Kunthea and Sokhom pictured a few years ago
I'm not into Christmas and never have been, but it was good to wake up to today's news that Kunthea
, the daughter of my long-time friend Sokhom from Kompong Thom, has been successful in her exams and will begin her medical studies at International University in Phnom Penh sometime next year. She's 18 now and has always talked about becoming a doctor, and now her dreams look set to become a reality, though she knows she faces up to another eight years of hard work to complete her course. She has always been an excellent and focused student, guided by her diligent father, she was always top of her class and this is the pay-back for all that hard work. It was one of the best Christmas presents I could've had, knowing how proud Sokhom will be of his daughter. Sending a child to university in Cambodia, when your background is as a motodop in a provincial town, and despite having progressed to taxi-driver, day to day expenses can still be a struggle, is a tough ask. But Sokhom has always wanted to give his daughter the best possible chance and I feel as proud as punch to know that this father and daughter team, who I've known for more than ten years, have managed to pull it off. Kunthea rang me early this morning, excited but in her perfectly clipped English, to tell me this fantastic news.
To round off the day, I went to Chayyam restaurant on Street 278 for a Christmas Day fish amok and watched one of my favourite dancers, Sophea Chamroeun from the Children of Bassac group, give an excellent rendition of one of the Khmer classical dance masterpieces, Ream Eyso Moni Mekhala. She is such a graceful mover and to my untrained eye it looked perfect. Sophea is part of the team that puts on music and dance performances at the restaurant four evenings a week.
Labels: Kunthea, Sokhom, Sophea Chamroeun