why i am.... why my name is ‘lux’:

i was born after khmer rough regime (democratic kampuchea) collapsed. local cambodian started their new lives. my parents earned their living through selling goods and lots of other stuff. one of those is ‘lux soap’. it is a product by uniliver and was very popular in my village and it is like cocacola and mac donald in the united states. so, when i was born, my grandma gave me a name ‘lux’, which becomes a story that i could make people laugh about myself.

. why i, my family and neighbors are called ‘river people’ and ‘market people’:

i was born in a very small village by mekong river. that’s why we are called ‘river people’ (neak tonle). but i and my family were also called ‘market people’ (neak phsar) because my parents lived nearby a local market and make a living as vendor. There are other names such as ‘neak chamkar’ for people living by doing farming (for example: tobacco grower) etc.

. why i quit study after failing university exam in 1997:

i finished high school in 1997. then hurried to continue my study in pp to prepare for university exam. not as i expected, i failed the exam and sadly came back to my hometown. i like studying, i like reading so much. but i had a second thought then: making money and helping my family. i asked my parents to open a watch shop at a local market. they agreed with hesitation. i did well with watch selling. in addition, i learned sewing (repair) shoes and polishing. but i could not stay away from education, my parents decided to send me back to pp. i did get back.

. why i went to law school:

1998 i went to pp to continue my education again after about one year. i came to live in a pagoda (wat botum watey) with a few friends of mine who also failed university exam but still keep pursuing. not much time to prepare for exam – just three months.

i applied for school of economics, archeology, and the other that i forget – maybe english language. my priority was economics. two days before the close of application submission, a friend of mine (big brother of my group at the pagoda) told me that too many students apply for economics (4,000 for 120). he expected the chance for me is too low. we decided to apply for law instead. i have only one day to get everything to apply for law school and make it my priority. and i passed for law school scholarship. i also got scholarship for archeology school at royal university of fine art.

. why i did not graduate from archeology school:

i got gov’t scholarship for both law school and archeology. for my first year in university (1998), i went to both schools. but i focus on law. i did not make much of my time for school of archeology. most of the time that i went to archeology school, a disciplinary staff would call me in and asked me to explain why i did not attend class and told me that i need to focus on study. they did not know i am at another school – law.

i missed a french language exam in 1st semester. i think i was busy with exams at law school too during the time. my friends at archeology school warned me that it is not good that i did not show up for exam. (french is compulsory there because the school received funding from french govt). i made it for 2nd semester of french exam. but this did not help. i was the first ever student to fail to pass 1st year at the school.

my reason not to focus on archeology is that i wanted to get scholarship abroad. so i spent my time to improved my english and keep going with law.

i did not go to archeology again anymore. i was not sad and it was fair that i did not pass 1st year. in the final year at law school, i was accepted for a fellowship program to singapore. i came to my goal. 🙂

. why i work at my current workplace:

after 5 months in singapore under SIF fellowship, i came back to cambodia december 2002. it took me six months to get a part time job as translator at [my organization] in june- a month before 2003 election.

i have known iri since 2001 when i attended [my organization]’s advance democracy seminar – a training about democracy, activism, advocacy, and leadership.

it was a 6 weeks contract as translator during the election period. there were many international election observers came to cambodia in the [organizations] team. 16 cambodian were recruited as translator. after the 6 week period, i got a full time contract and start working on youth program until today.

to be continued…

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One Response to “why i am…”

  1. vani80 Says:

    Dear Lux,

    In order to publish my final dissertation, I need the transliteration (Khmer signs) in a Word format of Khmer verbs which mean “to translate”:

    – prae
    – baa
    – sraaj

    Could you help me, please?

    I am a bit desperate since it is very difficult to find an informer for that language.

    Many thanks in advance.

    Yours faithfully,

    Vanessa Fernandez

    School of Translation and Interpretation
    University of Geneva

    fernanv9@etu.unige.ch


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