Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Liger students show White Building projects

Liger students show White Building projects

From left: Thathiny Tep, Kimseng Suon and Soliday Yon at the Liger Learning Centre.
From left: Thathiny Tep, Kimseng Suon and Soliday Yon at the Liger Learning Centre. Hong Menea

Liger students show White Building projects

The White Building may have been torn down months ago, but its story is not over yet. After two months of work, nine students from the Liger Leadership Academy will be exhibiting their completed pieces at Meta House today, documenting the past, present and future of the iconic structure and its residents.

Designed by Lu Ban Hap and Russian-born architect Vladimir Bodiansky, the White Building was initially designed as low-cost housing for civil servants. However, in later years it fell into disrepair and developed a seedier reputation, and recently was torn down to make way for a Japanese-constructed residential and commercial complex.

The idea for the project came from Jeff Boucher, a math teacher at Liger, and the experience of one student, Thathiny Tep, 14, who used to live in the building. “[Part of] the idea was born out of [Thiny’s experience] – she’s a former resident. And I thought it was an interesting social-anthropological study of the city . . . [and a way to] study the history and economic growth of Phnom Penh.”

The nine students have each produced a project of their own using various mediums, such as podcasts, videos, short stories, a 3D-printed model, songs and slideshows, with each project covering a different perspective on the building.

“[Although] I decided to do the documentary because I have a lot of experience with filmmaking, it’s still a challenge to me [as] it’s the longest documentary that I have made so far,” said Soliday Yon, 16.

Her short film features interviews with former residents and conversations with government officials and with project developers from Arakawa Co, the firm behind the new complex. It was also difficult for her to reconcile the differing viewpoints on the White Building – from evicted residents to the city planners and developers who ultimately decided to tear it down.

In addition to the works, there will also be a video screening in which the students share their feelings after completing their projects. For most, it was eye-opening to separate the real story of the White Building from its reputation.

“It’s not something people talk about, so we don’t really know a lot about the White Building before the project.” said Kimseng Suon, 13. “But then we learned about the history [and] the community; one of the people we interviewed said that [the White Building] is a vibrant community, which is something that stuck out to me. [To me,] it’s just a building in the middle of the city.”

To Boucher, the learning process is what is important for the students. With just 110 students, the highly selective Liger Leadership Academy provides an alternative curriculum focused on creativity.

“They’re not professional, perfect pieces,” he said. “But they’re very authentic to where the kids are at as a video maker, as a sound editor and as a writer. We’re not trying to share perfected versions of [them] – we want to share who they really are. The emphasis is on the process.”

The exhibition will be held at Meta House today at 6:30pm, with the work to be posted on the Liger Leadership Academy Facebook page.

A previous version of this article stated the name of the school as Liger Learning Centre. It has been corrected to Liger Leadership Academy. The name Jeff Bouchard has also been corrected to Jeff Boucher.

MOST VIEWED

  • Website advises travellers to stay clear of Angkor Wat

    An Australian website has advised travellers to avoid Angkor Wat during their trip to Southeast Asia because the ancient temple is showing signs of rapid erosion and faced water management issues. In a recent article entitled Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

    Passenger taxi boat traffic has dropped by about five per cent compared to the same period last year, despite the government providing free service for garment workers until next year, Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority director Ean Sokhim said on Monday. In 2018, the Phnom

  • Kingdom drafting new law to strengthen immigration

    The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday said it had formed a working group to draft amendments to the Law on Immigration. Its secretary of state Sok Phal told The Post that the amendments will strengthen the management of immigrants in line with the current situation.

  • Shipments of mango to South Korea poised to begin this week

    Exports of Cambodian mangoes to South Korea will begin this week after Korean authorities gave the nod. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Department of Plant Protection, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Requirements director Ker Monthivuth told The Post on Sunday that after several inspections of

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that