Visiting Cambodia 2016 (Day 3)

Today we would be covering quite a bit of places that we visited in Cambodia.

  1. Church
  2. Orphanage
  3. Motorbike Accident
  4. I Love Cambodia
  5. Sunrise Taco
  6. Art Street 178
  7. National Museum of Cambodia
  8. Royal University of Fine Arts
  9. Street 63 Cafe
  10. Phnom Penh Famous ‘Kuay Tiao’

Sunday Morning Church Service

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Missionaries often come to Cambodia to set up NGOs. New Hope is one of the many charity organizations that is still operating. As Jolene happened to know the owner of New Hope Cambodia, we visited their church in the morning.

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The focus of New Hope Cambodia is “free education for all” as the founder recognizes the vital role education plays in helping break the cycle of poverty.

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A medical doctor toured us around the church and orphanage, and also I Love Cambodia, a new education centre set up for young children and teenagers.

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There were classrooms for language classes and computer classes. There were also offices for meetings.

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At the church building/orphanage, there were rooms available for boys and girls (different levels) and also rooms for the volunteers.

Motorbike Accident

Outside the church, a motorbike honked at us (Jolene, the co-owner, the co-owner’s daughter and I) when it was driving through the streets at high speed.

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The co-owner’s daughter is just 5 years old. She was walking in front of all of us before the accident happened. Her mother wasn’t holding her hands as she crossed the street. The child was hit by the motorbike right in front of my eyes. Everything happened in a few seconds. Fortunately, she is still alive. The motorbike nearly ran over her, but it didn’t. Thank God. Really, thank God for protecting her. However, she had some cuts, scratches and bruises all over her tiny legs. I couldn’t do anything except to have my jaw dropped while everyone was rushing to clean her wounds. I guess this is a huge reminder that I have to be careful when I’m crossing the streets and always be watchful of my surroundings.

Sunrise Taco

Have you heard of bottomless chips?

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Well, Sunrise Taco actually provides free flow tacos for just USD1.95. It’s so worth it. I ate tacos till I’m full.

Address: 171 Street 63, Phomn Penh

Opens daily from 11AM to 11PM

Art Street of Phnom Penh

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The blocks north of the Royal Palace are populated with souvenir shops and galleries, restaurants and cafes, bars, hotels and guesthouses. Street 178 is known as ‘Art Street’ for the local art galleries that line the road near the National Museum. Over the last few years Street 172, a block north of 178, has turned into a busy and popular traveler/backpacker street lined with bars, restaurants, convenience stores and inexpensive guesthouses.

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Big statues of Buddha (funny though, why are there snakes behind him?) were displayed and sold by the stores. Many tourists and art dealers walk through these streets to get the best deals for beautiful art pieces. Jolene mentioned that she always get an unusual and strange feeling whenever she is near the statues. But, I believe that Jesus will always be with us no matter where we go and even when the devil is near, it is unable to touch us because we have the spiritual blood of the lamb (Jesus) poured over us.

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Baby breath flowers are also grown by the windows of shop houses. I love baby breath. They are so delicate and elegant flowers which are commonly used in weddings.

National Museum of Cambodia

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The National Museum of Cambodia (Khmer: សារមន្ទីរជាតិ) in Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s largest museum of cultural history and is the country’s leading historical and archaeological museum. (Source from Wikipedia)

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The museum houses is one of the world’s largest collections of Khmer art, including sculptural, ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects. The Museum’s collection includes over 14,000 items, from prehistoric times to periods before, during, and after the Khmer Empire, which at its height stretched from Thailand, across present-day Cambodia, to southern Vietnam. (Source from Wikipedia)

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The visitor’s entrance to the compound are at the corner of Streets 13 and 178. The Royal University of Fine Arts is located on the west side of the museum. The museum is under the authority of Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. The Museum buildings, inspired by Khmer temple architecture, were constructed between 1917 and 1924, the museum was officially inaugurated in 1920, and renovated in 1968. (Source from Wikipedia)

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We didn’t really get to go inside the museum, because we didn’t pay for the tickets. Thus, we sneaked into the back gates to take photos of the grand view of the museum. We retreated once we’re near the entrance.

Royal University of Fine Arts

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Beside the museum, was another beautiful building, RUFA, the Royal University of Fine Arts. According to a student, the most popular courses in the university was Fine Arts and Architecture.

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Once Jolene and I stepped into the university, I was so happy. There were so many sculptures of people whom lived in the past. The sculptures showed their daily lives, riding on horses, making pottery and most importantly, having fun.

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Funny thing is, most of the sculptures are near the ‘bike-parking’ area. There were sooooo many motorbikes all around the sculptures.

There were sculptures of people playing instruments, listening to the ‘waves of the oceans’ by using a shell. (When the actual case is that, it’s the echo of the noise in the air around you. They call this ambient noise. The seashell captures the ambient noise, which then resonates inside the shell.)

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While I was taking photographs and enjoying myself, I noticed Jolene was talking to a group of university students doing their project together.

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Shot by Jolene Lau.

I walked over to her and greeted the students as well. They were making a miniature version of a typical Khmer house out of plastics and glue. It was really impressive although it wasn’t completed.

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The Fine Arts building consists of workshops for the students to make their own sculptures and pottery. It’s so impressive, I wished I knew who sculpted them. I mean, it’s obviously a black statue of King Norodom *edited because I thought it was Kim Jong-un* and Buddha. (Also, based on what my friend, Vea, told me, the sculpture beside King Norodom is an architect from France. RUFA was built by both of them.)

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There was also a graffiti wall, which I learned that it is completed by students to celebrate the school’s 99th anniversary.

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Khmer for Design. Shot by Jolene Lau.

According to a university student, in RUFA, there is a group of people who make recycled fashion named Lachhuk. They prepared it for a ‘Talent and Achievement’ exhibition for the 99th year anniversary.

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Our main purpose for coming to Cambodia was actually to outreach to university students. However, the funny thing was, we never planned to go to RUFA. We just wanted to explore Cambodia and get used to the environment first. I’m pretty sure it’s by God’s will we happened to be in the university and even met some friendly students whom were able to speak in English. One of them even requested to help us order drinks from the drinks store as we are unable to speak in Khmer.

Street 63 Cafe

Ti met us at our hotel and  brought us around the streets of Phnom Penh. Ti knows a lot about the nightlife here because she lived here for a really long time. As I was hungry, Ti brought me and Jolene to a cafe named after its street, Street 63. They serve local Khmer food and also Western food, such as burgers. I was really hungry, thus I ordered this huge beef burger with salads and chips.

Phnom Penh Famous Kuay Tiao Restaurant

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At this particular restaurant, it was packed with people. According to Ti, the chef of this restaurant is a Chinese from Hong Kong. The restaurant is famous for its kuy teav, a type of noodle.

Kuy Teav is a noodle soup consisting of rice noodles with pork stock and toppings. Kuy teav is generally thought to have originated with the ethnic Chinese groups that settled in Southeast Asian countries. A popular breakfast dish in Cambodia, Southern Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, kuy teav can be found at marketplace (phsar) stalls, roadside vendors, restaurants and in shophouses across the country, and is highly regarded for its clear and soothing broth and dazzling array of herbs, aromatics and other garnishes and condiments. (Source from Wikipedia)

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Final Thoughts

After our hearty supper, Ti started to reveal more about her life and how she changed her behaviour from bad to good and how love always seem to never come from the right person. Note: Ti isn’t a Christian. She’s a free thinker living in Cambodia. I guess, she felt really emotional about it and cried. Of course, me and Jolene were shocked. We both knew that the holy spirit was at work. As prompted by the holy spirit, I asked Ti for a pen because I want to write her something.

Without planning what I want to write, the spirit prompted me to write, “Love never fails.” on the paper. The paper was actually a brochure from the church. I was also,shocked that that was the only paper I have in my bag. I really believe that God planned all of these and it is His way of showing us His power that more people are able to know Him, if they open up their hearts.

God loves everyone and only through God, we would be able to experience His mighty love that would never ever fail on us. Because, even humans do fail to fully love someone unconditionally. God never fails.

All photographs are shot by Tan Si Qi (Preserve) with an iPhone 5 / Nikon S7000 otherwise stated.

Prints are available if requested.

If you have any inquiries for photo shoots, do drop me an e-mail at tansiqi@outlook.sg

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