Chainsaw Tree

This year, I was involved in a project called “Chainsaw Tree.” The version is to empower individuals to begin to care about, take action, and advocate for our nature. To succeed in this vision, we have launched a campaign called “Chainsaw Tree.” Before this project, I was a part of another project that was trying to raise the same awareness, reforestation. In that previous project, I was writing a book that scripted the meaning of reforestation through a fictional boy’s life. Due to some unfinished work and as a writer, I ended up at the same project, Chainsaw Tree 2.0. 

The Chainsaw Tree 2.0 exploration planned to host three competitions to move people from thought to action and to spread nature positivity. We wanted people to enjoy nature while participating in our competitions. Therefore, we came up with poetry, photography, and performance competition, where they require to write an original poem, shoot a stunning photo and take a video of a dance performance. Each one of these required the participants to insert the theme of “The beauty of nature” or “The Chainsaw Tree.” While completing these tasks, participants can spend time exploring nature. Moreover, these competitions allowed global citizens to share their thoughts and solutions toward the deforestation crisis in a positive way. While running this campaign, our team believed that we can at least urge humans to care about our forests. 

Before the competitions can be up running, the plans and competition guidelines should be laid out. To accomplish the set tasks, we have divided ourselves into different groups. I was selected to work on a performance competition. In the working process, I have learned two major skills: networking and writing guidelines. On the other hand, I have to keep up with the emails and the information all the time.  From my experience, hosting a competition was a pressure task since we have to be in control at all times. 

This campaign didn’t only contain a few competitions, we also wrote songs. Two of my female teammates were responsible for writing these songs. They once wrote an English song called “If I saved U, I’d saved us,” and a Khmer song called “It’s not too late.” We aimed to push people to start to understand and to care about the importance of nature. Besides, to showcase the richness of the green and what it has been offered to us as human beings. We hoped that these songs can inspire one to love nature and to help nature to recover from the brutal damages. We recognized that trying to spark the impact through adversity was an obstacle during this COVID-19 pandemic. However, we still stood on our grounds because we believed that our action is the lit fire. If we don’t start, then who?!

Despite competitions and songs, there was another task that we have been working on. It’s a book called “The Chainsaw Tree.” The storyline took us seven weeks to be finalized. At first, the plot seemed to be out of place, but as we spent more time discussing, we have come to solidify our storyline and drafted the first version of the book. Although we believed that the texts can be an inspiration for many people, our school director wanted to implement this short novel into an animated movie. Before that can happen, we needed to design a movie pitch for a movie director to evaluate and make a decision, whether it’s possible or not. After many complex processes, it was fruitful. The movie director agreed to find a movie team for our story. I hope that this movie can be brought to life. 

I’m sure that you are wondering “What is The Chainsaw Tree?” Well, the Chainsaw Tree is a sculpture that was constructed by many actual chainsaws. The chains and the saws were once collected from the illegal loggers in Mondulkiri province by the Ministry. Now, our school has requested the government to own those chainsaws to build this Chainsaw Tree. Check out these photos below!

Nature takes over the Chainsaw Tree

To expand the impact, we’ll distribute the short novel to the government schools once it is finally published. In addition to book distribution, we’ll package a set of stickers and painting supplies to go alongside the book. Why? Simply because we wanted 25 government schools in 25 provinces to have the Chainsaw Tree like us. They can use the provided sticker of the Chainsaw tree to stick to the school wall. On top of that, they can use painting supplies to paint the background. This was another portion of our campaign. 

The Chainsaw Tree sticker 

At last, being a part of this project has reinforced me to become a nature advocate and a real changer. After learning this project, I will try to share this education with others so that we can recreate a healthy world together. Working on this project for almost 14 weeks, I felt deeply connected with nature as well as my teammates unlike before. I couldn’t believe that it was one of the most active journeys for me during this unprecedented time. In addition, I have improved myself in so many areas such as working ethic, networking, problem-solving, and designing. I’ve really appreciated the opportunity.

Let’s create a better future together. “Save the Earth, it’s our only home.”

Child Development

Growing up in a suburban area in Cambodia, access to education like understanding child development is still limited. Although the government school that I used to go to has provided education like social study, I wasn’t exposed to a deeper explanation of this kind of topic. As a result, I didn’t have enough education in this area to be able to further share my knowledge or deeply discuss it among others. Despite the inaccessibility, I now received an opportunity to join a project called “Child Development in Cambodia.” It was a chance for me to learn new information that I haven’t studied before about children.

This project aimed to shed impact on children as well as rural Cambodian parents. That being said, our ambition is to share our research about child development with parents to further strengthen their knowledge of how to raise children properly. 

Once we stepped into the project, we noticed that the topic itself seemed a little too broad. In this case, we have made a conclusion that each of the team members will be researching independently according to the sub-topics that we were interested in. My teammates have different interests, so they made my job easier to choose my research topic, where it won’t be overlapped. The topic that I chose to research was “Child Nutrition in Cambodia.” Frankly, I have never researched this topic before, so it was pretty new to me. I discovered a lot about nutrition statistics in Cambodia. A bunch of them was prettying astonishing and depressing. Here are some statistics that I have found during the research,

“One in three Cambodian children under 5 years of age are stunted. 32% of children are stunted, 24% are underweight, and 10% are wasted. This is a very high prevalence of malnutrition, and reveals an equity gap in Cambodia with stunting being more common in rural areas (34%) than urban areas (24%) and is less common among the children of more educated mothers.” 

These facts demonstrate that we need to fill in the gaps so that we can push the number to its minimum. This is another reason why this project existed. 

After the researching process,  It all came down to the designing process. During this process, I learned a lot more about the Canva website. It’s a platform where designers can create their own visuals. There were four topics that I have been researching for the past seven weeks. The topics were: 

1. General statistic about children nutrition in Cambodia

2. Factors that hinder children from physical growth

3. Common signs of children with malnutrition

4. How to get your children to eat more vegetables

After everything has been laid out and written, my job was to cluster the information (figure above) into a PDF file where people can scroll through it. I have spent almost four weeks designing. It was easy, yet challenging since I need to redesign it over and over according to my facilitator’s comments. 


Explore more about Child Nutrition Research (Click here!)

In short, I have gathered so much knowledge from this project. From researching to designing, I have learned so many techniques along the way, especially related to designing graphics. Honestly, this project was the only one that actually required me to work solely. I used to work on a project where we were working toward the same goal, however, this project was a whole new experience for me. Being in this project, I have helped myself understand more about children, and I also have helped a few Cambodian parents to understand some new information about children.

Spider-man | Physics

Spider-Man’s superpower: he’s capable of swinging and jumping from place to place quickly by utilizing his designed web-shooters. His sticky feet–hands allow him to climb and jump any surface; he also can intellectually sense the danger. Spider-Man can swing because of the powerful strength and elasticity from his designed web. That strength is………

Discover further (Click here!)

Skin | Personal narrative


The smell of burning grass memorably brought me back to a moment when I insanely ran and joked around with my friends until dawn. I could still picture the dazzling silhouette of Areca-nut trees in the evening that I used to enjoy viewing. I didn’t know why the burning smoke helped me to recall my countless memories after 12 years of childhood. But, I surely remembered the chirping harmony from birds and the smell of tropical rain during Cambodia’s rainy season. It was usually a terrific time for me to ski on the dirt with my barefoot out in the cold rain with my neighbors. At this mid-year, Areca-nut trees would blossom and offer their first fruits. Another flashy memory I remembered was attending my sister’s wedding day with many red bumps that nobody could simply notice. Since that blissful moment, I turned seventh grade. I was old enough to be recognized as a teen, but perhaps more like a man. A teen or a man like me back then, my neighbors would call “Pehn Komlos,” “A grown man.” Particularly, my skin condition seemed to notify my mother that I was matured, and neither did others. If she knew I was being reluctant and lazy to lift my hand to work, she would definitely pick on my acne. 

“You are a grown-up, look at your face!” she continued without letting me respond to earlier statements.

“Behave maturely! Aren’t you a seventh-grader?” She mixed her speech into questioning advice. 

God! Can you let me talk? And, what’s wrong with my playful personality? Why does she always refer to my skin as a subject matter? Just let me be me…

My parents had me when my sister was about 10 years old, and my brother was a running kid. My sister Siguek, wasn’t really into playing around with me, neither was my brother Tek. 

“You are annoying! Get out!” they would say, then I cursed them like a fool.

One day we were out in the warm sun, my brother was picking up the nuts with my sister holding the bucket ready to collect them. But, I stood in an annoying posture apart from them waiting to collect it once it fell. After collecting a few buckets of nuts, I breathed heavily without sensing my mother was intensely staring at my moody face. She wore her usual sarong (skirt) with a light pink t-shirt and kroma (khmer scarf) wrapped around her head. As I let out a sign for the second time, she busted out of temper and cursed me wildly even before I could begin to unfold my excuse. 

“If you don’t want to work, piss off!” she shouted aloud. 

My sweat was dripping down my bitter face when I decided to quit work and let my mother talk to herself.

Under the steamy weather, I still wanted to join a marble game with my friends. So, I did. As the dark fuggy sheet appeared to cover the entire bright sky, we would walk back home with satisfaction after a tireless game. As my sweat poured out, I impatiently scratched my forehead thinking it could reduce the itchiness. I accidentally scratched over my acne. “Ooy!” I shrieked. The sound of me grazing my acne was like I was killing a bug against the floor. I wish these bumps disappeared already. Isn’t this weather that caused these bumps to pop all over my entire forehead? Owww! How can I cure this, if I don’t have any facial cream? 

I rushed into a shower before making myself appear in front of a glossy mirror. I exhaled deeply before leaning my face directly into the glass. As my eyes captured the details, my tears dramatically creeped out, the glass turned blurry as my mind sank into unsolvable anxiety. My left hand firmly held a flashlight, while I couldn’t resist my other hand from touching the bumps. How much more time do I have to carry these all around? The silence during which I couldn’t stop glaring at my reflection would present how depressed I was inside. It gradually destroyed my internal confidence, then cemented the outside with shyness and insecurity. I was slowly afraid to walk into my friends during the conversation, I couldn’t fit in. Heart pounding, I fearfully quitted my worst reality each minute passed and daily activities: biking and chatting with my neighbors. I don’t need any investigation on my face if I were to walk into them. Their opinions affected me more than I expected. 

I was raised by my Khmer traditional parents, so it wasn’t a surprise that natural treatment is for everything. I once heard about natural healing by masking the banana and turmeric. If there are any other methods, I will try them with no doubts. I just want to get rid of this as soon as I can. If it was gone, maybe my mind would uncage my security, if so I would walk like a flawless supermodel. I tried to mask my face with a banana before applying turmeric watery cream. I chilled on a hammock watching my parent’s old Sony television since I just placed a banana in the fridge a minute ago. 10 minutes went by, I took it out, I commenced to peel the crust and gently chopped it into thinner slices. After another long wait, I rinsed off the banana mask. As I lifted my hand to pick up the turmeric watery cream, I could hear my mother insulting me about what I was doing. 

“It’ll be gone once you are 18 years old! Don’t pop it! Just leave it there!” she shouted from the kitchen. 

A patient week has passed, it didn’t result in a huge difference instead of the redness even brighter up my face. I couldn’t calm myself from cursing out loud to the mirror because it didn’t improve my skin even a bit. I didn’t trust any other treatment or product until…

After a break from school, I finally got home. I loved to sit alone and let my imagination rule my soul. My mind just floated in the air as I stared at the moving clouds. While chilling typically on a hammock with my floating imagination, I heard my sister’s voice echoing from my back.  

“Do you want to try a facial cream?” my sister asked while walking toward me.

“YES!” I immediately responded. 

“Cream?” I sounded uncertain. 

“DW cream! I used to use it. TRY!”

“How much is it?”

“$10,” she sounded so exact. 

Without further question, I agreed to examine my skin for the second time. After an agreement, she drives to a shop by my father’s motor. I was hoping it would heal my mental and physical pain as she was handing me the creams that she bought from the shop earlier. 

“Here! The cream! It comes in a set of two mini jars. One is for AM and another for PM,” She said.

I excitedly opened an AM jar, the smell of U-90 paint was vibrating as I sniffed for the first time. It was terrible after a few weeks of application. I regretted it tremendously this time like I was on a firecracker due to this unimpressive cream. I couldn’t be more stressed than I already was. I just wasted my $10 on this stupid cream. I hate it!

This holiday was just an excellent time for me to quit my worst reality. I didn’t have to wear a smile when walking past my friends at school with this face, especially the two that used to comment touchingly on my acne. As the holiday was shortened, I was nerve-wracking thinking about returning back to the school campus. Covid-19 alerted, everyone remained home, so did I. I breathed out as a sign of release after reading the news on my school director’s post. Now, I could at least run and bike openly as I desired. Although escaping from two friends who used to throw words at my acne, yet, I couldn’t escape from my neighbors. The next day…

 A girl about 12 years old came up to me with her salty words that I never believed that it was her. 

“Why do you have acne all over your face?” this little girl remarked with her toxic face. 

“Emmm, I don’t know!” I responded carelessly while doing work on my personal desktop. 

I sat on a red chair in her house doing my school work as usual. I was there just to access the internet every day since my home didn’t have access to Wifi. 

“Look at your face. That is like the bumpiest road I have ever seen. Your skin texture is like deep-fried crispy rice,” she insulted me out of the blue, then crazily laughed at her own words.  

I sat there with my earphone plugged to both ears and pretended not to notice. I almost let out my anger while my teeth were clenching. My face turned real hot as I repeated her words in my mind. The air rushing out from my nose was about to explode as I breathed rapidly. I couldn’t maintain my posture until I completed my school work. I left her house like I wouldn’t want to enter ever again. It was the third embarrassing moment that I have endured. I was numb by the sharpness of the words that just struck me a moment ago. 

After encountering such unexpected words from a neighbor and failing to cure my skin. I was overthinking about it until late at night. 

“Sokheng, It’s dinner time!” my mother walked to me while tucking her sarong.

Not even a word coming out of my mouth to answer her phrase, I walked steadily toward the dinner table. I lowered my head, then I just ate the food. I couldn’t taste the flavor besides numbness. Just a few bites, I quitted the conversation and finished my unflavoured dinner. 

I grabbed my phone and threw myself into the hammock as usual. I clicked on a Safari app on my crappy iPhone six plus and soon began to type on the mini keyboards with my unalive fingers. “What is the best treatment for acne?” I hit the enter button. Countless websites just popped up and ready for me to explore. I browsed many websites until I spotted an attractive one called “The Ordinary.” I smiled while I was scanning the details of the product. Now, I could heal my face with these two bottles of acid called, “Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1% and AHA 30% BHA 2%.” After discovering this product, I often left my house to bike around. Although I wasn’t socially active, I felt like smiling again. By the help of these skincare websites–videos, it helped me to treat and take care of my skin in a healthier way than before. It was like my lifesaver. I have never focused on such things as this information. I was on my phone while everyone was enjoying themselves with dinner, except my mother.  

“You shouldn’t eat too many oily snacks and foods,” she walked from our dining table. 

“Be more sensitive to your diet, especially don’t go for Brohok (fermented fish) or spicy foods,” she passionately added. 

I love you, mom. I thought she was going to scold me again, seeing me laughing and smiling alone in front of my phone screen. Her advice this time seemed like a real one and a caring one. The one that I had been waiting for. I nodded my head with a giggling smile, while she made her way out.

I have never thought that my mother had a sweet spot for me. Did I just earn her love? I just received some caring advice. That night, I was the luckiest teen or man who ever existed in this world. Her words kept me scrolling through my previous memories; my mind just floated into the thin air. Love wasn’t far, love and support can be earned from the closest one, like my mother. Besides, adapting to my own beauty was another way for me to claim back my smile and confidence. Though it’s a struggle for me to reveal my face, I learned that I can’t live my life peacefully if I am constantly concerned about other personal opinions toward my face. So, I have come to a point where I need to just let the world see my beauty, and I don’t really care about these bumps as well as the comments anymore. 

The smile was still on as I clicked on the Youtube app looking for a drama series before going to bed. I turned the volume on as I plugged in my earphone listening to the intro music of the series. I watched until my eyes couldn’t bear the brightening light on my screen anymore. Soon I finished it before it ended by itself, I headed to charge my phone while yawning almost a million times. By the time I got my head on a pillow, I totally looked like a dead bear on a mattress.

TED Talk | “We Need to Talk about an Injustice,” By Bryan Stevenson

“We cannot be full, evolved human beings until we care about human rights and basic dignity.” According to the powerful TED talk from an American lawyer, activist, and author of  “Just Mercy,” speaker Bryan Stevenson projected his message of the great inequality in the country to the audience by clearly mentioning the responsibility for improving the society is on “US.” On top of that, he thoroughly presented the hopelessness in the poor communities and communities of color, and he stated the injustice as well as the unbalanced right that these communities have endured. Mr. Stevenson called the audience to action in changing society to become a welcoming home through the method of “Pathos and Logos,” delivering his tone in a calm but demanding voice.                   

Mr. Stevenson started to open the door to “Injustice” earlier in the talk that“Our system isn’t just being shaped in these ways that seem to be distorting around race, they’re also distorted by poverty. We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent,” this is painting an upsetting image of the communities of color and the poor. Furthermore, his bold tone on the last phrase “treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty,” helps the audience to feel more empathetic towards the poor. Thus, he urged the audiences/leaders to stand up and advocate for them or those who don’t have the privilege/voice to withstand themselves in the court/society among others. Moreover, this fact helps the audiences to feel the burden of injustice while experiencing the feeling of anxiousness/sorrow of the unfairness in the society that these communities have to deal with. 

In addition to utilizing the “Pathos,” he also managed to use an impactful usage of “Logos”’ to evoke his audiences to feel the “Pain.” The somber emotions from the use of “Pathos” helps to strengthen the factual evidence that he is conveying, while striking to the core of the audiences’ hearts to form sympathetic emotion toward the communities of color and the poor.

This fearless speaker continued to clear the dust off the forgotten/judgemental mirror and stated that “My state of Alabama, like a number of states, actually permanently disenfranchises you if you have a criminal conviction. Right now in Alabama, 34 percent of the Black male population has permanently lost the right to vote,” this astonishing fact is transparently communicated to the audiences that people are being disconnected and treated unfairly due to various crimes they committed. This proves that if anyone committed a certain crime, it will result in closure to other opening doors. That being the case, Stevenson challenged the audiences to be aware of this issue, but essentially urged them to act for equality and create hope for the condemned and the poor. 

Mr. Stevenson strongly emphasized that “In urban communities across this country — Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington — 50 to 60 percent of all young men of color are in jail or prison or on probation or parole,” this profound statistic clearly shows a lack of empathy, knowledge of understanding, investigation, and consideration, which results in unfairness. Furthermore, his disappointing tone started to wake his audiences up to reality and encourage them to use their voice against this never-ending shade. 

To cluster what has been stated above, we can’t construct a welcoming society where there is a bright color of  “Justice, Equality, and Hope” without everyone’s voice and help. “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice; that we cannot be full, evolved human beings until we care about human rights and basic dignity,” as he has demonstrated, “Our humanity depends on everyone’s humanity,” therefore, we need to be conscious, to recognize, and be aware of this issue, and use our voice to help the poor, the communities of color, and “OUR SOCIETY.” We need to commence to comprehend and hear the pain of injustice, unbalanced rights, and racial issues by today.  Mr. Stevenson ended his TEd talk by quoting a considered phrase“keep your eyes on the prize, hold on,” demanding and moving his audience from thoughts to action, and positively pushes them to fight against this barrier together.