Tag - Agence France-Presse

My assignment today_27 Sept 2011

At Cambodian market in Malaysia

I am back again!

Well, today assignment made me get up so early at 7:30am (maybe early for me only lolz!). I set my phone alarm at 7am, but my fingers faster than my eyes that they reached the phone first and turned it off right away. As soon as I got up, I had to rush because I hadn’t prepared anything from last night since I was so tired and sleepy. First, I put some packs of snack and a full bottle of fresh water into my bag because it’s the lesson I learn from my last year intern place at Agence-France Presse (AFP) that a photographer told me to be ready before going out if we have to go somewhere far away that we never know. “The two important things you have to take with you are ‘food’ and ‘water’,” he told me while handing me two packages of instant noodles.

Besides food and drink, I had to search on my messy table for a camera, a recorder, an earphone, a notebook, 2 pen, and reserved batteries for my recorder. Then, I had to surf on the internet for some information of the place before I left.

Sungai Buloh train station

Sungai Buloh train station / by: Dara Saoyuth

At 8:30am, I arrived the KL Sentral, where I have to take a train to the Sungai Buloh station. At 9:45am, I arrived the Sungai Buloh station, and had to wait for a Cambodian to pick me up. His name is Tar Sovan, and he is a nice, friendly, and helpful guy. He brought me to the Cambodian village and introduced me to some other Cambodian people. Over there, I first sat on a table order Banh Chhev (a kind of Khmer food), and coffee ice with milk. I was so surprised to see everyone around me is Cambodian even the seller of the food I was eating. While I was eating, I also chit-chatted with some Cambodians to know some backgrounds of the village and to listen to their experiences before leaving for Malaysia. They all have very different but interesting stories to tell.

Lok Pu Savan (‘Lok Pu’ means ‘uncle’ in  Khmer because in Cambodian culture, we always call people who are a bit older than us as ‘uncle’) brought me to a Cambodian market and left me there staying with her wife because he wanted to take some rests at home. I went around the market talking to other Cambodian sellers to know more information, and then back to Lok Pu Savan’s wife because she also sells some staffs in the market.

At Cambodian market in Malaysia

At Cambodian market in Malaysia / By: Dara Saoyuth

I stayed at her store from 11am until around 2pm before going to her house. We just spent time chit-chatting about this and that. She asked me a lot of questions, especially about my experiences working as a journalist and about my life here in Malaysia. I was happy to tell what I know, but I was stuck when came to a question “Do you already have a girlfriend?”. I think for a moment before replying that ‘I don’t have at the moment’. I was also surprised when she joked that she want me to be her son-in-law. 🙂 I supposed that my face turned red at that time, so I used my flexibility to change the topic and move to talk about life in Cambodia.

I left the market for Lok Pu Sovan’s house at around 2pm. His wife asked a girl to give me a lift from the market to her house, but I became a rider after not trusting her to be able to ride motorbike with me at the back. This is my first time to ride a motorbike in Malaysia, and someone shouted from behind that “Please ride on the left hand side! This is not Cambodia!)”. His house just around 5 minutes riding from the market.

Cambodian market in Malaysia

Cambodian market in Malaysia / By: Dara Saoyuth

I have spent the rest of my times at their house, but just to talk with their uncles and aunts and watch TV. I could not interview at that time  because Lok Pu Sovan wanted to take a nap. His wife also arrived the house later, and I just continued chit-chatting with her.

At around 6:15pm, Lok Pu Sovan said I could stay at his house for tonight or I better go now if I want to come back because it’s almost dark already. His wife also asked me to stay there for a night and back in the morning, but I felt so tired and I had many more tasks to finish that I decided to come back.

I arrived the KL Sentral at 8pm and I had to take a taxi back. This is the first time that I have to bargain the taxi fee. He said the taxi from KL Sentral not uses meter, and he demanded RM20 from KL Sentral to my living place while I spend only RM11 this morning to get there. He said how much will I give him. I decided to give him RM15, so he asked me to go inside the car. 🙂

He’s not a Malaysian. He’s a nice guy and he speak English very fluently. I’ve talked a lot with him, and when I asked him a question about “What do you think about life in Malaysia?”, I seemed to get a satisfied answer. He told me that “Life here is not bad. And I think one thing that is the same for all country, Nothing is free. You have to work for it.” He also asked about Cambodia “IS Cambodia going up now?”, and also ask about Vietname “How about Saigon?”. I think he knows a lot of histories about countries in South East Asia.

Now, I am at my condo again feeling so comfortable but also tired and sleepy. I might sleep early tonight and get up early tomorrow to try finishing works as much as I can.

There are a lot of interesting things happened to me today, but I could not write it all into a post. I hope I could review my post again when I am a bit more free.

By: Dara Saoyuth 

My Last Day at Agence France-Presse (AFP)

This is my place during my intern at AFP, and papers on the desk are what I have to read every morning / by: Dara Saoyuth

This is my place during my intern at AFP, and papers on the desk are what I have to read every morning / by: Dara Saoyuth

Today is the last day for me at Agence France-Presse (AFP), so I have to say goodbye to everybody there though I don’t want to leave them. Spending two months intern at a news agency, I have learned a lot more than what I expected.

What have you learned from your intern?

To answer the above question precisely, I need a lot of pages to write down my idea, and everybody might leave this article after seeing its long content. What I wrote below is not the report for my university. It’s just a note to wrap up my intern period (12/07/2010 – 10/09/2010). Cheers,

First of all, I cannot forget my first day when I met only Patrick Falby, a former AFP bureau Chief in Cambodia, while everybody was on holiday. He showed me my place for the next two months and asked me to read Khmer newspapers of that day and I had to tell him what I found interesting. I finished it just a few minutes before I left for lunch, so he asked me whether I can find 5 story ideas when we met after lunchtime. I was very happy when 3 of my stories were accepted, and he told me to select one among the three stories which I can finish writing within a week. I started my story and then I found out that it’s not an easy task to cover each feature, and that’s the reason why I did only one feature during my two-month intern. Beside from working on my own story, I had to go with Patrick to help him getting quotes from Cambodian people since he does not know Khmer much.

A short time later, Patrick left Cambodia, so I have to be under the supervision of Mr. Suy Se (I normally call him Bong Se), a Cambodian AFP correspondent. He seems to be a strict person, but I can see the kindness inside his heart, especially when he left the office late because of helping me editing my feature story. Though sometimes he did, but I feel that Bong Se doesn’t want to give direct tutorial to me, for example he just assigned me to write a story and after he edited it, he printed the edited version for me to compare with my version. I have to accept that there are a lot of things I have learnt from him counting from how to interview different sources to how to write a story. He also spent a lot of him times telling me what’s different between working for wire service and working for local newspaper because he also used to be a writer for one local paper.

Another person that I also cannot forget is Mr. Tang ChhinSothy (I normally called him Bong Thy), a photographer for AFP in Cambodia. I have to admire his skills in shooting photo because all photos from him look great to me. When I have free time, mostly I take my camera and run after him when he went to shoot any photo. He taught me some techniques on how to take a photo with better quality and focus. You see, I have learned a lot not only writing but also photo shooting. That’s why I said I have learned more than I expected.

My first article at AFP

Cellphones help Cambodian students — to cheat is my first article to have released by Agence France-Presse (AFP), where I have spent my intern period. Though there are only a few people with me everyday here, I feel warm and I know that I have learnt a lot from them, especially about journalistic works. He (my editor) showed me techniqes of interviewing different sources for different stories and I always observe the way he interview people both on phone and face to face interview. Amazingly, he always be able to interview all kind of sources.

For my first article, I’d like to thank to Patrick Falby, the former AFP bureau chief for in Cambodia, that he accepted my story idea in the first day I came here. I also thank to Mr. Suy Se (I usally call bong Se since he’s still young), an AFP correspondent in Cambodia, who help me in editing and giving lots of comment about this story. Moreover, thank to Mr. Tang Chhin Sothy (I also call him bong Sothy because he’s still young), a professional photographer here, for shooting wonderful photos to suit with my article.

I am happy to know that some media organization have posted my article. To all my beloved readers who always support my blog, all of you can see the story by clicking on the link below: 


Dara Saoyuth