We Need To Be Brave

The brave pig is still undecided
To dive or not to dive? That is the question…

Photo by Emiliano


I saw bravery is many action films. Braveheart of Mel Gibson is one of the films I remember. I believe Cambodian need to be brave, brave of being who we are, brave to live our lives, brave to die for what we believe in.

I think self-development of each citizen is more important than changing a regime or government. Cambodia belongs to all of us, not only to the politicians or to a small group of people. If everyone understand their role and duty to move Cambodia forward, we will move more faster.

When each individual in this country consider Cambodia belongs to all of us, anything can be done.

I write this post because of my personal reflections to the events happened around me. It is easy to read the news and follow what is happening. But I hope people will also ask questions why it happened and how to prevent not to let it happen again.

I tried to look at 3 types of bravery that are missing in Cambodian society. Those lacks of bravery might also push some people to do bad thing rather than good thing. I am sure we still lack of bravery in many other areas, you can mention about them in the comment box!

Here is the definition of bravery according to Wikipedia:

Bravery: n. is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.

Brave of being who we are

I heard a story being told by a friend. In a small village somewhere in Cambodia, there’s a poor family. Their living condition is hard. Sometime they don’t even have enough food to feed their kids. I don’t remember in which occasion exactly, the parents spend all the money they have to buy and prepare food to bring to pagoda without caring their own kids who have nothing to eat at home.

I have nothing against the Buddhist but if their action is just to show that they are not poor, this is completely wrong.

It is just an example. The main concern is that Cambodian want to have what others have. Some even want to have something that others cannot have.

To fulfill this need, people need to find their own way to get the money. It is good if they do it in a right way but what if the right way doesn’t work or need more effort than the wrong way?

I dream that one day, all Cambodian will accept the real fact of who they are.

Brave to live our lives

I heard many stories of broken wedding. There are many couples broke up after few weeks of wedding. The main problem, if I understand well, is because they are scared to tell their parents who they really love.

If you love the man who make up his hairs like Korean star, tell your parents!
If you love the man who pick you up everyday at school with his Range Rover, tell your parents!

Because soon or later you cannot hide this kind of thing. You cannot escape from the reality. It will follow you everywhere like your shadow.

This is just a small example.

I can feel that there are a lot of people who live somebody else’s live. I read often stories on the newspapers/magazines that some famous stars or Karaoke girls who need to do some kind of business that they don’t like but it is because they want to earn money to support their family.

But you also have a life to live my dear!

I dream that one day, all Cambodian can live their own lives.

Brave to die for what we believe in

Few days ago, a video clip shocked the whole nation. It was a robbery in a public place where there were vendors, motors and cars circled around.

One of the robber made three shots to the victim at a corner of the street to take $30, 000. No one reacted to the situation. The 3 robbers left the scene without rushing.

This is an example where we need bravery and courage to help each other. We can’t just let them walk away like this.

It made me think of what Jon Swain wrote on his book “River of Time” :

Even today, after years of suffering, the Cambodians do not have a strong sense of caring for their fellow men.

I hope Cambodian people, after being scare of killing and murder in the past, can start to stand up again and believe in doing something good to others and their country.

We don’t believe in anything today. We don’t believe in doing good will return good. We don’t believe every small action that come from each individual could make a big change to the society.

Cambodia, after all, need to make a lot of examples to encourage and give reward to people who are brave to help people in such situation. We call those people “Heroes”.

The heroes will sacrifice their lives for others or for what they believe in! We need to set examples and make more heroes.

ZHANG Yimou, a famous Chinese film direction, said: heroes are made, not born.

This is only my personal idea that might make a change in Cambodian society. I dream that one day, all Cambodian are brave to die for what they believe in.

Do you make any dream lately? Can you share if you make any dream about Cambodia?

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  1. calinetomochan says

    Still,…They lack the bravery to decide whether their doings might be bad or good… They lack the bravery to correct their wrong-doings and they lack the bravery to do the right-doings…They lack the bravery to get rewarded for their heroism… As being just a not-yet-grown-up in this society,…This surely breaks my heart into pieces… 

    As time goes by, some might prefer to dinning delicious buffet, enjoy luxurious,elegant lives while grabbing whatever they can,and not even take a glance on hungry children on the street…Where are the bravery of Cambodian’s next generation to fight against those tragedy???If this question was being ask at a university student,even to a Ph,D graduate… deep inside their heart is “Money for me first”!!How many who sacrifice themselves to help their poor institute who provide nothing for them in return??Where are the bravery to fight against all these injustice?????  

  2. Sok Eng says

    I like the way you say “brave to die for what we believe in”, and you also raise the case about the robbery that took a women life to reflect the conscience of Cambodia people. I feel that based on your article it implies that they are selfish or do not “Understand” like you said.To me, however, I do not quit understand what you mean “understand” and how to achieve it? I see many unpleasant cases happening in our society, but who cares? They have no a bit relation to the poor victim, and they may think even the government cannot help, how do they suppose to do it? They do not want to be Hero, or Zero ( become a victim)  in stead. But they are not the one to blame, as this kink of selfishness embedded in their soul since Democratic Regime, a period when they learn to survive for themselves and  their family.

    So could you explain it to me what is understand you refer to and how can Cambodian people get it?  

    • says


      I understand that it is very hard to change people’s heart. You are right about the selfish mentality that have deeply penetrated into Cambodian’s mind. 

      People will willing to change if there’s a mutual benefit. I can imagine myself if I was in the situation, I might did nothing as those people as well.   

      I didn’t wrote in details because it is hard to judge such situation and it is better to bring more discussion. 

      I really appreciate all the feedback, especially yours.

      It is just my own idea that maybe we can do something better.

      If we start to teach people, create a TV program, explain and simulate the case so that people when they saw such situation, they can realize it’s a robbery. We can show them how to react if they meet robbery case down the street. etc …

      To encourage people to get involved in such danger, we need to give them the reward and recognition for his/her actions. 

      This is something that might help people to understand and know how to react. 

  3. Charlie Drowns says

    The pig on the diving board represents taking a RISK. By taking a risk you give up a present certainty. Taking RISKS is about change. as you wrote in your blog Santel

  4. Charlie Drowns says

    I hear what you are saying and I hear what you are not saying, No I am not a mind reader I believe all Cambodians are Brave, and Proud of who they are. Even though some people struggle with poverty they have the will and strength to live. True, there are obstacles to cope with, There are quick ” fixers”  alcohol , drugs, and gambling. I see the Cambodian people as being suppressed and oppressed. Many basic rights have been taken away.freedom of speech,and expression. A goal is to become their own person. Educate themselves and the children. and become self-empowered. Some need to learn that Charity begins at home

    • Joe Rockstar says

      I think what you’ve said can be applied to any country in the world, dude.  People stand by and watch shit happen to other people all over the place.  Although, to be fair, there usually is someone that will do the right thing, but when there are guns involved, the risk to your own safety becomes that much more, which stops a lot of people from helping, I think.  Plus there’s maybe a sense of not wanting to risk getting involved in any bigger problems if you step in to help someone – getting involved with vendettas or mafia style gang problems is a big factor for a lot of people?

      There was a great photo in the UK press recently – last weekend there was a famous carnival in London at which most people enjoy a lot, but it’s a very multicultural place which has its own problems and the public have to be careful.  One guy got stabbed this year, but this ex Russian police guy saw it, reacted and tripped up with guy with knife as he was running from the scene – hopefully you can see the web page and photo which explains it better!  You can see the guy who got stabbed bleeding in the background, police standing around not realising what happened etc
      http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/09/01/hero-of-notting-hill-carn_n_944487.html@santel:disqus and the Khmerbird crew: Great article.  It’s really good to see that you’re not afraid to write more outspoken or political articles and aren’t focussing just on Khmer entertainment (also this is also educational for a westerner such as myself as well).  I’d like to know if there’s any chance you will get any problems from the government if you write this sort of thing or are you able to write this sort of thing without worry?  What’s your country’s freedom of speech like?

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