Meet Santel. He runs a social media blog about Cambodia and always knows what’s going on in his country. If it happened, more than likely it’s on his blog. He’s smart, talented, determined and loves his country!
“I was born in Kratie province. Then continued my study in Phnom Penh. I graduated from engineering in 1999 at ITC as an Electrical Engineer. Then I start to work for SCA/CAMS since 2001 in the IT department. I started my own blog khmerbird.com to share personal information and have fun with blogging tools. Then I see there’s a lot of leaked information about Cambodia. I started to post some news related to Cambodia and then I received some feedback from the visitors, although my English is not so good. The blog has more and more visitors and I just learned the word “blogger” very late. My blog is running on WordPress platform. I am happy with it. And now I am more interested in social media and interests of sharing information about Cambodia. I just setup an email list that would send automatically every morning to the subscribers about what people are talking about Cambodia since the last 24 hours. The process is complete and I am happy to be one of the Cambodian bloggers.” – Santel Phin
Are you a 100% Cambodian? If not, what else?
Santel: Yes, I am 100% Cambodia. But maybe I don’t really look like any other Cambodia, maybe due to my curly hairs. When I go to Siem Reap, people always speak English to me, or when I go to Russian market, they always said to me “CD Sir! CD Sir!” but I am 100% Cambodia.
When did you come to the states and where do you reside? Or were you born here, if so, where?
Santel: I live and work in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I used to stayed two years in France for study. I like France but I cannot live there.I always miss my country and want to come back as soon as I can.
What inspires you to write?
Santel: I read many books when I was young. My father always back home with few books in his hands for me. I started writing when I was alone in France. That was the first time I could see my country and myself from a long distance and different angle. I see a lot of thing should be improved. I could see things we did in Cambodia could be done in a better way. I was writing to recreate what went wrong in Cambodian society. I never speak directly my intention to the audience.I like to create things, show it in very details ways and I hope people could see things in different way.
“Death Love” (khmervoice.info) is the first short story in English, I wrote it within one week with English dictionary in my hands. This first one got people attention due to it reality of the story, People always asked me is it my true story.
“Katuoch” (khmerbird.com) The second one (first written in Khmer language) surprise the Cambodian writers at the competition. the record of traffic accident surprise me a lot, there’s the reason I start to write Katuoch.
“Malai- Story of my secret lover” (khmerbird.com) is well received.
Have you ever considered writing a book about your work?
Santel: I still have in mind that one day I would publish a book. These days I was busy at office and work late at night as a blogger.I am more concerned with the future of my family than the book. I believed everybody would do the same way. But I still writing in my thinking, then the time comes, I would sit and write. Maybe e-book would be the good choice for me in the future. But if I could find a publisher, I would love to talk to them about this possibility.
What is your favorite topic about Cambodia?
Santel: I am interesting in sharing news about Cambodia. In back old days, especially when I was in France, I met a lot of Cambodian refugees. They didn’t know much things about what was happening in Cambodia. I passed a lot of time to inform them about the current situation. Now my blog is a good place to share information related to Cambodia. Now I also have Cambodia Daily Headlines that will deliver the news related to Cambodia to have a view on what people are talking about Cambodia since the last 24 hours. Anybody can subscribe to the list HERE.
Have you ever been to America or plan on visiting?
Santel: I like Hollywood movies but I never been to America. I wish I could visit US one day.
Who is your mentor, if you have one..and if you don’t would you consider being a mentor yourself?
Santel: People asked me where did I learn to write. I told them I wrote it from my heart. It’s very powerful if you write something from the heart. We need to sit and see thing differently.
What is your favorite khmer dish?
Santel: I like many dishes but let’s say I would choose Ka kor (khmer mixed vegetables soup).
What are your future goals in blogging?
Santel: My goal is to create a website where people could find anything they need to know about Cambodia: history, politic, news, travel guide etc. Cambodian need to think how to record, note and share our knowledge to our people. Today they share orally, speak from mouth to mouth from father to son. Nothing written properly. In future, everything will be connected, anywhere you go, you are connected. But how to get those information in real time? my approach is to collect all information related to Cambodia from media stream to social networks, analyze it, and store them in a proper way via tag, label, date, author … contents etc.
When one visitor arrive in Cambodia, they could check quickly what is the price of Taxi, cheap hotel, road, nice restaurant etc and those information can fly in real time. I am talking about semantics. I don’t have much time now, I hope I could talk to others that got the same interests and we could start this project together.
What advice would you give to others?
Santel: Finding what you are passion about, then do what you like to do. I am happy with my blog. My life is never get bored.I am not sure if lonely man still exists? I used to call myself a lonely man, but with blogging I am not alone anymore.There’s a value in things you share on internet via your blog or social media like Facebook or Twitter, if you want to create a blog or want to know more about Social Media, say hello to my twitter account (http://twitter.com/khmerbird) or visit my blog http://khmerbird.com for inspiration to be a Cambodian blogger, good luck!
For more about Santel Phin:
Check out Santel’s Website
Follow Santel on Twitter
Originally Posted by Tyan Y.
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