Monday, September 12, 2005

Auto-Biography

I come from a fairly big family in Western Cambodia, Battambang Province, which is about 100 kilometers from Thai border. I was born on the first day of Chinese New Year in 1978, the end of Khmer Rough genocide regime which lasted for 3 years 8 months and 20 days long.

Most of my life is full of traveling especially in the academic life. I started going to school in 1985 in Kampong Cham Province which is about 140 kms to the East. That time I left my parents to stay and study with my aunty and her family. The following year I returned home to live with my parents in Phnom Penh. In 1986, a few months later, my family moved back to Batambang.
When I was in my 7 grade of Secondary school, an extremely bad luck happened to my family.

In 1990 there was a huge fire burning down the entire block of settlement area in my neighborhood. With such depression, I had no any feeling of going to school anymore. Thus, consequently I decided to quit my study in order to give a hand to my parents. Nevertheless, my mom disagreed with my suggestion and convinced me not to give up. Not until today do I realize that her decision was ultimately right, otherwise I have already become illiterate.
Due to the impact of my family situation, my study was seriously affected. My grade decreased dramatically and as a result I failed the final exams in the following year. Again I was under a deep depression and ashamedness.

“After raining the sky is clear” as the Khmer proverb stated, my academic life became very successful. I was admitted to be one the most outstanding students in Mathematics in 1992. I won many prizes during the time in Mathematic and became the second top student of Mathematics in the province.

In 1996, I won a 4-year scholarship for my university study in Vietnam in the field of Land Management. Four years later, I successfully finished my degree with an excellent graduation thesis defense and got an extra scholarship from the school together with another 2-year scholarship to pursue my Master’s degree there.

Time flew so quickly, however thing did not turn out smoothly as I expected. The first semester of my graduate study has passed by. I took some time during my summer vacation in July 2001 to visit my parents in Cambodia. After returning from home, there was a bad news to me. My scholarship was cut off and replaced by a new student. It was a son of one of the advisors to the Priminister. The secretary of the Cambodian Ambassador to Vietnam in Hanoi who was responsible for cultural and academic section was behind the change. He accused me of being on leave exceeding the time limited without any warning papers from my school. My university rector understood the situation and decided to issue a paper to the Cambodian Embassy as well as to the Department of Education in Hanoi, verifying that I have not violated any rules or regulations of the school in order to get back my scholarship.
There were strong interferes from myself, the university as well as the Department of Education in Phnom Penh but there were no any influences at all. In the end I had to leave Vietnam without finishing the course.
If you were me how do you feel and what will you do next?
Remember! Whenever you are in a deep depression, don’t ever take any quick decisions. This can end up your life with nothing. Do come to share your sadness with your close friends who could understand and encourage you.
I was so upset and depressed when some of my university friends from the same nation did not understand me and even insulted me with some harmful words.
I was running all over the place to seek support from friends to find a good solution. Fortunately, a friend of mine who was working as a volunteer for the IIE in Hanoi realized my English ability. She recommended me to be enrolled in an Intensive-English program in Malaysia before applying for another scholarship to complete my graduate study in a better country like America.

In July 2001, I flew to Penang, Malaysia, to attend the course for 7 months and came back by February the following year.
Right after coming back from Malaysia, I applied for a scholarship to the University of Hawaii. For the first and second screenings, I got accepted by the University for the course. However, I could not challenge with other students from different countries for the scholarship or else I had to have at least two years of work experience to meet the criterias of ADB scholarship. Therefore, I had to come back to work in Cambodia for a certain time.

The first career in my life was teaching English although I have never thought before to become a teacher. I had no choice.
I was teaching for New York City Institute and also Asian Human Resource Development Organization for 3 months while waiting to take the entrance exam of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC). During that period I touch only one hour per day for each Institution in order to survive and gain some experience.

In May, 2002, I passed the entrance exam and could get into MLMUPC to work.
In July, 2002, I was assigned to work in Kampot province to be trained for at least one year before being able to become a government employee officially.
After 3 months working in Kampot, I was invited to attend some meetings at the National level and also elected as one of the National Trainers on Land Use Planning in Rural Areas. Since then i was assigned to run the GIS office for LMAP project and later on became a National Advisor of GIS section. Moreover, i was also invited to be a guess lecturer at the Royal University of Agriculture.

In 2004, I started applying for JDS scholarship for the first time but I could not get through the final interview. I did not give up hope and tried again in the following year. Consequently, I was eligible among 20 successful candidates for the JDS scholarship in the academic year 2005.
This all about myself!
Thank you for reading!

Sincerely,
Hour Ix

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