Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 'Never give up'



'Never give up'

'Never give up'

My good-man father was executed during the KR regime in 1977 when I was four years

old. (I neither remember his face nor do we have his photos, all burned.) We had

to survive with nothing. We lived in a remote rural area in Cambodia. I went to school

without shoes, knowing nothing about what to do next. I went to school in the morning

and fishing or collecting firewood in afternoon to help my family. My life was always

like that for more than 20 years. But I never gave up my studies. It was my first

time when I was 12 that I wore new handmade trousers, just because I had to attend

the award ceremony at Kandal provincial town - it was a big city - where I was awarded

a secondary mathematics number one prize in 1985. My mother looked at me from the

floor and realized that both mouths of the pockets of my trousers had not been cut

off yet.

Thanks to the Japanese government and the effort of Cambodian government for making

the scholarship competition possible; luckily, I won a Japanese government scholarship

in 1996 to come to Japan. Being a student from war-devastated Cambodia that had very

low educational system (due mainly to the lack of trained teachers, facilities and

documents), I found myself far behind other foreign students. Again, I never gave

up studying and learning from others. Even though I was the only Khmer, I won the

votes to represent students from more than 15 countries in 1996, and I was chosen

to give a speech on behalf of all doctoral students (including Japanese students)

at the university entrance ceremony in 1999. I won several international awards for

academic excellence and outstanding works. Now, I think I am among the leading young

scientists worldwide. Thinking back, being a person without a father and with a mother

whose monthly salary was less than US$ 20, I would be where I am today if I gave

up my studies, efforts and hopes. I am now a full-time associate professor in Japan.

From my perspective, just like many of you, my advice to all Khmers is that please

never give up your studies and/or efforts; be confident in yourself; be helpful to

your family and friends; be communicative; keep trying until your dream is realized,

be prepared to discuss with each other face-to-face to find out the best solutions

that are always there, rather than dividing groups and taking arms to resolve differences.

War is more than enough for us. And, of course, for all humans on the earth, live

in peace and learn to live in peace.

Nophea Kim Phat

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma