Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program provides a link to the region

Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program provides a link to the region

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
SSEAYP participants live and work on a 547-foot ship for two months, while visiting other countries. Photo supplied

Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program provides a link to the region

The Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP)—a Japanese program that dates back to 1974—brings together youths from within the ASEAN community and Japan during a two month voyage. The aim of the program is to form a mutual understanding of the region’s community and the neighboring countries.

Chhuong Yiv Chhoy, 29, who is currently a staff member of PNN TV, is one of thousands of youths who have gained first-hand regional experience through SSEAYP.

He recalled how the program helped him become a more open-minded individual.

“It was the best opportunity for me, as well as other youths, to open their eyes clearly in order to seek out the traditions in the [other] nations of our region,” he said, adding that before the program, he had been unaware of the depth of the different cultures around him.

For almost two months, the 547-foot ship sailed throughout Southeast Asia, eventually reaching Japan. During that time he created a strong bond between the youths from the different countries aboard. Inevitably, he formed lasting friendships.

“We got experience, and at the same time, we learned from each other through presentations and performances from members from 11 countries. What was wonderful was that SSEAYP made each of us proud of ourselves and our nations, more so than before, as well as gave us the true friendships with [people from] countries in the region.”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Participants aboard the ship teach others about their country. Photo supplied

For Chhuong, the journey throughout Southeast Asia and Japan allowed him to learn the customs, habits and cultures of each country.

Chhuong, who participated in the program in 2013, reminisced about his time in Japan.

“I still remember the time when I stayed with Japanese families in Kochi. It was an unforgettable time,” he said, adding that although he didn’t speak Japanese, “not even one word”, nor did the host family speak English, they used body language to communicate with each other, which allowed him to feel the warmth of the family.

“There, I just knew that Japanese people were friendly, patient, helpful and thorough and careful in their work. They always thought beforehand for all the work they did, resulting in smooth and correct work. These are the best customs and habits that the Japanese taught me,” he said.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
SSEAYP brings youths from all over the ASEAN together. Photo supplied

Pech Bolene, CEO of Westline Education Group Co., Ltd and the senior member of JCI Cambodia, has participated in educational seminars in Japan, explained the value of a cultural exchange.

“The most noticeable thing to me, that we should follow, are three important things: Japanese people have the custom of respect and adherence to duty; they work in a friendly, fast and respectable manner; and they have great customer service,” he said.

Chhuong said that since Cambodia began participating in the mission of the SSEAYP in 2000, more than 400 Cambodian youths have joined the program.

“Every year, this program provides the opportunity for 28 youths from each ASEAN country to participate,” he said, adding that it was an unforgettable experience.


  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all