Sorry for the lapse of time since my departure and my first post. This is the first time I have sat down since my arrival. Let me bring you up to speed.
To start the flight was an absolute breeze. Thanks to red wine and unisom the 16 hours passed by quicker than a game of hopscotch.
Upon my arrival in Phnom Penh, I went straight from the airport in Phnom Penh to the TedX rehersal. Allie my friend and host in Cambodia was the main organizer of the event. The theme for the conference was ‘work/play’ and consisted of a pretty stellar lineup: Lisa Mam, the first female graffiti artist in cambodia; Soluy Loeut, a 20 year old female boxing champion/soldier/photojournalist; Andy Hawkings, an interactive musician and songwriter; a Cambodian coffee entrepreneur and Kosal Khiev, a Cambodian native X -US convict turned poet.
Each were inspiring in there own way but I found Andy and Kosal’s talks to be most impressionable. Andy, a UK native, moved to Phnom Penh two years ago to introduce an interactive musical teaching style to Cambodian children. Andy teaches music through collaborative audience participation. TedX was the first time he taught to adults. To no surprise, it was a huge success.
Born in a Thai refugee camp, Kosal’s family fled to the U.S in 1981. At the age of 16, Kosal was arrested in a gang fight and charged with attempted murder. It was during his 4 years of solitary confinement of his 16 year imprisonment where he began writing and singing poetry. Spoken word became his creative channel to tell his own story and transform his anger, regrets, and experiences into a poetic art form. Upon his release in 2009, Kosal was forced out of the states and came to Cambodia. Now Kosal is dedicated to sharing his story of how spoken word redefined his life and has given him hope for a better future.
There is something incredibly special about the Cambodian culture and the people that it attracts. Everyone here has a story; a story that you not only want to listen to but want to retell.