Category - Personal Interest/Experience

My first guitar lesson

My guitar

My guitar / by: Dara Saoyuth

Having bought a guitar for almost two weeks, I still cannot play even just a song. At first, I think that it’s an easy thing that anyone can learn by just watching some video tutorials on YouTube and some E-learning software. However, it’s not that easy. I’ve spent a few hours watching E-learning software on my computer, but I still cannot catch up with what they are teaching.

Because of this, I’ve decided to take up a guitar course at Sinsisamoth Association, where I can learn from the son of my favorite and long-lasting famous Cambodian singer, Sinsisamoth.

I started my course last Sunday with around 10 people in a class. I was fascinated by my classroom design which I can see photos of famous signers during 1960s and 1970s plus different musical instruments around me.

I study from 9amto 12pm — 90minutes for learning music notes and other 90minutes for instrument practice.

I really want to be able to play it as soon as possible but my teacher said at least students have to study for 3 months to be able to play and they can continue the course if they want to know more about how to read musical note as well as writing it.

Another Sunday is upcoming, so I have to practice what my teacher has taught me; otherwise, i won’t be able to proceed the next lesson.

If any of you also has the same interest as me or knows how to play a guitar or other musical instrument, please kindly share your experience here. I believe that the other visitors as well as me would be happy to read your experience sharing.

By: Dara Saoyuth
10/05/2011

My day with Khmer manuscript restoration team

by: Dara Saoyuth

by: Dara Saoyuth

I would say that I was very lucky to have chance going with a Khmer manuscript restoration team to Takeo province searching for the remaining manuscripts because firstly, I can shoot some wonderful scenes for my documentary video and secondly, I have chance to experience new things.

It’s 7:30 in the morning that I went to Sarawan pagoda, where the team work, waiting for them to take me, and we left Phnom Penh at around 8 o’clock in the morning. Since there was only 1 free space in the car, my partner has to stay in Phnom Penh contacting people and arrange for the next day traveling and shooting in Siem Reap.

I felt less comfortable at first since I alone had to carry a bag of video camera, a tripod, a bag of still camera, mic and headset and some technical equipments. I thought that I could not do the work to level my partner has expected from me because shooting process needs at least two people to assists each other.

However, once I met the manuscript restoration team, I became more comfortable since they all were very friendly and helpful. They helped me a lot, especially with doing white balance for the video camera that I need to do it very often once we change from one location to the others.

Technicality was not a problem anymore; however, I started to feel disappointed after going to some pagodas but cannot find any manuscript left. Fortunately, we at last found some pagodas that remain having manuscripts, and also found people who know how manuscripts were treated during the Khmer rouge regime. Without hesitating, I started shooting and interviewing people there.

I really appreciate what the restoration team is working because I can see that they are working very hard from one pagoda to another without spending much time to relax themselves. At first, I don’t believe when they told me that they never experience sleeping in hotel or guesthouse when they have mission to go to provinces. But, now, I have to believe that pagodas have become their guesthouse and at the same time pagodas are their restaurant.

I have a lot more things to tell “Student Blog” visitors, but I’d like to say sorry that I have to prepare for tomorrow shooting in Siem Reap province. I will leave in the morning and hope to find some interesting things there to show all of you. Wish you all the best!!!

Oh, I also took some photos of pagodas I went this morning for all of you. Cheers,

[slideshow]

By: Dara Saoyuth
26/04/2011

My stand upper – Exercise in video production course

It is one week already after this video was submitted to my video production lecturer, but I just had time to upload it. I know that there are some errors in the video since it’s our practical exercise related to stand upper lesson. I was asked to act as I was at the scene reporting the situation in Japan after the damage of nuclear power plants followed by subsequent earthquake. Let’s check it out and give me some comments for future improvement!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOoUb8ZN2K8&w=480&h=390]
05/04/2011
By: Dara Saoyuth

Outside shooting for the first time

It’s one month already that we have started our video production course. We have learnt a lot in both theoretical  and practical things. However, today is our first day to take camera to shoot outside in a class assignment. The topic is about entertaining places in Phnom Penh. We are lucky enough to have chosen Olympic Stadium as our shooting place because we know clearly where we can shoot since we all used to go there.

The location is good, but difficulties cannot be the exception. Some main challenges for us are including sound operating and sources choice.

I have posted some photos during our video shooting, but please don’t laugh at us because it’s our first experience:

[slideshow]
By: Dara Saoyuth
10/03/2011

Mobile operators in Cambodia

“It’s irritating when I tried calling my friend several times but I couldn’t get through.”

Error message always appears each time I try calling my friend

Error message always appears each time I try calling my friend / by: Dara Saoyuth

With modern technology, your phone can function as a radio, music player, calculator, word processor, etc. at the same time. However, I don’t think it has changed its’ main function, verbal communicating.

According to figure from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, there are 7,115,246 mobile sets and 108,882 desk phone set in use in Cambodia by March 2010 with 9 mobile operators including MobiTel, Mfone, Hello, Star Cell, qb, Excell, Metfone, Smart Mobile, and Beeline.

I have to say that some of the above mobile operators are doing quite well with their service though they charge a bit higher and don’t have plenty of promotions as the others.

To me, personally, I prefer using a better service company to a mobile operator that always has promotions but its’ service is not good.

This week, I bought a new sim from one mobile operator because this company gives a lot of promotion to its customer; however, I suffers from its service because when I call to my friend at night, I cannot get through though I have tried dialing more than 30 times.

You all can imagine if you were in trouble, saw a crime or traffic accident, and you want to call for help, but after trying more than 10 minutes, you cannot get through anyone because of your mobile operator.

I think you have to reconsider this trade-off between good promotion and good service before you decide to select your mobile number.

By: Dara Saoyuth
24/02/2011

The Students talent exhibition of Faculty of Fine Arts


Artwork of student of Faculty of Fine Arts

Artwork of student of Faculty of Fine Arts / by: Dara Saoyuth

It’s 5:30 in the afternoon of Thursday, February 17, and hundreds of people are milling around on street 178, looking in a building as if they are waiting for something to happen.

It is neither a coup nor a protest – the people are there for the opening ceremony of the largest exhibition ever which organized by the Royal University of Fine Arts.

The program hasn’t started yet, so public are not allowed to go inside the university exhibition hall except the Cambodian Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Him Chhem, some journalists, and some dignitaries.

An event organizer recognized me in the crowd outside the building and invited to enter with some other journalists.

The building that is mostly empty and silent is now filled with 198 pieces of artworks in various forms including paintings, drawings, sculptures, bronze-castings, photography, and interior design projects produced by graduate and undergraduate students at RUFA.

The students talent exhibition of Faculty of Fine Arts is the first student graduate student show since the 1960s and its main goal is to give the students the opportunity to present their creative works to a broader audience.

I start walking from one end to the other end of the room, entering every room along the corridor since there are artworks everywhere, even on the walls along the passage. Even though I don’t have much knowledge about art, I have a look at every single piece of art because they are so beautiful.

About 30 minutes later, the formal ceremony starts when the Minister of Culture cuts the symbolic ribbon following a speech by the university’s rector and some remarks by the minister.

The program lasted for about half an hour, but it was hard for me to pay attention to the speeches because the hall was so stuffy. There was also some noise from outside as people there kept talking loudly.

In his remarks, the Minister of Culture said he appreciated the students’ efforts producing these works of art and this exhibition shared the national policy under the slogan “Cambodia, Kingdom of Culture”.

As soon as the speeches ended, people standing outside start squeezing into the building. It was a mix of Cambodians and foreigners. I felt packed into the building and it was getting stuffy since there was no air-conditioning, only some ceiling fans.

I began to feel hungry and wanted to leave the hall, but when I saw more people were coming in, I decided to stay there to see how the audience reacted to the artworks. I was standing against the wall, observing all the activities and surprisingly a young lady, with a snack and drink on a large plat, come to offer me some. I realized that she was a volunteer at the event, so she had to make sure the audience had something to eat and drink. Everyone in the room also enjoyed eating and drinking with their eyes still focused on the students’ achievements.

Seng Vesal, 23, is a senior student majoring in painting at RUFA and had 12 pieces exhibited in the event. Seng Visal said he was very happy since it was the first time he had his work exhibited. “Students will try to compete against each other to make their work available to show to the public,” said Seng Visal.

If you haven’t seen the exhibition, don’t be worry because it will be on display permanently.

[slideshow]

By: Dara Saoyuth
This article was publish on LIFT, Issue 59 published on February 23, 2011
Exhibition Hall at the Royal University of Fine Art
#2, Street 178, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
(Behind National Museum)

 

“Lost Loves” – a true story in Cambodia


One shot from "Lost Loves"

One shot from "Lost Loves" / Source: Internet

This evening, I’ve spent my time watching a movie that I cannot wait until the following day to express some thoughts though tonight I have to review some lessons for tomorrow morning quiz.

Hearing its’ title, Lost Loves, at least some of you may imagine that the movie is about someone who lost people they love. Your guest is right!

“Lost Loves” is a feature film based on real life experience of the film producer’s wife Kauv Sotheary who is also star in a film as Amara.

The film start with an old woman standing near a pagoda recalls her past life in Khmer Rouge Regime. Then the movie take us to early April 1975 showing Amara living with her grandfather, brothers and children in a middle class family in Phnom Penh. Amara’s grandfather is a former Cambodian army general and her husband is a general in Lon Nol regime. Amara’s grandfather is asked by some high ranking officers to leave the country because they know that their soldiers cannot win against Khmer Rouge; however, he decides to stay in Phnom Penh with his family because he wants to keep his fame.

Khmer Rouge takes over Phnom Penh in 17 April, 1975, and happiness in Amara’s family starts shaking when Khmer Rouge soldiers kill government soldiers who guard her house and force her family to leave the house.

Members in her family start packing their belongings and leaving their house with a car that they cannot drive but pushing it forward since too many people leaving the city by walking on the street. They stop at a pagoda where lots of city people are told to stay there waiting for the top people to decide where they should go after being evicted. The follow day, her family departs the pagoda to a village already arranged by Angkar and on the way there, her grandfather is took to kill by Khmer Rouge soldiers because they will not let former high ranking officers alive.

Her family members are separated. Her little children have to stay with the other villagers’ children, her brother has to work and stay with men group, and her oldest daughters has to stay in youth group.

All of her family members have to struggle to survive but some of them leave her one after another because of different reasons including illness, and killing.

This movie not only shows the writer’s tragedy, but also reflects how society at that time looks like since most people in Pol Pot regime also face the same things of losing their relatives as Amara.

As a Cambodian film producer, Chhay Bora keep repeating that “we are not Hollywood” and he said the film was made on a very low budget.

“Our film crew and I didn’t stay in hotel or eat at any restaurant during the shooting because we have to think of the money we have,” said Chhay Bora at Bophana Center this evening after the film screening; adding that they cook their own foods and stay with villagers to save the budget.

Despite the fact that the movie was shot by Cambodian with a low budget, but I can say this achievement is great and deserves commendable from the audiences. You guest what! Some people including my friends burst into tears at some scenes during the screening and I think that they may feel pity for the actors.

So far, this film have been shown in some foreign film festival and Chhay Bora said he will fix some little point in the movie for an example, the song.

“Script, acting, directing, and location are very important points to consider if you want to produce a good film,” Chhay Bora told the audiences his experiences in producing Lost Loves.

By: Dara Saoyuth
22/02/2011