Soma Norodom's Blog

Dr. Philip Dews Will Show You the Money
March 22, 2011, 8:27 pm
Filed under: Soma Norodom

Soma interviewing Dr. Philip Dews

Dr. Philip Dews is the Deputy Vice President at Cambodian Mekong University

Dr. Philip Dews, Past member of the London Stock Exchange and Co-Founder of the Bangkok Stock Exchange

The interview with Dr. Philip Dews was the pinnacle of PUC Radio Talk Show

Dr. Philip Dews, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Cambodian Mekong University, Advisor for Bonna Realty Group, a member of the London Press Club, and the AUSTRALASIAN Forum for International Arbitration, was a Guest Speaker on PUC Radio Talk Show on March 20, 2011. It was a pleasure to meet Dr. Philip Dews, the man of multiple facets, but it was an honor interviewing him on PUC Radio Talk Show. I feel like the “Larry King” of Cambodia. Mariam, my friend and colleague, always compares me to the legendary Host, Mr. Larry King, formerly of CNNs Larry King Live.

During the one hour and a half interview, Dr. Philip offered valuable information and recommended his theory about Cambodia’s Stock Exchange, and provided tips on making money in real estate in Cambodia. He wrote an article in the magazine, Khmer Property, October 2010 issue, “Does Cambodia Need Not One, But 3 Stock Exchanges?” To ensure Cambodian participation in the future growth of the country, 3 stock exchanges are necessary; CAMKO Exchange, The City Exchange, and the Provincial Stock Exchange. He mirrored this theory from China, when they launched 3 stock exchanges in quick succession, and the Chinese economy took off. Dr Philip was the Co-Founder of the Bangkok Stock Exchange.

I asked Dr. Philip what his view is on the current issues affecting the world; U.S. President Obama and criticism about his leadership role, the controversial leader of Libya, Gadhafi, and the Allied intervention in the Libyan civil war, as well as an update on the Japanese tsunami and nuclear crisis. Dr. Philip have studied and worked in Japan, and confidently stated, “The Japanese people will recover quickly and get back on their feet. They are people of resilience, and the country has always been prepared for crisis like tsunami.” Many analysts have observed and made similar statements.

In addition, I brought up the topic of journalism, since Dr. Philip majored in Journalism and frequently writes articles in several magazine publications. I asked Dr. Philip about how journalists have been criticized on reporting or lack of reporting of the Japanese nuclear crisis. He stated that the news today is often for PR purposes. “The days of traditional journalism, or independent journalism, are finished. Now, journalists are approached by PR people and are fed information to them. The PR group will pay the journalist to write an article, and also provide the details. This type of journalism is called embedded journalism”, said Dr. Philip.

I did not approve of embedded journalism, as this is defeating the purpose of a journalist’s role to report the facts and tell the truth to the public. I stated that this is breaking your ethical duties as a journalist, which I have accepted as a college student studying Journalism, but in reality, in many countries, the government is the agenda setter. Dr. Philip agreed with me and added that it is not the government who sets the agenda for what is news, but the secret service. He gave an example of the situation in Burma.

Dr. Philip is currently reading the book, “Emerging Real Estate Markets,” by David Lindahl. The book talks about which way the development is moving, and encourages real estate enthusiasts to read this book. Dr. Philip addressed that the real estate properties in Cambodia is still a hot commodity, and elaborated on an idea of building an airport bus from Pochentong International Airport and into town, ending at the riverfront, on Sisowath Quay.

“Draw a line from the airport and to the riverfront, and the line where you think the flyover would go, you buy land on each side of the route line. Whether the monorail is underground or overhead, most likely overhead, these areas are great properties,” said Dr. Philip.

The second tip on where to buy properties is the area between north and south. The third tip is the Mekong River, which Dr. Philip considers an absolute gem. “You can build a marina and have luxury boats on the Mekong. The rich can pay between $1 million- $2 million dollars each for these luxury boats,” said Dr. Philip.

In addition, Dr. Philip suggests investing in timeshare in luxury condominiums in Phnom Penh, costing $200,000 each. A timeshare is a form of ownership or right to the use of a property, or the term used to describe such properties. He added, “You break it down into 52 weeks, 2 weeks is closed for maintenance, and you divide 50 (weeks) by $200,000. People can afford maybe $10-$20 thousand dollars for a condo. It would also provide work to cooks, cleaners, and security.” I mentioned that if people don’t use their timeshare for their allotted week, then it would be a waste of their investment. Dr. Philip suggests you can sell your timeshare by turning a quick profit, for example, selling it for $30 thousand, and earning $10 thousand in equity. He also recommended that you can rent it out if you are not able to stay in the condo during your week of your timeshare.

Toward the last half hour of the show, we opened up the phone lines for listeners to call in or text messaged their questions. There are three phone numbers, representing three big cell phone companies in Cambodia; Smart Mobile, Mobitel, and hello. Listeners can also email questions or comments to

A caller asked; by having a stock exchange, isn’t it promoting gambling? Dr. Philip answered that the stock exchange is not gambling, in fact, it is helping small business get capital. Gambling is against the law in Cambodia if you are a Cambodian citizen. If you are a foreigner, or U.S. citizen like me, you can gamble in Cambodia. All you have to do is show your passport. One of the popular gambling locations in Cambodia is Naga World, in Phnom Penh, where I had my birthday party back in October.

Another question, through text message, asked; what is the strategy for the banks in Cambodia to persuade the people to put money in the bank, instead of saving it in their pocket? Dr. Philip answered that if the people can earn interests through the banks, then many would start putting money in the banks. He mentioned that ANZ Royal Bank and Cambodia Public Bank are legitimate banks in Cambodia. ANZ Royal Bank gives 3% interest to their customers. Dr. Philip stated that there are several good banks in Cambodia, and the test is if the bank has an office in London, then you can be assured that the bank is protected.

PUC Radio Talk Show accomplished its mission with another informative and educational interview. As each week goes by, I have been given the opportunity to interview impressive and talented guest speakers, and this interview was the pinnacle, as it now sets a higher bar of expectations from listeners, as I focus more in details about the current issues affecting Cambodia. As long as I don’t talk about politics or government, my boss, Dr. Kol Pheng, gives me creative control of guest speakers and topics. The show would not have progressed so quickly without the hard work from my staff. They are the reasons for the success. The past couple of months, since the inception of PUC Radio Talk Show, have been a non-stop PR roller coaster ride. I am invited and attending many more PUC and community functions, doing the show “Live” every night, except on Fridays, and still taking my father to dialysis treatment three times a week, four hours a day. Time management is the key, and the support from my family and friends in the U.S. as well as in Cambodia, are what keeps me going.

I asked Dr. Philip to come back in the future to talk more about making money in Cambodia, and the updates on the Cambodian Stock Exchange(s). Also, Dr. Philip has more life experience than anybody I know here in Cambodia. He can enlighten the listeners, and me, with his historical facts, as well as his adventurous stories traveling all over the world. I hope to one day fulfill just a few of his travelling expeditions.

Here is a brief summary of Dr. Philip Dews’ professional and educational experiences.

Dr. Philip Dews, at the age of 20, passed the Finals of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in London, England, and in Wales, regarded as the toughest in the world. Then, Dr. Philip joined the Merchant Service and was Purser of the SS Denis for 3 months going up the Amazon River one thousand miles to Manaos. On his return to the UK, Philip joined the Royal Navy as a sailor. After basic training, selected for Officer Training, Dr. Philip was appointed Acting Sub Lieutenant in the Royal Navy.

His first appointment was as Assistant Secretary to the Flag Officer minesweeping. His next appointment was to the Manoel Island Diving School in Malta, in the Mediterranean, where he qualified as a diver being trained by the famous Knobby Clark, who was one of the great Second World War diving heroes.

Dr. Philip qualified as a Diving Officer and then a Diving Training Officer. He left the UK for the U.S. with only ten pounds in his pocket, and arrived in New York and got a job selling magazine subscriptions. Dr. Philip then went to Merrill Lynch and was put for training on the Ernst Erph, who was head of the investment department at Merrill Lynch New York.  The movie, “Other People’s Money”, was based on Ernst Erph, played by Danny Devito. Merrill Lynch Corporation sent Dr. Philip to the Philippines and later to Jakarta.

Dr. Philip went back temporarily to London and as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Reserve and carried out diving jobs in Simon’s Town, South Africa, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Then Dr. Philip was sent to Esquimalt Naval Base in Vancouver Island Canada, and was appointed as Diving Officer at HMCS Ontario, with the Pacific Fleet cruising up to the Queen Charlotte Islands, and then to Hawaii, and the outline islands in the Hawaii Archipelago. Dr. Philip left the Royal Navy in Hawaii and traveled to Japan.

He started training with Daiwa Securities in Tokyo under the famous Professor Sasaki, who officially during the war, was Governor of the Bank of Taiwan, but his real purpose as a banker was to issue the Japanese occupation currency in each country that Japan occupied. Sasaki was also a professor at Tokyo University.  When Dr. Philip’s studies was complete, Professor Sasaki sent him to be a Tenriko Shinto monk, joining a monastery at Tenri City Nara for three months during which he performed the holy pilgrimage to the top of Mount Fuji and the Sun Ceremony on the top.

Then Dr. Philip spent a short time in Seoul, Korea with an investment bank, and in Hong Kong he worked with Pots, Pearce, and Company Stockbrokers, and later with Hanseng Bank. Later Dr. Philip went to spend time in Singapore with JM Sassoon and Company Investment Bankers. He returned to the UK and joined the family stock broking firm. After that, Dr. Philip went to South Africa for a year and a half to Johannesburg with Mathieson and Hollidge, undergoing intensive training in mining stocks, particularly gold and copper.

Dr. Philip went to Calgary, in Canada, and became Credit Control Manager of James Richardsons, which at the time claimed to be the biggest commodity and stockbrokers in the world. While he was there, he obtained his Doctorate of Business Administration from Mellen University in Lisbon, Iowa.

March 14, 2011, 6:09 pm
Filed under: Soma Norodom


Celebrity Singer, Rin Saveth, and Soma at a Cambodian Wedding

Rin Saveth and I signing donation gifts

Mariam, Saveth, and I sitting at the first table before we were moved into the VIP Room

Dr. Chea (standing), Saveth, Mr. Pere and I pose for the camera

Dr. Robinson enjoying the party

Kolap, Professor Tuon Sary, his wife, and I

More deans and associate of PUC Radio Talk Show

My buddy, Mariam, my future PR and Publicist

Jacqueline, a big fan of PUC Radio Talk Show, Soma, Professor Kieng Rotana, and Mariam

The ever popular Professor Sombo Manara

Soma posing with fans of PUC Radio Talk Show

On Sunday, March 13, 2011, I attended another Cambodian wedding in Phnom Penh. This time it was the daughter of PUC’s President, Dr. Chea San Chanthan, wedding. I had to make an appearance, since the host, Dr. Chea, is the big boss of PUC. That evening I had to interview a guest speaker, a PUC student, on PUC Radio Talk Show, and gave my intern, Virath, another chance of being a Guest Host. Virath did a great job filling in as Guest Host when I was the MC for the Faculty Dinner Party, and now he has experience, and can do the job. Virath is applying for the Fulbright Scholarship Program to study in the U.S. and to pursue his Master’s Degree. I am one of his recommendations.

The wedding reception was held at Nam Trea Restaurant, Wedding Hall B. There were two other weddings, but the wedding we attended was the biggest, over 1,000 guests. At a Cambodian wedding, the guests do not bring gifts, rather they give money to the couple. The success of a wedding depends on how much money the bride and groom receives. I think this was a success. Dr. Chea, the host, did a great job, and invited many PUC faculty members, staff, and their guests. All the deans and professors, directors, managers, and most of the teachers attended the lavish wedding which consisted of an 8 course meal. I enjoyed the duck and dessert the best.

The highlight of the wedding was when my date and I arrived. He is a well known singer, representing Rasmey Hang Meas Production, a successful and reputable film and music production company in Cambodia. Rin Saveth is considered a celebrity, and attending an event with him, like a wedding, is an honor. Mariam, my friend, introduced me to Saveth, a very modest and sweet guy. He only spoke Khmer, so I had to speak Khmer most of the night. He said he will learn the English language, as he knows that this will be his ticket to the U.S. I’m going to teach him English and he is going to teach me more Khmer.

Saveth is a great singer, following in the footsteps of a former Cambodian singer, Sin Sisamouth. Saveth considered himself very lucky when he was hired and awarded with a 5 year contract by Rasmey Hang Meas Production. He has been with them since 2004, and is usually seen recording for slow, sentimental songs from the 1970s. Once in a while, he sings traditional songs such as Rom Vong, Lam Lao, Konthrem, etc. That is his specialty because his gentleman appearance and his soft and pleasant voice fit him for these kinds of songs. Yes, he is known in the music industry as being very polite and humble, and I have experienced this for myself.

Mariam, Saveth, and I sat at a table waiting for Professor Chiv Ratha, Dean of Faculty of Business Administration. At a Cambodian wedding, the table should be filled up with ten people, in order for the food to be served. We waited for awhile and Professor Chiv said he will be late to the wedding as he is waiting for his friends and colleagues to arrive. So we decided to go to another table, but one of the PUC staff, Minea, said we needed to sit in the VIP room, since I am a VIP, and also my guests, as well as Professor Chiv, who is a dean.

The VIP room had only five tables, which included only the deans, directors, and VPs of PUC. Saveth, Mariam, and I sat with Mr Pere, my father’s former student in the Air Force, his wife, their friends, and Dr. Keneth Robinson, the Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and International Relations, who is our friend. Mr. Pere is a Director at one of the PUC campus. He told Saveth that he knew me when I was a newborn baby. I was very small, and now, after 40 years, we are sitting together at a wedding, reminiscing about my childhood. Go figure.

Dr. Chea stopped by and greeted and thanked us for attending his daughter’s wedding. He has 24 adopted children, and one of them is getting married, and that evening he was a proud papa. I enjoyed the wedding reception chatting with Saveth in Khmer, talking about the Lakers and the NBA with Dr. Robinson, critiquing the food with Mariam, and taking photos with fans of PUC Radio Talk Show. Many of the guests came up to me and talked about the radio talk show, and what a great job I am doing as a Host. I met several deans and professors who will be on future shows, and finally can put a face to a name.

That evening I was the celebrity at the wedding reception. It was surreal, as I smiled and posed in many pictures, and thought this was what Mariam meant when she said I am the new Superstar in Cambodia. Dr. Kol commented to one of his colleagues that, “Soma makes everyone a star on PUC Radio Talk Show, but she doesn’t realize that she is the STAR.”

PUC’s Director of Administration & Special Event Reveals New Plan
March 8, 2011, 7:31 pm
Filed under: Soma Norodom

Soma and Socheath Sroy texting before the show

Socheath Sroy, PUC South Campus Administration and Special Event Director

Socheath answering question from a listener

Soma laughing at Socheath's response

Ms. Socheath, Sroy, South Campus Administration and Special Event Director, and English Instructor at PUC, was a guest speaker on PUC Radio Talk Show on February 27, 2011. I had requested her to be on the show for awhile, but her hectic schedule did not permit her to be a guest speaker until now, and it was worth the wait.

Socheath received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Royal University of Phnom Penh in 2002, and her Master of Business Administration, majoring in Management, at PUC, in 2008. She is the Founding Member for the Ship for Southeast Asia Youth Program International Cambodia, and the Chief Officer of Youth Development Movement and International Relations Department at the Youth Association of Cambodia. She has traveled to many countries in Asia as a delegate, and also in Germany. Socheath has worked as Master of Ceremony in numerous events, including the birthday for the King Father, King Norodom Sihanouk in 2009, and the PUC Graduation Award Ceremony in 2011.

Many of the questions from listeners, who called in, text messaged, and emailed, were academic questions and how they can transfer to study at PUC. Also, another question that Socheath answered had to do with the scholarship program, and she gave some valuable tips on applying for the scholarship program. In addition, Socheath repeated by saying that you must practice the English language on a daily basis. You can watch American movies, television shows, or talk to people in English. If you have nobody to speak English to, you can talk to the mirror every morning when you get up. She stressed that it is important to know English in order to get a well paid job in Cambodia.

Socheath has always excelled in school, and she gives credit to her family for their financial support and unconditional love. Socheath says that her father is her role model, and he has always been the one who gave her advice on life, and to be a strong, independent woman, and at the same time, a graceful lady.

At the end of the interview, the question that I usually ask the guest is; what is your New Year’s Resolution? Socheath is a newlywed, and has been married since April of 2010, and she and her husband are planning to have a family soon. Her plan for this year is to get pregnant and have a baby. It was such exciting news that this was the best New Year’s Resolution answer by a guest speaker on PUC Radio Talk Show. We wish Socheath and her husband much happiness and best of luck in the future.

MC’ing the 2011 PUC Faculty Dinner Party
February 22, 2011, 4:30 pm
Filed under: Soma Norodom


Soma and Seda at the 2011 PUC Faculty Dinner Party

Seda introducing Soma as tonight's MC

Soma on stage talking about the beginning of PUC Radio Talk Show

Sambath, Soma, and Socheath go over sponsors of the event

Professor Brahamchari performing a song from his native country, India

Soma with her father, Prince Sirirath Sisowath (uncle), Marina, his wife, and kids, Nikko and Bijou (standing)

Left to right: Phiruma, Soma, and Samnang looking hot

Mr. Damine Peters and his friends performing the U2 hit, "Where The Streets Have No Name"

Dr. Raymond Leos, Dean of Faculty Communications & Media Arts, also PUC Radio Talk Show Advisory Board member, and Soma enjoying the party

Seda and cousin Bijou looking great

Dr. Chea San Chanthan, PUC President, addresses the faculty and staff members

Sambath and Soma taking a quick break

Dr. Keneth Robinson interviewing Mr. Aun Min, of Myanmar

The best musical act of the night, Ms. Ambang Asuquo, of Nigeria

Professor Sok San, Associate Dean for Internal Relations and Student Services, pick the winning ticket for another prize, as Sambath reads the name

Mariam Arthur teaches Soma, Phiruma, and Seda, the marizone dance on stage

Left to right: Uncle Sisowath Sirirath, my father, and Dr. Kol Pheng enjoying the entertainment

Soma and the Faculty Dinner Party Committee take time out to pose for the camera

Mariam and her date, Mr. Chantou

Soma and Professor Tuon Sary, who used to be her mother's high school teacher in 1967, also a prize winner tonight

Dr. Karen Greene and Seda finally meeting each other at the party

Sambath reading the name of the winning ticket picked by Professor Sombo Manara

Left to right: Nikko, Marina, Soma, and Uncle Sisowath Sirirath

Dad and Soma having a good time together

Kolap Mao and Soma, friends forever

Socheath reading the name of the winning ticket, picked by Prince Sisowath Sirirath, for the Grand Prize

Soma with the Grand Prize Winner of a laptop, Aunt Marina!

Thank you for a great night, now it's time to dance!

See you at the next Faculty Dinner Party in 2012

The 2011 Faculty Dinner Party was held on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at the Main Campus of PUC, from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Due to the success of last year’s party, this year had an even bigger crowd, from 250 guests in 2010, to 350 guests. This year, more gifts were donated by the party’s sponsors, totaling 148 prizes. With the cost of a $10 ticket, the guest can enjoy a full course dinner, drinks, a chance to win prizes in the Lucky Draw, musical performances, and ending the night with dancing.

The purpose of the Faculty Dinner Party is to build better relationships between academic professors, English teachers, and staff. I was honored to be the Master of Ceremony for this year’s event, and I chose Seda to introduce me to the guests. Before she made the introduction, she spoke about my educational and professional achievements and the reason why I am here in Cambodia. My father attended the dinner party, along with my uncle, Prince Sirirath Sisowath, his wife, Marina, and his two kids, Nikko and Bijou. This was my night and I wanted to do something special that would reveal my personality. I brought 4 outfits to wear throughout the show, but it was so hectic throughout the night, that I ended up wearing only 2 outfits. I will save the other 2 outfits for the next event.

My other co-hosts were Ms. Socheath Sroy, South Campus Administration and Special Event Director and English Instructor, and Mr. Sambath Lach, Human Resource Management Director and organizer of the 2011 Faculty Dinner Party. Sambath was responsible for the sponsorships which included iOne, S.I. Group, ICE, IT Computer, ISUS, Apsara Konica Minolta Shop, Yeo’s, Kampuchea Dental Clinic, Chheang Hout Center, Mountain Advertising, Angkorthom Book Center, and hello, the mobile company. In addition, he designed the flyer which was displayed throughout the 7 PUC Campuses. Sambath is a talented and well dressed guy. I chose him as my “date” since we are going to wear the same color outfit, blue. Socheath was supposed to wear blue as well, but her tailor did not finish her dress in time for the party. She was a little upset, but still looked beautiful in her plum dress.

Special guest speakers at the 2011 Faculty Dinner Party included Professor Sok San, Associate Dean for Internal Relations and Student Services, Dr. Sin Meng Srun, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Chea S. Chanthan, PUC President. His Excellency, Dr. Kol Pheng, PUC Founder, made a special appearance and greeted the guests and professors, and enjoyed a great dinner consisting of soup, fried fish, steamed fish, roast duck, chicken with rice, and dessert called lote, with my father, and my uncle, Prince Sirirath Sisowath, his close friend of many years. At the introduction of my speech, I announced the menu in English and in Khmer, which impressed the guests.

The musical acts included foreign professors promoting their native country and culture. Headed by Mr. Bonarin Hem, Director of Academic Program Office, Bonarin sang a Khmer song and surprised many because nobody knew he can sing. The other acts were; Mr. Brahamchari Tripathi, from India, who sang a song from his native country, Mr. Damine Peters, from Ireland, along with his two friends, played musical instruments, and his lead singer sang two songs, and one of them was a song by the group, U2, called “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Mr. Aun Min, who is from Myanmar, was interviewed by Dr. Keneth Robinson, Assistant Dean of Social Sciences and International Relations. Mr. Aun Min was asked about his life in Cambodia, and he briefly gave his story.

“Dr. Robinson played the Guest Host of PUC Radio Talk Show, and he did an excellent job. I will hire him to substitute for me as a real Guest Host, which will be around October, as I will be taking a vacation and visiting my family and friends in California and partying in Las Vegas for my birthday.”

The final musical act, which was the highlight and a crowd favorite, was a song and dance by Ms. Ambang  Asuquo, from Nigeria. Her upbeat song and dance got the crowd clapping and whistling. If there was a winner for the best musical act that evening, the prize would unanimously go to Ms. Ambang Asuquo. Bonarin mentioned to me that he wants to organize a Faculty Talent Show and Dinner in the near future. He asked if I wanted to help. Of course, it’s always an honor to be chosen as the Host.

Ms. Mariam Arthur, Director of the New Learning Resource Center, located on the Toul Kork campus, taught the guests the steps of a favorite Cambodian dance, the marizone. The marizone is like the electric slide, except it has fewer steps. Mariam was on stage and danced as Phiruma Kol, Manager of Relations Office Toul Kork Campus, Seda, and I followed her instructions. When the dancing began, the first song, was of course, the marizone. Tonight was her night, as she brought a date to the party, Mr. Chantou.

The 2011 Faculty Dinner Party was a sold out event because of the support by the PUC Leadership Team, the Faculty, and Staff. Special thanks to Dr. Nou Vira, Professor Sombo Manara, the Inspector Team, Professor He Mary and his fiancé, Ms. Yonda Monita, and Professor Um Vuthdara, for their generous donations of water. My father and uncle had a great time at the party. Marina, his wife, won the top prize, a laptop computer. It was such a coincidence that my uncle was chosen to come on stage and pick the winning ticket. As Socheath read the first letter of the winner’s name, “M” I had to look at the card with her. I could not believe that it was my Aunt Marina!  This evening my family all won something, but most of all, they all enjoyed a great time at the 2011 Faculty Dinner Party, supporting me and PUC.

Champions of the 2011 Annual Cambodian Client Counseling Competition Visits PUC Radio Talk Show
February 14, 2011, 5:44 pm
Filed under: Soma Norodom


Soma with the winners of the 2011 Annual Cambodian Client Counseling Competition-Left to Right: Darareaksmey Saing and Vanarith Vo

Soma introducing the guest speakers on PUC Radio Talk Show

Left to right: PUC students, Darareaksmey Saing, a Junior majoring in Law, and Vanarith Vo, a Senior majoring in Law

Vanarith Vo and Darareaksmey Saing participated in The 2011 Annual Cambodian Client Counseling Competition, and this year was held on the South Campus at PUC. This annual competition provides an exciting opportunity for law students to learn and practice interviewing and counseling skills, as well as to meet young lawyers from other schools in the country.

After an intense competition, PUC was declared the Champions of the 2011 Annual Cambodian Client Counseling Competition. PUC, represented by Vanarith and Darareaksmey, and coached by Professor Kong Phallack, Dean of Faculty of Law and Public Affairs, will represent Cambodia in an International Client Consultation Competition, which will be held in the Netherlands in the beginning of April 2011. The theme for the national and international round competition is Legal Ethics.

PUC has never won the competition, and last year PUC came in second place. But thanks to Vanarith and Darareaksmey, PUC finally took home the trophy. Congratulations to PUC, and best of luck to Vanarith and Darareaksmey in the next round of competition. The Annual Cambodian Client Counseling Competition is sponsored by USAID, American Bar Association, and East-West Management Institute.

Vanarith and Darareaksmey were special guest speakers on PUC Radio Talk Show on February 12, 2011. I had the opportunity to interview the newly crowned Champions of the 2011 Annual Cambodian Client Counseling Competition. Their interview solicited many calls by listeners who wanted to learn more about the competition, how they prepared for the competition, and other questions relating to study habits, and how to succeed and become a good student. As always, Vanarith and Darareaksmey were professional in their interviews, and both provided some valuable tips.

In addition, I asked Vanarith and Darareaksmey how they unwind and relax. They both have hectic schedules, and both believed that it is important to spend time away from studying by spending time with family and friends, bowling, and listening to music.

Vanarith Vo grew up in Koh Kong Province.  At an early age, he left his home town in Koh Kong where he graduated from high school, and came back to study in Phnom Penh. Vanarith loves physics and won several competitions in this subject. In addition, he was awarded the Japanese Yonesawa Rotary Club Scholarship Award. In Phnom Penh, Vanarith studied at Cambodian Mekong University (CMU), with another scholarship, he received a bachelor for Rural Development in 2009. After CMU, he studied at PUC. Currently, Vanarith is a Senior at PUC, majoring in Law. Vanarith worked as an intern with ILO, a UN agency that represents workers’ rights in Cambodia.  This internship provided him with valuable insights to the labor issues in Cambodia. Currently, he is a PASS member, serving as the treasure.

Darareaksmey Saing was born and raised in Phnom Penh. He loves math and even published 3 math books called “Magic Math,” “Simply Unique 1,” and ‘168 Exercises.” But he also has an interest in the arts. He has written songs and poems and won awards for some of his work.  He is a Junior at PUC, studying law, and also a student at Norton University, where he studies architecture. Darareaksmey has strong computer skills where he applies these skills in his work place.  He works as a Marketing Assistant at “S COOL” Solar film.  His second job was at Arunreasmey Pharma Company, where he used to work as a graphic designer since 2010.

Fulbright Specialist Visits PUC Radio Talk Show
February 3, 2011, 6:40 pm
Filed under: Soma Norodom


Dr. Donald Schwartz, Fulbright Specialist, visited PUC Radio Talk Show

Dr. Schwartz talking to Soma about the horrors of the Holocaust during World War ll

Dr. Donald Schwartz and Soma posing for the PUC Website

Sitting down, left to right: Soma, Dr. Schwartz, Dr. Sam-Ang Sam, Dean of Arts, Letters, and Humanities at PUC. Standing, left to right: Chan Ratha, Virath, Chetra, Ratana, Va, Phannarith, and Ratha.

Dr. Donald Schwartz is a professor emeritus of History at California State University Long Beach where he taught for more than 20 years. Dr. Schwartz, who joined the CSULB History Department in 1987, taught at the high school level for many years in New York City and White Plains, NY, while teaching as an adjunct professor at such New York universities as the New School for Social Research and Pace University.

Dr. Schwartz received his Bachelor’s Degree in History at City College of New York, his Master’s Degree in History at Indiana University, and he received his Ph.D in History at New York University.

His research interests include the experience of Holocaust survivors, the role of Quakers in Holocaust rescue attempts, and the teaching of the Holocaust in grades K-12. He is deeply involved with improving the teaching of American history through his work with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and with Teaching American History projects.

Dr. Donald Schwartz has been invited to speak on numerous speaking engagements on topics about The Holocaust, Jews and Baseball, American Jewish History, and Jewish Immigration. He has given lectures on topics about America and the Holocaust, Progressivism and the American Eugenics Movement, the U.S. and Europe: Examining the Dynamics of a Love-Hate Relationship, the 1950s: Happy Days or Misplaced Nostalgia, and Teaching the Holocaust in K-12 Classrooms.

The Khmer Genocide Study and Resource Center, planned to be built on the campus of  California State University, Long Beach, will attempt to help fill the gap of information about the genocide experience.

“It will be a virtual museum online with an array of information across multiple platforms,” stated Schwartz.

Dr. Schwartz will be helping to head up the academic side and is hoping to link up with other universities, including Stanford and Yale and of course, Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC), along with the Document Center in Cambodia, which has provided much of the information for the Khmer Rouge War Tribunals. He is an expert on the Holocaust during World War II. Schwartz stated, “One theme from survivors of the Holocaust genocide was that they didn’t tell their children what they endured. I see similarities and parallels with the children of Cambodian genocide survivors and hopes this project can help answer their questions.”

This past January, Dr. Schwartz was invited to be a Guest Lecturer, as a Fulbright Specialist, at PUC on the topic of History, and also was a VIP guest at PUC Graduation Award Ceremonies on January 17, 2011. But it was appearing on PUC Radio Talk Show, on January 19th, which made his trip in Cambodia memorable. Why? His name will be in written in “History” as the first Guest Speaker to talk about the Holocaust and the Khmer Rouge Genocide together on air in Cambodia.

I plan to tour the Khmer Genocide Study and Resource Center when I visit my mother and sisters in Long Beach around October of this year, and also have the opportunity to see Dr. Schwartz again, and this time, he will be hosting me.

The Dean of Business and Economics Speaks Out
February 2, 2011, 8:44 pm
Filed under: Soma Norodom

Professor Chiv Ratha on PUC Radio Talk Show

Professor Chiv Ratha is the Dean of Faculty of Business and Economics, the most popular major at PUC

The Team working hard on a Sunday evening

The final task of the night; a photo opportunity with Professor Chiv Ratha

Professor Chiv Ratha is the Dean of Faculty of Business and Economics at Pannasastra University of Cambodia. He graduated from University of Health Sciences with a Bachelor of Pharmacy in Phnom Penh in 1992, and a Master of Business Administration, majoring in Public Management from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia in 2004.

Professor Chiv worked at the Ministry of Interior in Phnom Penh from 1994-1998, and at the National Assembly as the Director of the Secretariat Office, and also was an Assistant to Dr. Kol Pheng. In 2005, Dr. Kol Pheng was the Minister of Education, and Professor Chiv worked as the Director of the Cabinet of the Ministry of Education from 2005-2008.

Professor Chiv started working with PUC since its inception in 2000, and was the Secretary of the Board of Trustee. In 2005, he was the Director of Administration at South Campus, and then became the Director of Academics Program Office. In 2008, Professor Chiv was promoted to Dean of Faculty of Business and Economics, and is responsible for overseeing 4 Associate Deans, over 40 professors, and over 2,000 students majoring in Business and Economics. During the students 4th year, the jobs are available in this field of Business and Economics, as well as after graduation, as this is a high market demand in the rebuilding process in Cambodia.

He has traveled to over 20 countries in Asia, Europe, and South America speaking about Management and Higher Education. Currently, he is the Deputy Director General of Youth of the Ministry of Education. I asked Professor Chiv to be a “Guest” Host in the future, since he has experience working as a Translator on the radio for ABC, “Australian Broadcast Corporation,” translating from English to Khmer Language, when he was studying at Monash University. Professor Chiv is always a team player, and he happily agreed.

Many of the questions for Professor Chiv were from texting, or SMS messages. One of the questions asked his advice on how to be a good student and how to work under pressure. Another was about the world economic depression and how it affects the economics in Asia. Professor Chiv answered that the world economic depression affects Asia as well, as this has been a domino effect throughout the world.

His dedication and commitment to Education and Youth has made Professor Chiv a popular motivational speaker. Professor Chiv Ratha has proven to be a leader in the community, a mentor, and a patriotic and loving family man, who is helping to rebuild and stabilize Cambodia.

The Dynamic and Charismatic Professor Sombo Manara
February 1, 2011, 6:42 pm
Filed under: Soma Norodom


Sombo Manara, PUCs most popular professor

Soma laughing throughout most of the interview with Professor Manara on PUC Radio Talk Show

At the end of every interview, the Guest Speaker gets a photo of himself and one with the Host

Professor Sombo Manara was the Guest Speaker on PUC Radio Talk Show on January 23, 2011. An overwhelming number of calls rang throughout the interview, including listeners in Svay Rieng Province. Professor Manara answered questions ranging from the purpose of community projects, Cambodian customs, globalization and peace.

His charismatic and dynamic personality made him a popular professor among many PUC students, as he was voted in a student survey as the top choice for guest speaker on PUC Radio Talk Show.

Professor Sombo Manara received his Bachelor’s Degree in History at Royal University of Phnom Penh in 1991. The Cambodian Genocide Program brought Professor Sombo Manara to Yale as a Visiting Research Scholar for seven months in 1996.

In 1997, Professor Manara was admitted to the Master’s Program in History at California State University, Long Beach, where he began a two-year course of study and training, and received his Master’s Degree in 2000. His thesis was titled: Cambodian Women’s Role and the Decline of Cambodia.

Currently, Professor Manara teaches at Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), and has been there since 1990, and has been at Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC) since 2000. Not a semester goes by when somebody says, “Professor Manara, I love being in your class. You are a great motivator and you truly exemplify the true teachings of Buddha.”

Distinguished Guests Attends PUC’s Graduation Award Ceremonies
January 22, 2011, 4:02 pm
Filed under: Soma Norodom

Ramy (lime green skirt) walking at the PUC Graduation

Cal State University Long Beach students, Chantelle and Joanne, were special guests of the graduation


(Front) His Excellency, Mr. Im Sethy, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, and the distinguished guests congratulated the graduates on their achievements

Ramy's parents, Ramy, and Soma

My father, Seda, and I celebrating Ramy's graduation from PUC

PUC Board of Trustees, Leadership, Faculty Members and Staff, Buddhist monks, the graduates and their parents, distinguished national and international guests, and His Excellency, Mr. Im Sethy, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, attended PUC’s Graduation Award Ceremonies which was held on January 17, 2011.

PUC President, Dr. Chea San Chanthan, presided over the graduation award ceremonies at Pannasastra University of Cambodia, and expressed his profound gratitude to His Excellency, Mr. Im Sethy, for taking time out of his busy schedule to officiate the Graduation Award Ceremonies for 331 graduates who successfully completed their studies in 2010.  Dr. Chea briefly reported on the management activities and the achievements of PUC. The current statistics of enrollment is 21,405 students. Of those enrolled, 6,128 are taking academic studies, and 15,277 are taking pre-academic English programs.

In addition, PUC has successful cooperation on student and faculty member exchange programs and other cooperative activities with 85 universities and institutes in the U.S., Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Faculty members and students from California State University Long Beach attended the graduation. Several were guest speakers on PUC Radio Talk Show, which included Dr. Donald Schwartz, Dr. Carlos Silveira, Melissa  Dupalo, and Chantelle Chavdoin. Since 2004, every January, California State University Long Beach faculty members and students visit PUC through the exchange program.

Other guests attending the graduation included delegations from Fort Hays State University in Kansas, Hawaii Pacific University, and Dong A. University, in Central Vietnam, who are now international partners with PUC. On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, delegates from Dong A. University were invited by Dr. Chea to be guest speakers on PUC Radio Talk Show, which was the most entertaining this week. Dr. Philip Lyon, Director for Center for Excellent Learning and Teaching, Ms. Nguyen Anh, Assistant to the university, and Ms. Minh Anh, Head of Student Service Office, made my job as PUC Radio Talk Show Host so fun. Our listeners enjoyed it as much as I did.

His Excellency, Mr. Im Sethy, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, appreciated PUC Founder, Faculty and Staff for having worked hard to impart knowledge and skills to the students who are crucial resources for the development of Cambodia. He later congratulated the graduates and expressed his great pleasure with the parents or guardians of the graduates who have contributed to educational development and continuously supported their children’s study.

His Excellency, Mr. Im Sethy, stated:

“I would like to request the management of PUC and other public and private higher education institutions to pay more attention to the responsibility of implementing the legal norms, like the Law on Education as the basis, in producing human resources with quality and full capacity in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitude. According to the report made by Dr. Chea San Chanthan, PUC President earlier, it shows that PUC has exerted its great efforts and attention to developing the intellectual capital in Cambodia. In the end, I wish Your Excellences, distinguished guests, PUC leaders, faculty members, staff and the graduates the four Buddhist gems of wishes: longevity, good complexion, health, and strength. Thank you,”

The PUC Graduation was a special day for our cousin-in-law, Mrs. Ramy Norodom, who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She is married to my father’s nephew, Pheanuroth Norodom, who currently lives in Virginia. Ramy will be going to the U.S. in a few months to reunite with her husband and to start her new life in America. Congratulations Ramy, and good luck on your future endeavors!

Professor Kieng Rotana Speaks on PUC Radio Talk Show
January 2, 2011, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Soma Norodom

Professor Kieng Rotana, Vice President of University Relations and Students Affairs, Dean of the Institute of Foreign Languages, and Director of Foundation Program at PUC

Ratha, Radio Operator, checking the sound, as Chetra and Ratana, both Phone Operators, watch

Soma and Professor Kieng are ready to go on-air

Listeners calling to ask Professor Kieng questions

That's a wrap for PUC Radio Talk Show

With only a couple weeks on-air, the daily PUC Radio Talk Show on 90.0 FM, was ready to bring on the Faculty and Staff members of Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC) as a Guest Speaker on the show. To kick off the show, Professor Kieng Rotana, a member of the Executive Management Team, and the Vice-President of University Relations and Students Affairs, Dean of the Institute of Foreign Languages, and Director of Foundation Program at PUC, was invited to speak on PUC Radio Talk Show on December 27, 2010.

Professor Kieng Rotana is the Vice President of University Relations and Students Affairs, and Dean of the Institute of Foreign Languages, as well as Director of Foundation Program at Pannasastra University of Cambodia. He earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia, in 1999, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy from University of Health Sciences, in Phnom Penh, in 1992. He has over ten years of experience in teaching English in Cambodia and was the Director of an English and Computer School in which he owned in the 1990s. Professor Kieng Rotana holds a Certificate of TESOL from the British Centre for Teacher Education in 1993.

He has been very active in organizations promoting the development of Cambodia’s Education and University Globalization, and has been invited to speak, on behalf of PUC, in Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Indonesia, the U.S., and China. He was the President and Founding Father and currently the Senior Advisor for the Cambodian Higher Education Association, the External Assessor and Team Leader for the Accreditation Committee of Cambodia National level, and President of the Australian Alumni Association of Cambodia.

As Dean of the Institute of Foreign Languages at PUC, Professor Kieng Rotana has spearheaded the English Program which has exemplified PUC’s Commitment to Excellence, and PUC has established itself as the university with the strictest enrollment requirements and standards in the country.

I interviewed Professor Kieng Rotana and asked questions ranging from his educational and professional background, to more personal subjects reflecting on his family and childhood experiences, and memories of the Khmer Rouge Regime. This hour and a half interview with Professor Kieng was very informative, highlighting PUC’s English Program and the importance of the English language, as well as entertaining. Some of Professor Kieng’s answers made me laugh on-air, which made the interview genuine and amusing. His interview had the highest listeners since the show’s inception on December 12, 2010, and we haven’t even advertised the PUC Radio Talk Show yet.

During the show, listeners called in and asked professor Kieng questions. A caller wanted to know about job opportunities after graduation from PUC, and which field of study would likely create more jobs in Cambodia. Another caller wanted to know why students enroll in two or more universities and if this is a good idea. In addition, Professor Kieng indicated that the Institute of Foreign Languages is currently hiring teachers due to the rapid increase of enrollment at PUC. There are 600 English classes being taught daily, not including Academic Programs, and about 20,000 students total in 8 campuses, and over 1,000 Faculty and Staff members.

Professor Kieng Rotana was the first PUC member to be on the show, and many more Faculty members, Professors, and students, as well as business leaders, community leaders, and NGOs will be invited to speak on future shows. The booking calendar for Guest Speakers is full up to the month of April. I am proud of my team for making this happen, and I am proud of working for PUC, the most prestigious university in Cambodia. I think I have the best job in the country, well at least the funnest.

My uncle, Prince Sirirath Sisowath, sent a message to Seda for me:

“Thank you for the information on Soma’s new job as a Radio Talk Show Host on 90 FM. It’s great to hear about this exciting work. Are we going to see the birth of another Oprah Winfrey here in Cambodia? Certainly, from now on I am going to keep my ears wide open and tune in to my radio nightly at 7 pm. A big hug to your beloved dad from uncle, ok? And tell Soma that uncle is very proud of her and wish her all the best of success in her new field as an anchorwoman. Happy New Year with lots of love”.

Chasmir Nan


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