My 2012 in review

How did 2012 treat you? I hope it was not bad, because, at least, we all survived the so-called end of the world by the Mayan calendar! Mine was overall so hectic that I changed my habit to sleep after 01:00 am.  The most outstanding moments of the year for me were FilmCamp, my trip to North America, Khmer Film Foundation and, of course, my marriage. 

The Married Man and Family Guy
Our official relationship started on the New Year’s Day of 2012 when my beloved wife Sophanit celebrated my birthday with her time off with me on a little-visited Koh Rong. As both of us were quite “ready”, we agreed to organize the engagement as soon as on March 08. I had to wait eight months until I got married with her. So you may wonder why I chose her. Over time and despite some rough moments, she represents everything to my life. She is my sister because she takes care of my clothes and image! She is my (moral) teacher because she teaches me how to behave in public! She is a motivator because she keeps encouraging me to keep up what I’m doing. She is a friend because she is always there listening to all my problems. She is a great lover because she has a lot to give to me. So she deserved to marry me twice: November 19, in Siem Reap and November 24, in Phnom Penh! I must admit that the one in Siem Reap was more official and packed. Yet, as Phnom Penh is my “territories”, I personalized it with a re-proposing surprise and our love story slideshow.
Our engagement – March 08
Our marriage in Siem Reap – November 19
My youngest brother with his three kids at Bokor

 Besides, my family welcomes another new member: Belle. She is our youngest niece born in late June to my “still spoiled” youngest brother. My younger sister Len has a boyfriend who she’s planning to marry soon and still helps vegetable business grow bigger and bigger. My elder sister Yen keeps focused on this business as she has vowed to stay single for the rest of her life while preferring to take care of all her nieces and nephews. 

The Film Enthusiast
After my trip to Vientiane for FilmCamp Laos with Rithea in 2011, we decided to organize in late March with the rest of Kon Khmer Koun Khmer team the Cambodian version: FilmCampKh or FilmCAMp. Alongside, Rithea came up with the idea to found Chaktomuk Short Film Contest, which exposed 15 talents with main sponsorship from B. Chy Sila/Sabay Entertainment and H.E. Quach Mengly/American Intercon Institute. Although it was our first edition, we managed to attract over 700 participants. Of course, H.E. Khieu Kanharith and other partners keep (financially) supporting our initiatives. While our collective production for “The Ring” has been delayed for no committed filmmaker and the size of the production, Seila worked with Martin on an experimental film produced in Kep, in mid-September. We did use some monies we collected on the spot from FilmCamp! As result, the film was premiered during Cambodia International Film Festival 2012.

FilmCamp logo and details
Kep Secret poster
Flower gift from French institute

I was also honored by French Institute to be part of the jury to evaluate short films submitted to its 2nd edition of Destination Francophonie 2012,  in late May. What a return: I used to be a student there. Then, I was invited to help with their contest!
Then, I became involved in another team founded by B. Chhay Bora, called “Khmer Film Foundation”. After our fundraiser in August with the screening of “Lost Loves”, I was assigned to be President of this baby organization. Ratana, who founded Kerdomnel Khmer for several years, becomes its CEO. Given my experience with 4K, B. Bora’s achievement with “Lost Loves” and Ratana’s thorough research on Koh Ker temple, we launched a first collective and ambitious project to produce a documentary on that temple and King Jayavarman IV. Although dragged over time, we’re taking it seriously this year as members are as potential as those I met in 4K.

Ratana in front of Koh Ker temple (years ago)
Group photo after “Lost Loves” screening

Due to my blog reviews, I have been still invited to premieres at Legend Cinema. I think I watched more than 50 titles over there with “the Hobbit” as a favorite. Yet, I found my other favorites at Platinum Cineplex: “Lost Loves” and “Frankenwennie”. “The Hobbit” seems to bring me to another world of wonder with its special effects and breathtaking landscapes. “Lost Loves”, directed by B. Bora, keeps touching my heart no matter how many times I watch it. For that emotional directing strength, it deserves to be nominated for an Academy Award for Foreign Films. “Frankenwennie” is just a simple black and white animation I watched during the closing of Cambodia International Film Festival 2012. Yet, its message is quite relevant with today’s global development: science with a heart.

The Hobbit poster
Lost Loves poster

The 4/10 Entrepreneur

As my full-time business, CallMe Translation Services, is growing, so is my pool of freelancers. They represent my invisible army to fight a competitive industry like translation. Our most profitable service is transcriptions from Khmer to English. Of course, my film involvement does add value to this growth. Alongside, I’ve posted more updates on our Page, as to at least retain existing fans! Plus, we contributed to social events like BarCampPhnom Penh and KhmerTalks. The amount was not much, but I believe it was enough to maintain our brand on the market.
Interview by SEA TV

Given my enlarged relationship, my business has been more and more exposed to the public. Thanks to Seiha (Mech), I was interviewed by SEA TV and broadcast in “My Life” show in late August. Thanks to Seyha (Hoeum), I managed to impress about 200 participants about the value of social media to SME. Thanks to Rithy (Lim), I was invited to be a jury member of his students’ business plan competition. What shocked me most was when Sokphan, one of the PSE students who attended my speech, came to tell me that he wanted me to remember him so he could partner with me in years to come.

Talk about social media benefits for SME
Judge for PSE’s students’ business plans
With my Mastermind Club fellows

But I’m not a lonesome entrepreneur because I’ve kept my tradition to meet my Mastermind Club fellows every weekend. 2012 saw me less present as, some weekends, I spent with Sophanit in Siem Reap! And the new President is Raksmey, the first female of the team who deserves such a role for her result-oriented spirit and outstanding selling skills, despite her first-time motherhood.

Still, my challenge is to find a full-time translator or manager so I can jump into another business. As I’ve been assigned more part-time responsibilities, I have less time to get my day-time jobs done. So virtually every night, I slept after 1:00 am, completing all the left-over tasks/projects. Needless to say, I’ve become a coffee/energy-drink addict although I never wanted to, originally!
And you still wonder why 4/10? Well, I meant I have achieved 40% of my business goals by 2012. I have yet to find the right people, systematize and legalize it, locate it better and more.

The Social (Media) Being
Let’s Do It PP 2012 Campaigner?

Maybe it’s a bit exaggerating to call myself “social (media) activist”. But if you believe that other people’s view is your reflection, then, this is how they find me! The main social or community activities I’ve taken parts in throughout the year were those with JCI Cambodia. It is an organization that encourages us to become a global responsible citizen. One of the most outstanding projects I was part of was Let’s Do It Phnom Penh 2012, with other thousands of people. Besides, I helped coordinate JCI Chaktomuk Facebook Page which is now run even without my control as the fastest-growing of all the Pages I’ve ever administered.

The other social contribution I made was to SmallWorld, which I describe as an entrepreneur incubating center. However, this center is run as a social enterprise that seeks to self-finance by an adventure friend Rithy (Thul), a long-time business friend Sakada (Sam) and other young Cambodians. I’m not sure how my humble investment (or loan!) could help them. But I kept engaged in their activities from time to time just to make sure the center remains active. Of course, one of my ambitions is to see other people run their own businesses, instead of working for other people for the rest of their lives.
Although, in 2012, I tried not to Facebook during working hours, I found myself a lot more active on that site during spare time! Some of you might say I’m online 24/7. Well, it’s just part of the truth! I also created and have run six other social media site accounts like Twitter and LinkedIn for my side activities. Of course, as mentioned above, my blogging habit entitled me to many premieres throughout the year. But, in November, it allowed me to win the second prize from BlogFestAsia 2012 Competition. And you know where number one and number three come from? The Philippines.
2012 was also remarkable for me as some of my friends like Pheaktra, Chamroeun, Samnang/Veasna, Rithysak, Phary, Seila/Vannsan, got married in that year. And I found it a bit weird that even Zuckerberg changed his relationship status to “married” in that year, as well. Of course, he’s not my friend (yet)! 
2nd prize handover by Minister of Information
With newly wed Vannsan and Seila

The Gentle Traveler
Family stop (not stay!) in Sokha Hotel (Sihanoukville)

Locally, I’ve been a lot to seaside provinces like Preah Shihanouk and Kampot with my family. We did re-visit Bokor after its development during Pchum Ben Days. The longest and newest destination for us was Mondulkiri, during Khmer New Year. It was my second time there, but I still love its unique sceneries along the road near the provincial town. I’ve also been to Siem Reap countless times. You may know why?!

Row of my sisters and girl cousins at Nataya (Kampot)
With my boy cousins in Mondulkiri
2012 was a special year as I could be alone with someone I do love like Sophanit. Of course, besides Koh Rong, we’ve been to Nataya resort (Kampot), where I celebrated an unexpected birthday for her. In May, we had the chance to visit Thailand together. But she had a Rotary convention to attend after my earlier departure. So I kind of kept her company for nearly a week! Then came the farthest, yet most rewarding destination for us: North America. Thanks to our family friends, the Echenbergs and our efforts to work on their school project so far, we made it sound and safe and enjoyed our discovery of Canada (Montreal and Toronto) and the US (Vermont and New York). Believe it or not, we also lost the chance to visit the land of Uncle Sam, despite our visas! The details can also be found on my blog.
In Bangkok (Thailand)

At Nataya again!

What to expect in 2013?
I hesitated to write what I’ve learned from 2012. But I think this checklist is enough to reflect that learning curve:
– “Closer” relationship: I’m not sure how close we can get. But the distance should not keep us from staying in touch. I’m not trying to prove anything, but I’ll do all my best to remain in love with my only Sophanit.
– FilmCamp and Chaktomuk Short Film Contest 2013: We’ll make it bigger and regional. Save March 23 in your calendar if you feel like attending it!
– Koh Ker: It is a project that marries my passion and responsibility that embarks on a more ambitious journey than previous years.
  The Gold Ring: It is high time for us, 4K, to commit to making it happen although I need to pick the same director for this new movie.
Mastermedia: We, at Mastermind Club, name this new business project so, because want our customers to “master” their online marketing to reach the “mass”.
  Own production agency: Although I haven’t come up with any name yet, I somehow feel this year is the right time to partner with like-minded people and start working some small projects.
Business license: As I want to expand my business market, a legal protection will make CallMe translation services more attractive to big clients/institutions.
New destinations? I have no idea yet. But Preah Vihear province will be my/our top priority. We may explore our neighbor countries together 🙂
2012 triggered some of the challenges for me for years to come. No doubt, 2013 is going to be an all-challenging, but hopefully, meaningful year for me. As my life page turns, the most interesting question I was asked last year was, “What do you do exactly?” Somehow, my answer is, “I just do what I love. And that’s what makes my life.” And how about your 2012 or 2013?! If you feel like being part of my plans/projects this year, please do no hesitate to let me know 🙂

PS: The next post will switch back to the movie review, about “3 AM” (Thai horror movie).