In response to my buddy’s question on the degrading of the culture of caring among Cambodian society, i decided to cook up this very short post. Continue reading A Cup of Kindness Vs a Cup of Selfishness?
This is a somewhat personal post. Not so scientifically well-researched, not persuasive, the aim of this article is just to express my gratitude for my group of friends. Continue reading The Potato Clan
As a Cambodian citizen, born and raised, you see, your life is pretty much influenced by Buddhism. More than 95% of the people here are Buddhist… you get the point. You are brought to pagodas in nearly every religious holidays (Khmer New Year, Bon Pchum, Bon Pisak, etc). However, just like how Christianity has die-hard believers and meh believers, so does Buddhism. You see, my parents are half Chinese, but Alas! They see themselves as more Chinese than some of my “true” Chinese friends. It gives them a proud identity to take on, i presume. Anyhow, having been raised in a Chinese household, they are not “die hard” fans of Buddhism, per se. Thus to me, Buddhism is like a far-fetched daydream- vague but always there. Continue reading Buddhism: Bye Bye
តាមវចនានុក្រមសម្តេចជួនណាត រមិលគុណគឺ ការឃើញគុណ ឬ នឹកគុណដែលតែស្បើយៗ មិនយកចិត្តទុកដាក់។
អរិយបុគ្គល តែងតែធ្វើអំពើល្អដាក់អ្នកដទៃ ដោយមិនមានបំណងចង់ឲ្យគេសងគុណវិញនោះទេ។ ប៉ុន្តែ ការសងគុណរបស់គេ នៅពេលគេធ្វើល្អដាក់យើង ត្រូវបានមនុស្សគ្រប់រូបស្គាល់ និងអនុវត្តន៍ សឹងតែក្លាយជាច្បាប់ប្រចាំសង្គម ដែលមិនអាចនឹងមិនប្រព្រឹត្តទៅហើយ។ ដូចជាការដែលមនុស្សដែលខឹង ពេលគេធ្វើអាក្រក់ដាក់ ទោះជាមនុស្សនោះជាមនុស្សគ្មានចិត្តយ៉ាងណាក៏ដោយ ក៏ម្នាក់នោះរមែងតែងតែមានអារម្មណ៍ចេះដឹងគុណគេ នៅពេលមាននរណាម្នាក់ធ្វើល្អដាក់។ ការធ្វើល្អនេះហើយ វាមានផលល្អដល់ទាំងអ្នកឲ្យ ទាំងអ្នកទទួល ទាំងអ្នកឈរមើលទៅទៀត។ ក៏ប៉ុន្តែជីវិតមនុស្សម្នាក់ៗមមាញឹក ពោពេញទៅដោយបញ្ហាតោងកន្ទុយតគ្នាមិនឈប់។ ដូចជាកាលដែលព្រះសម្មាសម្ពុទ្ធ ពេលទ្រង់នៅកំពុងតាំងសាមាធិត្រាស់ដឹងអញ្ចឹង ទ្រង់នៅរវល់តែខំរកវិធីដើម្បីដោះស្រាយចម្ងល់ទ្រង់ ដោយប្តូរពីវិធីមួយទៅវិធីមួយ អស់រយៈពេលជាង៥ ទៅ៦ ឆ្នាំ។ លុះដល់ពេលទ្រង់ត្រាស់ដឹងពីអតីតកាលភ្លាម ទ្រង់ក៏នឹកឃើញដល់ព្រះមហេសី និងបុត្ររបស់ទ្រង់មុនគេ។ ទ្រង់នឹកស្តាយដល់កាលដែលទ្រង់ចេញបួស ពុំបានប្រាប់លាអង្គទាំងពីរមួយម៉ាត់សោះ។ ឧទាហរណ៍នេះបញ្ជាក់ឲ្យឃើញថា មនុស្សតែងត្រូវរឿងកើតឡើងនៅចំពោះមុខកំបាំងភ្នែក នាំឲ្យពួកគេមិនសូវជាបានមើលឃើញរឿងដទៃដែលខ្លួនគួរធ្វើ។ តើនរណាគេខ្លះដែលមានពេលអង្គុយតាំងសមាធិដូចព្រះពុទ្ឋរាល់ថ្ងៃដើម្បីពិចារណាពីកំហុស និងទង្វើដែលខ្លួនគួរធ្វើ? មនុស្សទូទៅតែងតែរង់ចាំ ចាំលើកក្រោយ ចាំដល់មានពេល ចាំដល់មានប្រាក់ ចាំដល់មានឳកាស ចាំនេះ ចាំនោះ ចាំដល់អ្នកដែលមានគុណលើខ្លួននោះស្លាប់បាត់ទៅទៀត!
យើងត្រូវចាំថា វាសនាមនុស្សម្នាក់ៗមើលមិនឃើញឡើយ អ្នកដែលមានគុណលើយើងមិនប្រាកដថានៅរស់រានមានជីវិត ចាំដល់ពេលយើងសងគុណគាត់នោះឡើយ។ ដូច្នេះហើយ យើងគួរគប្បីយកចិត្តទុកដាក់ ពេលណាគេធ្វើល្អដាក់យើងភ្លាម យើងគួររកវិធីសងគុណគេវិញភ្លាម។ ការសងគុណនេះ មិនចាំបាច់ដល់តែចំណាយលុយ ទិញវត្ថុមានតម្លៃ ឬពលីជីវិតដើម្បីបង្ហាញអំពីសណ្តានចិត្តនោះឡើយ។ អ្នកប្រាកដជាធ្លាប់ឮជាច្រើនលើកច្រើនសារហើយ អំពីសារៈសំខាន់ក្នុងការចេះដឹងគុណ និងវិធីនៃការសងគុណ ឪពុកម្តាយ គ្រូបាធ្យាយ និងអ្នកដែលធ្វើគុណធំមកលើយើង។ ពួកគាត់ជាមនុស្សគួរឲ្យគោរព និងបម្រើមែន ហើយប្រការដែលយើងត្រូវសងគុណគាត់កុំឲ្យខាននោះក៏ជាប្រការត្រឹមត្រូវដែរ។ ពួកគាត់ដែលបានរៀបរាប់មកខាងលើនេះ ហាក់បីដូចជាអ្នកលក់បោះដុំធំៗ ដោយគាត់មានគុណយ៉ាងច្រើនក្រាស់ក្រែលមកលើយើង ហើយយើងក៏គួរសងគុណគាត់ឲ្យច្រើនក្រាស់ក្រែលទៅតាមនេះវិញដែរ។ ក៏ប៉ុន្តែ មនុស្សខ្លះរវល់តែសងគុណអ្នកបោះដុំទាំងអស់នេះ ហើយគ្មានពេលវេលាមើលមកអ្នកលក់រាយទៅវិញ។ អ្នករត់តុដែលយកអាហារមកឲ្យយើង អ្នកចាំយាមម៉ូតូឡានឲ្យយើង អ្នកលក់ដែលខំរករបស់ឲ្យយើង បណ្ណារក្សដែលខំចំណាយកម្លាំងរកសៀវភៅឲ្យយើង។ល។ ខ្ញុំមិនមែនចង់មានន័យថាយើងគួរនាំគ្នាទៅលុតជង្គង់សំពះពួកគាត់ឡើយ តែគ្រាន់តែពាក្យអរគុណមួយម៉ាត់ក៏វាគ្រប់គ្រាន់នឹងបញ្ជាក់ពីការដឹងគុណរបស់យើងទៅហើយ! ពាក្យអរគុណមួយម៉ាត់ លិខិតថ្លែងអំណរគុណមួយច្បាប់ វាមិនតម្រូវឲ្យយើងចំណាយមាសប្រាក់ ពេលវេលាច្រើនណាស់ណាទេ ប៉ុន្តែផលប្រយោជន៍របស់វាបានច្រើនក្រាស់ក្រែល។ វាធ្វើឲ្យយើងធូរស្រាលចិត្តលែងជំពាក់គុណគេ ធ្វើឲ្យយើងសប្បាយចិត្តព្រោះមានមនុស្សធ្វើល្អមកលើយើង។ សំខាន់បំផុតនោះ វាធ្វើឲ្យអ្នកធ្វើគុណមកលើយើងសប្បាយចិត្ត ព្រោះទង្វើរបស់ពួកគាត់ត្រូវបានគេមើលឃើញ និង តបស្នងមកវិញ។ វាក៏ធ្វើឲ្យអ្នកឈរមើលសប្បាយចិត្ត ព្រោះវាអាចធ្វើឲ្យពួកគេឃើញថា យ៉ាងហោចណាស់ក៏នៅមានមនុស្សល្អច្រើននៅក្នុងសង្គមនេះដែរ។
សរុបសេចក្តីមក យើងជាមនុស្សគួរណាតែរកឆ្លៀតរកពេលវេលា ដកខ្លួនចេញពីបច្ចុប្បន្នជារឿយៗ ដើម្បីនឹករំលឹកដល់ជីវិតយើង និងរំលឹកសងគុណដល់អ្នកទាំងអស់ដែលធ្លាប់បានធ្វើល្អមកលើយើងទោះធំក្តី តូចក្តី។
This has probably been expressed by countless people, through a wide variety of mediums; I mean, Carrie Underwood basically made a song comparing (some) men to dogs. (Dogs won, naturally). Charles De Gaulle said the more he knew about men, the more he loved his dog (just like how the admirable Mark Twain did so). I wouldn’t mind joining these (awesome) people and express my fondness for dogs.
Here listed the reasons why I think dogs are wonderfully awesome:
- They are probably the most loyal animals (human species included) I (or anybody else of that matter) have known! : If you have ever had a dog, you would know what I am talking about. If not, get one, and you’ll know. Not convinced? Well, let’s go see some examples, shall we? Answer these questions: have you ever seen anybody weeping about her/his dog stealing their money and leaving them behind? Have you ever heard someone being abandoned by their dogs because they are not pretty enough? Or rich enough? Or cool enough? A solid example would be Hachiko, the dog who waited for his dead master, Hidesaburō Ueno, for over nine years because he just didn’t understand how his master had died and was not going to show up. (If you are interested in a good sob for this weekend, I highly recommend this film which is based on Hachiko’s life.)
- They love you unconditionally: you got no money? Here, come pat me. You are unemployed? Here, come pat my stomach. You are not considered pretty? Here, let me lick your face a little. You don’t like me? Let me just be here and love you until you love me. Here’s some super personal stuff for you. I had once lost faith in myself and the people around me. I became hateful to almost everyone. Then my dog, ដឹកដឿ Deukdeur (she was chubby when she was born!), came on to me once and again. though rejected several times, she always made her move and wagged her tail at me. As time got passed, my icy cold heart got warmed, and thus marked the day I restored my love for the world again. (I aim to dedicate this post to her, really. Much thanks to you, Deukdeur!)
Only two reasons? Are you fucking kidding me? I could probably find at least thirty reasons on other blogs! Well, before you go on full hulk and judge me and my inability to list some more bullet points, let me tell you, I decided to cut this crap short because the two points have already proven to be enough. Love and loyalty are the components we need most, especially in our Cambodian society right about now. Dogs own them, and aren’t afraid to flaunt ‘em!
So the next time someone curses you: “you dog!” (If you aren’t Cambodian, here’s a simple explanation. We, Cambodian people, like to think of dogs as immoral beings. If somebody is being rude, disrespectful, then he loses his human status, and descends to that of a dog’s). back to our story, the next time someone calls you អាឆ្កែ! Be flattered, they are practically praising you for your faithfulness and love. I’d recommend you to smile, and say: “thanks, you too!”
What comes to your mind when you read the title and adding it to a Phnom Penh context? A freshly wounded zombie hunting for a yummy brain like the ones from RUN while holding an iPhone? Well, the zombies I am going to discuss here today will be a little bit different. They are the so-called iZombies. They don’t need your brain and don’t go around saying unintelligible words like Gah! Or Aaah! Well, they are just more human.
My friend, NyRo, once said, “y’all are zombies!” when we met over for a round of ice cream. I turned away from my phone screen (like our two other friends who turned away from their computer, and phone screens respectively) and stared dumbly at him. We didn’t have anything smart to counter, because what he said really hit the nails on our heads! Internet users in Cambodia reached 2.136.625 in 2012, a bloom of 548% from the past years! The same study found that there were 1,100 people joining Facebook everyday! There were at least 700,000 social media users back in 2012. The trend seems to be progressing, and it’s expected that the number has rose a whole lot from last year.
With the bloom of mobile devices available, and more internet connections, AN EPIDEMIC HAS BROKEN OUT! Go to any internet cafés here in Phnom Penh, and you’ll see teenagers and young adults alike staring fixedly on the screen of their devices. You go in a class, and rest assured that there’s at least one person (who is usually situated at the back of the class) staring at their phone (and is likely to be checking Facebook). You go in a restaurant and you see a family sitting together, all looking at their separate devices; kids playing games, the teens updating their Facebook status, and parents following the so-called “Facebook news”! These people are the zombies I am talking about! If you are reading this, then it is likely that you are infected already! I know I am! If you are not sure, here are the symptoms of an “izombie”:
Oh! I have to wait for class to start; better update my status!
Oh! You’re driving? Cool, let me sit at the back and destroy these candies.
Wow! Time to sleep? Let me look at his/her profile just one last time. (besides, sleep is for the weak.)
I just passed by Angkor Hotel! Let’s check in! (You don’t want to waste any opportunity, do you?)
We’re going on a trip tomorrow? Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to take all the photos. (and share them on social media websites later on,duh)
I’ll have a lemon juice, please. Thanks, and what’s your wifi password?
Sounds familiar enough? If your answer is yes, read on. If your answer is no, you’re lying; admit it, it was a yes! Don’t be sad though, most people are the same. We are not fools, we know how helpful technology is and how it has changed our (social) life for the better. Those games, blogs, Facebook feeds have given us so much information and entertainment. I can go full on with an essay on all the advantages of technology, but I am sure we all agree on the ground that we need technology (and our devices). However, when it comes to a point when you literally can’t stand over being away from your phone, or checking your news feed/playing your game (cough-cough Hayday) even when you are on the toilet, then it’s high time for an intervention.
If you are still not convinced that too much staring-at-your-devices is harmful, here are some more disadvantages of doing so (I am going to cut over all the health crap, because let’s face it, we don’t give a lick about it):
- You miss out on your social interaction: having a social media account to keep up on current events and your friends’ activities from afar is alright, but clutching your phone and looking at it in the presence of friends is a no-no. A lot of people prefer to chat with their old friends through Facebook even when they have people in front of them in flesh! Here are all the opportunities to make REAL social interactions, and possibly more friends, and you lose it over your phone. All these amazing people and stories behind them ready to be unveiled and you miss it because you are too busy being fixated by your best friend’s photo of a Chattime drink.
- Are you masking? Sometimes, you don’t really need to check your news feed, or play your game, you want to mingle with the real folks in front of you. However, they look too intimidating and unfriendly; for the fear of rejection, you pretend you have some amazing things happening inside your phone! Fear of rejection is only one of the causes.
Some people, however, like to show off their devices. Their Hayday imaginary cows could have waited, but no, they had to dive in and get it all organized, so that other people would know they had enough money to afford an Ipad; or some just want to look cool holding an expensive device. Honey, if you need a lifeless disposable 250cm by 190cm box of plastic that squeaks silly noises to feel better about yourself, then you have some serious self-esteem issues! Masking all these deep psychological issues aren’t going to make them go away, they will still be there! You are focusing your attention on hiding the wound rather than healing the wound!
- YOU MISS THE MOMENT: Thinh Nhat Hanh, a famous Buddhist monk, said happiness comes from living in the moment.
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. (21)”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
You might be there thinking like: he’s a monk, his words ain’t got no scientific proofs! Well, if thousands of devoted Buddhists isn’t a good enough proof, let’s take a look at this. A Harvard doctoral student, Matt Killingsworth, through an app called Track Your Happiness has gathered scientific information for his research on happiness. The result is his breakthrough PhD paper concerning happiness and living in the moment. Basically, he concludes that you live happiest when you focus on the moment. If you are interested in this topic, Killingsworth’s Ted Talk may very well be the starting point of your quest! So to sum it up, if you are not living in the moment (but are rather concerned about what your friend is having for lunch) then you are being less happy than you might have been in the moment.
You might have noticed that every situations I mentioned happens when you are supposed to be doing something, but you hold your phone instead. You see, I am not opposed to using your phone when you have free time on your hands, but if it dominates every single minute of your life, then you, my friend, is already infected.
Now go away before I drive an axe through your head.
No, I’m just kidding (of course, I am). If you have just realized you are an iZombie, and you want to be disinfected, then stay tuned for our next post: iZombie Apocalypse: the Cure.