors to interpret English to Khmer and encouraged patients to get an eye surgery. After the surgery completed, surgeons now could see far and clear. One patient comment that “I am really happy and I hope I could help my family to earn money, especially I could climb palm trees and make sugar. I have never thought my eye could come back, but the doctor provided me a new eye.” This triggered me a feeling that I have contributed to change these people’s’ lives and I suppose that they never forget this, because the mission made them feel unbelievable happy just like what Maya Angelou quotes that, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
From March, 30 to April 1, I was attending Model United Nation at Saigon, Vietnam, which is called SIAMUN. This was my second of participating as the delegate in Model United Nation (MUN). I was representing as the delegate of the Federal Republic of Germany in The Economic and Financial Committee, General Assembly 2. The topics were:
The question of tax evasion by multinational corporations (MNCs).
The question on the implementation of a universal minimum wage
The question of the legality and use of Bitcoin
The question of overseas aid to lower income countries
Among of those topics, I was focusing on the first topic, because tax and how companies avoiding tax is interesting to learn. I have plenty of help from my entrepreneur teacher relating to this.
During the assembly, I had more confidence than my first time. I asked some questions to the house and made a few speeches than ISPPMUN. I knew that my public speaking skill needed a lot of improvement, and by participating in this event, bringing me closer to perfect of this skill.
On March 2nd, during STEM festival at Olympic Stadium, I displayed my masterpiece Self Balancing robot, which I built during the after-school activity. This robot has impressed many students because it could stand by itself with two wheels. I questionedthe students what do they think the robot was for before I ran it. Most of them have believed that it was a car or a cart. I also noticed that they were excited wanted to know how to build and the physics of this robot and I was happy to tell them.
Beside my exhibit, I was exploring around other booths and discovered many new booths and faces but what drew my attention the most was Highschool students’ booths. Students around my age from government schools were presenting in this fair. I have been exhibiting at this festival for four years and this was the first time seeing them presenting these amazing projects! Two years ago, an Exploration was evaluating the project-based learning in government schools and wrote a whole report to Ministry of Education. The Minister was excited about project-based curriculum during his visit to Liger and started to implement project-based learning to some high schools because of the report from Liger. To that end, the students I met at the fair were from those high schools! I felt like I met my brothers and sisters that love STEM. Liger is not alone.
More to that, two years ago during Ministry visit at Liger, the Secretary of State was interested in Scratch and wanted to introduce this computer coding program to students to learn to code. I was chosen to give a lecture how to use Scratch to the assistant of Secretary of State, and the lecture passed on to teachers and students. Oh yeah! I saw a group of high school students made a maze game from Scratch! I thought, “What I have done two years ago has shaped Cambodia, I made a change in Cambodia!”
Previously, my Dinosaur Exploration had suspected figures like dinosaur footprints at Battambang Province, though we couldn’t verify them as dinosaur footprint a 100 percent. Therefore, we invited two Thai paleontologists to validate on the footprints based on their background in biology and geology.
We were all thrilled about these footprints. If these footprints are agreed by experts to be dinosaur footprint, it would be the first dinosaur footprint ever found in Cambodia. Unfortunately, one of the paleontologists was convinced that they are not dinosaur footprint, they are flute casts, it was caused by the river flow and small rock on the bed. We were really disappointed; however, I think it is what most scientists experience during their discovery.
As a project-based learning school, Liger opens opportunities for students to explore in STEM. As part of that, robotics is one of them. For myself, I enjoy building robots since Liger introduced Lego robotics four years ago. Last year, 2017, I moved to a more advanced robotics calls, VEX, and joined its competition in Taiwan. No surprise, this year I was given another opportunity to be on Liger team to compete in VEX competition again but at Thailand.
What my team has learned from the 2017 competition we applied to our strategy this year. Some of the strategies we have observed from other teams were that they use aluminum instead of steels, two batteries instead of one and Omni wheels instead of standard wheels. One strategy we heard from a team is that design in computer software before it assembles the robot.
Because I had experience from the previous competition, I had to give support to freshmen and freshwomen that were given for this robotics opportunity as well. Liger has two teams. I was in the male team calls Botjisu, and a female team calls Beta-B. A lot of time, people that were new to robotics were struggling in both programming and mechanic; thus, I gave them advice and techniques, especially how they assembly pieces together.
Our team aimed for the champion for this competition. Because we have enough materials we decided to make five mechanisms on our robot to be capable of doing all the tasks. Our robot was huge and heavy. During the testing at our Lab, our robot worked well. Though, sometimes the wheel motors became stalling (overheat) even when driving the robot on a smooth surface. We don’t want it to be stall during our competition.
After giving up the time to make this robot be alive for the competition, finally, the day had come. I had hope that our robot will succeed. A lot of people was amazed by how cool it looks and its ability to do many tasks. Unfortunately, our robot became stalling on the battlefield in a couple matches, even when the robot was moving, it moved slowly. This issue putting our team below the chart. We made a tough decision at the last minute to remove three mechanisms away to reduce its load, though we gave up two matches to have time removing the parts away. We made the right decision, in our last qualifying matches, our robot became a hero. It was so fast that it could score so many points for our team and allies-team. The moment was the most exciting for us. For the final tournament, we allied with two other teams. We crushed first couple games, but sadly on our semifinal game, the scores were so close. Our competitor team won. Even though we didn’t win anything, however, we won our heart to work as a team. This competition made me understand, “Keep it simple” mean. A simple robot could be a champion.
I couldn’t really describe how much I was proud of my team that we made till the semi-final!
Grace Hopper is known an important person in computer science. She invented the first computer compiler that shape this contemporary technology. During, Physic class, I researched about her and here is the information about her I wrote.
On 19th November 2017, I was volunteering for Khmer Sight Foundation (KSF) mission at Kampong Speu Province. I spent this Saturday to help to save people eyes. Based on the doctor I worked with, he said as people getting older, their eye lens would get cloudier. This is call cataract and another common eye problem is call pyridium. There is no medicine or drops to cue the eyes’ lens, the only way is to do a surgery. The foundation’s mission is to find those who has the problem with their eyes and giving them tear drop, sunglasses and especially provide a surgery for those who has a lot of cataracts or pyridium .
I was inept about eyes at the start but my heart told me to help my people that is why I volunteer this. I helped to register the people there, moving chairs, organizing the room. Ieventually ended up becoming the doctors interpreter and assistant. I thought this is the toughest volunteer job since all the patients I have talked to were having a lot of cataracts and pyridium. I needed to explain to them that their eyes should have a surgery and the side effect of keeping the cataract. More importantly, I need to explain to them that there is a chance that surgery would fail, their eyes could get blind.
On the mission, we screened more than a 100 patients and about 30% of them is on surgery list. I never see the surgery before, I also felt nervous for the patient as well and the risk they took, but what I and other volunteers could do is to comfort them because some patient never traveled to Phnom Penh and couldn’t speak English with doctors.
I went to the clinic with eight patients and I saw procedure before surgery. They scanned the patient’s eye for the size, depth, curvedness and the doctors would replace a new artificial-len for the patient with those dimension. I didn’t get to see the surgery itself, but I saw photos from my teacher who went to see the surgery.
Liger Digital Currency is the first application developed by Liger students that had launched. It not just a simple application, it is a digital currency system that is more likely a PayPal that uses only for Liger campus. Many students had involved in this project since 2016 until the official launch on November 20, 2017. We developed this system from scratch with Node.js platform and we hire none other developers to build this. The developers are 15 years old Liger students and this is including me. I am the main developer, coding in many pages of the application. I am a hybrid developer meaning I code the back-end and also the front end. Throughout, this application, I had exposed of many web skills, such as Login Authentication with Google, working with Postgres database, cookies, HTTP requests and so on. Beside coding, I involved in discussion and meetings with the school director about the problems and the solutions to make the system works as best. This is the biggest project I work so far and what I get was a lot of experience.