Journey that never ends

Journey that never ends
Sapa trekking

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Hem Cheat Folks

After over a year of not posting on this blog, today the motivation to write here is quite high. It happens that there was a big rain falling today. Maybe the sky is cursing human beings who have been behaved so poorly toward each others lately. The city of Phnom Penh is in a constant change of mood since after the general election last July 28. Quite often than necessary, there are police barricades placing in many parts of the city, or water canon truck driven by state police, surely not for the purpose of putting out any fire but scaring citizens along the road in the city. It is obvious that this is attempted to provoke fear and make people nervous of what to come. It is the typical tactics use toward citizen in a less democratic society though ours boost of improving its democracy practice record lately.

I have spent the last few days intensely working with the workers to complete the renovation of my small space which on opposite to an old cinema from the Sangkum Reas Niyum era. The cinema has not been used in recently years/decades and currently there are so many families sharing the house within this cinema blog. When the rain was falling so hard, the one particularly house in the front part of the cinema where its name is hang, has a big hole in which the rain water got in. An old man, presumably the owner of the house, was trying to put a mat in the front part to prevent the rain from getting it.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Change starts with ourselves and our action

Today as part of the two-and-half-day long training on Regional Energy and Advocacy training, the participants - which comprised nationalities from Thailand, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Japan, Australia - visited the Thammasat University Rangsit campus. This is the second campus of the University that focuses on Renewable and Sustainable energy program. I like to share some highlights from the visit and my impression of the effort of the university.

Interestingly, The University slogan is: “Thammasat University Where We Learn to Love People.” I cannot deny that this is pretty impressive slogan. One would need to get a glimpse of background as to how this university starts and who are the professors running the university how and their roles in the students revolution in Thailand - better known as Thammasat University Massacre -  in the 1970s. I was a student from a known university in Australian where our slogan is: Dream Large.

The university vice rector, Arjan Prinya, met and greeted the students as well as spent an hour long to happily answer any of the question we have about their effort. They have shown us a video clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE2QxDpd9GY ) about the effort to go Smart City implements by the university to reduce the dependency on the grid energy and source the electricity from the solar panel system installed at the rooftop if the faculty building.

The display of the solar panel in font of the faculty. The Yellow bikes are everywhere in the campus where students and faculty staff could use to move around the different part of the campus. The use of the bikes are widely promoted wihtin the campus with the bike track establish to promote the enable route for biking. 20.January 2018.

Currently, the university has a total of 35,000 students studying on this campus. Despite their chosen subject area, there are at least four core subject all students have to complete: Thai language, English language, Civic Engagement and Environmental subjects, according to a third year student who accompany our team visit. These last two subjects aim at students have interaction and provide awareness to community living in the area surrounding the campus about the importance of waste manage and how this link directly to improving their health and well-being. Students assignment including waste picking and classification so that it could use for the biomass energy generation.

Arjan Prinya provides the brief orientation about the accessibility t
o the bike for mobility around the campus. He also explained about the shuttle bus at the university that run on the solar PV. Each shuttle bus is installed with 6 panels that are sufficient to run for the whole day.


View of Thammasat University Rangsit Campus from the rooftop of the faculty building where Solar PV are covered most part of the buidling. View of 5th floor (roof). At the top right, another building with installed solar PV to generate electricity to meet the needs of the university.
 At present, the installed solar panel has the capacity to generate 5Megawat of electricity. This represents 1/3 of the total energy needs at the university and by 2034 (?), the university aims at reaching the installed capacity of 15MW. This target years also commemorate the 100th Years Anniversary of the University Operation in Thailand. Arjan is very proud to say that his university is the first one in the country to implement the Smart City/Campus.

Fellow training participants biked around the campus after the rooftop solar panel station visit. This is a very nice environment to move around especially after the heavy assignment or a long lecture in your subject area. I just like the fact that the colour yellow stands out among the green environment. 20 January 2018.

I feel very proud to hear that there are great people like the leadership at the Thammasat University lecturers and professor and factory staff that put the effort together very seriously in effort to reduce the CO2 impact on planet earth and make it a greener place for living.

As he rightly said, they have done their part and it remains the part of the students and the people that have seen this way to take action on themselves to make change. That change doesn't start with someone else but with ourselves.  Such an inspiration and I hope that the students who study there feel lucky enough to take this practices back to their home, family and bigger society they are living in. I hope that this similar thought and model could replicate in my country and some of the great university we have in the country.