MY PHNOM PENH: Koeut Chantrea

Journalist and blogger Koeut Chantrea.
Koeut Chantrea, 23, is a journalist with Koh Santepheap newspaper and a feminist blogger.

MY PHNOM PENH: Koeut Chantrea

Koeut Chantrea, 23, is a journalist with Koh Santepheap newspaper and a feminist blogger.

Wat Samrong Andeth

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Hong Menea

Me and my family go to Wat Samrong Andeth on holy days. I like that pagoda specifically because it’s quiet and big. But it’s a little far. On the way, there are some restaurants so we stop off and have something to eat.

I go to the pagoda mostly alone, sometimes when I’m stressed or tired or feeling lost.

I am not religious though. I am kind of a secular humanist. People say that I am agnostic, but I can say myself that I am a secular humanist.

I believe in things that are real and reasonable. I am not Buddhist. I don’t think the Buddha was a god or anything.

He meditated and he found himself and said things that he experienced. My parents and relatives are Buddhist and my grandma is a nun. She’s really into religion.

Balut and cricket street stalls

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Hong Menea

I love balut. It’s an egg with a baby duck inside, like 20 to 28 days old. But for me, I like the young one. It’s horrible to describe it like that.

I ask them: “I want the young one.” The 28-day ones are too big. We put the egg in the cup and use a spoon to open the egg and then add salt, pepper and lime.

I can eat a lot, maybe five, even seven. I love eating crickets. They have a lot of protein. They fry them, like chicken.

They have the oil and then they throw in the crickets and put salt and sugar in and mix it. If we like it spicy, we put in some chilli pepper, like chips. I love it.

Bopha Phnom Penh Titanic Restaurant

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Pha Lina

The Titanic restaurant is along the riverside. A lot of barangs and tourists go there. I don’t usually like barang places, but I like the environment there.

They have Khmer dancing. And good Khmer food. It’s actually not locally priced because it’s on the river. But I feel more calm there.

I love the amok and I like the rum raisin ice cream. Most places I cannot find that. Sometimes I go with my siblings, sometimes with friends.

I only go once in a while. Most of the time I cook at home. I just do some little things – salad and fried chicken. And salmon I can do fried.

The Bophana Center

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Pha Lina

When I was at university, I went to the Bophana Center regularly on Fridays to watch films. I like to find out about Cambodian history, especially the Khmer Rouge.

My favourite movie I’ve seen there is Nine Circles of Hell. I know some things about Khmer Rouge history, but I want to find out more, how painful it was.

Most people, like my mother and my relatives, were traumatised. I ask my mum, but she doesn’t want to talk.

The reason is, it’s so painful to think about the past.

But my grandma, she is fine. She’s open to talk about it, but still she was crying when she described what happened before. At Bophana they have books too, and DVDs. All free.

Koh Dach (Silk Island)

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Hong Menea

Koh Dach is 15 kilometres from Phnom Penh on the Mekong River. It’s cool and so relaxing.

There are some parts that a lot of people like to visit and are crowded, but most of the time I can find places that not many people go to. I like to bike there sometimes – I just ride around meeting people, especially kids.

I bring my camera and do photography. I really want to do a homestay there one day.

To stay with a villager would be very interesting for me so I can find out how they live, what their lifestyle is like, something like that.

I have relatives who live in the countryside. I think it’s more fun, especially for kids.

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